Published Works from the Past Months

Can’t get enough of the “Huling Sayaw” concert of Kamikazee last December? Refresh your memories through this concert coverage I did for Rappler.

I also did an exclusive interview with the band wherein they shared five career lessons to budding Filipino rockstars.

Rockstars are definitely flocking the Philippine stage. Last January, the Japanese band, ONE OK ROCK, invaded Manila by storm. Catch my pre-concert article on Rappler.

It was amazing!!!! We love you guys so much !!!!! We are definitely coming back to Philippines

A post shared by Taka (@10969taka) on

Also last December, I covered the UP Lantern Parade with lighted floats to give tribute to the Philippine Cinema.

 

 

Advertisements

Our Hospitality got the heart of ONE OK ROCK

A lot of Japanese artists had already said that they want to be back in the country. Uchusentai Noiz, Joe Inoue, AKB48, Takeru Sato and ONE OK ROCK were only some of them. Maybe it was the Filipino hospitality. So what really was in this cultural trait that made foreigners ask for more?

Even non-celebrity Japanese have the same sentiments towards Filipinos. “Before, I thought Japanese hospitality was the best in the world. But after I came here, I think nothing tops Filipino hospitality,” said university student Daisuke Takashina, during his stay in the Philippines, to visit his Filipino friend, Ciel Padilla, during the Christmas season. He went to the walled City, Intramuros, in Manila, visited the Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan, and checked a private resort in Mabitac, Laguna. And like these Japanese artists, he also promised to come back to the country.

Catch the whole write-up on my sister blog, Rhythmic Feels!

ONE OK ROCK Live in Manila was brought to us by Amuse Inc. Asia, in partnership with Pulp Live World and 28 Black.

 

A Birthday Greeting from Manila

 

35xxxv. one ok rock.

Photo by Nessa Gabrillo.

 

Dearest Taka,

First of all, I want to call out to the great Suzaku-sama, Byakko-sama , Genbu-sama, Seiryuu-sama, Zenki-sama, Kame-sama, Son Gokou-sama, Sailor Mars-sama, Clow-sama, Lupin-sama, Kenshin-sama, Belldandy-sama, Tamahome-sama and to Voltes V to grant me all the chakras, nens, and good luck I need to have a 100% probability that this letter can at least catch your attention.

As of the time of writing, I am only able to muster 0.0001% probability from the said Gods. Maybe I also need to call on all the Mushi, the Kyojins, maybe even Escaflowne, the Gundams and Evas to send some positive vibes to this letter’s crusade.

But kidding aside, and no matter what the odds are, whether this eventually reaches you or not, I am still writing it.

And before anything else, I just have one message for you on your birthday on the 17th:

just enjoy it.

Well I know you are currently on tour so I am sure you are having the time of your life. Just continue to smile to attract more positive karma. This year, I know that the sheep will continue to bless us, those who are born in the year of the dragon.

And by the way, please do keep that smile, I like it when you do that. 🙂

Alright, I already said a lot but I haven’t introduced myself. My name is Sheen from the beautiful city of Manila in the Philippines.

I was introduced to your music from “The Beginning,” thanks to the first Rurouni Kenshin Live Action movie. I was such a fan of the anime that I was thrilled when the live action was released in the Philippines in 2012.

I started listening to your songs then. That was the time when it finally began.

Two years after, in around mid-2014, I decided to quit my second job. And I was depressed again afterwards. Well, I was always depressed whenever I quit my job. It seemed like what I finally found wasn’t what I wanted. It’s that so-called quarter-life crisis, which is making the life of 20-somethings miserable.

And I continued being a useless human being and locked myself up in my room for the next two months.

One gloomy evening, as all the rest were, I was listening to your songs and was struck by these words:

Can’t take your time what are you waiting for? It’s a waste of time for you blaming yourself.

Just hold on tight, it can be all right. Yes, try to try, keep moving on.

Are you ready now? We are ready now for tonight.

And it was like I was awakened from a bad dream. There came a realization so strong that I was instantaneously headbanged back to reality.

Yes I was wasting my time and blaming myself for things that I shouldn’t be worrying about. And yes, all that I needed to do was to hold on.

And then the positivity continued as Otomo-sensei, your friend Takeru and the rest of the cast visited Manila for the Asian premiere of Kyoto Inferno. I found something that I want.

