Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pain, ‘Part’ and parcel of superstardom

Pop Star Katy Perry’s real-life pains and pleasures are an integral part of the concert-documentary “Katy Perry: Part of Me,” an inspiring and saccharine chronicle of the artist’s career (and some marital) highs and lows.

One needn’t be a fan to appreciate it, as it does a good job of reintroducing her to the unfamiliar or non-fans. But those who already know her story, or love her songs, well, it’s Katy Perry in eye-popping 3D!

“Part of Me” succeeds in presenting Perry as an endearing, relatable subject. Old videos of a young Katy Hudson (her actual surname) and more recent snippets of interviews with her kin and friends from work and the music industry paint the pop singer-songwriter in a positive light. Her more recent breakup with actor-comedian Russell Brand is also respectfully covered, but Perry’s struggles as an aspiring singer-musician is what’s especially interesting.

From her days as a sheltered teen Gospel singer to her time “rebelling” and discovering art and life outside her faith, Perry’s early career years and their corresponding challenges provide the film its absorbing semi-underdog flair. It’s made abundantly clear that she’s no overnight sensation.

A considerable chunk of “Part of Me” is devoted to the nitty-gritty of a particular concert tour, illustrating just how hectic her schedule is. When not singing about bicuriosity, or wearing Betty Page-esque wigs and body-hugging costumes, sides to Perry are unveiled. We see her exhibiting comic or vulnerable behavior, and get glimpses of the precious rapport she shares with her trusted and loyal crew.

While some of her better songs aren’t featured, the selection is still good, and works as bookends between more revealing moments. And if you didn’t like Katy Perry before, it’s likely that you’ll at least respect her after watching this.

“Katy Perry: Part of Me” will be in Philippine cinemas starting Aug. 29. 

Monarch and Conqueror

Victor Von Doom
Latverian scientist and sorcerer Dr. Doom is the Fantastic Four’s arch-foe, but he temporarily joined their Future Foundation against villainous versions of Mr. Fantastic. He was revealed as the mastermind of the Decimation, which depowered millions of mutants.

Cruel, callous ‘Campaign’

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis’ team-up guarantees hilarity, and there certainly is humor to be had, even if punchlines and silly scenarios have been telegraphed. In “The Campaign,” they play rivals vying for congressman, a pair of distinctly dissimilar buffoons who resort to dirty tactics during campaign season.

Running for re-election, Cam Brady (Ferrell) is the scandal-involved and unapologetic cretin, while Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) is a dedicated but weird tour guide. Groomed by rich sibling king-makers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd), Marty is pitted against the hopelessly boorish Cam.

Directed by Jay Roach, who has “Austin Powers” films under his belt, “The Campaign” can get you chuckling at crude and lewd jokes. In that skewed reality, characters get away with the dumbest or the most unbelievable things, and you accept it. At least most of the time.

Some situations really get absurd. However, the characters’ escalating enmity reaches an unsurprisingly reasonable and redemptive resolution. Ferrell and Galifianakis make their characters consistently despicable and bizarre, respectively, the contrasting personalities riotously combustible when together.

The anticipated “Salamat!” from the trailer isn’t there in the final cut, but Cam’s short, smarmy speech to Filipino carnival employees is intact. There’s a cast of talented actors here; aside form the aforementioned ones, Dylan McDermott and Brian Cox make their roles memorable. But the unexpected, well-deserved laughs go to Karen Maruyama as the talented maid Mrs. Yao.

‘The Campaign” will be in Philippine cinemas starting August 29. 

‘Saltimbanco’ a colorful, dazzling spectacle

(From the Aug. 16-31 issue of The Fortnightly)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Cirque du Soleil’s dreamlike “Saltimbanco” mostly mesmerizes with its fluid aerial manoeuvres, its distinctly abstract world populated by vibrantly clad acrobats that effortlessly fling themselves across the stage, as well as goofy characters that perform less athletic comedic numbers.

The clownish figures start the show with some interactivity, persuading audience members to participate in the opening gags. Soon enough, the more dexterous denizens of “Saltimbanco” are introduced, giddily prancing and bouncing around to a fusion of rock and world music.

