Monday, December 28, 2015

Tricot Keeps Promise - Returns for an Awesome Show!

A complete band. Tricot brings another impressive show to their Filipino fans.
Photo by Miguel Ordonez.
Instagram: @mpordy 

2015 has been an incredible year for Filipino fans of Japanese Math Rock band trio Tricot. Last June the girls endeared more fans by choosing to give an intimate acoustic show, after their session drummer couldn't fly with them for their Manila gig.  

I wrote in a blog post: 

Tricot promised to come back as a full band - soon and this promise makes us even more excited. When that will be, we don't know yet but we know that it's going to be one hell of a show.

I had no idea that the girls were going to keep their promise before the year ended. 

Slated for a comeback show, the day after Christmas. The Trio teased a return like no other, bringing with them Japanese Progressive Jam band Rega. 

Despite the grueling Holiday schedule, covering a wedding at 5:00PM on the same day and battling a nasty flu (one that I am not completely healed from yet) we rushed to 19 East from Taytay Rizal and in what could only have been a Christmas miracle, made it to Sucat in just 40 minutes.   

This is the band you want to be friends with.
Japanese Progressive Jam Band Rega.
Photo by Miguel Ordonez
IG: @mpordy 

Unfortunately, we already missed local band Pulso, which is a favorite of Paul's. When we got in the venue, Rega was already bringing the house down with their incredible music and performance. They have definitely gained fans in the loyal crowd that was present that night. 

The crowd cheered as the girls took up the stage and brought that killer show that they promised. It was great for the fans to finally have a taste of what they've seen in videos online and actually experience it for themselves. 

A crazy Salsa dance, an insane crowd dive. Yes, it was the Tricot show you've been hoping and more. I was actually worried that, being sick I was worried I wouldn't be able to physically enjoy the show but I did! I enjoyed it so much, jumping, singing and dancing along with friends and of course sharing the experience with my husband also :) 

It was definitely a great way to cap off 2015. 

Pulso Drummer: Franco
Check out the 'Pulso' text behin him!
Photo by: Miguel Ordonez
IG: @mpordy

After the show, the girls took some time to say hi to fans, have photos taken and sign CDs, posters and photos. Albeit, it was rushed, since the girls were going to catch an early. It was another amazing night with all the #TricotFeels. 

I can't help but feel a little special that Motoko, Hiromi and Ikyuu chose to keep their promise before the year ended. It was like they really thought about giving their fans the show that they missed. 

Thank you girls! Thank you to Terno Recordings! It was an amazing Christmas gift indeed! 

Thank you to Miguel Ordonez for letting me use his photos :) 

The Bouncer asked Paul to keep his camera :P We should really invest on a mirrorless compact camera! Make sure you follow Miguel on Instagram @mpordy :) 

We also have some photos of the Meet and Greet Session up on the page, which you can also check out here!  

Keeping their Promise. A complete and all-powerful Tricot.
Photo by Miguel Ordonez
IG: @mpordy 

Tricot Philippine Street Team with Rega Guitarist Ryuji Ide
(c) PCheng Photography 

The Guy Beside Me Ran from Ayala Ave. to Megamall to catch the Gala Premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Did that catch your attention? Well, I had to come up with a 'Wait-What?!' title, given that the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Gala Premiere was already a few weeks ago, December 15, at the IMAX in Megamall, to be exact. This post comes in really late, since I got caught up in the holidays, and of course The Force Awakens itself. I was also (still am) actually, sick and took a few weeks of writing. This is the first post I'm writing, after said short break.  

As the year draws to a close, I can easily tell you that attending the gala premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is easily one of the highlights of my 2015. It is indeed one of the most anticipated premieres in recent memory and I am very fortuante (and grateful) to have been on of the chosen few to have been in attendance. 

Our own Gala Premiere might not have had the big name Hollywood actors and actresses who star in the movie but we have the Pinoy 501st and Fight Saber Philippines to add a little spice to the screening. 

As I entered the mall, I could hear the entire Star Wars soundtrack playing over the mall speakers. Yup. It wasn't Christmas songs but it was the whole (freaking) soundtrack playing! Honestly, I cried a bit as I head the familiar John Williams score playing. Little did I know it was just the first few tears I would shed that night. (Force Awakens Review here)

Despite the heavy rain and traffic which surrounded the Metro that night, faithful fans braved the inevitable challenge of travelling to SM Megamall in Ortigas. 

