Pursuing Polaris, Seven Years Ago

It was the year when DSLRs started capturing video, and memory cards began dethroning mini-DVs in the film and photography industries.

 

dominion

At the Dominion Bus terminal in Cubao, Quezon City. Circa 2008.

 

 

The year was 2008. It was the semestral break of our third year in film school. For the following term, we would be asked to present our production theses and proposals. And the pressure was just so overwhelming that we felt lost and did not know what to do.

We all knew where our compasses pointed and so we decided to find ourselves further north. We went on a trip, not towards the Cordilleras where most people would go to, but somewhere northwest.

After more than eight hours of traveling by bus, we found places willing to share their experiences with lost souls like us. And they were none other than the provinces of Ilocos.

 
A Place to Look Around

In Science, the first step in the scientific method had been to observe. And where could we go to see an overview of the whole situation? High places had always been perfect spots, just like the Bantay Belfry.

Situated on top of a hill, the campanile of the municipality of Bantay provided one of the best views of Ilocos Sur. Built during the 1590s, the brick establishment served as a watchtower for enemies since the Spanish Period up to World War II.

The Bantay Belfry, towering over Ilocos Sur.

The Bantay Belfry, towering over Ilocos Sur. Photo by Ami Gatchalian.

 

But the tower was not made only to spot intruders. It was also a good place to check what the vast world could offer young castaways like us. And upon seeing the entirety of the picture, we decided to visit the Spanish checkerboard of the nearby city of Vigan.

 
Crossroads at Vigan

Intersecting roads might be more confusing to those seeking the right path. But the timeless beauty of the cobblestones and the capiz shell windows were telling us that they might be holding the lead to our search.

 

 

A piece of technology amidst the centuries-old surroundings. Photo by Sheig Encelan.

A piece of technology amidst the centuries-old surroundings. Photo by Sheig Encelan.

 

The Heritage Village of Vigan never lost its magic through the years. The calesas continued to transport guests back in time. The place was even hailed recently as one of the New 7 Wonder Cities of the World.

Calle Crisologo and its old Spanish houses would always remind us of our rich history. The place taught us, that for us to be able to move forward, we should, every once in a while, look back to our past.

 
Pottery is a process

Pottery had been a craft practiced around the world ever since mankind began. And it remained to be a process ever since.

 

Danboard overseeing the burnay-production. Photo by Sheig Encelan.

Danboard overseeing the burnay-production. Photo by Sheig Encelan.

 

The Pagburnayan of Vigan, located a few minutes from the Heritage Village, was a living demonstration that the best things in life never happen overnight.

From the gathering of clay to the molding of the jars up to the kilning process, pottery sure was a craft requiring specific skills and a lot of patience. And so was film and other significant forms of art.

 
Test of Strong Winds

So did we really have the patience? We braced ourselves and embarked on another three-hour bus ride to witness the coastal towns of the nearby province of Ilocos Norte.

And just before we reached the municipality of Pagudpud, the first test of endurance greeted us, “Hello!” Strong winds came rushing, blowing away everything on its path. And they were no ordinary winds. They were strong enough to make 20 colossal pieces of steel rotate to produce energy.

 

The epic Bangui photo of Sheig Encelan. windmills

The epic Bangui photo of Sheig Encelan.

 

The Bangui Wind Mills, inaugurated in 2005, were one of the major sources of electricity in the region. Because of the strong winds, the shore was covered with chunks of polished stones instead of the usual white sand.

Journeys were made exciting by these strong winds. And the best way to get through them was just to glide and go with the flow.

 
A Long and Winding Road

A few more minutes on the journey and the winds finally subsided. But it was just a starter. We were welcomed after by a majestic view of the West Philippine Sea and a significantly winding road.

 

Are you willing to go through Patapat Viaduct? Photo by Ami Gatchalian.

Are you willing to go through Patapat Viaduct? Photo by Ami Gatchalian.

 

The 1.3-kilometer Patapat Viaduct connected the Ilocos Region to Cagayan Valley. The word viaduct came from the Latin words via meaning ‘road’ and ducere, meaning ‘to lead.’