“Saltimbanco” (“street performer”) opened to enthusiastic reception at the Asiaworld Arena in Hong Kong last month, and is currently in the country for shows at the Mall of Asia Arena until Aug. 19. Cirque du Soleil’s longest-running production first unleashed its bevy of colorful characters in 1992.

“Saltimbanco” is a light, awe-inspiring showcase of acrobatic artistry, with funny, non-verbal sketches between more gymnastic-oriented sets. Over 20 performers are part of the stunning Chinese Poles sequence, where most of them climb and spin on four bamboo-looking, resin-coated poles.

Other tightly choreographed acts include the Russian Swing, which involves members of the troupe flying off a huge swing set and flipping onto various landing spots.

The busier numbers are especially impressive; some stunts are performed simultaneously with attention-grabbing dance routines.
Also providing welcome breathers between the feats of agility and balance are juggling, miming, and poi-twirling performers--more generic circus fare, perhaps, but they’re nonetheless effective.
Bursting with bright colors and Seuss-like characters and imagery, “Saltimbanco” is an elegant collage of escapist acts, easily appreciable by viewers who are young and young at heart. This dazzling spectacle astonishes as much as it intrigues, a dreamscape you’ll easily and delightfully get lost in.

Still ‘Wimpy,’ but slightly older

Still replete with awkward childhood moments, the third “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” follows an older and slightly more mature-looking Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon), who’s ready to laze the days away during his much-awaited summer vacation.

But Greg’s travails in “Dog Days” further prove that growing up has its really tough moments, including connecting with his somewhat demanding dad Frank (Steve Zahn), and getting the attention of his classmate-crush, Holly (Peyton List).

As with the first two parts, “Dog Days” benefits from its cast of kid and adult actors; they’ve assimilated nicely into their cartoony world, adding to their characters substantially in this installment. Greg still gets into the most embarrassing situations, his bonds with his siblings, parents, and friends getting tested repeatedly throughout his far-from-idle summer.

This part is crammed with a bunch of storylines, but they’re coherently told and cleanly tied up. It’s a charming third part that manages to get the laughs at the right points, while cleverly exploring Greg’s periodically dysfunctional relationships and boyhood behavior. 

Unconventional looks, hearts of gold

(From the Aug. 16-31 issue of The Fortnightly)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

While most protagonists have comely physical traits, noble or gentle characters can sometimes have unusual or frightening looks, and their foes may be scoffing, beautiful fiends. Some examples from fantasy films and TV series:

Quasimodo (‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’)
Raised to believe that he can never belong outside the church walls, Quasimodo discovers disappointment when ridiculed by onlookers for his imperfections. Initially friends with talking gargoyles only, he meets the alluring and compassionate gypsy Esmeralda, whom he protects from tormentors.

Shrek and Fiona (‘Shrek’)
In the Shrek movies, the villains are mostly good-looking schemers, and the titular character is supposedly a swamp-inhabiting bogeyman. But the monster is actually kind and heroic. Princess Fiona was initially human, but soon after she accepted her own ogress form, she and Shrek became the inseparable couple. They eventually wed, had similar-looking kids, and lived happily ever after.

Betty Suarez (‘Ugly Betty’)
The bespectacled, fashion-challenged Betty Suarez just needs a makeover. But because the workplace has its share of sneering, trend-conscious meanies, she’s often considered a hideous misfit. Nevertheless, she’s a confident and endearing go-getter. She’s gained true friends, who really don’t care if she has bushy eyebrows or limp hair.

Beast (‘Beauty and the Beast’)
The savage-looking Beast was originally a human prince, punished for his selfishness. To break the enchantment, he must find the perfect, loving mate. The spell is reversed when the monster discovers feelings for his erstwhile prisoner Belle, who has also fallen for him (Stockholm Syndrome, much?). The Beast’s main adversary is Gaston, a handsome and physically fit jerk.