I left two hours earlier in anticipation of the traffic. The guy seated beside me in the theater (and I kid you not), ran, yes, ran from Ayala Ave. all the way to Megamall! Traffic was so bad and he couldn't get a ride through Uber that he did the unthinkable. As he was telling me his story, he was placing his wet clothes (he got drenched in the rain) in a bag. He had to purchase new clothes when he got to the mall. I overheard him telling his friends that 'It was the Force compelling him to run' -Hey! A great story he can tell his kids someday right? 

Before the premiere, guests were treated to an awesome light saber duel from Fight Saber Philippines, who have been busy, weeks and days leading up to the premiere (and even after, with all the blocked screenings) performing at events for fans. Of course the Pinoy 501st also went trooping and had photos taken with fans. I did an interview with my cousin of sorts, Luis who is a part of the Pinoy 501st, you can read it here.  When I did the interview, back in 2012, the 501st were still an Outpost, they have since then become a Garrison the upgrade due to an increase in number of members. 

From their Facebook page, The Philippine Garrison 'The 501st Legion is a non-profit organization that uses its time and effort doing charity and volunteer work'. 

Hosts and Big Star Wars fans themselves: Chico and Gino.
 I've been a fan, so it was a thrill to see them host. :) 
Another thing, I will never forget about the premiere was getting to watch the movie, with fellow fans who 'Ohhhhh' and 'Ahhhhhhh' d at all the right queues and moments. A light saber salute at the end of movie, just made things even more memorable. 

I've already seen The Force Awakens two times, and I'm looking forward to my third time :) 

What a great memory I plan on holding on too :) 

Can't wait  to see what Episode XIII has in store for all of us! 

Micheal V. poses with members of the Fight Saber Philippines after the premiere. 

(c) All photos are from the official Star Wars PH Facebook page.

Thank you Disney for the invite :)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Grab Your Popcorn! SM Cinema Opens in SM Center Angono!

If you have been following the blog, you know that I write a lot of movie reviews and I have always believed that films should be enjoyed in the movie house, because they were made for it. 

So, I'm really happy and excited that SM Center Angono has just opened their very own Cinema! :)

Just in time for Star Wars The Force Awakens too! You can read on my non-spoiler review here

SM Cinema completes the movie entertainment experience in Rizal with 4 new fully digitized cinemas in SM CenterAngono. The cinemas boast of its crisp digital surround-sound system and crystal clear images that convey that best theatre experience. Promising to deliver optimum movie-watching, each theatre will cater to 200 patrons in a stadium-like seating, making certain that all patrons will enjoy the view from any seat they choose. As a standard in all SM Cinemas, SM Cinema apportions an area dedicated to PWD to accommodate all varieties of guests.

Instead of the traditional ribbon cutting, the ceremony had  used the giant clapper to commemorate the opening of the cinema. 

Complementing the newest cinema branch on the block is SM Cinema’s official snack and merchandise arm, Snack Time. Snack Time will serve popcorn, drinks, and other snacks, along with the latest movie merchandise that fans will surely love to collect.

The 4 theatres in SM Center Angono will round off a total of 306 SM Cinema screens found across the entire nation. Reaching out to every corner of the country, SM Cinema secures its location in Rizal with cinemas in SM Taytay, SMMasinag, and SM San Mateo. SM Cinema is the Philippines’ largest cinema and exhibition brand with 60% of the country’s total market share.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Something Old, Something New; 'The Force Awakens' is the SequelYou'reLooking For- and More!

It's easy to say that a movie made you laugh and made you cry and that you were at the edge of your seat for every action sequence but there are very few movies that tether your heart to memories and and make you sentimental, (they remind you of your parents or of a younger you, 'a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away) and one of those (or probably the only films) is the Star Wars movies. 

I was one of the lucky few who got to attend the Philippine Gala Premiere last Tuesday, December 15 at the IMAX at SM Megamall. At least two days before it's local release and watching it in a movie filled with genuine fans, grown men and women in Jedi robes and Stormtrooper armour is one of the most surreal experiences I've ever had. Until now, it all feels like a dream.

Before I continue on, this would be my spoiler-free review, as it is still a few hours before the local release and I want to keep my blog, newsfeed and social media sites spoiler free. Will probably post a spoiler filled discussion, in a few weeks. 

No Lens Flare in 'The Force Awakens' but we have amazing sequences like this! 

So without further adieu-

A long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away... 