The ride through it was nice and sweet. And true enough, this winding road was really kind to lead us to our final destination.

 
The North Star

Finally, the fine white sand beaches of Brgy. Saud in the town of Pagudpud brushed the soles of our feet. And being on a journey to find our true north, the Polaris Beach Resort caught our attention. And luckily, they even offered us a fair student discount.

It was already dark. The six of us sat quietly by the shore, staring down at our sand-laden feet, while enjoying the sweet hum of the waves.

Everything was so calm and serene. There were no bars by the shore. There were no drunk people dancing around bonfires. There were no loud music. It was just the sand, the sea and us.

Hours passed by quietly. Drowsiness was slowly pushing our backs flat on the sand. Looking up now, we finally saw what we were looking for.

Apparently, we were not alone that night. We were accompanied by the stars, beautifully arranged in the velvet sky.

And there at the center was the genuine Polaris, outshining all the other stars. And the experience was like an electric shock to our veins. Right there and then, sweet smiles were etched on our faces. Every trace of being lost was now temporarily gone.

 

rainbow copy

There was a rainbow behind us. There was… really. haha. Pagudpud 2008.

After 3 days and 2 nights, we were able to find what we were looking for. We went back to the bustling streets of Manila bringing with us those shining ideas for our theses.

Seven years after, in the year 2015, we are still wandering, this time in this so-called real world. And being lost in the real world is nothing compared to being lost at the university. We were now on an intensified search of ourselves, hanging somewhere in the time-space continuum.

Consulting the compasses of the real world can be overwhelmingly confusing. They point to a variety of paths that lead to a variety of goals.

But upon looking back on this trip, we are reminded. The night sky offers a wide range of stars and dreams. All we need to do is to find our true North Star, the one that outshines them all.

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Pursuing Polaris in Pagudpud

The year has been 2008.  We have wandered in search of our theses topics.

The year is 2015. But we are still wandering, and are lost on what to do with our lives.

A throwback post will be arriving soon as the Viewfinder shares her experiences of being lost, literally and figuratively, during the time when she is not into blogging yet.

 

pagudpud 2008 ilocos norte philippines

Circa 2008. Forgive the reaction on my face.

Will we ever find our true North Star? Our true Polaris? Our true passion and that thing that we really wanted to do with this thing called life?

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.

Partner in Crime

bare, first home

It is bare. Yes. I am living alone in this apartment for almost five years now, but it is still bare.

I was invited by Urban Compass to participate in a new project of theirs called Starter Stories, wherein a few select bloggers were asked about their first place.

Urban Compass is a real estate platform that connects folks searching for apartments with the neighborhood that matches their personality and taste for finding NYC apartments.

I started living alone in May 2011, around 7 months after I got my first regular job. Most of the stuff here were given by my father: an old tv, table, chairs, LPG tank, coffee maker.

kitchen first place

Some stuff on the kitchen counter. Rice coffee from Ilocos. Durian Coffee Jam from Davao. Corn Coffe from Cotabato. Chocolate-coated sunflower seeds from Dagupan.

 

I never bought and wouldn’t be buying any furniture because, first of all I was the thrifty kind of housekeeper.  When you were self-supporting, you tend to track down and think twice to where you would spend your next pay check.

And besides, I was the only one living here. All that I needed were a bed (actually just a mattress), a table as work space, and a chair.

Secondly, I always thought of this place as something temporary, so I wasn’t dressing it up that much. I dream of course of giving myself my own permanent home someday. Yeah, someday.

But I also never thought that something temporary would produce permanent and lasting memories.


This post had been transferred by the author to another blog named “Nimotsu Counter.” To read the rest of this article, kindly click here.

 

DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU REALLY WANT?

This so-called real world is mad, extremely mad. It can get you lost and devastated. But, I believe one of the guaranteed ways to get along with its insanity is by knowing what you really want and succumbing yourself to this thing they call passion.

University of the Philippines commencement exercises

Graduation at my beloved school, the University of the Philippines.

