Monday, August 31, 2009

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: Review of Gus Van Sant's Elephant

Over the past years, we heard frightening reports on school massacres. Disturbingly, the culprits on these massacres are not strangers to the campus but rather young and innocent-looking students. And seriously, such crimes articulate a haunting social reality among the youth. It’s a malaise our society tends to continuously ignored unless damages are made.

Last night, I had the chance to watch a film shelved for the longest time in my room. It’s a film written and directed by Gus Van Sant. It won the ever prestigious 2003 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Frankly, up to now, the film has created a massive emotional impact on me. Seriously, it’s more frightening than any massacre film I’ve watched over the years.

“Elephant” is a 2003 crime-drama film which best articulates not only the intertwining lives of high school students in one ordinary school day, but powerfully paints the disturbing psychological conditions of the youth which may pedal terrifying and irreversible social actions such as in a massive school shooting or massacres. Symbolically, the film conveys the metaphorically huge and seen reality (as represented by the connotative discourse on the title "Elephant")among the teenage group in our society which we all choose to ignore. With some students being bullied or left out and as parents tend to careless about what their children do, the eruption of a fatal scenario can possibly surface in an alarming grandeur.

With the snippets and the subtleness of the dialogues, the film successfully separately introduces the characters and their emotions which may represent individuals in a society; there’s John who assists his alcoholic father, Elias who is an aspiring photographer, Nathan as a popular lifeguard/football player with his girlfriend Carrie, Michelle as a nerdy girl ashamed of her body and assists in the library, Acadia as a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance and suffers a panic disorder, and Brittany, Jordan and Nicole as the three bulimic teenage girls who squabble with one another. All of them are icons in the film which personal lives meet as the plot progresses. But on top of them, Alex who is bullied by a spitball by his classmates and Eric who is a slacker and close friend of Alex are the two characters which leave the audience a haunting discourse. They are the boys dressed in camouflage who barrage in the campus and fire the massacre.

With the characters natural performance, an angle of homosexuality can be seen on the imageries painted. This is drawn between Alex and Eric. While Alex is taking a shower, Eric enters and kisses him. Eric claims that he has never kissed anyone before. As based on wikipedia, This scene was mildly controversial because it caused some to question whether
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold,the perpetrators of the real life Columbine High School massacre, were sexually involved, even though there is no evidence for this.

Based in part of the 1999 Columbine Highschool, the film is packed with an impressive camerawork which invite the viewers to look closely on the details which are critical in the build up of the tension. Relatively, the film does not only move in a linear order but it breaks dimensions to best showcase the psyche and emotions of the characters in an overlapping time frame. In the end, as the viewers understand the narrative and becomes terrified with the apocalypse, a spine-chilling explosion happens which slaps an ignored and seemingly obvious internal decay among the youth. Overall, the tracking shots and the steady shots depict the untangled narrative which deliberately puts the closure among viewers.

Relatively, the shots do not only convey the activities inside the campus, it also follows the thinking and actions of some students inside their homes. As such, the film reveals Alex and Eric plotting their plan – from purchasing a gun, testing it, and going to the school to execute such attack. On top of that, the two youngsters watch a film on Hitler which may be read as a root of influence on their thinking or identity formation as civilians. All of these happen in a disturbingly democratic society.

Bottomline, what makes the film such a masterpiece is its brave attempt to showcase a reality forming beneath the typical school days as students walk in hall ways, eat in the cafeteria, chit chat to their friends, and proceed with class discussions, which may emerge in an unexpected time. Indeed, the film gives a reality check on a touted free and civil society where students should be reared and guided in an institution called SCHOOL!


Earvs Bares it All
Interview by myself to my inner self.

BB: What’s happening with your company?
EE: Recession daw sabi ng management. As a result, they have to slash 10% on our salary, convert overtime to bakasyon, medical expenses every month is only up to BND40, and a lot more.

BB: Binawasan kayo ng 10%, is it legal?
EE: Although may nagsasabing legal siya as stated on our contract, but I haven’t checked the statement supporting such legality. For me, hindi tama. Kung puede nga lang isumbong sa embassy eh. Kaya lang, what scares us, baka tanggalan kami ng work. Siempre, mas mabuti pang tumahimik na lang. Baka madamay pa ang iba.

BB: Is it true ang iba hindi binabawasan ng 10%?
EE: We’re not sure on that matter. Basta ang Manager, di pumapasok pag Friday and Saturday. Accountant, Monday to Saturday but half day lang. Ang mga chekwa, naka-smile lagi. Sa palagay namin, sa laki ng sahod nila, mani ang 10%!

BB: What are the other injustices na nakikita mo?
EE: Primarily, ang pagpabor sa sariling uri. Siempre, lokal muna bago iba. In general naman, laging inaasa at binibigay most of the work loads sa foreigner. Bibilib ka rin naman sa foreigner kasi, magagaling. Tried and tested na yan. Ang mga lokal, parang walang utak. Kulang sila sa diskarte. Yes. They can design, but concept wise, iasa mo yan sa Pinoy. Tanggalin natin ang Pinoy, pilay ang kompanya!

BB: Are you happy with the management and why?
EE: Sa totoo lang, di na. Magulo. Labu-labo. Walang isang salita. Pabaya. Before, unti lang kami and my boss was here, we were very productive and we’re earning much. Nakapag-Malaysia pa nga kami. Company paid yon. Now. Magulo na. Daming tinatanggal. May hindi inextend although dati ng pinangakuan. How can you work with so much anxiety na baka bukas tanggalan ka ng work? Masakit sa ulo.

BB: You said, may hindi inextend at may tinanggal. Gaano katotoo?
EE: Totoong totoo yan. I won’t name names. It’s all mismanaged. Minsan, iisipin na lang namin kung magkano sinasahod ng ilan at bakit nagkakalugi lugi na ang company. Sayang. Punto pa, hindi alam ng pinuno ng kahalagahan ng empleyado sa kompanya. Tanggal lang ng tanggal. Awa ng Diyos, me lilipatan na ang mga taong naperwisyo.

BB: Totoo bang hindi humaharap sa kliyente ang pinuno?
EE: Totoo yan. Ayaw niyang ginagamit pangalan niya in any meeting or any acquaintances. Mahilig yan sa, sinabi niya, sinabi ni. Puros sinabi ni. Which actually defeats the purpose kung bakit siya ipinuwesto. Nasa posisyon siya para magpasok ng bagong kliyente hindi magpasok ng kliyenteng ke liit tas kamaganak pa!

BB: Ano ba ang problema sa pinuno?
EE: Doble Kara.Very much. Iba iba ang press release niya sa mga tao. Depende sa kaharap niya. Kaya dahil diyan, mahirap na rin magsalita sa kanya at magtiwala.

BB: How do you handle such character?
EE: Kailangan makipagsabayan. Kailangan alam mo kung paano lalaruin ang sitwasyon. Pero ang importante, alamin mo ang katotohanan at wag kang magbibitiw ng salitang ikasisira ng mga taong naapi. Sometimes, it helps ang wag magkomento.