We all know that familiar opening sequence and Director JJ Abrams and Star Wars veteran co-writer Lawrence Kasdan (who worked on the original Episode V and Episode VI scripts) certainly kept what fans loved about the original movies rich and present in Episode VII: The Force Awakens in some ways, it felt like a re-telling of Episode IV: A New Hope but still provided new characters, themes and conflicts that you wouldn't feel like you were watching a reboot.

Something Old 

My father was a big fan of Star Wars, so I feel like I grew up with all of the original characters. Just like the audience, I felt like crying every time I saw a well loved character (in a sense, an oldie but a goodie walk to the screen). Seeing them on screen again and reprising their role was like catching up with old friends. Even the familiar opening sequence alone was already enough to make me (and even grown men) tear up, 

Every time something remotely familiar came up on screen, the people howled and cheered. It was great to see the movie, with some of the biggest Star Wars fans, we were all oohhhing and ahhhhing at the right moments.  

Needles to say, JJ Abrams, did a great job, he has high respect and regard for the original trilogy and you can see this throughout the movie, in fact you can feel it. It is Star Wars. It is the sequel that fans have been waiting for, and more. 

Fans already know that Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer and Mark Hamill are reprising their iconic roles, to what extent is something left to be seen. 

Fan Favorites: BB-8 and Rey share some screen time. 

The Stormtroopers in the film, get more than just new armor, they get personality and better aim.  

The Force Awakens is not just a trip on memory lane, it injects fresh new characters, themes and conflicts that it takes a life of it's own. It brings back the humor and comedy that was dryly lacking in the horrid prequels. There were so many (well placed, mind you) jokes that I still crack up when I think about them. Of course, just as The Force needs balance so to does humor and drama which the film keeps in check. 

The Stormtroopers (who lately, seem to be on every possible merchandise) who are probbably the rare fan favorite baddies are elevated in the new film, giving them more personality and character, shining a light on them, thus new comer John Boyega's very interesting and fresh character, Finn. A reluctant Stormtrooper who finds himself doubting his current occupation. It should be taken into account that the film even improved the aim of the Troopers!   

Monday, December 14, 2015

They're home! Hamill, Fischer and Ford return for: The Force Awakens

A long time a galaxy far, far, away...

...the unexpected success of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope 'catapulted three young performers into super stardom' back in 1977 and movies and geek fandoms have never been the same, ever since. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford became household names. 

Now the power trio are poised to accomplish what was once deemed impossible: reprise their original “Star Wars” characters Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo after almost forty years after the first “Star Wars” movie, “Episode IV: A New Hope.”

With Lucasfilm's “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opening in the Philippines on Dec. 17, the trio of actors and characters will finally come full circle to continue the most passionately followed saga ever in motion picture history.

But first things first. Let's get to know what the stars think of new director J.J. Abrams and what they hope fans will take away after watching the new film.

Question: What do you thinnk of J.J. Abrams' vision for “The Force Awakens?”

Mark Hamill: Like any good Disney animated film, these films appeal to the child in anyone. It doesn't matter what your chronological age is, it appeals to the child in whatever age you are. And, J.J. is the perfect example of someone who understands that and knows how to reinterpret it in the way he wants to. We’re so lucky that they picked him. He’s a kid in so many ways. He’s a brilliant filmmaker and writer but someone who can instantly relate to the material at hand. I'm sure if you ask him, I would imagine that the original films were part of the reason he wanted to become a director and a writer.

Carrie Fischer: J.J. is someone who’s proven he can do these epic, otherworldly films, and also worldly films. He’s a writer and a director and he loves movies. That really comes across.

Harrison Ford: He’s very thoughtful and very wise about human nature and the development of character and relationships. He brings a real sincerity and emotional understanding to relationships, which is something I was very pleased to see. He’s an enormously skilled filmmaker and very efficient director and producer. So it has been a real pleasure to work with him and all of the members of his team as this film has gone on.

Q: What do you hope audiences will take away from this film?

Hamill: I always thought there was a great undercurrent of optimism in these films. There’s a lack of cynicism there. They reinforce what all great fables and fairytales tell you. Perseverance and purity of heart will help you succeed. I hope they’re uplifting. I hope they have the humor they had. I hope they don’t take themselves too seriously. I’ve got my fingers crossed that for a six year old who’s never seen them, that it’ll be great fun; scary but not too scary. I hope it gives them a sense of adventure and the feeling that if they work really hard and give it their all, they can succeed as well. That’s what it’s all about.

Fischer: I think they’ll be happy to be in their home away from home again.