Keishi Otomo

Posting for the nth time. 🙂 Photo by Ami Gatchalian.

Right there and then, I knew I had already overcome my karasu and finally was living again in the real world.

But real world had not lost its cruelty.

2015 came. The first quarter of this year was actually a roller-coaster ride of emotions. And it ended with another mighty long fall down to the bottomless pit of hell. It seemed that all the negative emotions from work, health, family and life converged to give me my fifth wave of quarter-life crisis. Now, I’m stuck in the middle, again. Ugh.

And just when I am back to black again, and can’t see what’s around me anymore, I heard your voice again:

GET UP! GET UP! GET UP!

And again:

It’s another day, another life. You gotta live it to the fullest.

WE’LL NEVER BE AS YOUNG AS WE ARE NOW.

And again:

DREAM as if you’ll live forever and live as if you’ll die today.

And then that was it. Suddenly I was breaking past the lies. I was depressed again because I had completely forgotten how to DREAM. When did I stop searching for miracles?

All I could say is that you never fail to take my hand and help me make it back again.

Everything will be alright tonight. Let’s start it now. It’s not too late.

You keep on reminding me of that very reason that keeps my heart beating, that thing that I’d risk everything for.

And then you released your seventh album.

We can be the change we needed.

We’ll fight fight till your fears go away, whatever it takes. We’ll fight fight ’til we see another day.

And right there and then, I told myself that I would continue to support your band, so that you could continue creating songs that help people like me, millenials like us, to fight the challenges brought by this b*tch called life.

I guess I’m ending this letter here. And I’m really wishing you could drop by Manila some time. Filipino fans are dying to meet you in person. If not, I’ll just find other ways on how I could hear these fascinating words of encouragement, and the music accompanying it, live.

So to ONE OK ROCK, to you, to Toru, Tomoya and Ryota, どうも ありがとう ございました for keeping me sane.

And once again, happy birthday, Taka-kun. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Dreaming with you,

sheen name copy

 

 

 

 

 


All songs and lyrics by ONE OK ROCK:

The Beginning
Stuck in the Middle
Kimishidai Ressha
Karasu
Mightly Long Fall
Decision
C.H.A.O.S.M.Y.T.H.
Suddenly
Memories
Yes I Am
Cry out
Fight the Night


 

The author had also posted this open letter in another site called “Nimotsu Counter.” To access the post, kindly click here.

2014: Surviving the Depths of Hell

2014 started calmly. The first few days of the year was still preoccupied by the serenity of our Palawan trip during the Christmas holidays.

el nido palawan

From the entry, “Palawan’s Gods and Goddesses.”

Thank you for being my nature-tripping buddy, Nessa. And thanks din kay Xe na wala akong picture ngayong taon. 🙂

 

January and February reintroduced me to blogging. I realized that online writing was more than just letting things out. The door was reopened. Yes, reopened, because I used to take it for granted when it first commenced in front of me. So these were the days of catching up.

And then there was Mt. Damas.

Mt. Damas

Buwis-buhay! Photo by Karina de Capia. From the entry, “Jewels in the Damas.”

It was my first climb of the year. But I never thought that it would also be my only climb for the year. And I was disappointed with myself for that.

The first quarter of the year was also filled with work-related meet-ups for maybe one of the biggest projects I ever involved myself with. But big also meant great power. And as Uncle Ben told Spiderman, “Great power comes great responsibility.”

work

Maybe the project was too big for me. Or maybe the project was too big for just one person. Or maybe I just wasn’t good enough. Or maybe this was just not for me in the first place.

These statements started filling up my mind as I started the “Im Purity” blog series in my baggage counter.

crash

From the entry, “Im Purity’s Escape.”


This post had been transferred by the author to another blog named “Nimotsu Counter.” To read the rest of this year-end report for 2014, kindly click here.

 

Why? Because it makes me happy

Watching anime. Why? Because it makes me happy.

Heidi. memorabilias from Best of Anime 2014

Heidi. souvenirs from Best of Anime 2014.

Collecting anything anime or anything Japanese. Why? Because it makes me happy.

