Friday, March 29, 2013

Rurouni Kenshin DVD launch

So I have been blogging a lot about the Rurouni Kenshin live action movie- to an extent that it is almost a documentary. I blogged about the challenges to get the movie in local Philippine Cinemas, my thoughts about the movie after watching it. So I think that it is just apt that I also blog about the next chapter in the Rurouni Kenshin live action story which is of course the DVD release! 

I was in contact with Odyssey which would be releasing the DVD of the movie. 
So the date was set for March 23, 2013 at the Gateway branch of Odyssey from 4:00PM-6:00PM. 

When we got there, there was already a booth set up by Amuse Philippines which is a group of Filipino Amuse Inc. fans. You might be wondering what Amuse Inc. is and what were they doing in the Rurouni Kenshin DVD release? Well Amuse Inc. is actually a group of artists and actors in Japan and Sato Takeru is part of the group. Amuse Philippines organized the DVD buyout to show their support for Sato Takeru who of course plays Kenshin Himura in the movie. 

Every fan's dream. Photos of Takeru Sato were displayed in the booth. No drooling please! :P 

Aside from Amuse Inc PH, Sato Takeru Philippines was also present to show their love for their idol. It's interesting to note that these groups were here because they were fans of Sato Takeru, while for me it was the other way around- I am a fan of the anime series- growing up watching it on AXN and even on Studio 23 and that was why I was at the DVD launch. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My own Paramore Listening Party

Screenshot of my Work PC. Shhhh... don't tell my boss 

With the excitement towards the Paramore album continuing to increase, with the help of tours, listening parties, lyrics and thoughts shared by the very open Hayley Williams, teaser video, an e-book-it was just a matter of time before Paramore fans all over the world go into anticipation overload and spontaneously combust all together-from bliss I might add. 

I think that anticipation overload and inevitable spontaneous combustion is happening to Paramore fans all over the world as we speak with the preview of the much awaited self titled album. Yup! I don't think I've ever heard of a band previewing their album for their fans- with no strings attached I might add if it's done before then good but for me this is my first and I am in Nirvana.

I was really jealous about all those very lucky fans who were blessed enough to attend the listening parties but now with the technology of iTunes and the magic of social media the seemingly impossible has become possible- I was having MY OWN LISTENING PARTY!-okay so maybe it's sad if you put it that way but I was also able to interact with other Paramore fans and share our thoughts via Twitter as we were listening to the preview of the album together. Distance was not a question, the number of miles did not matter, we were virtually holding hands and banging our heads to the same music. 

Anime Movie Invasion: Anime Movies to be shown in local Cinemas

It is definitely a good time to be an Otaku. 

With the recent success of the Rurouni Kenshin live action movie being shown last year-gaining the title of highest ever box office opening for a Japanese film in the Philippines and earning $647,922.00 in the box office; it is no surprise that more Anime movies are coming our way to local Cinemas. 

Movie Punch - Pioneer films Philippines is bringing top Anime titles to your nearest SM Cinema in the next following months. 

Social Media was all a buzz with news that movies from Naruto, One Piece and Hunter X Hunter are already being negotiated to be shown exclusively in SM Cinemas. 

Along with so many other Filipino Otakus I'm really excited about this news so I reached out to the ever hard working people from Movie Punch (Pioneer Philippines) and asked a few questions about the impending arrival of an Anime Movie Invasion. I have also included a short write up/preview on the anime movies to be shown. ^_^ 

Would you say that these Anime movies are being shown because of the success of the Rurouni Kenshin live action movie? 

Yes, and it means there is really a large fan base that follows Japanese Anime movies here in the Philippines. Rurouni Kenshin has proven that. 

What are you looking to accomplish by showing these Anime movies? 