BB: Do you rant?
EE: Ano pa bang ginagawa natin? (Big Laugh) Minsan nakakapagod mag-rant or makinig sa ibang rant ng ibang tao. Pero bahagi yan ng reyalidad. Kailangang harapin at solusyunan. On top of that, kailangan me back up plan siempre di lang puros daldal.

BB: I heard, iiwan ang isang local na writer?
EE: Yeah. Kasi tatlo kami. Yung isa, di na inextend. Ako til March pa naman. Although sinabihan ako na i-extend ako. Then again, di naman yan sigurado. Walang isang salita ang mga tao rito. But going back to your question, yeah. I guess, expected na rin. Kasi maliban sa local, mukhang me koneksiyon or influential ang family dito. Hula nga namin, baka kamag-anak ang boss namin.

BB: What’s the possible impact ng pagalis ng isang writer?
EE: Maliban sa aadjust pa ako sa media booking dahil ako na rin ang naghahandle, I think it will be more challenging. But I’m looking at it as a positive opportunity. I just have to work double, in terms of concept making and research. I’m willing naman to train eh. Wag lang masyadong abuso. I’m not selfish in sharing what I have. Mas matutuwa pa ako kung matuto ang isang tao sa mga pinagsasabi ko. Frustrating lang, ang writer na trinain namin, di matuto-tuto. Kulang sa focus. Walang ginawa kung mag-you tube at mag-chat. Masaklap, siya lang naman ang iiwan!

BB: Do you love your job?
EE: Kung sasagutin ko yan, isasagot ko, slight. Yes. I enjoy writing. I love showcasing my creativity. Pero slightly I don’t like my job coz maybe routinary na for me. Wala na yung stage of exploration. Kaya nga minsan, I tell my Dad, parang wala ng challenge sa work. Then he’ll just advice me, hold on and just think of my savings. True rin naman.

BB: What do you hate about your job?
EE: Weird. Dahil mulat ako sa theories on capitalism, sometimes, I hate too much commercial writing. Thank goodness, may time ako to free my literary spirit at night or on weekends. Kailangan ko lang talagang magipon that’s why sometimes I eat junk.

BB: Would you opt to stay in your current company?
EE: Kung may offer why not. But with what’s happening, mukhang malabo na yan. Currently, naghahanap na rin ako. Me pending na aplikasyon. Just waiting and praying hard.

BB: Bakit hindi mo maiwan ang Brunei?
EE: Hindi pa akong handang iwan ang choir ko. At nagiipon pa ako. In time, alam ko, aalis din ako.

BB: Kamusta ang aplikasyon sa TelBru?
EE: I’m really looking forward to that. Sana nga mag-materialize na. Mejo matagal talaga ang application but in progress naman! Buti me nagaayos sa loob.

BB: I heard, nag-apply ka sa Pilihan FM. Do you plan to be a DJ?
EE: Actually, if I will be given a chance, why not. Yes. I applied. Hopefully matanggap as part-time DJ. Seryoso, ang saklap ng radyo dito. Hopefully, pag natanggap ako, I’ll introduce the concept of programming.

BB: Kelan mo balak mag-for good sa Pinas?
EE: Hindi ko pa masabi. Depende pa sa mga pangyayari at kung kakayanin pa ng tibay ng loob ko ang mabuhay sa ibang bansa. Na-mi-miss ko talaga ang pamilya ko at ang Pilipinas!

BB: Kung ngayon ang huling araw mo sa Brunei, end of contract, what you will miss the most?
EE: Above anything else, it’s my CHOIR. Nabubuhay ako because I serve the Lord and I’m able to share my talent. The peacefulness follows next sa mga bagay na ma-mi-miss ko.

BB: Can you say you are already successful?
EE: (big laugh). Depende yan kung paano natin titingnan ang success. For me, basta ang importante, nakakatulong ako sa family ko, I can save, I can share my talent, happy na ako. Successful ako dahil may mga tao akong naiinspire especially those individuals na gusto ring subukan ang buhay OFW. Seriously, mahirap pero masaya. I learned a lot from my Bruneiyuki life. I became independent and I gained new perspectives in looking the world in a foreign land. Minsan iisipin mo, ang daling talikuran ang Pilipinas pag natikman mo na ang saganang buhay. Pero sa huli, babalik at babalik ka rin sa lupang tibuan. Totoong, ang tunay na laban ay nasa Pilipinas at wala sa ibang bansa. That’s the reason I intend to go back sa Pinas.

BB: Balita namin, sumisikat ka as a singer, gaano katotoo?
EE: I sing a lot. Pero hindi naman sikat as sikat. I just sometimes sing on parties. Since maliit na bansa ang Brunei, nakikilala ako especially sa church where I do solo singing. To me naman, at least na-sha-share ko talent ko. Isa pa, I sometimes join competitions. Exciting lang din. Pantaboy sa homesickness. Isa pa, I teach pop singing. Chinese community ang kumakagat sa talent kong yan. They’re just eager to learn English songs.

BB: Do you miss your family?
EE: That should not be asked. Ayan na-miss ko naman tuloy sila. Pero seriously, sobra sobra. Makausap ko nga lang sila online, fully charged na ako!

BB: What do you miss most on your life back in the Philippines?
EE: Family lunch out on Sundays. Coffee talk with friends. Visit at UP. Mall strolling. Travels. Chikahan with my cousins. Food trippin with my siblings. Solidariy in my room. Visiting the urn of my Mom and praying at St. Peter’s Parish. Fiesta at Laguna. Holyweek at Bicol. Ang kulturang pinoy.

BB: What’s the challenging part in being a Bruneiyuki?
EE: Mabuhay magisa. Homesickness ang pinakamalaki kong kalaban. Thank goodness, marami na rin akong nakilala sa Brunei kaya kahit papaano natatanggal ang sadness. Isa pa, constant communication through net with my family really helps. Kung hindi, malamang nabaliw na ako!

BB: Gaano kahirap ang homesickness?
EE: Walang physical cure sa homesickness. Kailangan mo lang ikondisyon ang isipan mo na kakayanin mo at kailangan constant ang communication sa family. Sadly, ang iba na me asawa sa Pilipinas, dala ng lungkot, napapariwara. Totoo yan sa buhay OFW. Minsan ang sarap pagaralan ng sikolhiyang OFW. Samu’t sari ang kanilang kuwento.

BB: If you’re not a writer, what would you be?
EE: Probably, I’m a singer, musician, a Dj, a television director, or a professor. Pero more or more, singer or a professor. Basta anything that won’t stuck me on an eight to five job facing the computer. I seriously hate it. Minsan iniisip ko, puede bang matulog muna pag walang work! Nakakapagod din tumunganga sa PC or mag-blog the whole day.

BB: You work in some television networks, would you still opt to work again there if given a chance?
EE: I’ve been there. So sa tingin ko, I better try another world. Kailangan kong hanapin ang propesyon na magiging masaya ako at fulfilled. Hopefully sa University ko mahanap yan or working in a Non-government organization.

BB: Any future plans?
EE: Well, right now, looking forward na ako for my masters this second sem. It’s under UP’s Open University. For now, yan muna pagtuunan ko ng pansin. On the side, I’ll save more. Tuloy pa rin ang part time sa teaching ng pop singing. Basta save save save mode ako. Hopefully by 2010, makapagstart na kami ng kapatid ko ng business namin. And I’m also planning to invest sa house pero mukhang ipost pone ko muna. Alanganin pa lately eh. Unless makalipat na ako sa ibang stable na company.