Keishi Otomo-sensei2 copy

“Kailangan pa ba i-memorize ‘yan?” Arigatou for the pic Otomo-sensei. 😀

Fangirling and literally running after the director of one of the best live-action adaptation of one of the best animes of all time. Why? Because it makes me happy.

pogs copy

Pog. Your childhood is boring if you don’t know them.

As I have been writing in this blog lately, yes, my addiction for Japanese animation have been brewing since before kindergarten.

circa 1994 copy

Oh yes. Look how happy I was with my first Sailomoon toys. 😀 Circa 1994. With my brother.

We were not rich back then. I wasn’t even aware that original action figures in big boxes even existed. All my parents could buy for me were these toys from the local market of Orion, in the province of Bataan.

precious copy

From 1994 to 2014. Twenty years of making me happy.

But I was the most thrifty kid in town. I would save as much from my allowances just to get myself some pogs, teks, mini-teks, bargain posters and stickers. And everytime someone would go to Manila, I would ask them to buy me the famous Questor Magazine and eventually, Culture Crash. But this only happened maybe around once a quarterly.

questor copy

Questor. The Ultimate Anime Magazine.

On November 2000, according to Wikipedia, the nearest SM to our place opened in San Fernando, Pampanga. Since then, we went to SM once a year. And this was when Comic Alley collected all my savings: from Sakura cards to laminated photos to playing cards and cassette tapes.

cassette copy

Original Cassette tapes. And audio recordings of the live TV broadcast. Come on, you know what I meant right? 😀

I and my bestfriend then would also do audio tape recordings of the Tagalized anime broadcasts in TV. Come on 90s kids, you knew what I meant right? 😀

My parents would ask why I was doing all of these. I didn’t know what to tell them at the time. But one thing was for sure. Anime surely made me happy.

Flash forward to the year 2005, I was in my first year at the University of the Philippines. Adjusting for boarding house living in the city was not easy from a girl from the countryside. All the pressure of living on your own and complying to the academic requirements of the premiere university in the country pushed me to set aside my anime addiction for urban survival. And it was not easy to catch up when you had no in-house TV and internet. I was able to attend, for the first time in my life, maybe a couple of anime conventions, but also due to allowance restrictions, I wasn’t able to continue doing it.


This post had been transferred by the author to another blog named “Nimotsu Counter.” To read the rest of my post about my anime addiction, plus some memorabilias from the band “Heidi,” kindly click here.

RuroKen: The Ultimate Fangirling Escapade (Philippine Leg)

DISCLAIMER: Please play the acoustic version of The Beginning by One Ok Rock while enjoying this blog entry.  Yes, the acoustic version for more dramatic effect. And yes, put it on loop. You’ll never regret this, I promise. 🙂
Keishi Otomo. Takeru Sato. Emi Takei. Aoki Munetaka. Rurouni Kenshin. Philippines

The RK Team during their visit to the Philippines.

“Just give me a reason to keep my heart beating.”

I believe that the 90s was the golden age of anime in the Philippines. I was in elementary then, and I was introduced to early anime intoxication and addiction.

Rurouni Kenshin, the anime, was first aired by Studio 23, on June 1998 and was English-dubbed. The following year, ABS-CBN aired it on September 1999 and was Filipino-dubbed. This information was thanks to my dear friend and fellow fangirl OF THE ANIME ONLY, Sheig.

I was readily hooked then in Studio 23 since the timeslot was at seven in the evening. I was on my fourth grade then while my brother was on his first grade. My father used to get mad then when I and my brother would not do our homework just because of watching anime. And he would really remove the TV antenna, just to make us do our homework. So, seven in the evening was the perfect time to be a fangirl.

And that was the reason that kept my heart beating.

Rurouni Kenshin Movie 1 Poster

My Rurouni Kenshin Movie 1 Poster.

“Blinded I can’t see the end. So where do I begin?”

It was on July 26, Saturday when I first heard of the news that the RuroKen cast and director would come to the Philippines. And I was in Singapore then.

So when I came back to the Philippines, I asked myself, “So where do I begin?”

I am an event writer. So I first asked my event contacts if they know who were the possible organizers of the event. All I got were trunkline numbers. And I thought they were of very little use.

And then on August 1, one of the leading malls in the Philippines released a Facebook promo for event passes for the Red Carpet Procession of Rurouni Kenshin.