Firstly, we were not aware of the large following, SM Cinemas suggested Rurouni Kenshin to us because of the "persistent clamor" of fans. This led us to research and we found out that there is a huge request from anime fans (to have Rurouni Kenshin in Cinemas) but it was still a gamble for us since this is going to be the first time for us to show this kind of film genre, so in short we gave in to the "clamor" and got the rights to show it here in the Philippines- we hope to accomplish the excitement we will be bringing to the younger generation and to anime fans as well, by bringing in all their favorite TV programs (Anime series) and a chance to watch it on the big screen! 

Naruto the Movie: Road to Ninja: Showing on April 10, 2013
From Samurais to Ninjas - Now it's Naruto's turn to charm Filipino audiences. 
Naruto - the manga was first published in 1999 and is created by Masashi Kishimito and is considered as one of the best selling manga series of all time- selling more than 126.5 million copies and this is just in Japan alone. 

As for the anime series, it's interesting to note that Naruto has actually won some awards in the Philippines specifically: 'Best Full-Length, Animation Program Award' during the 3rd UStv Student's Choice Awards which was held in the University of Santo Tomas in Manila on February 19, 2009. 

Online episodes of Naruto: Shippuuden are also claiming record hitting numbers with an average of 160,000 viewers a week. 

The movie which will be shown exclusively on SM Cinemas on April 10, 2013 - (Yes! Just 15 days to go!) Movie Punch wanted to release the movie before it comes out on DVD and Blu-ray in Japan (April 24, 2013). After the DVD is released it will already be available for streaming and downloading online - but seriously if you can watch it in the movie house-it would definitely be a better experience. So you guys better start reserving tickets online or making plans to catch this movie with your friends! :) Why resort to piracy and crappy downloads with bad subtitles if you can enjoy watching the movie in the comfort of the movie theater right? 

Naruto the Movie: Road to Ninja was released in Japan on July 28, 2012 (yup- we are waaaay behind), it is the ninth overall Naruto film but only the sixth Naruto Shippuuden film. It's interesting to note that series creator Masashi Kishimoo supervised the movie. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Project 365 - Week 6

As I hit day 30, I was taken aback.  Wow... I've been shooting constantly everyday(more like every night).  The same worry that clouded my head from the day I started this project is that I would run out of ideas.  So days kept coming and so I kept shooting.  I'm still surprised that I'm still undertaking this despite of the pitiful work schedule that I have and still having a few things up my sleeves.

February 28, 2013 - Japanese Doll revisited

Sometime ago probably a year or two, I shot this Japanese doll from my wife's godmother.  It's one of our props for our wedding reception I believe.  I'm more impressed on how I did this shot here since I got more light compared to back then.

Forgot to mention that I borrowed a light box from my sister.  It's used to diffuse light coming from outside the box, which gives it a more like an even controlled lighting look used for product photographs.

Equipped with the 500d, flash trigger mounted to remotely fire off the flash coming from the upper left hand side of the doll.  I'm not sure if I'm using the Sigma 70-300mm or the Canon 50mm.  The doll was placed in the lightbox with black background.  I tried using the white background but I don't think that the color suits the subject.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Preview

I was just going through Twitter one Sunday morning when I saw a promo from Odyssey for a sneak peak to the sequel of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey which is (drum roll please) The Desolation of Smaug (pronounced as 'Smwaa-gh' and not 'smog' as I initially thought) the prize of the promo was an access code to a Worldwide live event (live streaming) which would be hosted by none other than Peter Jackson himself. 

The live streaming will feature behind the scenes production for 'The Desolation of Smaug' which is the second installment to The Hobbit trilogy and which will be released in theaters in December. Peter Jackson will also be answering questions from fans and other special guests. 

In order to get an access code to the exclusive event you have to answer the question- When danger is near, Bilbo's sword glows to what color?, (which is technically wrong, since Sting- the sword glows specifically when Orcs and Goblins are near- but that's just me being, nit picky)-anyways! you have to be one of the first 12 to get the right answer by commenting on the photo which appeared on Odyssey's facebook page. I immediately answered BLUE! all caps and was lucky enough to be part of the 12 ^_^. 

My access code was sent as a Private Message on my Facebook account. 