BB: How’s your plan in teaching?
EE: Yeah. I still intend to teach. Nagiipon lang ako ng pera at lakas. Ambisyoso ako pero sana UP ang kabagsakan ko. Sayang inaalok na ako dati. Sana pagbalik ko, bukas pa ang offer. Kailangan ko lang paghandaan ang pagsabak ko sa akademya. After MA, Phd naman.

BB: Last question, how’s your love life?
EE: (Big Laugh) Wala akong love life. How I wish meron. Minsan tinatanong ko ang friend ko. Parang ang sarap ng ma-inlove. Kaya lang, parang na-ta-trauma ako sa mga nakikita sa mga umiibig. I’ve been single for the past 27 years of my life. Pero let’s see.Importante, masaya ako, healthy at walang sakit ng ulo.

BB: Best of luck!
EE: Salamat!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: Review of “Hollywood Ending”

Last night, since we had our dinner so early, I opted to have some movie review night in my room. After checking the piling DVDs, I grabbed a movie titled “Hollywood Ending,” a comedy film Directed and Written by Woody Allen.

I’m not a huge fan of Woody Allen but such title piqued my interest. With the word “Hollywood” calling a massive commercial film representation paired with “ending” as a prophetic signification, I didn’t hesitate to give the film a shot and review.

Surprisingly, the film enslaved me. I got sooooo hooked and time went unnoticeably. Overall, if I’ll rate this 2002 flick, looking at its political statement, I must say, 4 stars over 5.

PSYCHOSOMATIC VISION: Blindness as an instrument of Demystifying Commercial Film Making
By Earvin Charles B. Cabalquinto

Hollywood Ending presents the life of Val Waxman (played by Woody Allen), a one-time cinematic genius who's resorted to taking advertisement work to pay the bills for himself and his live-in girlfriend, Lori (
Debra Messing), who luckily receives a movie project which will paint the 1940’s New York City, the script titled The City Never Sleeps. This all happens when Ellie (Tea Leoni), Val’s ex wife and now an Executive Producer at Galaxy Picture, prods her boyfriend Hal (Treat Williams), a high powered studio head, that only Val who has a “unique vision” who can do justice to the 60 million dollar film. Too bad, when the camera rolls, Val’s struck with a psychosomatic case of blindness. And when doctors fail to find a cure, Val opts to proceed with his big time directorial break.

The Film chronicles the possibility of losing the physical “vision” in actual film making and ushering a psychosomatic perspective in developing raw, thriving and non-commercial imprisoned films. Although it may sound odd or off to have a blind director to direct a million dollar commercial film as it threatens the representation of having a “good and unique” vision which may produce spectacular output, that film’s premise actually braves the overarching umbrella or standard of a highly commercial and politicized film making industry. By putting behind blur, sugar-coated, traditional, and even one sided views of film making, the film attracts openness and versatility. And this could be seen in some interesting supporting element– getting a Japanese camera crew, a Japanese translator turned to connive with Val’s manager to guide the blind director, and a director who happens to imbibe a psychosomatic case of blindness.

Apart from the all-natural acting, Woody Allen’s entertaining neurotic dialogues, the bashing conversations between Ellie and Val, and the obviously funny stereotyped fame-hungry Lori, what makes the film worth watching is its sweet and sour rendition of bashing the commercial movie industry which does not only apply in Hollywood but across the globe. In any film, looking at its political economy frame, a film is made to rake in money, win an award or simply be liked by viewers and that depends highly on the script and most especially on the direction as Film is a visual medium. As such, it can be read on two dichotomies- sweetness and bitterness.

The film is sweet in a sense it tickles your imagination on the big “what if” possibility by taking away the physical vision of the director. Us, as viewers who know that the director has no sight, laugh out loud with all the hype and “pun” yet we’re anxious with the possible output. Who would not laugh when a Journalist reviews the dailies and said that the director has a unique style of directing skills, something which is CHAOTIC! On one hand, the film is bitter to cajole the mantel of the film industry. It’s sharp in the sense it attempts to demystify the existing myths and traditions along the nature of film making. First, by removing the “physical vision” of the director, the director welcomes perspectives from a Japanese guide, he refuses a seductive act from sexy actress who probably wants more exposure, and he sees his ex-wife better than his current commercial and money-thirsty girlfriend. Overall, the psychosomatic elements bind the film’s totality in challenging the hegemonic principles enslaving American film making. As such, it introduces the independence on film making far from commercialization which may define artistry and an eye-opening vision.

The use of psychosomatic case of blindness in the film is a powerful metaphorical concept. According to Freud, psychosomatic blindness is a conversion disorder. Freud believed that the anxiety of the psyche was sometimes "converted" into physical (aka, somatic) form. It mainly affects the sensory system (e.g., blindness) and nervous system (e.g., paralysis) and is usually transient. It often exhibits inconsistencies (e.g., the "blind" person is able to navigate around barriers) which aid in its diagnosis. Relating this to Hollywood as the melting pot of film making, we can claim that Hollywood is a physical entity which is composed of a system manned by individuals. However, as these people search for new concepts or either recycle old titles to generate sales or express artistry, anxiety emerges which may manifest on its output such as affecting the vision as dictated by the society, articulated by the script, and visualized by the director. Then again, as blindness waltzes in, a new vision is concocted which defies subjective and old cemented views.

At the end of the film, despite the brouhaha on the director’s loss of sight which is also accidentally revealed by the director himself to a journalist who sat beside him, the film directed by the “blind” director, simultaneous with the director’s sight being restored, is acknowledged by the French Film community as innovative, natural and very out-of-the-box. At this angle, from being an accidental piece to a chaotic rendition, we can see the blossoming of a new film making style which caters a niche which is the French. However, with Val’s with his ex-wife Elli flying to Paris to shoot a film, the film bends its premise of challenging the hegemonic principles of commercial Hollywood making. As such, it leaves the audience a problematic thought, for its worth, glory and iconic image, Hollywood will always be clinging to the commercial side. Such experimentation as made by Val can only be entertained on a different market.

The final film is not presented at the end. I was expecting they’ll show it. But again, if we’ll look at it, it’s a very symbolical approach. We as viewers have become a part of the film. We are the viewers of Hollywood. We inhale and exhale escapist commercial movies. In short, we are prisoners of such trend. And so, by not presenting the touted “chaotic” film from a director who suffers a psychosomatic case of blindness during the shoot, we are being asked to think what could possibly be the standards of a fresh and artistic film as hailed by the French. With that, we are invited to explore other cultures and even break long-held traditions to make way for genuine artistic expression contributing to the society’s growth. Additionally, Hollywood does not own the film making world, but the whole world.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


UP, UP and AWAY: Chasing Dream through a Child’s eye!