Ford: Recognition of our common humanity and that all of us face the same kinds of problems in our lives, and that there’s hope. There’s joy in the celebration of right and wrong and in the recognition of truth that sustains us. And, they’ll have fun along the way.

Lucasfilm and visionary director J.J. Abrams join forces to take you back again to a galaxy far, far away as Star Wars returns to the big screen with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The film stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt.

Opening across the Philippines on Thursday, Dec. 17, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through Columbia Pictures. Follow the official social media accounts of Star Wars in the Philippines, namely, (FB) StarWarsPH, (Twitter) @starwarsph and (Instagram) iamstarwars_ph and use the hashtag #TheForceAwakensPH.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Album Review: 'Arigato Internet' -indeed!

12 Shades of Reese: Arigato Internet comes with 12 beautiful photos of Reese Lansangan.

Do you still have a hangover from that awesome album launch last Sunday? I know I do! 

So how do you cure a hangover like that? Aside from blogging about the event the next thing is (drum roll please) album review! 

In a recent post, Reese thanked the 500+ people who attended the launch she also shared that they actually 'ran out' of albums on that day! (Clutches my copy closer) I don't think I've ever heard of an album launch actually running out of albums on the launch. Just goes to show the support for this singer-songwriter and the thirst for good music. 

As I mentioned in my previous post, we've been following Reese Lansangan since 2013. We know that she is a crazy, talented singer-songwriter. Her songs are written and performed with a guitar accompaniment, sometimes it's a Ukelele. We've seen her use effects and delays during her live performance but how was all of this going to reflect in the album? Was it going to be an entire album of songs accompanied only with a guitar or a ukelele at times? 

The age of the Internet has given birth to YouTube stars, such as Reese, who has gained a large following on her different social media platforms but will all these be enough for her to put out a full length album? I admire that Reese is as independent as it can get with her music and career. She has no record label behind her and is not working with any producer or industry expert in her album. As far as we can tell, it's just Reese and her a handful of musician friends who are behind the eponymous Arigato Internet.

When I first found out that the album was for P400.00 and I saw the packaging, I thought "Wow! Packiing palang sulit na!" I believe that in trying to keep the physical album alive in an age of digital downloads and streaming apps like Spotify, it's important to create a physical packaging and layout that will make fans want to have a copy of the album. As someone who belongs to that group who still values physical album copies (I have a modest collection at home) I was really impressed by how unique the packaging and layout of the album was; it was a thick clear plastic which was sewn on the edges that came with 12 different beautiful photos of Reese, that had lyrics written on the back. With this concept, album owners would be able to change the design (or jacket) of their album to a featured photo and with 12 covers the chances of you having the same design with someone is one out of twelve and you can also change it up whenever you want! It seems that with Reese's unique personality she also somehow passed this on to those who got a copy of her album. 

Being a fan of Japanese Culture (except the food) Reese loved the idea of Japanese characters appearing on her album, thus 'Arigato Internet'.

For some time now, the quirky Lansangan has teased her fans and followers of photos of her in the studio, working with a handful of fellow local musicians, most of whose music we already follow.

The album is made up of 9 tracks with 2 bonus tracks (See! More bang for your buck!) and starts with Exploration No. 5 which is classic Reese, her raspy, blues-inspired voice accompanied by a Ukelele, guitar and percussion. The next track is the much-talked about and super song Grammar Nazi, which paints a hilarious picture of liking a boy but who doesn't like books and 'couldn't spell right at all' (he says 'stuffs' so yes- run away) English Teacher Reese teaches some common grammar mistakes and even does a rap break in the song (yes- she sings and she raps!)

Recommended for English Teachers and even ESL Trainers to share/analyze and study with their students and trainees. It's fun and you get to learn a lot too!

Track 3 is the stalker-ish song Creeper, which with the upright bass makes it the perfect song for stalking-err 'watching behind the bush'. Code of Kin is a beautiful song, that I think of as a lullaby to your sister who may be feeling a little down and needs a little inspiration, I think it would be a great fit in a movie soundtrack :) There is a subtle use of a cello and keys and sythns which adds to the lullaby feel.. Track 5 - Slick is a cautionary tale of those guys you have to be careful of, Reese sings:

'Don't you let him get to you alone 
He's got a knack for smelling desperation

And he'll lead you to your bed tonight
It's hard to say no to those eyes' 

The story of this song, just shows the wide themes that Reese writes and sings about, it's not all about love and being hurt, it's about actual (kinds of) people too.