I was never lucky when it came to promos, raffle and the kind of stuff but this was just really where I could begin.

On August 2, Saturday, I told my mother in Bataan (a province north of Metro Manila), that I would not be able to come home to get my poster of the first RK Live Action movie so I asked her to send it via courier service. After two hours, (yes that’s how much my Mom loved me) she texted me that she was able to send it and it would arrive on Monday.

I was a film graduate, and a fangirl. So when a good friend gave me a poster of the first RK movie, I was elated. And I was determined to have it signed, even just by the director, Otomo-sensei. I really loved the way he faithfully translated the anime into the live action movie and this was definitely one of the best film adaptations I had ever seen. (To read about how I felt about the first movie, click here.)

On the morning of August 3, they released the question for the third batch of winners. And finally, I won.

On the night before the Red Carpet Procession, though swamped by work, I was able to find out that one of my colleagues from film school was part of the video coverage team hired by Warner Philippines. And she became my ever reliable source for this escapade.

I was not able to sleep much that night because I need to finish and submit a script. But nothing could stop me from fangirling. I even asked a good friend, who was now in Japan, for the proper way to ask “Can you sign my poster, please?”

“It finally begins.”

Rurouni Kenshin Philippine visit

Yes, with Kamiki at the background. It was already 5:30pm but still I could not see any of them on the stage.

“Kono mama ja mada owara seru koto wa deki nai desho? Nando kuta bari sou demo kuchi hate you to mo, owari wa nai sa.”
“このままじゃまだ終わらせる事は出来ないでしょ. 何度くたばりそうでも朽ち果てようとも. 終わりはないさ.”
“We can’t end it yet, right? No matter how many times we’re close to dying or rotting away, there will be no end.”
 
It was August 6.  I was there at 12nn at one of the biggest malls in Mandaluyong City. And when I got there, I was disappointed about the set-up.  In the area where the promo winners where supposed to be, there were high barricades and another line of stanchions in front of that.  Define security.
Rurouni Kenshin. Philippines. Japanese Press. Disappointing event set-up.

Define layers of security for the supposedly “privileged” promo winners.

This Japanese reporter was about to interview the fangirls beside me at the barricades. One of the girls’ arm was resting on the barricade and seen here at the lower right hand corner of the photo.

And according to this set-up, after the barricades were the press. Then the stanchions. Then the red carpet. Then the stage. Define layers of security for the supposedly “privileged” promo winners.

Meanwhile, outside the stage area, here was the scenario, as this video showed:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10203374986989346

The video was from another friend, Pat Lugartos.

And good grief. Outside the stage area, the security was minimal, compared to the security given to our area, so fans positioned at the red carpet area were able to get their precious autographs. The mall management told me, when I got my passes, that even promo winners would not be given autograph-signing opportunities. And then this. My heart broke. Where is luck when I needed it most? Am I really this unlucky when it came to these things? Gah.

When the team finally got near the stage, we, the promo winners, tried our best to stretch out our hands so that any of the RK team would get down from the stage and sign them. But to no avail. How could you notice the arms stretching behind the lenses and the microphones of the press people that were in front of us? Good grief. I really thanked the mall management for this very awesome privilege they had given their promo winners.

Rurouni Kenshin. Philippine visit. SM Megamall.

So when the show finally started, the scenario was this. Great. The promo winners were really “privileged”.

I tried raising my poster to catch their attention, hoping they might come down and sign it. But the poster was too big for a little Filipina like me. It was cinema size so it was really huge. I really believed that Otomo-sensei saw it because I saw his smile changed when he glanced at our direction. And Munetaka-san too.

The program ended and my poster bore no trace of an autograph. And apparently, the event passes we got were just for the Red Carpet Procession and not for the premiere. And that was another privilege for the promo winners. Great.

“We can’t end it yet right, no matter how many times we’re close to dying?”

I told myself that I would not settle for just this. I asked my colleague if she had the power to have my poster signed. She told me there would be no guarantee. But I took the risk. I gave her my poster and I started crossing my fingers that night as I and my friend enjoyed our bottles of Tanduay Ice because of too much frustration that day.

We were tipped that the RK team was going to a restaurant in a big mall in one of the business districts of Metro Manila. AND WE WERE STUPID ENOUGH TO NOT GO THERE THAT NIGHT.

