Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cinemalaya Through the Years

Credits to owner

If you've been reading my blog long enough (naks! uma-avid reader!), then you know that I'm a big fan of Indie films since my best friend and I accidentally "discovered" Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. We were waiting for the results of his Nursing Board Exams (he passed!). The 10th Cinemalaya last year was my 5th straight Cinemalaya experience and it has become our tradition to always watch it in CCP even though they're already showing the entries at Ayala Cinemas. 

Here are some photos of my Cinemalaya experience through the years. Throwback na rin for you to see how much I've evolved (see hairstyles) and grown (in every sense of the word).

My first Cinemalaya in 2009

Cinemalaya 2010

These are from Cinemalaya 2012 (Wasn't able to take photos from 2011):

Excuse the bungisngis, I was actually starstrucked with my favorite scriptwriter, Ricky Lee :)

Pa-artsy shot

With Director Joey Reyes in 2013

And these are from 2014:

With Ms. Irma Adlawan (aka Nay Mirasol of Forevermore. Hihi)

Caught some of Marc Abaya's swag

The obligatory by-the-Cinemalaya signage shot

Last year, the idea of volunteering for the festival played in my head. I decided against it because I'll lose the freedom to watch a film from start to finish. I don't actually know if volunteers get to preview the film entries before they are all played come festival time but I still don't want to ruin the whole festival experience as a spectator since I always watch it with a friend/s. Because really, each film is a different experience! I am always looking forward to July and will research as early as April for any news about the entries for that year.

This year's festival is scheduled on August 7-14, 2015. But imagine my disappointment when I read the Cinemalaya foundation announcement that they will only feature Short Films (aka just "Shorts") this year and that full-length films will be back in 2016. 

Shorts BTW is like a whole film (1-2hours) but with mini-films that run for 20-25 minutes within the whole video. So Shorts are usually divided in 2 sets (Shorts A and Shorts B) with 4-5 short films each but still judged individually. 

I feel so sad about it but I'm just happy the festival will remain in its home in CCP.  The news factored in a bit about my plan to volunteer since they won't be showing any full length films anyway. :(

Oh and they are still accepting submissions for Short films until March 6, 2015. Details here.

If they are only doing shorts this year, maybe they will not show it by batches anymore. I'm just wondering about the ticket prices though (Php 60 for students and Php 150 for non-students), will it be the same price if a movie will just be 20 minutes long? Hehe. 

Well, I just hope that next year's Cinemalaya will be worth the wait. I'm still thinking about the volunteering thing but if you guys are interested, have time and as in love with films as I am and is willing to work for the sake of arts (let me reiterate this: for free!) then check out Cultural Center of the Philippines' site here. Volunteer or not, I hope to see you this August! :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Truth for the Fallen 44

If you care enough to closely follow the news about the 44 PNP-SAF Officers (now known as the Fallen 44), I bet you also have so many questions which you know will never be answered. The truth of any answer we can manage to get will still be questionable. 

The proceedings show that there is a (little?) competition between AFP and PNP; with questions of why now retired PNP Chief Purisima did not coordinate with AFP Chief Gregorio Catapang nor relay details of the Mamasapano operation to DILG Sec. Mar Roxas and PNP OIC Espina or why AFP failed to send any reinforcements to back SAF officers up.

How true is it that Purisima orchestrated the poorly planned mission to clean his name out of his controversial mansion issue? And let me also note how I'm disappointed with the President's speech announcing Purisima's resignation not even naming who will replace him as PNP's head in this very trying moment for the organization. PNoy just reminisced about how Purisima was with him at the time of a coup d' etat during his mother's administration. I don't care much about PNoy and Purisima's bromance but I mean, COME. ON. Will Noy's speech just always be a rehash of history (his father's death, mother's and GMA's presidency)? 