By Earvin Charles B. Cabalquinto

Yesterday, I got a chance to watch this year’s highly-anticipated, adorable and comedy film from Disney and Pixar titled “UP.” In a gist, the film not only makes you teary eyed and gives you HUGE laughs, but it leaves you to reflect on your personal adventures especially on chasing one’s own dream. I guess that’s the reason why this film is not only made to tickle a child’s imagination, but more importantly, it is also highly recommended to adults. With that, seriously, I’m giving this film a THUMBS UP! Believe me, it’s a must-see movie!

“UP,” written by Pixar veteran Bob Peterson and co-directed by Peterson and Monsters, Inc. director Peter Docter, chronicles the life of a 78-year old balloon salesman named Carl Friedricksen who ties a balloon on his house and heads off to wander in the wilds of South Africa to be at Paradise Falls. Without this old man’s knowing, a cute eight year old wilderness explorer named Russell is with him on his journey. As the two explorer ventures into the wilderness, they discover new adventures and encounter predators which will teach them how to be a kid and a grown up man to better understand reality.

Apart from the stunning 3D visual, the robust colours and the perky characters, what makes the film a delightful treat is while the story brings everyone in a magical and fairy-tale like hype through the house tied in balloons, the plot specifically grounds the oddity and complexity of reality in a symbolical grandeur. Topped with a smooth build up of character introduction and real-life processes, the film leaves everyone with mixed emotions and reflective.

The film articulates an overarching lesson which intends to inspire the audience: If you have a dream, chase that dream and make it happen. This is the sole reason why the major character Carl Friedrickson, despite his weak knees and blurring eye vision because of old age, defies the imposition of his society by just placing him under the Shady Oakes retirement custody and follows his dream and his’ wife’s ambition adventure as encrypted on its My Adventure Book. Looking back, Carl’s dream started upon watching Charles Muntz, an popular explorer of the Spirit of Adventure Voyage, who happens to be transformed into a cunning guy in fulfilling his once-in-a-lifetime adventure: to find the colourful bird. Then again, what’s more powerful on that big morale being painted, as the film reveals the obstacles and the complexities before reaching the end, the film teaches everyone to at least ponder and see what’s on the present as we chase pavements which may only tire and rotten our identity as human beings. True enough, despite the high mountains we have to climb and the jungle we have to conquer, we have to be compassionate to others in order to find happiness, fulfillment and even a home out of the wilderness. And as the balloons take away the house, it snatches the hedonistic quest away from Carl which enkindles the sweet memories of him with his wife Ellie which make a wooden house into a hefty home.

For a major weeper kind of viewer, this film is totally a tear jerker. While the appetizing visual feeds your senses, the real life scenarios embraces you more which can make you fall in tears. First, who wouldn’t shed a tear upon seeing an old man who lived a happy life with his wife is suddenly left alone as his wife dies. Second, how about seeing and feeling the emotions of an old guy holding his wife’s adventure book. And as the old guy leaf the pages, he realizes his wife lived its life adventure even better just simply being with him. And third, despite the rants and conflicts, how about seeing an old man slowly walks on the stage to award a badge to a boy who teaches him more about life and saves him from falling in a selfish and lonely place. All in all, these are highlights which thread the film’s constant heartwarming appeal. Then again, surely, the film will never fail to make you laugh, BIGTIME!

The film invites the audience to see the world in a child’s eye. That is well conversed through the hyper, bubbly and expressive character of Russell. With a sole goal to assist an old man in order to earn a badge and be promoted as a senior wilderness explorer, Russell does not only learn the real “jungle” by being with Carl, but unknowingly, he imparts not only assistance, rather, he also creates a life-changing impact on the old man’s life, by sharing his compassion and high spirit. In end, the old man sees his dream transformed by finding his new adventures with Russell which now defines a happy home.

As seen on any children story, the film interplays symbolical icons to voice the reality of the society. Carl may represent individuals who brave no matter what are the odds to follow their dreams. Russell may be viewed as a passionate and driven newbie ready to learn from the real wilderness but happens to create an impact on his surrounding. Charles Muntz can be weighed as a guy blinded by his selfish journeys. The Colorful Bird and the Paraside Falls may represent a dream. And the balloon which may metaphorically defines an element of moving on or letting go. And the badge may be looked at as an affirmation for a job well done yet being abolished in exchange of the human love and happiness which position the real successes in life. All of these speak well the totality of a current society being cajoled by such economic or simply social spin.

Overall, the film leaves the viewers a new perspective on how to view the world and ones dreams. Indeed, we may hold on to the past, we may keep memories, we may forever chase our dreams, or we can be mad to the world for all its injustices, yet, at the end of the day, we can always have a good laugh with a total stranger, we can learn and be reminded with the basics from a child’s voice, we can defy what the society dictates and delve on our skills, and we can be adventurously fulfilled by simply being with our (new or old) loved ones which make the wilderness possibly habitable and a HOME.

Monday, August 17, 2009

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: Movie Review: "The Departures"

Postmodern Parasitism in a Decaying Society

By Earvin Charles B. Cabalquinto

“The living eats the dead. Unless you want to die, don’t eat.”

-Sasaki, company owner of NK Agent.

RANK: 5 STARS! ( 5 the highest)

Yesterday, I got the chance to watch a movie titled “Departures” by Yojiro Takita. It’s a Japanese film which won Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Oscar Awards. The fact that it won in the prestigious Oscars and a lot of other local and international accolades totally piqued my interest to watch it. Now, here’s my review.

“Departures” chronicles the life of a cello player Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki), who after the premiere symphony orchestra in Tokyo where he works gets dissolved, leads him moving back to his mother’s abandoned house in Yamagata with her wife Mika (Ryoko Hirosue) and in order to survive eventually lands him in an very different job under Sasaki’s (Tsutomo Yamazaki) company – doing a ceremonial “encoffination” of corpses prior to cremation.

“Departures” symbolically and perfectly articulates the current economic global condition transforming the face and perspectives of the human race. It does not only depicts the raw emotions of the characters’ relations and struggles to oneself, to his family and in the society he lives in, but it also breaks the constructs of the judgmental society in defining a “decent job” through showing the dignity in living out of someone’s death, yet, it also affirms the helplessness of humans in hard times. On one hand, while the concept of death becomes the overarching umbrella to elicit the emotions seeped, the film mirrors how the “living” is surviving like dead bodies in a decaying society.

Looking in the current global condition, Japan, for its technology-dependent and booming industries, has been hit by the recession intensely. As a result, not only its political and economic grounds have been cajoled, more importantly, its civil society and the preservation of culture and traditions have also been affected. And with the invincible hands of recession raging its fiery impacts on business and trade, the people suffer the most. End up, not only unemployment surfaces, but underemployment happens too. Truth be told, this could be one angle which can be read on the films narrative; it’s the mismatch of one’s skill, the coffining of dreams, the paralysis of culture, and the stagnation of traditions which undermine the growth of a civil society.

The dramatic music captivates me as I take my journey on this film. However, beyond the rousing melodies which lullaby the viewers paired with the cinematic appeal showcased by a powerhouse serious to witty acting, detailed camera framing, and poignant narration, the film subconsciously posits an alarming long held reality: the existence of postmodern Necrophilia, or the sexual attraction to the dead, and the worsening parasitic cannibalism. To be exact, how Daigo deals with his vomiting vividly paints a milieu of helplessness on intense skills corruption.

