Saturday, July 30, 2011

Prey

In an attempt to once again engrave in films another strong socio-political issue, Direk Brillante Mendoza is out for another masterpiece “Prey” (to be released internationally as “Captured”). Based on real life chronicles of 2001 kidnapping of Gracia Burnham and husband Martin Burnham by the armed rebel Abu Sayyaf Group, the film will star Canne Film Festival Best Actress Isabelle Huppert, Raymond Bagatsing, Ronnie Lazaro, Sid Lucero, Rustica Carpio, Angel Aquino plus special participations from Coco Martin, Joel Torre and Ms. Anita Linda.

After seeing the stills from Direk Dante’s Facebook, I just can’t help myself but be thrilled for its proper release. Right now, the team is under extreme pressure of post-production. The world premiere is set to be next year 2012 with still no exact date. 

Isabelle Huppert with PUP-College of Communication's pride Dr. Rustica Carpio



Oh by the way, it's Direk Dante's birthday today. Happy Birthday Direk!!!

___
photo credits: sourced from Direk Brillante Mendoza's Facebook account
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mga huling luha




Sinabi kong para sa ‘yo,
bawat patak,
bawat dausdos,
bawat pamimisabis nitong mga luha kong
tila walang hanggang ulan,
tila walang hanggang alon
na hindi matighaw-tighaw
itong aking pagka-uhaw
sa iyo.

Ngunit sadyang magtatapos ang gabi.
Sadyang aahon ang araw.
Kikilos ang mga tala’t liliwanag ang langit.
Pagka’t walang awit at tula’ng
hindi nagtatapos,
hindi nauupos.

Ngunit sa huling pagkakataon,
sa huling sandali ng gabing ito
hayaan mo akong lumuha,
hayaan mo akong ipagluksa,
ang aking nabigo’t,
nadurog kong puso.

Paalam mga luha, paalam.
Sa aking paghimlay,
sa pagtatapos nitong buhay
itong mga huling luha
sa ‘yo pa rin iaalay.



This is my entry for Iya's "Luha mo sa pa-contest ko"
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Romance of the young



Like every love story, it all started with a once upon a time.

Once upon a time, a young boy fell in love to a young girl with a magical voice. They met behind the curtains of a famous theater house, a certain day in the month of November.

Clutching his banduria on his left hand and an unknown book on the right, the boy’s hurried steps echoed around the hallways. He’s already late for his rehearsal. As sweat trickles down his anxious face, he heard a woman’s voice singing a very beautiful kundiman he never heard before.

Ako’y isang ibong sawi…na hindi makalipad…at sa puso’y may sugat…wala pang lumingap.”
(I’m a bird in vain…who cannot fly, no more…and my heart is wounded…with no one to care.”)

Every note exudes a decalcified lonesome, as if a bird trapped in a porcelain cage lamenting in deep agony.

Inabot ng hatinggabi… sa madilim na paglipad… saan kaya ngayon ang aking pugad?”
(“Caught within midnight…in a dark flight…now where to find my feeble nest?”)

Like being pulled by invisible lines, the young boy changed course to find the woman singing. In a turn towards another dark alley, he found what he was looking for in a corner of a deserted little theater’s backstage.

The voice came from a young girl, about as young as the boy now in deep awe of such breathtaking beauty parading before his eyes.

Sa mata mo’y may isang… langit ng pangarap; sa puso mo’y mayro’n kang pugad ng paglingap.”
(In your eyes, a heaven of dreams; in your heart, a nest made to care)

The young girl’s flowing dark hair was kept all the way to her back. She was wearing a plain white dress which skirt long enough to hide her knees. Her voice, ethereal; loud but soft, as if whispering through the boy’s ears.

The girl felt the presence of the young boy behind her. She stopped singing and the world once again fell into tragic reality.

“Sino ka? (Who are you?) the girl curiously asked. She noticed the banduria in the young boy’s hand and realized who the young boy is.”