The Worldwide Live Event was going to be live streamed at 8:00 AM March 25, 2013 from New Zealand, which is at 3:00AM in Manila and for other countries was still at March 24, 2013, (3PM Eastern/Noon Pacific).

Paul and I eagerly anticipated the live streaming and at 3:00AM sharp- viola! Peter Jackson was in front of us! :D 

I took some screenshots of the live streaming ^_^ 

Peter Jackson showing his favorite weapon from the LORT series - Theoden's sword. 
The Live streaming started with Peter Jackson greeting fans a good morning all the way from New Zealand, it's 8:00AM where he is and God knows what time from where his audience was watching. (In our case it was 3AM) Peter, showed a newspaper from New Zealand showing the date as March 25, 2013 and the result of a cricket match. 

Peter then proceeded to showing the studio where all the pre-production, post-production and editing was done (in other words) where the magic happens. 

Peter showed the audience, framed movie posters which were hung on the studio's walls, there were a lot of James Bond Movies, he also shared his early love for military aviation.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

RDOT Jam Session Part 2

It is already considered the norm to go out and have a little fun after a long day in the office preferably on a Friday night. But what about those of us who work in the BPO industry? We literally are like vampires who come out in the night and sleep during the day. 

So how and where do we get to unwind and have a good time after work? Our typical after work scenario is catching breakfast at Mc Donald's and that's not weird at all. 

So imagine a gathering of Call Center bands for Call Center people-aptly dubbed as RDOT Jam. Which happens in the morning. Yup! In the morning when the sun is out, these guys are playing the drums and are on the guitars. 

RDOT stands for Rest Day Over Time and this is probably the best Rest Day Over Time that these guys have ever been on since they get to be rock stars for a day. 

Organized by Nic Rasta, this was already an old project before known as 'After shift' which went away after a while, so he brought back the concept of having gigs in the morning featuring bands of different genres. 

They were able to have the first event in January and will be having events every month. 

The event was spread through word of mouth and Facebook has been a big help as well with spreading the word. Despite having so many different Call Centers the industry is still a pretty small one where people know people and pretty soon a lot of bands from Call Centers were already asking to be placed in the line up. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Project 365: Week 5

Getting used to the hard work

This blog post has been staring at me for quite some time now, as I couldn't seem to start writing about the Week 5 of Project 365.  From morning shooter to evening shooter, to me it doesn't matter.  Whenever I felt the itch for shooting I go and shoot since it has become a habit or more like a vice.

Whenever I finished shooting for the day, I post process it right away and then post it right here.  So this post has been a few days over due(at least 5 days).  

In my previous post, I wrote that I hate setting things up(flash, tripod, wireless trigger, reverse ring[if shooting macro], switching lens, etc.)  All of the necessary things to get the best out of the shoot.  Right around this week, I eventually got the hang of setting things up.  I don't find it dragging anymore.

February 21, 2013 -  50mm 
Shot with Canon 500d, reverse ring mounted 18-55mm f/3.5-5.2, wireless trigger mounted on the hot shoe, flash set approximately a feet away from the lens, left and angled pointing to the lens.  Yes, I forgot to mention that I shot the 50mm f/1.8 lens here. Flash output was around 1/16 to just get the white to show and the rest to be unrecognizable and dark.

Shot at ISO 200, 1/200 sec aperture not sure EXIF data doesn't say since the lens is in reverse.  I'll probably say at around f/8.

February 22, 2013 - Tilt
I ran out of cigarettes(yes, I'm a smoker) here and went out for a walk.  I was hesitant in bringing out my camera since I think that people will give me disapproving stares and someone might mug me.  Luckily I didn't encounter anyone(or maybe I was just to preoccupied).  Walking to the store I noticed a huge pot with little bamboo shoots.  And snapped away,  despite of the rain dripping down on me. I got a few parallel shots of the bamboo but I wasn't happy with it.  So I tilted the camera slightly to get this shot.