Bleed is actually one of my favorite tracks in the album, in here we see Reese grow from her comfort zone of just playing accompanied by a guitar and/or a ukelele. In Bleed we hear her sing with guitars, drums, keys and a bass. It's an entire band and it just shows that Lansangan is where she is supposed to be. Creating music, recording it and sharing it to an audience that deserves more than over rated cover artists.

A Song About Space is classic Reese, which showcases her quirky yet fun attitude and this reflects on her songs as well. Who would think that a song about planets and space would be so fun?! The added keys and synths makes it a cute song that both adults and children will enjoy.

Recommended for Science teachers/Pre-School Teachers who want to add a little spark to their lesson. :)

Autopilot is a fun and upbeat take on Reese with her full band.

St. Petersburg is technically the last song in the album (not counting the bonus tracks) and it steadily goes back to basic Reese with her guitars and a subtle addition of keys. It's a beautiful song about self discovery and travelling. The ultimate #Wanderlust song.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Reese Lansangan Arigato Internet Album Launch

As we stood in the crowded room at Green Sun in Makati, filled to the brim of loved ones and supporters of Reese Lansangan, a talented singer-songwriter, I knew that we were witnessing something change in the OPM scene, we were in the presence of history as it was happening.

Reese's quirky attitude, catchy lyrics and infectious melodies have gained her a large following and have made her the object of affection of middle class College to 20-ish fans who actually think tha OPM is cool; something that has not happened in a long time. 

Flashback to 2013 when we first saw Reese perform as a solo artist during Greenlight Music Festival, it was just her her petite frame, a head full of green hair, her guitar and a whole lot of talent. She impressed the crowd with her use of effects and delays to elevate her performance into more than just an acoustic number and we have been fans ever since. 

Love at First Sight. It was 2013 when we first saw Reese perform during the
Greenlight Music Festival

It's been two years since we first saw Reese perform and we just know that this girl has the whole galaxy for her to conquer (in a sense). Her songs have long been around the internet ever since she started posting them online and fans have started following her, keen to fill their life with her unique flavor of music. A Kindergarten teacher has used her original composition 'A Song About Space' to explain the vastness that is space to her young students. In a test, a student used the same song to answer bonus questions about the solar system. While another teacher in High School played Reese's song 'Grammar Nazi' to her students, to demonstrate the importance of good grammar and how one should not settle for anything else, good grammar included.

It was no surprise that she would seen release an album under her own name, what was in my mind though was how it turn out to be? Was it going to be an entire acoustic album? Only time would tell and soon her much awaited album launch finally came.

The talented Jensen and the Flips! We have yet to get a copy of their album. 

December 6, 2015 in Green Sun in Makati, Paul and I opted to arrive a few hours later, so we could get at least two hours of sleep (remember, we try to keep our night schedule in the weekends too), I knew that about 800+ people have said that they were going on the Facebook event page and I was worried that we'd all be like a pack of sardines in a hot and crammed space. We haven't been to Green Sun yet, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

The event was scheduled to start at 4:00 PM, I know it's quiet odd for an album launch to start that early but this was not your ordinary album launch, there were different booths from snack booth, intergalactic ice cream, an Instax booth, temporary tattoos, live calligraphy, portrait drawing, among others.  When we finally arrived a little after 6:00 PM I was pleased to see that the event really was chill and the people were seated on the floor, some even on comfortable bean bag chairs and some couches, that vision of a crowded and stuffy bar immediately went out of my mind.

I really wanted to try the intergalactic ice cream and to have an Instax photo but unfortunately the booths closed early (we were advised) but hey - the price to pay for a few hours of sleep right?

Tom's Story: These boys will make you dance. 

When we arrived, Jensen and the Flips were already performing (we have yet to get a copy of their album, it's on the to-buy list). I had already gotten a copy of Reese's Arigato Internet album (review will be up in a few days-sooner, I hope) and found myself in line for what seemed to be an autograph and photo session with the girl of the hour, so since I was in line (it was a rather long queue) I just went ahead with it, it was also a chance to say 'Hi' and 'Congratulations' and to of course have my album signed. :) After the pleasantries, Reese of course had to get back to a longer line of fans, Tom's Story was already up next.

Paul was such a big fan of Tom's Story that I had to be the one to go to the bar to get his beer.

"Tom's Story na eh.." he pleaded, as if those four words gave him all the excuse in the world.