Daigo’s case flawlessly draws the notion of necrophilia and parasitic cannibalism. First, we see the “coffining” of his passion on playing the music. And soon, we see him bring himself forward on his apprehensive quest on ceremonial “encoffination.” Oddly, although we never “literally” see a smile on Daigo’s face whenever he performs such ceremony, we can feel that he has accepted the job not only as an act, but as a decent source of income. That gives him a different kind of pleasure, to survive, at least. And that reinforces the ideology of making a living through the dead. Relatively, if we are to read this construction in a deeper ground, we can understand that this is a metaphorical representation of how we currently live in our society. In a postmodern world where globalization creates a global village of faceless identities, a nation progress while industrialization bashes culture and traditions, and turbo capitalism which shallows outlook, we are left with a dead or anonymous society concealed with glamour. Additionally, in a Marxist perspective, the film reinforces the language of ideologies in these rough times. Although there is nothing wrong with such job, what more depressing is the underemployment happening in order to survive in a touted industrial society. True enough, there is carnal pleasure in earning one’s survival and progress.

And as the film brings us the emotional encounters and heart-stopping conversations of Daigo with his mourning “clients,” we also see the withering of Daigo’s identity which may symbolically represent a nation. While Daigo’s dream of being a successful musician is being buried simultaneous with every burial ceremony he facilitates, he also has to know his past to understand his present; the search and longing for a father who gave him his dream and suddenly left him and his mother when he was six. Similarly, with the boom of intense consumerism which sets out culture and history in ushering economic competence, a nation suffers in positioning its authentic identity. The location of oneself becomes unclear especially in the emergence of conflict coming at some economic, political or social platforms.

The film ends with a gripping closure on Daigo’s life. After 30 years, finally Daigo meets his father. Oddly enough, he does the encoffination for his father’s lifeless body. With his wife beside him, he discovers the “stone letter” being held by his father on its hands. And as Daigo picks up the stone letter and passes it to his wife, the film justifies that death is not the end, it is only the beginning. True enough, as Daigo finds his “new” identity as a person, a son, a husband, and a soon-to-be father, he will remain a part of the cyclical journey of social parasitism and cultural decay in order to survive in a capital state.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: Crazy Earvs on Petiks Mode!

Seriously, over the past weeks, I’ve been doing uber “few” workloads. Sagad ‘te!!!!! I’m not complaining with all the free time but it’s just odd for me to do “nothing at all” in my workplace. I tell you, for a workaholic like me, doing nothing is a curse. Isang sumpa. So to keep myself busy, I just update my blog almost everyday, surf a lot (as in!), check some design inspirations, blog hop, and comment and reply to Facebook and Plurk’s shout outs super so fast. Because of such PETIKS mode, here are some thoughts, rants, crazy ideas and even gossips I want to share with all of you.

Right now. I’m dreaming of eating ONE BOTTLE OF NUTTELLA! Seriously, takam na takam ako sa chocolate spread na yan. It’s like you’re eating Ferrero! Imagine that!

But the again, DIET mode is hindering me for such sinful indulgence. Okay, I must admit. MAHIRAP MAGING CELEBRITY! Feeling ‘te? Ambisyoso ka ‘te!

I’m thinking of flying somewhere. Go somewhere. Escape mode. Prisoner lebel gone mad. Di ko na ma-take ang maghapong pagharap sa PC and waiting for the office bell to ring. That’s because as I said, we’re not doing anything! It’s super tiring. Eeeeew!

In this context, I want to fly in some country or Island. Bask under the sun. Sight seeing. Puede ring extreme adventure to uplift my low spirit. Super low mahahalikan ko na ang sahig. Eeeeew!

Frankly, PARUSA ang walang ginagawa! Hahaha!

Hep hep hep! If there’s any consolation on this, aba, well paid tayo! Wala lang talagang projects for now. So enjoy thy free time. Pero pag dumating naman ang projects, hala, it pours! BAHA ‘te!

Dahil sa pakikinig sa LOVE RADIO and ENERGY FM, discussions on being a Mistress has been in my mind for the past days. Seriously, super kakarelate ako sa usapan. Well, not because I’m a mistress or some sort but there’s something sa aking paligid na masasabing close to such “chaos” or kaguluhan.

L word. Powerful.

Wonder. Wonder. Seriously I’m wondering what does someone feel when he/she sleeps with a married man/woman. Wondering lang naman.

Let’s see. Should we expect a police coming over? How a bout the land lady screaming at the top of her lungs upon finding the truth? The management receives the bomb and viola, surprise! Let’s watch. It’s going to be one hell of a drama. Cries. Pity. Emotions. This is like Pinoy Big Brother.

Confession room is open.

At this moment, I’m thinking of buying a speaker. Of course, I want my recording to be clearer for all my viewers! Naks! So the next time you tune in into my singing blog, you get the right amount of aural pleasure. The next stop na ang Visual pleasure. For now, shorts mode muna tayo mga friends!

HEP HEP HEP. Note to self: Di ba nagtititpid ka? SELF: Sabi ko nga.

For that, awat muna sa gastos! Goodbye sa speaker!

Haze for life. Haze for life. Yeah. Brunei is still covered in haze. Thankfully, last night, while I was watching a movie titled “KURAP,” in a blink of an eye, UMULAN! Yiheee. Coldness at night and siempre, hopefully the heavy downpour helped killing the migraine causing haze. Sakit sa ulo ng usok ‘te! Buti hindi sand storm!

Last Friday, I auditioned di ba for some singing raket. So before the audition, I had my dinner at CACA. Basta the name of the resto was CACA.

Dahil diet ako, mixed veggies with chicken ang inorder ko. Yummyness mga ‘te! I loved the food. Again, dahil diet ako, I wasn’t able to finish the rice. Yeah! Half lang! What an achievement. What can I do, busog na ako! Wag na ipilit!

But here’s the catch, when I ordered, sabi ng waitress, TAGA-MANILA ka noh? Yours truly curiously answered back, OO ‘te, pano mo nalaman. Bonggang sumagot si ate, “ Eh kasi ang mga taga-Manila, madalas gumamit ng ‘te or kuya!” Nagulat ako. Ababababa! Weeener si ATI!

Feeling ko my BUTT is getting big. That’s because I’m seated for almost most of the day. Seriously, na-mi-miss ng paa ko ang maglakad at tumakbo.

To make lambing with my legs, go walking and dancing ako during afternoons! Hopefully maging effective yan for losing weight.

Before I thought, ANG HIRAP MAGPAPAYAT. But now, I thought, ANG HIRAP MAGPAPAYAT. So what’s new? New clothes for a bulging self?

Pero seryoso. Slightly, lumuluwag na ang damit ko (sa kakalaba!) Tawa lang ‘te!

I’ve been wondering. What if we’ll have 48 hours a day, more sleep or more work? Akalain niyong MORE SLEEP ang nagwagi. For that, sleep na tayo, FOR LIFE. Wag naman, mukhang din a kama ang higaan natin. Coffin? Scary ‘te!

There’s something amazing about Wednesdays. Much-awaited day of the week ko yan. Amazing coz it’s Midweek. For a slightly tinatamad na nilalang just like me, once Wednesday says hello to the world, getting a relaxing weekend is so near from happening! Midweek na!