During the Senate inquiry, Catapang stated that the AFP have their own operation planned against Marwan (see GMA News article).  I was like, so ano 'to? Kanya-kanya sila? Parang (AFP to PNP): 'E mission niyo yan, labas kami diyan. Ginusto niyo yan e. Bahala kayo sa mga buhay niyo.' Ganon? 

What will happen to our beloved Philippines if it's like that between PNP and AFP? 

Should we cancel the Bangsamoro Basic Law? Minsan naisip ko, bakit hindi na lang ihiwalay sa Pilipinas ang mga gustong humiwalay? Bahala silang gumawa ng sarili nilang government. Pero bigyan sila ng Visa kung gusto nilang pumunta sa "Pilipinas". Gusto nila yan eh. Why not give them the freedom and independence they want?

There's also a part of me that agrees with Mayor Erap Estrada's point of view that MILF cannot be trusted and that we must "wage war to gain peace". But then I realized I am only confident in saying that because I am at the comfort of home and I don't know (can't even imagine!) what it's like to be afraid of stepping out of the house because of the sound of guns and bombs outside; destruction of homes, death of innocents. Imagine--just imagine that.

If war can't be avoided, let the government make sure to evacuate civilians first. 

Now I am not very trusting of our own Philippine National Police officers but was really moved when I watched and read PNP OIC Leonardo Espina's emotional speech before the House of Representatives. With that speech, he resurrected what little faith I have towards the integrity of PNP.

Shelf the BBL if we must but I think these 44 brave men deserve if not justice, they deserve the truth about what really happened. Truth is their justice. As Espina put it, "I seek answers for my people so that when I die and when my time comes that I have to face them, I can say something. It is always sweet to die for this country. Itong mga taong ito will always be there in front and say: 'Mission Accomplished po.'

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Random Musings

Don't you just sometimes wish you can start your life from a scratch? A clean slate. A blank canvass. Where everything and everyone around you is new, not even your old friends or family to remind you of the past. Do you dream of getting away to somewhere where you are a stranger? To go to a place where no one will care about the A's you may or may not have gotten, what your religion is, whether you have a diploma or if you are a licensed whatever. And in that place you can make mistakes without judgements, make new mistakes or better yet, take a cue from the past--take the same risks but this time you'll know for sure what steps you have to make and/or where want to go.

Can we do that? Can we go there?

Monday, October 27, 2014


Here is another post apologizing (mostly to myself) for not being able to write more often. 

I hope to solve that with the Blogger app I downloaded on my iPod.

What you are reading is what we call a "test" post since I wrote this and posted it via the app. I decided to download the Blogger app since I don't always have an internet connection nor my laptop with me. I've been looking for a good (and free!) app for blogging because I always have my iPod with me. It's basically an extension of myself! Haha. I was only able to find the app for Wordpress but sadly, the app for Bloggr wasn't available that time. But now it's here!

Okay so I don't and won't expect much from a free app. I expect to use it for just short posts with minimal photos. What you're reading now is how it is. 

This is a screencap of its interface. You can't change alignments, no auto-save or  spell checker and you can't put a caption for your pictures. Oh and there is no option to view comments, too. I'm a bit worried about how my screencaps would appear upon publishing the post but well, this is just a test post. With the auto-save problem, I'll just copy the whole post before posting in the mean time just to be sure. 

I hope there won't be any problems so I can post more often (I know! Huhu.) If you now a good Blogger app for apple, please let me know. :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

This 2014

Photo from

I will not make any plans about being healthy. But I will try to be. God just gave me sweet tooth and I can't stay away from sugary goodness. I'm such a kid.

I will push myself to do more art. It is not to have something to post and for people to like. Art is for myself. I need it for my soul. No matter how bad I am with it, I want to write more (poems and what-nots) and to practice painting more. Do my own interpretation of life.

I will really go out to listen to music. Listen to live bands. To have a drink in hand and dance (okay, sway left and right) and just really be in the moment, be alive. Needless to say, I will also read more books.