But this is easier said than done. Lucky are those who graduated from college and already know what they want to do with their lives. Many graduates are a bit lost on what to do after school, which leads to this another so-called quarter-life crisis. But that’s a completely different story. I myself spent a few years figuring this one out, and every now and then, insane things from this real world is still making me confused about my choice in life. It has been four years from my own graduation.

But before we get more depressing, here are some of the things that I can share with newly-grads about life decisions like this. I would like you to ponder on a few questions.

“Do I love the course I took up in college? Do I want to spend the rest of my life dealing with things related to this course?”

Did you take up your course in college because you love it or because your parents love it? If you love it, I assume you want to spend the rest of your life doing something related to it. But if your parents love it, have you learned to love it too or not? If yes, do you want to spend the rest of your life working in this field? If not, do you still have the energy to pursue what your parents want you to do?

“If my course involves different sub-fields, which among them gives me the most happiness when I’m doing something related to it?”


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

New Year, New Me

One Step at a Time

In 2013, I was able to acquire the one-step-at-a –time mindset.

In this day and age when people are fond of rush works and instant food items, anything that can deliver faster and more reliable would surely become a great hit.  Even those that offer a leap to success would just catch attention.

In 2012, after I resigned from my regular job, I think I suffered from my worst wave of quarter-life crisis ever (this was my second wave actually).  I was seeing everybody get up the ladder of passion and there I was, still confused on what road to take.  And so there was this temptation to take a big leap so I could catch-up with them.

Jump

But jumping just made matters worse.  Being on my regular TV/office job for more than a year, my physicality, mentality, spirituality and emotionality were overwhelmed by both the beauty and harshness of film life.   And I ended up beating myself up for all the failure of 2012.

And so as 2013 opened, the song Auld Lang Syne filled the air with ”Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind.”

And so on January 13, 2013, I decided to take it slowly, one step at a time.  I had already chosen the path that I wanted to experience.  Taking it slowly would mean enjoyment of each phase.  And besides, I’m still young so what’s the point of rushing?

And that was the mindset for 2013.

This 2014, I would still continue with this kind of attitude.  But I also decided to make little stop-overs along the sides of this road to passion.  As we all know, pursuing film as a passion is more of an art than a bank account filler.  So stop-overs will be very much helpful in achieving goals.

And I believe this is what I will be learning on January 25, 2014 at the Philippine Stock Exchange Center in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

NEW YEAR NEW YOU –The 2014 Success Forum is all about changing mindsets.  It is about reaching the top of the ladder while still making sure we are not exhausting our physical bodies to its limit.

The forum is featuring seven speakers, who are experts and practitioners in their own fields: Mr. Anthony Cadlum Saraza for Nutrition;  Mr. J. Randell Tiongson for Money Management; Mr. Jay G. Penaflor for Stocks; Mr. Butch Salvador for Entrepreneurship; Mr. Noli Manuel Alleje for Real Estate;  Mr. Rudolf Kotik for Franchising; and Mr. Mark So for Foreign Exchange.

To join me in this learning experience, you may visit https://www.facebook.com/events/521569707936827/. You may also contact 09175861414 or 6222853 or gvents.greenpinoys@gmail.com.  You can also PM Alma Dayrit Roxas, Peter Allan Mariano or Dave Aguila.   Chances like this don’t come everyday .  So grab the opportunity while seats are still available!

This 2014 let us all be positive.  And let the horse run freely, leading us to the right path to success.

Sugod 2014

Sugod 2014. Fight!

YEAR-END SALE AT THE UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE CENTER

Welcome to my Unclaimed Baggage Center, where you can see a catalog of baggage left permanently on my baggage counter.  And just like in any unclaimed baggage center, items here are for sale… if I hadn’t bought them yet 🙂

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BAGGAGE NAME  Nandito Ako
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION  Mini-serye
BAGGAGE TAG  02202012
STATUS  sold to me
 
 
 

with David Archuleta

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February 2012 was filled with screaming fans worldwide with the launch of  David Archuleta’s mini-serye, Nandito Ako.  I handled the promo campaigns used for the show.  Here is the AVP I produced for the show’s press conference:

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The show became a trending topic worldwide every single night of airing, for the whole five weeks of conquering primetime television.