“Hinahanap ko yung mga kasama ko. Baka nakita mo? (I’m looking for my mates. Maybe you saw them?)"

“Hindi eh. (No, I didn’t)."

“Yung kinakanta mo kanina…ang ganda. Ano ‘yon? (You were singing a while ago…it was beautiful. What was that?)"

“Yun ang contest piece ko para bukas. Ibong Sawi ang pamagat. Ang hirap nga eh, nagkakamali pa ‘ko. (That’s my piece for tomorrow’s competition. Its title is Bird in Vain. I’m still having a hard time singing it.)

“Ang galing mo nga eh! (But you’re brilliant!)"

“Gusto mo tapusin ko? (You want me to finish it?)

“Oo naman. (Of course.)


And the young girl, once again, casts her spell though her magical music.

Kung ako’y mamatay sa kapighatian (If I am to die out of deep pain)
 Sa puso mo lamang, muli akong mabubuhay (Through your heart, I shall once again live)
 Sa puso mo’y mayro’n kang pugad ng paglingap (In your heart, a nest made to care)
 Kung ako’y mamatay sa kapighatian (If I am to die out of deep pain)
 Sa puso mo lamang, muli akong mabubuhay (Through your heart, I shall once again live)

At that moment, the young boy knew only one thing – he’s in love. The young girl in plain white dress, the young boy has no desire at all but to touch her, to prove to himself that she was indeed real and not another surreal hallucination like the characters in the book in his hand. The sensuous crystal music, he will die the moment it falls into a pit of rest.

“Ang ganda. (It was beautiful.)

“Salamat. (Thank you.)

For a moment, the young boy and the young girl said nothing to one another. For the young boy, we knew it was love, but for the young girl – forever we shall never find out.

“Alis na ko. Baka hinahanap na ko. (I have to go. Maybe they’re already looking for me.)" And the girl turned her back to the young boy. )

“Sandali! Pwede bang malaman ang pangalan mo? (Wait! Can I have your name, please?)"

The young girl paused for a moment, as if weighing whether to give in to the boy's request. Then she broke into a wide smile.

“Aizel.”

And she hurriedly left, running towards the dark alley, away from the confused boy.

The young boy never saw her again. Yes, he desperately looked for her but she vanished without a trace. The music never left him though.

Years later, like this very moment, the young boy would close his eyes trying to summon an image of the young girl he once met. She never came back yet her music always comes. It never left.

And so like every love story, this story also ended with a happily ever after.

And they live happily ever after.



___

Author’s notes:

A banduria is a native Filipino string instrument and is part of a collective ensemble of Rondalla while a kundiman is a genre of traditional Filipino love songs.

Ibong Sawi by: Jose Corazon de Jesus (aka Huseng Batute) music by: JM Buencamino
English translation is not official and is only provided by the author

This is for you Aizel from that young boy you once enchanted.
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Zombadings, The 'Gay-la' Premiere


It was exactly like what Raymond Lee said in his speech before the screening. As if it was only yesterday when we all sat at the same theater to watch Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros at the first ever Cinemalaya. Now we are already at the seventh year of celebrating Filipino's artistry in independent film making and somehow, you couldn't help but stop and feel proud. So it was rather fitting, says Raymond Lee, that they're going to screen first their much awaited film in a festival that started it all.

Zombadings 1, Patayin sa Shokot si Remington is one of the most hilarious Pinoy made films I ever watched so far. The entire film is a full riot with a provocative goal of not just to entertain but also to educate people in matters concerning the LGBT sector. It's no exaggeration to say that the entire Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo exploded last night out of the perfect blend of comedy provided by the legendary Roderick Paulate, Mart Escudero, Eugene Domingo, John Regala, Lauren Young and the rest of the gang.

No worries, coz I'm not putting any spoiler here coz I want you guys to watch it on its official theater release this coming August 31.