Guess what kung san ko namana ang shout out n, “It’s Wednesday, it’s midweek!” Well, point tayo kay Ate Ja, ang bonggang bongga kong bos when I was in ABS-CBN! Apir ‘te!

Finally, happiness ako coz sanay na ang dila ko sa OATMEAL tuwing morning. I feel so light and still full. Healthy lifestyle, try niyo na rin!

I’ve been praying every night na di ako sakitan ng ipin. So pag nagpaparamdam ang ipin, I pray harder. Mahal magpa-dentista sa abroad. Promise. Around 1500 pesos isang pasta!

Note to self: Baka naman di mercury ang gagamitin for pasta. GINTO! Investment ‘te!

As I’m writing this entry, FYI, Wu Chun is still in Brunei.

Joke time. Fans day.

Shiela: Ano kaya during the fans day, takbo ka kay Wu Chun tas hawak mo malaking poster. Sabay sigaw ka, I LOVE YOU VANESSA WU!

Panalo! Eh magkakamukha naman sila di ba?

Note to self: Katakot, baka mapatalsik tayo sa Brunei. I love my Job. Stir?LOL!

When I get lonely, weird, I just look at my savings and I feel good. Hala, nabaliw na!

Sometimes, I’m thinking. What if I-absorb ako ng monitor ko and I’ll be in a paradise. Dream lang naman.

Is it possible I eat a lot of chocolates and not GAIN weight?

Aanhin mo ang gabi kung wala kang katabi, aanhin mo ang katabi kung wala naming silbi! – LOVE RADIO

Minsan iniisip ko, parang sarap ma-in love. Parang ang sarap lang.

Note to self: Subukan mo. Kakayanin ba ng wallet mo? LOL!

Last week, I shared to everyone I’m planning to get a house and lot. Yeah. I’m serious bout that. I’m just weighing my options. Pero definite yan!

Note to self: You’ve changed Earvs! Sino naman ang ibabahay mo?
SELF: Ako, sarili ko and myself. Tatlo kami! LOL!

Ramadhan is coming soon in Brunei. Wala na namang kaninan during lunch ang mga Muslim. Siempre, apektado kami. Some restos, sarado! Sa gabi lang sila nagbubukas.

Sabayan ko kaya ang fasting nila?

Note to self: Di nga lang makapag-breakfast, naghihina ka. Gusto mo bang mapa-fast ang buhay mo! Awat sa fasting!

I’m so excited with the coming of Hari Raya. Parang pasko yan sa Muslim tradition. Daming sale. And we’re having a 3 day holiday!

Note to self: I-sale ko rin kaya sarili ko especially at this time of recession? Pakyawan ‘te? Hahaha!

Looking forward na talaga ako for my grad studies! Handa na akong muling maging intelektwal!

Note to self: Handa na ba ang UP sa isang tulad mo, Earvs?
Self: (sumigaw habang nakaposas) Walang pakialaman!

Hala nabaliw na! Exorcism?

Marami ang nagaakala na nakahiga na ako sa salapi ditto sa Brunei. Ang totoo po niyan, naliligo ako sa barya! Echos!

Seriously, if there’s any consolation on working abroad, that’s being able to save. Kapalit naman niyan, homesickness. Gusto mo?

Yeah. I’m extending my stay in Brunei for another two years. Another two years of pagtitiyaga! Ang plano: finish masters, save more and invest! Next stop, abroad ulit! Kung saan man yon!

Asar lang. Someone called over the radio to greet all the Filipinos abroad. Weener dib a. Kaya lang after saying that, binagsak ni Ate ang phone! Kahiya naman!

At this moment, while I’m writing this, some new projects have just arrived. So magiging busy na ako! Yiheeee!

Note to self: Magiging busy saan? Umayos ka!

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: When Homesickness Strikes!

Monday morning, I woke up at around 6:30. I had a not-so-good morning! The moment I woke up, there was one thing in my mind – to shorten my stay in Brunei and get back to the Philippines, immediately. Obviously, it’s one of those sudden “homesicked” days. It’s an avalanche of emotions pulling me down (again) in my helpless and weakest self. Zooom! Wakey wakey!

Prior to such morning, I had a great weekend. Saturday, I got an invitation to sing in an upcoming birthday celebration of the husband of my student next Saturday. Then Sunday, I sang in an Anniversary celebration of Fitness Zone. It was huge and explosive performance for me, considering I didn’t have a good sleep the night prior to my stint. Overall, it was a lovely and blessed weekend. However, because of such busy and hectic schedule over the weekend, I wasn’t able to attend mass. As the weekend ended, I realized it was at those special successful moments I truly miss my family. How I wish they’re with me as everyone applauded my performance. On top of that, it was my brother’s birthday! Geeeesh! I really miss them. Guess what, they went to Tagaytay to celebrate his day! Inggit ako to the maaaaaaaax!

And so Monday came and a surprising feeling greeted me. Yeah. I knew I was feeling homesicked. Thankfully, when I arrived in the office, after opening my Facebook, reading my emails and started “PLURKING/TWEETERING,” and digesting all the thread and shout outs, I felt relieved. Soon, I composed my strong self and veer away from delving on life’s What ifs! Damn!

My Monday ended and I had a big smile painted on my face for some reasons: (1.) I enjoyed the home-cooked Afritada I made (recording breaking coz it’s my first time!), (2.) Through my blog, I was able to help someone by sharing what are the basics to know here in Brunei. The girl is bound to work in Brunei soon as an admin officer in Bandar Seri, (4) I uploaded the pictures from my successful and highly-anticipated (feeling!) explosive singing guesting at Fitness Zone’s Anniversary, and (4) Monday ended so fast and it’s just great! To cap off my day, I walked a few meters to burn some calories. It was one of those reflective walk I truly enjoy!

Monday night came, although a minor migraine was bugging me, I had a chat with my Dad. I laid my “sudden/spur of the moment plans.” I was glad coz my dad listened to me well and he was very supportive of me.

Here’s my decision: To just extend my contract for a year instead of having it for TWO years! That’s it. I was even saying to him that I’ll finish my masters. I was so firm on this.

That’s what I thought. I was wrong.

Surprisingly, upon checking my email this morning, a wind of change blew. I was jolted from an email from UP stating the tuition fee I have to pay for my postgraduate studies. Geesh! I'm so impatient that I almost forgot I have some "schooling" to attend this September!

With such realization, I had to stand back with my initial decision: I will extend for another two years in Brunei because I want to finish my masters through UP’s Open University, nothing more and nothing less. So there, I “ate” what I told my dad in our chat. I’m back to my decision, I will extend for another two years! I think, I’ll just find an alternative plan to ward off homesickness attacks and the extreme feeling of boredom on the office. Seriously, we’re not doing anything! Obviously, I blog almost everyday! Well, at least that's how I practice my writing skill!

Bottom line, I will extend for another two years. At least, when I reach 30, I’m done with my masters (hopefully) which (hopefully again) gives me a ticket to more opportunities to study (Phd) and work abroad. On top of that, I’ll be able to save more and start my business (if there’s any I feel like venturing into).