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Nandito ako worldwide trending

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BAGGAGE NAME Pinoy Explorer Rebrand
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION Adventure/ Travel Show
BAGGAGE TAG 04222012
STATUS sold to me

aga

On the summer of 2012, I did the launching promo campaigns for the rebranding of Pinoy Explorer, showcasing a more adventurous Aga Muhlach.  Here is the re-brand launch campaign:

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The launch was a 2-part special in the wonderful islands of Batanes.

 

BAGGAGE NAME Resignation
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION Straight to the point
BAGGAGE TAG 04242011
STATUS sold to me

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With two launches at the first quarter of the year, one may think that I’m doing good at work.  But it was not that simple.  Work is not only the act of doing what you need to do at the work place.  A lot of factors and outside consequences contribute to my decision to finally hear what my heart has been telling me for the longest time already.

I believe one of the highlights of my 2012 was my resignation at my job then as a Promo Producer.  Quitting a job is not easy.  It’s like saying goodbye, for good, not just to the work load but also to friends and colleagues.  Drafting a resignation letter is a piece of cake, but gathering all the guts to submit it and finally tell the boss is a whole new baking process.  Luckily, after months and months of brain-wrecking decision-making sessions, on April 24, I was able to bid everyone goodbye.

Here is a late christmas gift I received from a friend named Nessa Gabrillo. The lanyard was on a buy-one-take-one promo on The T-shirt Factory and so she has the same lanyard and said she will wear it to work.

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Fed Up lanyard

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BAGGAGE NAME Hong Kong
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION Travel
BAGGAGE TAG 05262012
STATUS sold to me

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Being my first out-of-the-country trip, this one is really memorable.  And simply because I was with the most awesome people in the universe.

Our adventures and misadventures in Hong Kong and Macau is detailed in Oh Yeah! This is First World!

 

BAGGAGE NAME Freedom
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION Greatest Separation Pay Ever
BAGGAGE TAG 062012
STATUS sold to me

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“Newly unemployed, I found this kind of life refreshing. No more commuting to work…. And best of all, I could read any book I wanted, anytime I wanted. I had no idea how long this relaxed lifestyle would continue….  It would have to end sometime, but until it did I was determined to enjoy it.” – Toru Okada in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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Mt. Samat in Bataan

Mt. Samat in Bataan

Being out of a daily work, I came to appreciate the small things in my life: the silence in the province, the good air in the province, the trees that are older than me, the wonderful chirping of the birds, the magnificent cloud formations… things I was taking for granted because of hectic schedules at work.  And I’m happy enjoying these things this way. (An entry about rural life in Bataan is soon to be published here so stay tuned.)

If Toru Okada is excited to be reading anytime he wanted, I was excited to write… to finally write a script that I wanted to do several months before but just can’t find the time to do it.  And I’m thankful I was able to write my short film script.  I intended it to be a short film but the consequences are telling me that maybe the concept is one for a full-length film.  I’ll see about that 🙂

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BAGGAGE NAME Baggage Counter
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION My very own blog
BAGGAGE TAG 08312012
STATUS you definitely cannot buy this

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And speaking of writing, I started blogging on August.  And so here’s my baggage counter.  Our Mt. Batulao trip was the lucky one to be deposited here first.  You can view it here: Ang Labing-Tatlong Rurok ng Bundok Batulao.

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BAGGAGE NAME Quarter-life crisis
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION Depression-inducing part of everybody’s life
BAGGAGE TAG 092012
STATUS For sale

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I believe I experienced my first wave of quarter-life crisis after my college graduation: the pressure to find a job in the soonest possible time, a job that should be related to my field of study.  This was accompanied by one of the greatest dilemmas in the world: which path to take.  Then, I decided the path to TV5.

During the time I resigned, quarter-life crisis came haunting me again.  And Diana Ross’ “do you know where you’re going to?” song became the official soundtrack of my life then.  I believe this is the downside of the freedom I got.  I was given all the time to think.  Even the things that I need not to be thinking of eventually entered my mind and I cannot stop them.