Among the casts, Mart Escudero was probably my least expected to perform well but he proved me and other cynics like me wrong. He gave a stunning gay portrayal that is comical but while remaining subtle and realistic. Sabi nga ng isang kaibigan, hindi niya binakla yung pagkabakla ng role niya.

Wala pa ring kupas si Roderick Paulate! He's such a great actor that even his one word lines would knock you off your seat. Ever wonder what happened to former Seiko star Leandro Baldemor? Now you'll be able to see him in this film if you missed him during the 90's plus a treat from our Vice-Governor, also a former sexy actor, Bulacan's Daniel Fernando. And for the first time ever, I have no criticism to say against Marian Rivera. It was a cameo appearance but it was morbidly outrageous.

Noon ko lang nakitang punum-puno ang buong CCP Main Theater. Walang lumaylay na eksena that you'll laugh every second of it. It's just sad that a lot of people weren't able to watch it since tickets are sold out everywhere, but its just a premiere anyway.

The last part was very touching especially for most of us gays who are not just accepted by this hypocritical society, but also even in our own households.

The fun didn't stop when the credits started rolling. The lobby is just filled with ecstatic air! Foods are everywhere, promotional pins are distributed by half-naked hunks, casts walking around talking to everybody at may nag-iinuman pa sa gitna ng CCP Main Lobby! How insane was that? Siyempre hindi ko pinalagpas ang pagkakataon na maka-nomo. I took a double shot of the fiery Lambanog.

It's simply a party-party atmosphere that night, like a massive reunion where you knew almost everyone even only by face and you get to be introduced to some amazing people. Frederick Peralta is simply a darling, I can't believe the famous fashion designer is the humble person shaking my hand that night. I feel so privileged. Binabawi ko na rin ang mga sinabi ko against Direk Rafa Santos, haha. I know right? He's kind a very quiet person. Actually, I just melted in front of him, haha. It was also my first time meeting Mart Escudero as he's an artist from the rival network. He's a very charming young man, sabi ko nga sana magkaro'n pa siya ng magagandang projects like this. But I digress.

Sabi nga ng pelikula, kaya negatibo ang hatid ng salitang bakla ay dahil hindi maganda ang pinanggalingan nitong salita na ang ibig sabihin ay duwag. Pero sa dalawampu't apat na taon kong pagiging bakla isa lang ang masasabi ko, wala pa akong nakilalang duwag na bakla. Walang duwag na bakla!

So there, I hope I convinced all of you to watch Zombadings 1 Patayin sa Shokot Si Remington. We all know it's been tough and the production went through a lot for this film but it was definitely worth the wait. So there! It's out in the theaters this coming August 31 plus I think there will also be a special screening at UPLB this coming August 2 and 3.

Congratulations to the whole staff and casts especially to Direk Jared Castro and Sir Raymond Lee.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The old art house




It was nice being around the company of people spanning from almost a decade of living. Being dragged around, being introduced to a friend of a friend, a classmate of this and that and acquaintances of an acquaintance, while actually doing the same thing.

In this industry, it is both happy and sad to say that most of the times, the quantity and quality of people you knew matters. But in this same hypocritical system of socialization that I luckily found few people who never fail to put a happy ending on my fucked up days.

Who would have thought the days would come when old rivals become friends? When former competitions are just distant tales and old smirks would turn into a chorus of laughter?

As Jay, Eduard, Nina and I make our way inside the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, I noticed this gang of oldies talking animatedly in a mixture of Tagalog, English and Spanish. I urged my friends to sit in front of them and they willingly obliged. Turns out, most of them did cameo appearances in the film we’re about to watch.

The film tells a story of a once illustrious family and the spanning web of conflicts and secrets at its core. Celia, once the darling of Philippine opera, in her last attempt to rouse her comatose brother Gaspar and persuade her niece from selling the ancestral house, gathered all her friends from the old art house to once again sing operas and kundimans and relive their faded glorious past.