Again, I’m telling myself that I have more reasons to celebrate life. I should be thankful with all the blessings I’ve been receiving. I have a healthy and supportive family. I have cool and loving friends who never fail to cheer me up. Yeah. Let me attract those positive vibes to succeed in life. Bring it on!

As I’m writing this entry, my father is clueless I’m getting back to my old initial plan of extending for more two years in Brunei. True enough, I have a very erratic mind! Kalurkey!
P.S. I made the doodle when we ate at Burgoo during my two-week vacation in the Philippines last April 2009!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Last Sunday (9 August 2009, yeah It's my Kuya's Birthday! Happy Birthday Kuya!), I had a singing engagement with Fitness Zone’s Event. It was an event mounted in conjunction with their Anniversary celebration. 

Apart from having the Zone Race where youngsters (group of four) compete to win a total of BND20,000 (almost 600,000 pesos), there were bazaars and a special programme dedicated to some charitable organizations. Wu Chun also came with a throng of guests to grace the event!

For eveyone’s information, Wu Chun, the stunning Taiwanese actor was born and raised here in Brunei. And guess what, he’s the owner of Fitness Zone, the leading gym here in Brunei where I used to work out before the recession bug hit me and made me tighten my wallets and compelled me to venture into some practical and money-saving exercising schemes. But I’m now thinking of going back to the gym probably soon. Let’s see!

The event was so colourful and exciting. Yeah. Yellow was the color theme (seriously, it had nothing to do with Cory!). The staffs were wearing yellow clothes and big smiles! Well, thankfully, I knew most of the staffs coz I used to work out at Fitness Zone!
Guess what “who” made the people go crazy with! It’s Jollibee! Yeah! Jollibee was at the event! He/She even danced!Weeener ang pinakasikat na bubuyog sa mundo! LOL!
Surprisingly, after my performance, two Koreans came over to have a picture with me. Seriously, I was so shocked. Maybe they thought I’m a celebrity here in Brunei on Wu Chun’s event.

But of course, I was so proud with my performance. I hit all the high notes (as they say effortlessly) and I was in my element. I sang the ever popular “This is the Moment” and Michael Bolton’s “Go the Distance.”

If there’s any consolation on my performance, it’s I was able to share my talent, serve a charity event, expose my talent, and some Koreans made an effort to have a picture with me! Although we’re supposed to meet Wu Chun, as he requested to meet the singer (that’s me), we weren't able to do that! It’s understandable coz he was very busy touring his guests in Fitness Zone and accommodating the press!

And weeeeeeeeee! I got a shirt, some bowler and a cap from Fitness Zone! 

Nevertheless, I was soooooooo happy and proud with my explosive singing performance! As a special mention, I would like to thank Shielababes (My manager) for booking me in the event! Mabuhay tayong lahat!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I’m just sooooooooo happy coz for the past days I was able to religiously update my blog which keeps me busy on “dead” times. Aside from posting some witty articles like the Celebrity-like Work Mates, I’m able to upload videos of my so called rehearsals inside my room (siempre naging “icon” ang SHORTS dahil kay Sir Brian!). Actually, all the videos here are shot in preparation of my upcoming performance this Sunday in a charity event organized by Fitness Zone, Wu Chun’s business! Yeah! You heard me right the gym (Fitness Zone) where I used to go is owned by Wu Chun. With that, I shall be expecting Wu Chun to be at the event. Hopefully, I get a photo op with him to prove such rare moment. On top of that, I’m getting some song requests through REQUEST EXPRESS. At this point, I think singing is keeping me at pace with my energetic and perky self.

For the past days, lots of changes have happened in my Bruneiyuki adventure. And admittedly, I can categorize all of these series of events on what’s HOT and what’s NOT! Let’s begin!


TITILATING TAPAO (Tapao in Malay means take out of excess foods). As we all know, the recession bug has bitten our company resulting to slashing a 10 percent off on our salary, converting overtime pay to leave, and a lot more financial restructuring. With these, I opted to just prepare my lunch! Yes, ako po’y nagbabaon na! 

But here’s the overwhelming catch. Upon conditioning myself into a thrifty mortal, my hidden culinary skills came out in the open and VIOLA, I was able to cook scrumptious meals. Last week, I cooked adobo. This week, I cooked sinigang na baboy. And guess what, next week, I’ll be preparing Afritada! On top of that, being a health buff, I bought some fish which I plan to marinade for frying. Seriously, I feel fulfilled on preparing my Baon. I don’t only get to save, but I also learn to cook and experiment on new dishes! Yummyness!

WALK, WALK AND WALK. I already stopped going to the gym for a major reason I want to save more money. As an alternative to lose weight, aside from strictly eating a small amount of food at night and simply eating oats on breakfast, I decided to just walk home after office hours. At least, a 15 to 20 minutes walk could be a good source of cardio exercise. Then again, I just have to be careful crossing the road. And seriously, this walking exercise is keeping my weight, DOWN! Yes! My clothes are getting loose on me! Yebah! Well, I don’t intend to be a HUNK. I just want to be healthy!

RICE, I RISE! I’m back to eating rice at night. That's because I feel weak whenever I’ll only have oats at night. But, although I’m back to some glorious rice meal, I make it a point to just eat half of one cup of rice, more veggies and yes, paired with a fish! With this, I become stronger and I no longer deprive myself of my highly rice-addicted appetite!

BARELY “UNTOUCHED” SALARY. What an achievement! Normally, whenever I receive my pay check, I would treat myself with some rewards. But guess what, last week, when I received my pay check, I didn’t touch it. I controlled myself. Yes. It’s what you call financial abstinence! Yahoo! Now, I’m really looking forward to my goal of hitting a certain savings amount. Seriously, I want to invest in a house and lot. On the side, my brother and I are planning to set up a small business. Siempre, kailangan paikutin ang pera sa bangko! Now na!

WORK ON A BUDGET. As part of financial abstinence, yes, I’m back to working on a strict budget. The last time I went to do grocery, I shopped at just around 60 dollars completing all the ingredients for my baon, my toiletries, and even got me some snacks for a pig out session. Seriously, I just love the feeling of getting more value with my spending!

MORE FRESHNESS, LESS PROCESSED FOODS. To live a healthy life and maintain a lean body, I already stopped eating oily and processed foods. Yes. I’m more exposed now to eating fish and some veggies which keep me light and energized. I’m lovin it!

RIVETING READS. After finishing some books, I can say that I can now read faster! Yeah! I’m about to finish a book titled “God of Small Things” and soon I’ll digest another book of my idol Neil Gaiman. And as part of my financial abstinence, I promise to finish first all the books in my shelf before I purchase one! I’ll tell you, tambak ang libro! It’s as if I’m taking LAW! Kaka-LAW-ka!

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE RADIO! Honestly, since last year, I’ve been desperately looking for a link which will connect me to LOVE Radio 90.7. And thank God, just last week, I finally found one. It is through e-portal! With that, for the past days, it has become my habit to listen to LOVE radio. At least, it gives me big laughs on mornings and truly awakens my sleepy spirit. And yeah, listening to a Philippine station keeps my homesickness tolerable. Tambalan really spices up my day even in a foreign land! Diyos ko, wala kayang TFC of Pinoy TV dito sa Brunei! If you want to watch Philippine soap operas, damn, you have to buy it in CDs. Just like how we market and sell pirated American series in Divisoria!