Jonah Hex (‘Jonah Hex’)
Grim bounty hunter Jonah Hex is mocked for his disfigured face, branded by an enemy whom he later pursues. Saving Washington, DC from a destructive attack, he was given a full pardon for past crimes. Hex and the gorgeous Lilah end up together after their adventure; she’s always been unmindful of his misshapen features.

Yukk (‘Mighty Man and Yukk’)
Sidekick to the mini-crimefighter Mighty Man, Yukk is dubbed “the world’s ugliest dog.” He covers his face with a small doghouse, causing earthquakes and other catastrophic events whenever he lifts it. Still, Yukk’s horrific mug is handy in thwarting the schemes of mad scientists and costumed creeps.

Clicks and Conundrums

Aug 19. Man. Must waste time off the net, for once.
Aug. 19. Achtung Baby, you're still really brilliant.
Aug. 21. Ansarap matulog.
Aug. 23. Aaand it's time to call it a day. Good night, insomniacs and daysleepers.
Aug. 23. The writing process, for me, is usually like solving a nicely challenging puzzle; I like that words and sentences are like pieces that fall into place to convey thoughts and ideas precisely.
Sometimes, though, it's like forcefully wringing yourself to cough up words that don't want to come out.
Aug. 23. Lost a couple of pounds, probably as a result of working out, eating less, and getting sick. But not in that order. Projectile vomiting is unsexy.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cool Random $#!+, Part Sixteen

New-ish AvX issues. I like that the tables have been turned, but I'm not cool with the fact that characters I'm rooting for have become bullies.

"I will bury you alive, Spider-Man. I will wear a replica of your costume, which I will later strip before you!"
"Kraven, dude, NO."

A friend gave me this set (thanks so much!). Finished watching this last week.

Uncanny Avengers. Kinda feels like something from the Marvel-Wildstorm merger (the last arc of Heroes Reborn) and the Image-Valiant crossover (Deathmate). Iffy title and concept aside, Rick Remender's a good writer, so it just might work.
"X-Avengers Assemble!"

Slices of caaaake! Last June.

Genetic Quirks

X-Men, Circa 1985

I was ten when I really started liking the X-Men. Sure, I already liked the Avengers and the Justice League when I was about six or seven, and I’ve read X-Men adventures during that time (specifically issue #s 96-101, thank you National Bookstore reprints). But it was when I read Uncanny X-Men # 183 that I was won over. The characters had attitude; they had all these problems, and it was also cool that the art stood out.

I started relating to them a few years later, when I became a teenager, when I felt alone and misunderstood. Reading the X-Men comic book and its related titles became my escape to fantastic, more imaginative worlds. This was the first roster of the team that I truly loved, back when I was ten: Rachel Summers, Colossus, Shadowcat (and Lockheed), Nightcrawler, Storm, Wolverine, Professor X, and Rogue. 

A Volume, a Sphere

Status updates, compiled.
Aug. 10. Aww, Multiply's gonna be changing in a few months. Fun while it lasted.
Aug. 10.After days of non-stop rain and no exercise, it feels great to work out again.
Aug. 10. Just... super tired. Need to sleep.
Aug. 11. My DeviantArt gallery now has 10,000+ faves, so yay!
Aug. 13. Head aches, but must work. Must submit stuff. Gah, I wanna work out and sculpt my flab into better-looking flab.
Aug. 15. Love that Batman # 12 has that empowering, Astro City feel to it.
Aug. 15. Done with the first season of the Avengers cartoon. Good stuff. Some arcs were as epic as some JLU episodes. Must look for season two eps.
Aug. 18. Sick, but slowly improving.

Giddy gifted hopefuls enliven ‘Glee Project’

(Published Aug. 14, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Diverse young talents enthusiastically compete in the second season of reality contest “The Glee Project,” all vying for a multi-episode appearance on the hit drama-musical series “Glee.”

The initial season’s previous winners Damian McGinty and Samuel Larsen currently appear as new members of the underdog glee club New Directions, and have figured in a few subplots in the previous season. McGinty and Larsen play an Irish exchange student and a Christian transfer student, respectively.