I will watch less t.v. No problem with that since the DVD player's already busted. It bid farewell after serving me for years and me watching movies too many that I can't count anymore and almost endless episodes of tv series. Hopefully, I'll buy a new video cam and shoot all the way. Everybody was an amateur in this. I'll also have pictures printed and take time to arrange them in a special, lovingly made scrap books.

I will watch where my money goes. I will count my blessings and be more generous in sharing them.

I will make appointments and keep them.

I will go to places I've never been to before. I will make new mistakes and learn new lessons.

I will spend more time with friends. I keep on making excuses last 2013 because I wanted to be alone. It was a time of healing. But this year, I will make friends and family feel how special they are to me. I will be generous with my love.

And finally I will probably, just maybe fall in love. :)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Thank You 2013!

Wow you guys! One year has passed. Imagine that? And you are now reading my year-end post. Time goes by so fast huh? But I knew exactly where my time went. :)

2012 has been a rough year so even before 2013 started, I promised myself that I will make this year a year of new experiences. In more ways than one I have achieved that. That was my little New Year's Resolution, to be little less fearless--to say YES more. Year 2013 has been fairly good to me and I was able to gain new experiences that left me with valuable lessons. But of all the things, the most important thing I learned this year is that I am BRAVE and STRONG. Mas matapang at malakas pa pala ako sa inaakala ko. (Yes, I'm smiling as I'm typing that last sentence.)

So here are the highlights of my 2013:

  • Ran in my first Fun Run. 7-11's Run 800. Even though it was only a 5 km. run, I was so scared that I won't be able to run to the finish. I nearly wanted to back out. But turns out, I can finish a race. And this is when I fell in love with running. But I still won't call myself a runner. I just became more conscious about my health this year so I read more about it (Thank you, Runner's World PH! ) as well. Also, I had a problem with my knee so yeah. Read more about how my run went here

  • Ah. I don't write much about it but I went through a period of depression years back because I hated my course and I can't really decide what to do with my life. Actually, I wanted to do so many things that I lost my focus. Plus, I had to decide if I wanted a degree that will give me financial satisfaction or a degree that will leave me doing something that I love. But you know how sometimes those two things rarely or almost never come together. I felt less and so insecure than everyone else with my batchmates graduating college already and me stuck at work letting time slip away. This 2013, I faced my fear of other people's reaction of me still studying. While working, I enrolled myself in an A.B. Journalism course! So yes, I am brave. No matter how long of a time it took me to get here, I feel that I am finally on the right track. I chose something that I love. 

  • I started running because I want to climb a mountain and climb a mountain I did! Together with my friend, Arn, we climbed to the summit of Mt. Batulao in Batangas. Urong-sulong ako sa trip na 'to. Haha! I moved dates over and over. I keep making excuses because I'm so scared. I'm the only one planning the trip and we had to cross our fingers that there is still a tour guide to go with us despite the storm. Yes! How crazy are we to climb a mountain after a possibility of a storm was reported? Maybe we're not brave, we were plain crazy! Haha! I just felt a surge of adventure and guts that day that I had to take advantage of it, like it's now or never. Hopefully, I can post better pictures next climb. Yung walang clouds. Ha! (Read about the climb here. )

  • To visit Banaue Rice Terraces is on my bucket list. I just never thought I'll be going this year. We were supposed to come home from my aunt's wake (it was in Nueva Vizcaya) when I asked Papa if we could go. Malapit lang naman daw. But god, it was raining hard and the road going there was scarier than Baguio. You're really at the edge of the mountain. What a ride! We keep on stopping to quarrel among each other if we should go back. But my ever adventurous Papa decided we have go. Good thing we did. The Rice Terraces was indeed a sight to behold! I don't even have the words. I just want to sit and stare at the green stairs and thank God for everything. Really a good place to soul-search. It really is a Philippine treasure. I wish to go back there in a good weather (again with the weather!).