Eventually, I happened to see the good side of quarter-life crisis, it let’s you discover who you really are.

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BAGGAGE NAME Self
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION fragile
BAGGAGE TAG 2012
STATUS sold to me

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“I had simply been too busy to think about myself.” – Toru Okada in Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Maybe the good side of this too much thinking is that I was able to seek the deepest portions of my conscious mind.  Even my subconscious gave me hints on who I really am.  In one of the rakets that I managed to get, I did research on some psychological stuff that ended up triggering my suppressed memories out.

I had reasons for suppressing them, reasons that eventually turned to questions that I address to God.  But may I say that these were not the kind of questions that doubt His greatness but rather questions that later on turned to requests to make me understand why these particular things happened to me.

And during this second wave of quarter-life crisis was the time when God granted my requests.

Caloy’s story would gave you a hint on what I’m talking about here. View it at: Caloy, the Infamous Master of an Infamous Art.

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BAGGAGE NAME Rakets
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION Making a living
BAGGAGE TAG 092012
STATUS sold to me

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I would want to thank all the people who entrusted their projects to me.

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raket montage copy

 

BAGGAGE NAME Android phone
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION one of the latest gadgets today
BAGGAGE TAG 112012
STATUS sold to me

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Like I was always saying, I really have difficulty dealing with technology, technobobo ika nga.  But recently my Nokia 6680 phone, yes my NOKIA 6680 phone finally wanted to retire from its almost 8 years of service. So I finally need to buy a new one.

At first I was hesitant to buy techie phones because a phone that can text, call and alarm is all I need.

But I was happy to buy an android phone.  Because of it, I can write even when I’m on the bus on a trip to the province.

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BAGGAGE NAME Rurouni Kenshin
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION fan-girling to the nth level
BAGGAGE TAG 12082012
STATUS sold to me

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Ruruoni Kenshin live action movie was really one of the greatest anime adaptation ever.  My deepest fan-girling thoughts were best described in Memory is a Knife, or rather a Katana.  And thanks to Kaoru Kamiya, Emi Takei and Kathryn Bernardo, my blog is gaining more and more views. So keep it up! 🙂

 

BAGGAGE NAME My 24th
BAGGAGE DESCRIPTION a heavenly celebration
BAGGAGE TAG 12142012
STATUS sold to me

On my 24th, I had a Parade, Fireworks and a Royal Banquet.  And it had been really really great!

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And that was my 2012: emotional, nostalgic, victorious, tragic, depressing, enlightening.  But overall I’m thankful for this year.  Realizations came up this 2012, realizations that may not have come if things went differently.  So on 2013, it’s time to deal with life with a completely different perspective, an entirely positive one.  And I would want to ask God to accompany me in doing so.

And if you have observed, I have that habit of keeping every baggage.  Only a few items were on sale and ready for disposal.  This is also one of the reasons why I put up this baggage counter.  So in 2013, I want to change that habit and start learning to let go of things.

How about you? How’s your 2012 and how do you plan to deal with 2013?  May everybody have a glorious new year.  And I want to thank all my readers.  May you continue to enjoy my baggage counter 🙂

MEMORY IS A KNIFE, OR RATHER A KATANA

Warning: Fan-girl mode on! Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert! Read at your own risk!

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The first few days of this week were just so full of resurfacing unwanted facts from the past.  Something about this research I’m currently doing for a written job was triggering the memories hidden in the darkest places of my subconscious.  And these memories were also pushing these wisdom teeth out of my gums.  And it causes an awful lot of pain.  So is there a correlation between these repressed memories and my wisdom teeth? Is this the reason why wisdom teeth come out during the time of everybody’s life when they are suffering from this so-called quarter-life crisis?

But this blog entry is not telling anybody about depression at the moment, because before it even ruined the whole week, something about this Friday just acted as an anti-depressant and melted it all away, or rather I would say slashed it all away.

Just recently, I posted a line in Facebook from the movie Hannibal Rising, “Memory is a knife.  It can hurt you.”  But this Friday, the knife became a sword, a katana that terminated the hurt away.  Thanks to SM Cinemas, Rurouni Kenshin Live Action movie was shown in the Philippines.