“The Glee Project’s” second search gathered more visibly giddy and overeager contestants, as pointed out by one of the judges, choreographer Zach Woodlee. Most of them have their eyes on the prize, but some competitors who are uncertain of their reasons for competing, or fail to impress the judges (headed by both shows’ creator Ryan Murphy), are booted out in the weekly eliminations.

As always, the judges’ inputs on the young potential stars’ performances and attitudes enlighten, providing this new batch—and viewers—valuable insights on performing and professional behavior.

Vocal producer and judge Nikki Anders dispenses useful advice during the contestants’ recording sessions. But she also calls the attention of those who aren’t behaving properly, and deflates their egos quite elegantly!
Each episode’s bottom three contestants have to perform for Murphy and the judges, who send one of those hopefuls home weekly. Sadly, some really interesting and gifted singers are culled from the group, but their mistakes or shortcomings are often discussed with them during the deliberations.

Only three of the 14 participants are left. Only time will tell if more than one of the aspiring actor-performers will be deemed worthy of appearing on “Glee” again. The show already has a legion of characters, and screen time and singing parts have to be divided between all of them, plus guest actors.

But ultimately, “The Glee Project” reiterates that aside from singing ability, the winner also needs to have an underdog vibe, charm, consistency and tenacity. It’s a rare combination, and the competition is tight. It will be interesting to see which of these contestants Murphy will choose and write a role for, and how that new character will contribute to the vastly populated but still influential TV series.

(“The Glee Project” airs Wednesdays, 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.; and Saturdays, 8 p.m., on ETC.)

‘Being Human’

Supernatural beings protect an infant destined for greatness in season four of the British fantasy series “Being Human,” airing Fridays, 11:45 p.m., starting Aug. 10.

WWE on Fox Philippines

WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) shows such as “WWE Smackdown,” “WWE Vintage Collection,” and “WWE Bottomline” are now airing on Fox Philippines. Schedules are posted on Fox Philippines’ Facebook page and on

‘Top Chef Just Desserts’

Hosted by Gail Simmons, the second season of reality show “Top Chef Just Desserts” will feature 14 competing pastry chefs who will be creating confections inspired by various themes. The show will air on BeTV from Mondays to Thursdays, 9:15 p.m., starting Aug. 14.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

High-flying ‘Saltimbanco’ is an explosion of colors

(Published Aug. 13, PDI-Lifestyle)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Photos by Jorem Catilo

HONG KONG—Crowds cheered at the Asiaworld Arena, with young and old members of the audience clapping and audibly gasping at the high-flying trapeze acts of Cirque du Soleil’s colorful “Saltimbanco.”

Just hours before the performance, members of the Philippine media were able to glimpse the acrobats rehearsing the more difficult stunts, get the lowdown on casting choices and witness the meticulous makeup process.

“‘Saltimbanco’ is about evolution and bringing people together,” explained Cirque publicist Maxime Charbonneau at the Hong Kong venue. “The storyline behind the show is the creation of this metropolis that is Saltimbanco through the evolution of these different individuals. When the show starts, every single character—we call them the Multicolored Worms, they have costumes that are very similar but at the same time a little different—they evolve into the Masked Worms; they start to have their own individuality and character.”

“Saltimbanco,” from the French saltimbanque or “street performer,” features 51 acrobats from 21 countries.
“On the second part of the show, you discover the baroque characters that are all unique,” Charbonneau said. “They have their own costumes and headpieces. They’re amazing. Some of them are more childish, sexier, more provocative, more dandy. They all have their own personalities and they kind of form that world that is ‘Saltimbanco.’”

Created in 1992, “Saltimbanco” was inspired by people moving from the countryside to the city, he added. “The formation of the megacities was kind of the idea behind this production.”

The Manila performances are ongoing until August 19 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Charbonneau described it as Cirque du Soleil’s smallest touring show, remaining “simple, but in a good way.”

“Over the past five years, ‘Saltimbanco’ has visited 35 to 40 cities a year,” he said. “We’re looking at almost 200 cities. It’s the only Cirque du Soleil show that’s been in over five continents. It’s been to Morocco, South Africa, the Middle East. Bringing shows to arenas has been a very good decision for the company. There are great territories that we’ve never been to before.”