“As the world falls apart around us, all we can do is hold on.”

After almost a whole day of spending time with the RK team, work came running after me the day after. I needed to finish revising my script in the morning of August 7 and I had a meeting in the afternoon. My meeting ended at 4:30pm and I rushed to another big mall in Makati just to see the RK team again.

I paid an awesome amount for the passes just to have the same experience like the Red Carpet Procession. There were no privileges given to those who have passes. We had the same experience as those who did not purchase the passes.

And since I thought this was my last chance, I did a first on this day. I, literally, ran after them, still hoping to have an autograph. Just when the on-stage program was about to end, I ran towards the barricades on the path where they will exit. But they did not give away any autograph that day. Maybe they were told by the management not to, after what happened the day before.

And so after the event, we sat there waiting for my colleague, hoping that my poster was signed. She invited us to a hotel where they were dumping their video files. And there, she told me something that made my “world fall apart”. My colleague said that she had to rush to a meeting this afternoon during the mall event so she entrusted my poster to her friend from Warner. But just before we came to the hotel, the poster was discovered missing and was said to might have been accidentally included in the signed posters given away by Warner on the program that afternoon. Did luck really hated me?

But maybe God had other plans. That night we received a tip again about their hotel and the time of their flight to Japan the following day. “All we can do is hold on.”

 “This time demo yuzure nai mono.”
“This timeでも 譲れないもの.”
“This time, however, I’ve found something that I’ll never give up.”

They sure were Japanese. For us Filipinos, we would normally arrive at the airport around three hours before our flight. But they were getting ready to go to the airport when we arrive at the hotel lobby around five hours before their flight.

When the cab made a turn to drop my friend Ami and I in front of the hotel lobby, I already saw two vans waiting outside. I became worried.

But right in the nick of time, when we came down from the cab, Otomo-sensei just told Munetaka-san that he would go the van already. I readily asked him for a photo and he granted our wish! And the “Arigatou sensei” that I told him after the photo opportunity was probably the most heartfelt “Arigatou” I ever said in my whole life.

Keishi Otomo-sensei. Rurouni Kenshin. Philippine visit.

With Keishi Otomo-sensei. 😀

And then we also asked Munetaka-san for a photo. He told us “Salamat” when we told him “Arigatou”. He was really “ASHTEEG!”

Munetaka Aoki. Rurouni Kenshin. Philippine visit.

With Munetaka Aoki-san. “ASHTEEG!”

And then we sat there waiting for Takeru. I saw again, for the third time, this cute Japanese guy who apparently was from Warner Bros. Japan, according to my ever reliable source.

Rurouni Kenshin. Philippine visit.

The guy who caught my attention. Photo by May Natorilla.

I saw him first on the event last Wednesday, then on Thursday and when we went to the hotel to see my colleague.

He really got my attention and because I was looking at him, I did not notice that Takeru already passed by, who went straight to the van.  I apologized to my friend, who was a Takeru fan.  I said I was distracted.  Anyhow, Otomo-sensei was really my number one reason for going through all of these and my friend got her photo with Munetaka-san anyway so we left the hotel grinning.

“Look how far we’ve made it. I’ll risk everything if it’s for you.”

And that was the perfect ending to a rollercoaster fangirling escapade.

God really was the best writer and plot-twister in the universe.

And now, that was what I call luck. Maybe God won’t just give it away that easily. And maybe He just gives it to people who worked hard for it. Thank you Lord for this. And to Otomo-sensei and Munetaka-san, “度もう ありがとう ございました”, for accommodating us.

And to my ever reliable source, thank you very much for everything. 🙂

Rurouni Kenshin. Philippine tour.

We are wiser fans now. 🙂

P.S. I wrote “Philippine Leg” because my friend and I were planning another fangirling escapade in Japan.  HOHOHO. But we still need to earn more money for that. 🙂  And to the person who got my poster, please, I am begging you.  What can I trade you for that? Or can I buy it? You could message me here if ever you got to read this.


Romaji, Kanji and English lyrics from http://jpoptime.com/

Video from Pat Lugartos
Other photo from May Natorilla


This post had been transferred by the author to another blog named “Nimotsu Counter.” To access it, kindly click here.