A smile, no actually a good grin, registered in my face at the first few seconds when a text narration of the Tokugawa Era appeared on screen.  And up to the very last second of the closing credits, the smile or rather the grin did not vanish but became even larger.

When the trailer for this came out around mid-year of 2012, I kinda did not like Takeru Sato, the actor playing Kenshin, he was so thin and actually I did not find him cute, unlike the anime Kenshin who sends the screams out of every fan girl’s lungs.  But when Takeru Sato started doing his samurai stunts and then his wanderer moves, he earned my respect for this film.

Emi Takei, the actress who played Kaoru looks like Kathryn Bernardo and sure is pretty in kimono.  Yu Aoi, the one who played Megumi looks like a Japanese horror character to me, but she sure was good.  Teruyuki Kagawa as Kanryuu Takeda did a very good job.  Munetaka Aoki as Sanosuke looks more of a Filipino than a Japanese to me.  Well, I just knew that they will have a strict audition for the chest.  The one who played Yahiko, Taketo Tanaka is so adorable.  But the character who caught my attention was Saito.  Yosuke Eguchi sure was a hotter policeman than the 2D Saito.

I also want to give a round of applause to the screen writers.  They did a great job of compressing a whole season into two hours.  And Aoshi’s absence was well accounted for.

I just missed the old soundtrack from the anime.  I actually expected the acoustic version of Kimi wa Dare o Mamotte Iru to play when Kenshin came to rescue Kaoru and the dojo from the bandits.  This is the magical audio cue that Kenshin is now in the house and ready to deliver his poetic speech about love, life, and swordsmanship.  I also wanted to hear Run to You, Sanosuke’s theme, especially in his fight scenes where he really tried to insert humor in every blow.  And maybe, a good revival of the song Sobakasu by a new band or artist would just be festive.

The stunts were also superb.  The battousai moves surely were transferred well from the boob tube to the silver screen.  I just died when Kenshin made his fatal stance, the preparation for the final blow.  And I would just love to see a LIVE Shishio fighting Takeru Sato in the next movie.  Oh please, the production team and the actors deserves to be given the privilege to shoot a follow-up on this.  And I believe that it is Aoshi’s right to be finally included in the next movie.

The viewing experience would be 100% satisfactory only without that girl behind us.  She seemed to be so rattled every time she sees brutal and violent slashes made by the samurais because the MTRCB rating at the start of the film says PG (Parental Guidance) and not R (Restricted).  A real RK fan is accustomed to brutality and violence.  And if there would be any moment of surprise, it could have happened years ago when the fan had seen the OVA and the animated movie which show more fatal attacks than the series.

But overall, this experience was just blissfully awesome.  The adrenaline rush it created was still here until this moment I’m writing this.  And I believe they won’t go away for a few days.  The feeling was just exactly as how the movie Citizen X defines passion, that it is when your heart is pounding and when your collar is tightening.

Anything anime-related really never fails to paint a genuine smile and erase a sad one on my face.

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CALOY, THE INFAMOUS MASTER OF AN INFAMOUS ART

The sun was up.  The sand was warm.  The water was excited to hit the shore.

A hammock was swaying in between two coconut trees.  It carried in it five children, laughing loudly as the cool breeze hit their faces.  Another four were standing near the tree, shouting to have their turn on the hammock.  And Caloy was one of them.

The screaming and begging of the kids were halted when Auntie Beth called for lunch.  The boy next to Caloy said, “Let’s race to the picnic table!”  And off the children went, but not Caloy. Once the hammock was vacated, he saw this as an opportunity to ride in the hammock, solo.  But as soon as he sat in it, the rope connecting it to the trees snapped and he fell to the ground.  Auntie Beth saw this.  But instead of helping him stand up, she said angrily, “Is that how an honor student acts?! You know that five had already been on it and you know that the rope is not strong enough.  But still you sat on it.  Didn’t you realize that? Look what happened to you!  You are an honor student, you should have known better!  And… didn’t I tell you to come and eat?”


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