They are an awesome band and I'm looking forward to seeing more of the group, EP soon please?

Dynamic Duo: Kai Honassan of Autotelic and Ace Libre of Never the Strangers had
hosting duties during the Album Launch. 
In an impressive feat, the whole launch was actually early in their program. (Gasp! I know.) and I think that credit for that goes to the hardworking team that was behind the launch, much of it was Reese herself, who through her years as a Social Media Darling has earned not only her own following of fans but companies and start ups who were eager to associate themselves with the rising star. It was through these connections that has helped Reese with an ambitious and successful launch.

I have to applaud the young magnate who seemed to control every detail of her career and music. She is unsigned to any recording label and does not have a manager but her own. What continues to amaze me is the non-existence of a man in a suit pulling the strings and making the decisions. Everything has been Reese since the beginning and she has shown that it can be done.

Nobody has told Reese how to dress or who to be. Her cute and quirky personality is all her and her fans know that, they know that she is genuine and this is one of the things that endear her to them.

I think I can say, pretty much the 800 people who said they would go, actually went. The venue was filled to the brim, including Reese's family (some of whom came all the way from the province, finding themselves among Reese fanboys and fangirls) and yet still 'chill' and comfortable. Like I said earlier in the post, it was history in the making and I'm just more than happy to have been part of it. 

Congratulations Reese! We can't wait to see what galaxy you conquer next!

Click HERE for MORE photos!


Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Royal Christmas Parade at SM City Masinag

I've never seen a Christmas Parade before and I was glad to have enjoyed the chance to bask in one during SM Masinag's Royal Christmas Parade. 

So, just picture it, a marching band dressed in Christmas colors playing Christmas songs ala Marching Band style. I found myself humming and singing to their songs, who wouldn't? The infectious Christmas Spirit was in the air! Of course a parade is not just made up of a marching band...

40 well loved characters from Fairy tale's and Christmas lore prances the hallways of the mall in the afternoon of November 30, 2015. Santa Claus, his dwarves and a giant Gingerbread man plus fairies, princesses with their princes, even giant snowflakes and giant boxes spread cheers to shoppers kids and adults alike with their dance performances and photo opportunities.

Aside from the Christmas Parade, shoppers were also visually treated as Cinderella's magical carriage (which is HUGE!) plus the three Disney Princess figures - Cinderella, Belle and Snow White take center stage at the mall's atrium. Spectators can take photos and selfies at strategic spots around the centerpiece. 

"We are really delighted to see our shoppers enjoy this event, even the adults and the children took selfies with the characters. We look forward to having this parade again next year," said Vaniza Pachoco, Public Relations Manager of SM City Masinag. 

The Royal Christmas Parade is just one of the many holiday offerings of SM City Masinag to their shoppers. There will also be meet-and-greet with Santa Claus and a toy fair courtesy of Toy Kingdom until January 10, 2016. For more updates of the mall events this Holiday a Season, like SM City Masinag (Official) on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and Instagram @SMCityMasinag

Click here more photos.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Things Get Wet and Wild -"In the Heart of the Sea"

There are many mysteries out in the open sea, it is a majestic sight to behold and is a great testament to both God's beauty and strength; and while it has been a source of inspiration for many it has also meant mystery and death over the years. 

Watching the trailer for 'In the Heart of the Sea' it's hard to wrap your head around the fact that a whale of monstrous size would attack a ship and it's crew. You might think that Moby Dick is just a classic story but the wheels in your head will start turning and curiosity will claim you once you learn that this is no bedtime story but that these were actual events that transpired and would eventually serve as an inspiration of one of the greatest stories of our time- Moby-Dick.

Award-winning director Ron Howard brings an incredible true story to the screen. A story of man's strength and perseverance when faced with insurmountable challenges. It is a movie experience so riveting, all that is lacking is getting your "sea legs" wet. 

With a strong cast of actors led by Chris Hemsworth, as the skilled and experienced first mate Owen a Chase, he must play into the politics of the whaling business by allowing himself to be a subordinate to the inexperienced Captain George Pollard (Benjamin Walker) who only acquired his position as Captain of the Essex was by being born into a family, high up in the whale oil industry. From these two characters shall come the conflict of Man Versus Man, the two are in a dangerous dance as they try to maintain a ship that, unknown to them at first is about to face an unimaginable tragedy. 