The film ended and proceeded to the usual chatters after where you go around and shake hands to congratulate different people and take pictures with some important people. There was National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, the real life soprano who played Celia, Miss Fides Cuyugan Asensio and actor Tony Mabesa. The usual mixture of Tagalog, English and few Spanish once again filled the ecstatic air. 

Not too far from them, I was still watching curiously the gang of oldies seated behind us inside the theater now engaging in exchange of banters with other groups of oldies. Others while aided by a cane still stand in a kind of strut, every wave of hands a reminder of aristocratic descent.

Soon, everyone started leaving. As we wait for our ride, my friends are still engulfed about the film and the people we came across by.

“Pag tanda natin, promise we’ll be like those gangs of oldies?” I blurted out of nowhere.

“But we don’t know how to speak Spanish! Enroll muna tayo sa Instituto Cervantes” Nina joked and everybody laughed. It was me who spoke again.

“Course not. ‘Pag tanda natin, we’ll also do meet ups. And then we’ll talk about the films and theater plays we watched, the competitions and productions we went to together, then we’ll sing once more the songs we sang in the old days. That would be nice, yes?”

“Tama! Bibirit pa rin ako ng I Will Survive kahit nasa wheelchair na ko.” It was Eduard’s time to break the ice.

“But you know DB, I think it was you who once said while we were all drunk at Coco’s house that night, you said we’ll be young forever.” Nina said.

“I said that?”

“Yeah you did!” Everybody agreed.

“I forgot.” I said, but I was lying. Truth is I remember that instance my friends are referring to.

“Tignan mo, ngayon pa lang para ka nang matanda. Memory gap! Haha.”

We can’t be young forever, I know that, though it’s always a comfort to believe that way. One day in the near future, we might be the next “gang of oldies” the youngsters will notice in a gathering like that, reliving the old days, laughing and talking about the golden moments of our prime. 

But for now, Nina is going on in a blow by blow account of her latest steamy “quicky” with their engineer in their office’s stock room, Eduard talks about watching Zombadings this coming weekend while Jay laments the fact that we don’t have free tickets for the coming all-star NBA exhibition game.

These stories, with the occasional puns and jeers and swearwords, I would still love to listen to them not only when ancient lines start appearing on my face and when standing still in a strut is only possible with the help of a cane, but I hope even when we finally left for the other side. Now that would be awesome, yes?


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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Days of Teddy Bear





You’ve shown me there’s nothing to be afraid of during night. That darkness won’t swallow me whole, not as long as I keep you within my arms. But days of Teddy Bear are over. You see, I’m a big boy now. No longer I’m afraid. No longer I’m scared. The days of Teddy Bear are over. I’m letting you go now my Teddy Bear.

I won’t pretend it’s not hard. I won’t hide that I’m sad. Because even if you won’t hug me back Teddy Bear, just you lying there in my arms is comfort enough. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being my Teddy Bear.

I’ll miss the days of us playing tea party Teddy Bear, in my room, just us. But children outside are calling and my heart is yearning. I have to go now Teddy Bear, I have to. I will run outside even the mad rain is pouring. Never mind if I’ll get dirt. Never mind if I’ll get hurt. I’ll just stand anyway and run again. You see, I am brave now Teddy Bear. I’m brave enough to let go.

The days of Teddy Bear are over. I know the coming nights will be darker. I will cry Teddy Bear, but I will try. Goodbye Teddy Bear. I’m letting you go now. Goodbye.
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Car crash



Galing kami kahapon sa house blessing ng pinsan ko sa Meycauayan, Bulacan. Puno ang sasakyan namin at madami kaming kasamang mga bata, puro mga pamangkin ko. Pupunta muna daw kami ng mall para makapaglaro saglit ang mga bata at samantalahin na rin ang pagkakataon para mamili.