Shot with Canon 500d, and 50mm f/1.8, nothing fancy about this one.  You might be thinking I'm favoring green a bit since I have earlier shots of greens more often than any color, but we'll see further down the road of this project 365.  After all, we've only had 5 weeks of this, right?

Shot at ISO 400, 1/200 sec and f/5.0 at 50mm.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A renewed fervor for OPM: (My) Buzz Worthy OPM Bands

With the continued influx of foreign acts (both from the west and our neighboring countries from the east -Oppa yeah -I'm looking at you Gangnam style) coming to our country for concerts and shows (some of them old artists on the verge of retirement and some young 'artists' not even in college) there are just so many foreign acts coming to our country you might think that there was no supply of our own music here. 

I won't wash my hands, I won't say that I don't listen to foreign artists, because I do. My favorite band is Paramore, I listen to Japanese music and I have my own favorite Japanese artists also. There is absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating music from other countries, all I'm saying is that we should also take a look at our own artists here and support them. 

Record labels and companies: Believe, Make a gamble 

I don't really know much about the music industry and maybe I don't have any right to be speaking about this matter but I do believe that this is also a call to challenge, record labels and record companies to take a risk and gamble with true artists and musicians. Real ones- not 'singers' who only get a break because they are actors or have a celebrity lineage and do we seriously need another 'artist' who does nothing but cover songs? I mean just think about it- celebrities (from movies and TV) get to have their own concert and they don't even in the very definition of it -sing. If all the money from shows and concerts like that were actually invested in a true artist then maybe the music industry here would have a different story. Just think about that for a minute.  

The role that social media plays 

There is something that today's aspiring bands have that other bands did not have a few years ago and that is social media. We all know the power of Social Media, it is a double edged sword, it can either make you or break you. I would  really suggest for bands to take time and invest in using Social Media to reach out to fans who already love you and to potential fans. Get a Facebook page and a Twitter account spread the word, spread the music. Assign a Social Media Manager to manage your accounts or it could be the bands shared responsibility. Take time to answer back, like, favorite and retweet fans who reach out to you. It really helps when fans know that you acknowledge their existence and appreciate them.  

Buzz worthy OPM bands

Here is a list of Buzz worthy OPM bands (for me at least). I would just like to say  that I like the music that these bands play and their songs would actually make it in my playlist and I would actually buy their records. There are other buzz worthy OPM musicians and artists from different genres but that would not be my jam, so if you know of OPM artists from other genres who need a little push to gain more followers and get a little more exposure, I encourage you to write about them! Take to the internet and use Social Media to help our OPM artists. Blog about them. Get together with other fans and create Fanbases. 

Fanbases can be very loyal, they can be intense, they can be rabid- they can be out of the ball park crazy! (at times) But you have to admit that our bands need them. Okay, if not rabid fanbases then loyal fans would do also. 

So before I get carried a way, here is my buzz worthy OPM bands. 


Describing their music as experimental rock, Circa is made up of Em TolentinoSAM SalantesARKHO AndalisDEV Dayang and REYCARL Olarte

I was actually able to watch them perform live during Paramore Night 3 and let me just say that they are amazing! Really talented and a really nice group of musicians. 

Listening to their original music you can tell that this band has definitely a lot of potential and there are many opportunities for them to really make it big - if given the chance, that's where we the fans come in. 

Em Tolentino fronting the band is a pretty strong presence. Her vocals remind one of the great Gwen Stefani, they are both haunting and beautiful -just listen to her sing "Ito na bang huling pag-ibig ko?" -it's goosebumps guaranteed. When I watched her perform live she had the crowd at the palm of her hand. 

They are currently playing gigs in different bars, guesting on radio shows and are endorsers for Elevate Apparelmnl (oh diba?!)  Listen to their original song 'Huling Pag-ibig' below. 

Connect with Circa!  


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Celebrating 3 Years of ParaThrilla in Manila

In the crowd. ParaThrillaInManila - March 9, 2010
Photo by Lester Loosseer @LesterLoosseer 
Three years later. ParaThrillainManila Part 2 - February 15, 2013
Panoramic shot by the husband, @PCheng311 (using an iPhone 4S-no less!) 