Joining the cast is Tom Hollard, the boy who would be Spider-Man in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War film. Holland plays the 14-year-old cabin boy Thomas Nickerson setting off on his first whaling expedition, on the Essex.  Veteran actor Brendan Gleeson portrays the man thirty years later who still bears the scars of his ordeal, although most of them are invisible.

Man Versus Nature is another theme in the film, as the crew of the Essex face a gigantic whale which seems to posses an almost human hatred and vengeance as it makes sure the crew is having their worst day ever. 

We live in a world where 'whale oil' is no longer a neccesity so we don't really understand the need that drives these men to unknown waters and in undeniably difficult circumstances in order to 'earn a living'. The film contemplates on the characters' reflections on the cruelty of their trade and at the mercy of Mother Nature herself, ask what they have done to deserve such a cruel fate. There is some philosophical exchange in dialogue which makes you think as well, of man's stewardship over the earth. Are we here to play gods and kings and do as we wish? Or are we all just a speck of dust at the mercy of a cruel and unpredictable earth? 

Man Versus Himself 

More than just a story of a whale that destroys a ship, In the Heart of the Sea also tackles the theme of Man Versus Himself, creating conflict within oneself. What these men did in order to survive is truly fascinating and frightening at the same time. It's been a couple of days since I've seen the movie and I still can't shake some of the scenes off-and to think it actually happened. Just blows my mind. 

I did additional reading on the subject after I've seen the movie and I am more captivated than ever. It has inspired me to continue reading Moby-Dick and to read the source of the film as well In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick. If you know of where I can get a copy of this book. Please let me know! 

9/10 ⭐️ In the Heart of the Sea is one of those movies that tell of an unbelievable true story of the wrath of nature and the strength of the human spirit. Of course when it is told through the eyes of a talented director such as Ron Howard then you know you are in for a visual feast as well. 

Opening across the Philippines on December 3, 2015 in theaters and IMAX®, “In the Heart of the Sea” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Going Into- The Heart of the Sea

I've always had an idea of what the story of Moby-Dick was about; the great white whale, Captain Ahab's obsession, but I never imagined that the events surrounding the book were inspired by things that actually took place. 

Watching the trailer for the movie, you would think that it is near impossible and it's just hard to wrap your head around it. Which is what was going through actor Chris Hemsworth's head when he handed the script to award winning director Ron Howard while they were both working on Rush (my movie review here 

Hemsworth, who stars in the film as Essex First Mate Owen Chase, remarks, “I loved the script from the start. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ is about heroism and people being tested beyond their limits in absolutely every way. I was also captivated by the psychological thriller aspect of the whale turning the tables on them. There is something incredibly mysterious about how this animal is portrayed—why the whale goes on the attack, which was unlike anything the Essex crew had ever encountered. The hunter becomes the hunted.”

Howard acknowledges that when Hemsworth initially approached him about the project, “I didn’t know anything about the Essex and didn’t know the script was based on events that were very real. But when I learned this had actually happened, it was mind-blowing. I instantly began to visualize a movie that would be raw and intense…a movie that I would want to see, which is the crucial litmus test for me.”

The extraordinary journey of the Essex and her crew was chronicled by Nathaniel Philbrick in his bookIn the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. The author and historian, who calls Nantucket home, had a long-held fascination with the industry that had put the small Massachusetts island on the map. “The book grew out of my curiosity about how it was back in the day when Nantucket was the capital of American whaling. This was a story that got under my skin.”

Hemsworth believes the film could not have been in better hands than Howard's. “Ron has the biggest heart of anyone I know and has the best work ethic,” says Hemsworth. “As a filmmaker, he is always pushing the envelope. You look at the movies he’s done in his career and you can’t put them in a box—from huge comedies to compelling dramas to big action, he’s done it all, and done it with integrity and intelligence. ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ was a demanding endeavor for all of us, and when you go through something like that, you need to be arm-in-arm with one another, and supporting each other. He constantly kept us on our toes, but that’s what you want as an actor—to be challenged and inspired.”

Howard reveals that is always his goal, noting, “When I go to the movies I want to be transported, and I saw ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ as an exciting opportunity to transport audiences. I wanted to take them on a ride in a really vivid, cool way. I realized that telling the story the way it should be told was full of challenges, but they were challenges that could now be met. We could put it on the big screen in a way that was convincing, exciting and lived up to the promise of what the film could offer.”