Relative to my LOVE Radio addiction, I heard a Filipino song patterned with Akon’s beat. It’s something like, “Buy ka na ng aking bananana, sige na’t mura at masustansya!” Seriously, the song gave me a HUGE laugh! Plus, have you heard the tagalized version of Craig David’s Insomina? Grabeh, nakakalurkey!

EXTEND OR TRANSFER? Yesterday, the manager of my company had a talk with me. She was asking me if I still intend to extend my contract in our company despite the recession thingy. Of course, I didn’t give my YES. I just humbly declared what I want especially on the benefits and compensation. Hopefully, they will give it. But as a plus point, my company is supportive on my postgraduate studies and they’ll provide training by sending us to some advertising congress or seminar. On the side, another company is asking me to join their team. I tell you, it has an attractive and competitive compensation. With these, now I have to decide. For now, I’m ignoring such decision making. I think I’ll just cross the bridge when I get there. Bottom line, I lift to God everything.

ASSURANCE. After two graphic designers were asked to leave the company, my boss just assured me that no one will have to leave the company! Oh well, hopefully, this is true!

SING, SING, SING-GALING! I’ve been rehearsing for the past days because I will be performing for free for an upcoming charity event here in Brunei. If there’s any consolation with this performance, it is only through having a photo op with Wu Chun and sharing my God given talent to everyone. Seriously, maybe it’s time na karirin ko na ang pagkanta ng todo-todo! Let's wait and see!

A CALL OR A CALLING? Last night, I was on my bed reading a novel when I received a call. Mr. Loey, the guy who wanted me to record a song with his alaga, called me and was asking me audition right before some Malaysian and Singaporean talent casters. Of course, without batting an eyelash, I said I wanted to. Hence, Mr. Loey texted me the address of the audition. So, tonight, I’ll be auditioning! Is singing could be a calling? Abangan!

EARVIN, EARVIN, MUSIKAHAN! I’m thankful to God coz despite the recession, he blessed me with another income generating scheme or in short, a RAKET. As of the moment, I’m teaching a Chinese to sing English songs. And what’s fantastic about that, my Chinese student has many friends who also would want to learn to sing English songs! With that, as my student promised me, her friend is very interested to enroll in my class! Let’s see where this music teaching raket will bring me! As of now, it’s covering at least the 10% cut off on my salary with my current company! In short, thankfully at bawi!

TWO MONTHS AND I’M UP (University of the Philippines). Although I still have two months to wait before the second semester starts, I'm now feeling the excitement of finally pursuing my graduate studies at UP Open University. Well, in preparation, I have to brace myself with the expenses on shipping my books and the tuition. Nonetheless, the feeling of being back in school is giving me a different kick to fulfill my future goal of being a professor! Yahoo!

BAHAY BAHAYAN! I guess, it’s now time to invest on something that will grip my commitment. Yeah! With the help of my family, I’m now looking for a house and lot in the Philippines which I can get. With that, I’ve been saving a lot as to cover the cost of such long-term plan! Jump jump jump!


MISSIN BUDDY CECIL. Yeah. I miss this gal. She went back to the Philippine because her dad passed away. I miss the kulitan, chismisan and all our sensible discussions on life! I suppose, she’ll be back on the 14th!

FAREWELL Last week, two graphic designers were asked to leave the company. Too sad, the other designer was a Pinoy. On top of that, he’s a very good, promising and passionate designer!

UNLOCKED DOOR. I don’t know who but someone is “sometimes” forgetting to lock the house door at night! Please, do not put us in danger! Lock the door!

SLASHED PAYCHECK. Ouch! It’s real! A 10% was deducted on our salary! Poor little me!

HAZE. The dry spell or El Nino has been affecting Brunei at unprecedented heights. With vast forest fires, Brunei is currently covered in haze. Yeah! It’s my first time to see such condition! Too bad, the air is so thick to bear!


MISSIN PINAS. I know, it’s normal and it’s given! I just have to deal with it strongly! I miss my family and friends, terribly and bonggang bongga!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


To all my family and friends, here’s the song I sang which made me through to the semi-finals round of Brunei’s Who’s got talent! Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


After bringing you my version of Michael Bolton's "Go the distance," now, I'll be singing another powerful song. Here's "This is the Moment" which I will be singing too in a charity! Enjoy!

Plus, I'm opening the lines for all your requests. Yes! YOU CAN REQUEST A SONG AND I WILL SING IT FOR YOU!


EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: Millionaire's Code!

Last Saturday, my boss asked Shiela and I to attend a seminar titled “Breaking the Millionaire Code!” 
Organized by Maximas Group Pte Ltd and with Thomas Mathew, MBA (F.S) as the speaker, the talk aims to educate especially the Bruneians on getting financial freedom despite the economic slowdown or recession shaking the world.

Apart from the piercing short video presentations, some infotainment games and the lively discussion of the speaker, the talk was insightful and effective in pointing what are the keys on how one individual could possibly be financially stable. The answer? Well, it's having right financial planning.

Now, I would like to share to you the interesting points Mr. Mathew shared to us.

First,  element profiling is important in determining ones goals and succeeding on it. As mentioned, there are four elements with each has a unique representation of nature- the earth, the wind, the fire, and the water. 

Based on the answer sheet distributed to us to determine our element profile, I am an “Earth” kind which means I’m methodical and analytical. Just for your info, the wind is more known as speculators, water as transparent and emotional, and the fire as being aggressive and uses money smartly.

Second, the discussion on income allocation piqued my interest. Admit it or not, at our age, we tend to be “sometimes” irresponsible in handling our money. We get easily attracted by the different commodities (especially gadgets and all those yuppie stuff) out there. End up, we don’t get enough savings. Hence, the talk’s tackling on income allocation was very current. 

According to Mr. Mathew, income allocation should be divided into Mortgage, Savings and Investments and Personal Expenses. Here’s the division: 20% should go to Mortgage, 30% on Savings and Investments, while 50% goes to Personal Expenses. Coolness, right?

Third, I just realized during the talk that it is very true that we should ‘LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS AND NOT ABOVE OUR MEANS.” This makes sense, Big time! So, for those "creditcard" holders, we better control swiping! LOL!

Fourth, on our way to financial freedom, we should bear in mind one formula: H + S + IGA. This means, Housing plus Savings plus Income Generating Asset Earning. At this point, we should get a house, save and invest, plus create an Income Generating Asset such as having a small business.

Lastly, I’m moved with the 8 steps toward a winning financial freedom. (1) Establish your Time Line, (2) Know your dominant investing motives, (3) Establish your current Asset Position, (4) Strategize your Approach, (5) Strategize a suitable plan that can withstand shock, (6) Execute the plan in phases, (7) Establish a witness program, and (8) Establish a six month review.

Nevertheless, despite the recession, true enough, we should set our goal, watch out for our expenses, and more importantly, be positive in spite of taking risks on bonds, shares, loans, and a lot more.

“We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.” – Mr. Thomas Mathew