With its assortment of gymnastic stunts and comedic acts, the show follows a variety of odd-looking characters, some of whom speak gibberish. But Charbonneau reiterated that it was much lighter than many Cirque du Soleil productions.
“I’ll be very honest with you. Don’t try to follow the story too much! You’re here to see great acrobatic acts. There are funny characters as well. There’s no big apparatus or technology involved in the show,” he said.

Many of the acrobats are in their 20s. Cirque du Soleil’s casting department works full-time, recruiting talents all over the world. Potential performers are discovered at events like swimming, diving, cheerleading and dancing competitions.

“When we recruit artists, we bring them to Montreal,” Charbonneau revealed. “We’ll give them a general training. We may already have a specific role waiting for them. Or we’ll send them back and say, ‘We’ll call you back when we have something for you.’”
Artistic director Neelanthi Vadivel said her role was to maintain the artistic integrity of the production, as well as to maintain the original concept in place. She has to make sure, however, that the show evolves, and that the artists have new challenges.

“The original structure, the heart of the show, the inspiration—my job is to really be the guardian of that,” Vadivel said. “We make sure that it’s never compromised. Over 20 years, a lot has changed; technology changed, the technical skill of the artist themselves changed. This is a show that’s very organic and has grown and evolved through the years. My role as artistic director is pushing those buttons.”

“Saltimbanco” easily embodies Cirque’s values, according to Vadivel. “Cirque is a very multicultural company. ‘Saltimbanco’ was created in that spirit, and the concept is that the meeting of peoples and cultures. It’s really about urbanization…it’s about peoples working and living together. It enables a lot of communication and energy!”

She said the original composer left a lot of room for improvisation, so musicians added their personal touch to the score. “The composer left it very flexible and malleable,” she said, adding that the result is “a good mishmash of rock-and-roll, world music and opera.”

Like the other artists, the band is also in full makeup and clad in outlandish costumes. One of the musicians is guitarist and keyboardist Adrian Andres, spotted backstage preparing for the show. He showed off a tattoo on his forearm that read: “Kapayapaan ng Isip.” Andres’ mother is from Pangasinan, while his father is from Batangas.

“I was born in Toronto, and when I turned 17, I moved to Los Angeles,” Andres said. “I’ve been there for, like, 20 years. Cirque was looking for musicians, and I just auditioned. Soon after I auditioned, they called. The amazing thing about this job is it’s very consistent. You know where you’re going to be. The places that this has been, it’s amazing. We go to Australia, to Russia, the Philippines… It’s amazing!”

The “Saltimbanco” designs remain unaltered after two decades, but their components have undergone changes.

“The designs themselves stay the same,” head of wardrobe Tanya Jacobs said. “One of the things that Cirque du Soleil does is, when they design the show, they keep the costumes true to the original designs. It’s important to do that because it keeps the show together. Everything has its purpose.

“What has changed is the quality of fabrics. We’ve evolved; we got better fabrics to do the same thing. Some fabrics that aren’t being made anymore, we had to find substitutes and we had to handpaint them.”

Jacobs added that the use of bright and vivid colors was unique to this Cirque du Soleil presentation: “It’s an explosion of colors! When you watch the show, there’s always somebody that you relate to, whether it’s part of the costume or what they’re doing onstage. There’s something to draw you in, that you’re going to like.”

 (Call 3201111, visit cirquedusoleil/saltimbanco or

10,000 Faves

Thanks to DeviantArt artists and art fans for liking my drawings. My gallery’s gotten its 10,000th fave a few days ago. More new art to come! Speaking of new drawings:

He’ll make the earth move under your feet. One of my favorite characters from Avatar: The Legend of Korra. Drew this a few hours ago.

Dick Grayson Evolution
Robin, Nightwing, and eventually, Batman. He’s Nightwing again in the rebooted DC Universe. 

Communicating friendship through the ‘Ages’

(From the Aug. 1-15 issue of The Fortnightly)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Few animated movies have become as successful as Ice Age, popular for its band of misfit but likeable prehistoric animal characters. Its current installment, “Ice Age 4: Continental Drift,” emphasizes the tight-knit and distinct rapport again in a faster-paced adventure that pits them against new beastly dangers.