When I heard that there was going to be a twitter party to celebrate the third year anniversary of Paramore's first concert in the Philippines (to be known here after as 'ParaThrillaInManila') I really wanted to make a blog post about it but I was so busy with work that I'm only doing it (the blog post) after the fact. 

So here goes! I hope you guys like it! ^_^ 

I think that it is good whenever people reminisce, it gives you a better perspective of things. You get to think about and relive the past memories, you get to think about where you are in the present and you get to hope for the future. 

I guess that is why people celebrate birthdays, anniversaries or whatever commemorative event anyone can think of. It gives them a moment or maybe an excuse just to  be grateful for something that happened or for someone that they have in their life. 

I never thought I would get to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Paramore's first concert in Manila through twitter, interacting with people I don't know and I've never met in person but in some ways we belong to a family, we belong to the Parafamily because we share the same passion for music and a love for our all time favorite band Paramore! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Album Review: Gracenote, First Movement

OK so I feel like a hermit that has just come out of it's cave. I know that I have not been updated when it comes to OPM (Original Pinoy Music) but before you pelt me with stones and boos I would like to redeem myself by saying that like the prodigal son I have come back to pay homage to music from my very own country men. 

I was reawakened (much like a sleeping dragon) when I came for Paramore Night 3, I was able to watch amazing bands Midnight Meetings, Circa and Gracenote perform live and that did wake up a sleeping appreciation for OPM that I guess is in each one of us. 

Inspiration. For the shoot we borrowed my friend's violin and set it up with my Gracenote playlist. We don't know how to play the violin :P 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Book Spotlight: Unsung Giant

If you believe that there are two sides in every story then you will definitely enjoy this book. I really liked the concept of how the author Jennifer Pendon took to challenging a myth and a legend. 

It's like suddenly coming out and saying that the big bad wolf is not bad at all. Loki - the Norse God of Mischief has always been painted as the bad guy but for all we know he just might be a misunderstood character. I really admire how Jennifer Pendon challenged Loki's character, how perhaps his desire to prove himself as worthy may have been cause for him to be misunderstood. I really like the idea of rewriting something that has already been known and accepted. 

In the "Unsung Giant" Jennifer Pendon takes us on a fast paced adventure of how Loki became an unsung hero- the unsung giant. When you read the book you are transported through different realms, travel through time and meet interesting characters both mortal and immortal. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Project 365: Week 4

Shooting at the 13th Hour

During week 3 of my Project 365 my work schedule was moved from 10PM-7AM to 2PM-11PM. Before, when I come home from work(evening shift), I shoot in the morning.  Now, that my shift for work has been moved, I opted to shoot in the evening, around 12AM-1AM.  Thus coining the term 'shooting at the 13th hour'.

The last image from week 3 has been shot in the darkest time of our 24 hours.  Some of the shots for this week has a dark mood. So expect the rest of my photos to have flash

Also this is the week were we borrowed a compact mirrorless camera(Canon EOS-M).  So you'll be seeing shots of, and shots from the sleek little thing. 

So from here on out,is a complete mixture of tests and concepts that I just randomly want to try out or thought of in the middle or my trip back home.

February 14, 2013 - Masquerade is officially over

This mask was used, by my Ica, for their company Christmas party.  I was thinking of something to photograph while I was going up our room.  As soon as I came into our bedroom, you'll see the mask propped up on top of books found on the left of the door(upon entering).  So in short it caught my attention.  

As you can see here the flash was used, and I had the light go through a red strainer(plastic) from the kitchen.  It has ridges for light to pass thru and most of the light has to go thru the red plastic, thus giving the mask a red hue(on the far right). Not sure if the flash output was set to 1/8 or 1/16, and I can't remember how far away the flash was positioned from the mask.  Again I would like to apologize for not listing it down.

