November 2008


1. The movie was graded an A by the Cinema Evaluation Board, the highest score possible.

2. Critics and filmmakers around the world (France, United States, India, China and Singapore) took turns in praising this motion picture and showcasing it as part of their own International Film Festivals.

3. High caliber character actors like Ronnie Lazaro, Joel Torre and Jojit Lorenzo accepted the roles with little exposure and dialogue given to them. Seemingly a testament to their faith in the movie’s quality.

4. Cuyonon actors were trained and hired to add authenticity to the film. All of the actors and even the major players in the crew has Cuyonon buddies to guide them as they film every scene.

5. Dante Nico Garcia is an authentic local of Cuyo Island who studied in UP and became Judy Ann Santos’s friend during her Mara Clara days. Dante grabs this rare opportunity to save the dying Cuyonon language. This is also his birthday gift to Judy Ann.

6. This movie made Judy Ann Santos transcend her soap opera image.

7. The film’s cinematography is simply superb. It is a visual candy that provides us an opportunity to know that the Philippines’ environmental beauty is beyond Boracay and Mayon.

8. Aside from the beauty of the island, Cuyonon’s rare culture was made public in the film.

9. It is seldom that a film that shows some tragedy would also be labeled by a lot of people as a feel-good movie.

10. This film is a saving grace for a dying local movie industry marred by traditional conservatism, censorship, dirty politics and commercialism.

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When I saw the headline on inquirer.net about Binay’s supposed announcement, I actually thought it is another version of the joke (a racist one at that), that he is facing the challenge, purportedly inspired by Obama’s success, of being the first Philippine “black” president.

It turned out that the leader of the United Opposition is serious about his bid on being the country’s chief executive. While celebrating his birthday, his supporters, according to reports, are waving yellow banners with the slogan “Makati ngayon, Pilipinas bukas” (Makati now, the Philippines tomorrow).

Ewan.

Almost all of my friends already know that religious traditions, like undas, are rare in my system and everyone knows the reputation of Pampanga in culinary matters. So my Pampanga trip, I filed a vacation leave for it, became a feast for my peptic juices especially since October 31 and November 2 are my mom’s and grandma’s birthdays.

Imagine 3 days of non-stop eating. From the very first steamed talangka (crablet) served by the time we arrived on the morning of my mom’s birthday to the fresh tilapia and hito (catfish) we grilled and fried.

Viands as ordinary as lumpiang shanghai and as exotic as calderetang bibe (duck). Sweets like maja blanca and ubeng calamay aside from the usual merienda of spaghetti, pancit canton, pancit bihon and siopao. Ice cream (Coffee Crumble and Very Rocky Road) were also bought as requested by the kids. My brother-in-law also cooked some Japanese snack of vegetables and squid, the name of which sounds too awkward for me to remember. A hot bowl of Sinigang na Baboy sa Bayabas is not bad to cap those three days, right?

No wonder Ikkang sarcastically told me that I might be 30-pounds lighter by the time I got back here in Manila. My girlfriend is wishing aloud.