Papalabas na kami ng intersection, nasa unahan ako naka-upo noon, nagulat na lang ako nang ang kuya ko, ang driver namin, eh nag dire-diretso sa kabila ng paparating na pulang Adventure sa kaliwa namin na mabilis din ang takbo. Napasigaw din ang isa ko pang kuya sa loob “ihinto mo.”

Pero huli na. Dire-diretso ang takbo namin, mabilis. Dire-diretso din ang takbo ng Adventure, mabilis. Ga-hibla na lang ng buhok ang pagitan ng dalawang sasakyan at magsasalpukan na ang mga ito ngunit nagawa pa ring umiwas ng Adventure. Salamat na lang at wala siyang kasalubong na sasakyan sa kabilang lane.

Pare-pareho kaming nakahinga ng maluwag. Akala ko tapos na ang trahedya. Nun pala, nagsisimula pa lang ang lahat. Nag-cut ang Adventure sa unahan namin at dun ko naisip na siguradong may away na magaganap.

Bumaba ang driver ng Adventure. Bumaba rin ang kuya ko, ang driver namin. Bumaba rin ako at sinundan ko siya sa kabila ng pagbabawal ni mama at mga tita ko. Kasalukuyang minumura nung kabilang driver ang kuya ko.

“Putang ina mo papatayin mo ba kami? Kasama ko buong pamilya ko tarantado ka!”

Bagama’t may galang ang pagsagot, hindi pa rin maikakaila sa tono ng kuya ko ang natural na angas na sadyang likas na yata sa pamilya namin.

“Pare, kaya nga humihingi ako ng dispensa. Buong pamilya din kami sa sasakyan, madulas lang talaga.”

“Eh gago ka pala.”

Dun na ko sumali sa diskusyon.

“Eh ‘wag naman kayong mag-mura. Pa’no tayo magkakaintindihan niyan kung mura lang kayo ng mura.

Sumagot ulit yung driver.

“Eh gago yang driver nyo eh. Tadyakan ko pa yan.”

Dun na ‘ko hindi nakapagpigil.

“Eh isa ka pa rin palang tarantado eh. Gago!”

“’Tang ina mo ang yabang mo ah!”

“Talagang mayabang ako tang-ina mo taga (kumpanyang pinapasukan ko) ako. Ano?”

Inakmaan niya kami ng suntok at napa-atras naman ako ng kalahating hakbang. Ang hindi ko alam, nasa likod ko na pala ang isa ko pang kuya.

“Putang ina mo sige subukan mong kantiin yang pinsan ko basag yang mukha mo. Pulis ako!” sabay labas ng kanyang tsapa.

Bumaba ng konti ang boses nung driver ng Adventure. Sinilip ko ang laman ng sasakyan nila. Isang babae sa unahan na palagay ko eh asawa nung driver tapos dalawang batang babae sa likod at isa pang babae na mukhang nasa early twenties. Sa loob-loob ko, ang tapang nito ah. Nag-iisa siyang lalaki kung makasugod naman akala mo isang batalyon ang kasama.

Natapos din ang gulo at dumiretso na nga ang pamilya namin sa mall. Habang nasa coffee shop, tuloy pa rin ang diskusyon namin sa nangyari at napapa-isip talaga ko.

Una, ang hirap pa lang mag-angas kung alam mong ikaw naman talaga ang mali. Mali ang kuya ko, inaamin namin yan. Nasa intersection kami, kami ang palabas at sila ang nasa National Road, kami dapat ang nagme-menor para mag-abang. Isa pa, nakakahiya mang aminin pero naka-inom talaga ang kuya ko.

Pangalawa, naisip ko, pa’no kung ako lang mag-isa. Hindi ako pulis at siguradong bugbog ang aabutin ko. Makatawag man ako sa mga pinsan ko, matagal pa bago sila makarating. Madami patalaga ‘kong dapat matutunan sa pagmamaneho.

Pangatlo, pa’no kung natuluyan kaming maaksidente. Baka patay na ‘ko ngayon. Baka patay na rin ang kalahati ng pamilya namin.