I actually bought a copy of Herman Melville's Moby Dick but I couldn't get passed Chapter 1 (honestly Ishmael, that is a whole lot of thoughts to go through) I want to try again when I get the chance, in the mean time catching In the Heart of the Sea will be more than enough to get me inspired. :) 

Director Ron Howard on the set of "In The Heart of the Sea"

Opening across the Philippines on December 3, 2015 in theaters and IMAX®, “In the Heart of the Sea” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

5 Tips to Boost your Immunity during the Holidays

Going on "Immortal mode" is a term that Paul and I have come up with, ever since going on back-to-back events and gigs, sometimes right after work. There are even days when we go on 24 hours and that is no joke.

December has proven to be extra busy with more clients booking photo shoots and event coverage's on that month as well as more frequent events to cover and bog about, plus the usual Christmas errands to run and Christmas gatherings to attend. December can get pretty crazy.

A lot of people ask how we do it, well here are some tips on how to stray strong and stress free during the Holiday season.

1. Have a Schedule and Stick with it. 

Let's face it, with the many event invites and errands to do, it's almost impossible to do it all.  Well it is actually, and all you have to do is plot is all down on your calendar! Whether it is a planner you can't go on your day without or your handy dandy smart phone, you can easily put down your busy schedule and by having it plotted down, you have an idea what your day or week looks like. If you have more than one event/errand for a day, make sure you also indicate the time and venue, just so you won't forget anything.

2.   Have a to-do list.

I've always felt a sense of satisfaction whenever I would cross our things on my to-do list. Sometimes, I get inspired to keep on working just so I can cross out every item on the list. Having a to-do list keeps you sane during the hectic weeks leading up to Christmas. Whether it is a list of gifts to buy for loved ones or making sure you get everything you need for a party.  Having a to-do list can save you from having a complete meltdown, because I've seen holiday meltdowns and they are not pretty.

3. Be Always Photo Ready! 

Christmas means parties and reunions and that in turn means lots of picture taking and in our social media savvy generation that means everyone gets to see those photos. I believe having a stress-free Christmas means looking stress free as well! If you look it, you will also feel it :)  Make sure you get as much beauty rest as you can, always touch up on your make up before you arrive for a party or gathering.  

4.  Divide and Conquer 

Christmas holidays also means getting together with family and friends and you should take this as an advantage, with your loved ones helping out during parties and events, don't take on everything alone. Even if you have a detailed to-do list, you can always enlist the help of your family and friends to take a few things off your plate. Don't be a hero and try to take on everything on your own. 

5. Take Vitamin C! 
I've seen my mom get sick during the holidays, which is why I make sure that we (Paul and I) take Vitamin C, not only during the Christmas season but during hectic weeks. There's nothing worse than falling ill and sick when you have so much to do and missing out on all the parties!

Because sometimes surviving the Christmas Holidays is kind of like
Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. 
There are many different kinds of Vitamin C available in your drug stores but did you know that there is actually a big difference between them? Sodium Ascorbate and Ascorbic Acid are types of Vitamin C which are available for purchase over the counter. While both help build resistance and helps strengthen the immune system, Sodium Ascorbate is not acidic and is more soluble than ascorbic acid, which is a piece of information I consider every important since I have hyperacidity and I don't need any additional stomach irritation. Fern-C is an ideal source of Sodium Ascorbate and aside from not causing stomach irritation, it is also an immune-system booster and a potent anti-oxidant. I bet you didn't know of these and just bought any other Vitamin C right? 

Well, now that you know, you can learn more about Fern-C by checking out their website and you can also follow them on their social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

Make sure to stock up on Fern-C for a #StressFreeChristmas and a #HealthyHoliday


Taking on Jessica Jones

As a self proclaimed writer, I always like challenging myself, you know, really writing something. I feel alive when the words are quickly forming in my head and rushing to get either on paper or online. There are times when I just need to write for the sake of it, just to get a post up, just because I need to. So when my Managing Editor assigned me to write about the new Marvel-Netflix series Jessica Jones, I was both excited and a bit apprehensive.

Excited, because I love every opportunity to get to put on my writing hat on and really get the juices flowing. Apprehensive because the series is critically acclaimed with every critic writing about it. People I look up to are either already done with the series or are currently watching it and have been raving about it on social media. So yes, writing about my opinions was a bit nerve wrecking.

I didn't want to come across as naive or silly in my thoughts and opinions of the series and I guess that's what had me staring at a black paper longer than usual.

In the end, once inspiration hit, the words came and I was able to fill up one page, then another, and another and before I knew it, I was done!

You can check out my Jessica Jones write up on 
or you can click on the link here.