Used here, is Canon 500d, Canon 50mm f/1.8, wireless trigger(forgot the brand), Canon 430 EX II.  As stated by David Hobby(strobist), start with 1/200 shutter speed to work f/12 and probably with flash output of 1/8.  It's pretty much subjective and mostly trial and error for me.

The end result, looks like a Shopaholic version of 50 shades of gray.  It didn't occur to me until my wife called it '50 shades of pink'.  I'm familiar with the book cover since people has been posting the book all over the web, but I was shocked that what I did here looked close to the cover.  Oh well...

Februar 15, 2013 - Greens(Kamias)
As I went home, still thinking of what to shoot next for the Feb 15 photo a day project.  My mind was all blank as I came into the door.  Getting to the dinning table I saw these sour green fruit(kamias, aka Averrhoa bilimbi). Childhood memories came to me as I stared at the fruit.  We eat these when we were still kids, back in the day when we still lived in Caloocan. 

Framed the fruits in the frame to fill in the whole rectangle. Shooting this without the flash would be senseless so, I had the 430 EX II to my left and a little bit higher, than he subject, angled the flash toward the fruits as well. This setup would give me a little light to dark effect, and giving a medium to high contrast effect.

Shot with 500d, 50mm lens, wireless trigger, and flash mounted on a tripod positioned at the left side. 

February 16 - Force Recovery
On this shot, I was lucky to try out a Canon EOS-M.  It's Canon's version of compact mirrorless DSLR.  Yes, it had controls to some extent that you can do on your DSLR, but I never discovered where I could disable autofocus on the lens.  I got used to focusing through the focus ring of the lens, with the EOS-M, you just tap on the LCD(on the part where you want your camera to focus) and it fires automatically.  It gave me the sense that I was using a Smart phone. 

Above image is a sight of the streets of Ortigas Center Pasig.  I can't recall from the top of my head which street is it.  As a fan of the sunset, I tried to capture it as it fades into darkness.  Of course this was shot around 5-6 PM Manila time, so this one is not shot at the 13th hour.

Our Adventures: Clearwater, Clark, Pampanga

Pink Sunset 
So, this is actually one of those blog posts where the photos really do most of the talking. I believe that a short introduction is necessary though --- 

When we went to Pampanga for the Hot Air Balloon Festival, my sisters-in-law made reservations to stay overnight at Clearwater Resort and Country club. I was really surprised because I was just expecting a hotel like place to stay over for the night but it turned out to be more than that... 

From their website

Clearwater Resort and Country Club pays homage to the American suburban lifestyle. An ode to Clark during the times it was considered as the largest offshore US airbase.  

Purple hues 

Clearwater Resort is actually made of many hectares that is why there is a lot of space for camping and having a picnic. There are also different amenities and sites to see such as freshwater lake, a beach and a pool, as well as gardens. You can go biking, swimming and fishing. 

You can even play volleyball, soccer, tennis and there is even a firing range. 

For more information about Clearwater and the different activities you can visit their website

The environment is really lush and rich with trees and the freshwater lake is relaxing and beautiful to look at. 

It really is a great escape from the busy hustle and bustle of the city. 

Paul had a great time taking photos. 

So without further adieu, here are Paul's photos! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Last Rain

(Saigo no Ame)
The Last Rain 

As the last rains come pouring down 
And  the warmth of summer presses on 
My umbrella sits outside the door 
With the last rain drops falling to the floor

I remember the cool kisses of rain 
Thinking it will be a long time before I am kissed again 
I cherish the cool embrace of the rain 
Thinking it will be a long time before I am held in it's cool embrace again

Throughout summer's heat
Never will I face defeat 
For I will be here waiting 
Waiting for the rains to come cascading 

To take me in kisses sweet and cold 
And hold me in an embrace oh so cold 
I like it just like that 
To be right here under the rain 

But now the last rain has come 
And you are long and gone 
But I will be waiting 
Through the warm summer wind 
Through the hot summer days 
And the still summer nights 
I will be waiting 

For the first drops of rain to come again 
Until then, here my umbrella sits 
With the last drops of rain