Bagama’t nakalimutan na rin kahit papano ng lahat ang mga kaganapan dahil sa paglilibot, pamimili at paglalaro ng mga bata sa mall, hindi pa rin dun nagtapos ang lahat. Pagdating sa bahay, ikinuwento ng lahat sa tito ko ang buong pangyayari. Ayun, pinagmumura’t pinagalitan ng husto ng tito ko ang kuya habang naghahapunan kami.



___
Author's note: Strong apologies to my readers who can't understand the Filipino language. Rest assured that the I will go back to writing in English for my next posts. Thank you for understanding. 
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

People won't be people






I want to live on top of the sea and just live under your spell. Every morning I’ll prepare you a chicken stew and you will be happy. We’ll listen to the sound of flying fish landing on our table. I will be there with you. I will be there with you, it’s true.

There’s a world under every forest mushroom, where dancing and crying and swearing are not sins. It is true. It is real. I’ll bring you there and we’ll dance, we’ll cry, we’ll swear and spit at the coconut trees.

No one shall find it. No compass will work at all. The maps are written on my face. The maps are written by my nails.

My name is Einar and I wear rice straw for hat. I live by myself; married to myself.




___
title from the lyrics of "Atlas" by Battles 


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Monday, July 4, 2011

Joey







“Ano, syotain na kita?!”

Those words continue to reverberate days after he threw them on me. I dated Joey not because I’m specifically looking for something romantic that day and as shameful the intention might sound, truth is I just need a scratching post then. I was in heat and I need some cooling down. Turns out, Joey is a good guy after all. And the "date" ended quite a bit different than I expected.

The "mind-boggling" question came while we were strolling within the grounds of Araneta. It was actually preceded by my answer to his query on how many relationships I have been to which I answered truthfully – I haven’t.

There was no hint of seriousness in his tone. He said those words the way someone would say “tara, kain tayo” or “halika na.” So I just laughed at him after he said them thinking it's just one of his out of nowhere ruminations designed to amuse me. But as I catch a glimpse of him, I noticed he was staring. And there I saw, behind the casualness and spontaneity of his question, somewhere far from them, there’s a faint mark that told me the guy somehow meant it.

How would I describe Joey? He’s not the best looking guy out of the thin line of people I went out with. He has this natural air of what I would like to call “slight-arrogance” which makes me giggle most of the time. He is very spontaneous and opposite his “slight-bad-ass-image,” I’m mortified to find out that he won’t smoke and that he rarely drinks. Both, of course, are few of my registered vices. He's 30 years old and is working in a field totally different than mine or as my friends would put it, "out-of-our-world."

I would be lying if I’d say I don’t like Joey. I like him and the fact that there are lots of things that are not so common between us just make it feels so right.

But the thing is, I'm writing this down because I’m confused and I don’t know what to do. I like being with him and having those nightly telephone conversations with him, but I have to admit that I’m scared. I’m scared to hear those words again from him, but not because I don’t like him but because I feel that such kind of relationship isn’t right for me right now.

I know, I’m silly right? After writing all those blog entries agonizing over the fact that I’m Single-Since-Birth and how everybody treated me like trash, here I am, turning my back from the rice grains running after me. Yes, I fear to hear him say “ano, syotain na kita?” again, but I also fear that those same words won’t come again.

Am I so used to being alone that I finally learned to live my life with it?

They say when you’re unhappy with your life, you become more selfish with it. Am I unhappy? Am I selfish?

This is me once again in perpetual scenario building. This is me afraid of the very same game I got addicted to but had always left me losing - gambling. This is me afraid.

In the same way that when things get rough, confusing and out of grasp, like Selma, let me imagine I'm in some musical production where every problem, every feeling, could be summed up in songs and moving pictures...


Well I've been afraid of changin' coz I built my life around you. But time makes you bolder children get older and I'm getting older too. Well...




and because in a musical, nothing dreadful ever happens.
 

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