As its title suggests, the Earth’s land mass has finally divided into continents, the unprecedented upheaval accidentally set into motion by the relentless rodent Scrat. While pursuing his prized acorn, Scrat also discovers a map that points to a secret utopia.

The brotherly beasties, meanwhile, are immediately affected by the massive land division. Diego the sabretooth tiger (voiced by Denis Leary), Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) and Manny the mammoth (Ray Romano) are separated from their herd and swept to sea, leaving behind Manny’s wife Ellie (Queen Latifah) and child Peaches (Keke Palmer).

Joining them in their unexpected sojourn is Sid’s seemingly senile Granny (Wanda Sykes), who was intentionally abandoned by their family. They drift into the ocean, and are eventually spotted and captured by pirates on a massive “ship” (actually an iceberg fragment). Led by the primate Gutt (Peter Dinklage), the buccaneers are an assortment of seafaring beasts that may just have the means to get the quartet back to safe land.

“Ice Age 4” is more focused than the previous adventure, which was even described by Sid as something that “didn’t make sense,” but was nevertheless “fun.” The “Ice Age” movies don’t follow the chronology of prehistoric ages, that was pretty clear early on, but it’s easy to ignore the overlapping eras.

The “Ice Age” movies primarily focus on the dynamics between, and quirks of the core characters, and they’ve developed nicely through the years.

Manny is now more mature, for instance, and his relationship with his teen daughter starts becoming problematic because of her desire to be noticed by her mammoth crush.
Interestingly, “Continental Drift” has an odd but catchy music number that introduces the various pirate characters. These new characters add substantially to the visual equation; the new menagerie is eclectic and appealingly designed. Gutt is appropriately gruff and menacing, while the tigress Shira (Jennifer Lopez) looks majestic but similarly dangerous.

There are creepy, siren-like sea creatures that pose threats to the gang as well. It’s not clear what they are, exactly, but they figure in some of the movie’s funniest moments.

Adding to the hilarity are rodent tribe members that don’t speak most of the animals’ language. But Sid easily communicates with them, a la C-3PO with the Ewoks, but in his own inimitably silly way.

“Ice Age 4” effortlessly re-establishes its enduring, family-friendly appeal. And Scrat’s running gag still amuses; he’s still going through unimaginable lengths just to get his beloved acorn, and even embarks on a related mission that will undoubtedly lead to more earth-shaking scenarios! 

Sassy, struggling ‘People’

Discovered family secrets lead to rude awakenings in “People Like Us,” starring Chris Pine as a promising salesman who suddenly learns about the existence of a half-sister.

Hesitantly, Sam (Chris Pine) returns to California for his father’s funeral. Having no real happy memory of his dad, and currently dealing with a troubled rapport with his twitchy mother (Michelle Pfeiffer), Sam feels that it’s the last place he’ll do the most good. But he discovers the identity of his father’s illegitimate child, Frankie (Elizabeth Banks), a recovering alcoholic who works as a bartender (that’s some amazing fortitude right there), and is a single mother to a smart kid named Josh (Michael Hall D’Addario).

He tracks down Frankie, meets her without giving his real identity, and later starts getting chummy with her kid. Soon enough, his presence becomes important to both his new friends, who are unaware that Sam has possession of the inheritance money that he was supposed to deliver to them.

It’s a surprisingly simple but functional debut film by Alex Kurtzman, who co-wrote “People Like Us” with frequent collaborator Roberto Orci (“Star Trek,” “Transformers”) and another screenwriter, Jody Lambert. This particular family drama is straightforward and honest, if also predictable.

It’s not as raw and gritty as you’d hope, but the situations and their execution are real enough. There’s Sam’s all-too-real curiosity that gets piqued; he thought he was an only child, after all, and the realization that his dad was a man who left potentially painful secrets made him want to know how they’ll affect him and his mother.

Elizabeth Banks gets to shine as Frankie, a fumbling but sassy mom who hides the pain of being abandoned by her and Sam’s father. Banks has a familiar, friendly vibe going; it also helps that looks-wise, she’s like the middle sister of Elizabeth Shue and Chelsea Handler. She gets to display bursts of strength and vulnerability through the facetious Frankie.

It’s easy to sympathize and/or identify with these people surviving familial fallout. With solid performances and requisite moving moments, plus some funny parts that catch you off-guard, the film is pleasantly therapeutic.

“People Like Us” is an Ayala Cinemas exclusive opening on Aug. 15. 

Weather Whizzered

Some status updates, compiled.

July 26. Deadline week done. Feeling a bit sick. Obligations fulfilled, at least.
July 30. Nilantakan ang kalahating garapon ng Junior Stik-O. Makalat kainin pero masarap.
July 31. Really tired of this typhoon.
Aug. 3. Accidentally mass-deleted a bunch of text messages sent to me between 2007-2012. But it's okay; I copied some of the most important ones to a notebook. Some texts from '06-'07 were undeleted, reminders that certain things were different, and that I've grown a bit since then.
Aug. 3. Busy work weeks ahead. I'm thankful.
Aug. 3. Nami-miss ko yung Coney Island ice cream.
Aug. 4. Rainy day catharsis. Was rummaging through my old pictures and was suddenly reminded of my childhood, specifically the sixth grade. One of my bullies was a teacher who scolded me in front of classmates. She was fuming because she thought that the hole in my pants' right knee was a rebellious fashion statement. It wasn't; it just grew gradually. I mean, c'mon, I was twelve. What fashion statement?
She had no qualms with embarrassing me in front of classmates, whether it was because of that "rebelliousness," or because I forgot to have a reply slip signed. She always looked at me funny. I never really respected her because of those incidents, come to think of it.
She had to leave, thankfully, because she was replacing a school administrator that passed away. But before that, that last day, she admitted to having a favorite, that girl who was active during class recitations. The teacher hugged her. I don't know about my other classmates, but that looked and felt icky to me.

No need for translation

(From the Aug. 1-15 issue of The Fortnightly)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

It really is a small world after all when characters from foreign books, TV shows, and films suddenly talk in a familiar tongue. Tagalog-speaking audience members are pleasantly surprised, understandably, when their native language somehow finds its way into internationally released movies, however briefly:

‘Her Alibi’ (1989)
The rom-com stars Tom Selleck and Paulina Porizkova as a novelist and a murder suspect, respectively. In one of the film’s funnier scenes, Porizkova’s character is driven away by a fuming Filipina maid. “Ewan ko, hindi ko alam. Ang hirap sa iyo, layas ka nang layas… kaya hindi mo alam ang nagyayari dito!”

‘The Rock’ (1996)
Sean Connery’s character runs into a restaurant’s busy kitchen, knocking over bus boys and carts. An enraged chef can only scream at the disruptive intruder, “Hoy,” which is followed by a string of familiar Tagalog cuss words.

‘Big Fish’ (2003)
The Tim Burton-directed adaptation of Daniel Wallace’s book has a Korean ventriloquist who does his routine onstage and elicits no reaction from the audience. The character, through his puppet, surprisingly says in Filipino: “Kanina pa ako salita nang salita dito… pagod na pagod na ako…”

‘Fierce People’ (2005)
In the Griffin Dunne-directed movie, Anton Yelchin plays Finn, a 16-year-old with an anthropologist father. Finn likewise studies his surroundings and is more observant than most people. During a hazy dream sequence, a shaman (Eddie Rosales) from the South American tribe that Finn’s father documented offers sage advice in a different tongue. “Manggagaling sa puso mo,” the tribesman clearly says in Filipino.

‘The Campaign’ (2012)
The trailer to Will Ferrell’s new comedy “The Campaign” has been getting hearty laughs from Filipinos. The actor plays Cam Brady, a four-term congressman who keeps identifying and integrating various groups into his speeches. At one point, he referred to Filipino tilt-a-whirl operators as the “nation’s backbone,” and said “Salamat!” during his carnival visit.