  • And last but most definitely not the least, the Christmas Party at Child Haus. It was a really rewarding and humbling experience. It made me appreciate simple things. It made me appreciate life. Charity is not given to make you feel better about yourself because you're more fortunate than others. It's aspiration must be to give hope and to make others feel that they are not alone. That there are people who cares.

One of my 2014 Resolutions is to continue making new experiences. I will not promise you anything else. But I will always try and make a conscious effort be a better Yella than I was a year before. I hope your 2013 was just as good as mine but if it isn't I wish you to bring its lessons to the following year and hope that your 2014 will be better. 

I welcome 2014 with much hope and gladness in my heart as I did the previous year. I claim it! It will be a great year! I wish you all have a Happy New Year too!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

That Christmas-y Feeling

This holiday I've been hearing so many people complain about how it is sometimes too hot or how they can't feel the festive feel of this season yet. Well, as far as I'm concerned, Christmas for me began last December 8 when we went and threw a party for the kids at Child Haus.

Child Haus serves as a temporary shelter for indigent children with cancer and other dreaded diseases from the province who are seeking medical treatments here in Manila. They provide free board and lodging. If there isn't a Child Haus sign outside the property, you would think of it as just an ordinary house as it is situated in a residential area in Quezon City. Every place in it is helped build by donations from different people and organizations. Hence the "This _____ (e.g kitchen) is donated by ______ " as a simple way to acknowledge the donors. 

Their wall is decorated with Fairytale characters where people can write words of encouragement for the kids. Cute!

The stage where we set up our gifts and prizes for some games.

The Kids

I really don't know what to expect at first. You know how I can be quiet at first but I can really ask a lot of questions sometimes but this time, I really don't know how to approach them. I'm quite torn between getting to know them more versus just leaving them alone to enjoy the program the clowns we hired  had prepared for them. I mean like, how should I ask point blank: "Uy, why are you here?" or "Anong sakit mo?"/"Cancer? What stage?" 

 I'm just not one to ask the kind of person to ask those questions on a first meeting (if you are, I don't know if I want to be friends with you.).  Those questions are way too personal. 

These kids are really very shy at first but it's really very easy to make them smile. Also, I have this innate Ate (big sister) feeling of wanting to protect them. I'm also hesitant to take pictures with them, I didn't go there to post selfies with these kids for the "likes" and "favorites" naman. But the event has touched me so much, I knew I had to share it. I know, I know, pusong mamon ako but what the heck. So again with protecting. I stopped myself from asking too many questions about their illness because first, we're here to make them feel that people care and not to a.) do a documentary or b.) do therapy sessions; and second, they're kids. They might not even know how bad things really are. 

Maybe they're actually better off not knowing. Maybe it's better for them to maintain their innocence. They are only kids after all. 

Ma (second from the left) and her friends from when she was at culinary school whom she organized the Outreach. 

See this cute little girl. Forgot to ask her name but gaaaah, she's really really cute. With her chubbiness, you won't know she's sick diba? And she likes taking pictures with us. :)

And here is Charmaine. Isn't she a pretty little thing? She can't walk alone though. Well, she can but they say she really needs someone to hold her hand while she does because she tires easily.

Gift-giving to mark the end of the program. 

One of the touching stories there was when their Chef asked a kid if he can still remember their group because they went there last year too, and he answered, "Ay hindi po eh, bulag na po kasi ako ngayon." (Sorry, I can't. I'm already blind.)

Kids singing their Thank You song. Well rehearsed. But they look bored doing it. Obviously, they've been doing the same routine for all the people who throws party there. But still, I cried. Nakakainis. :( I feel a little bad. 'Cause gahd, they have cancer or whatever disease they have and they're not crying. I don't want them to feel bad or sorry for themselves because of that girl who can't hide or stop her tears. Pero nakakaiyak talaga. Huhu. :( 

Okay. I allowed myself one selfie in this entire post.

Us with the kids.

 I hope to visit again. I hope to see different faces next year. Because when a kid leaves, it can either be because they are finally well or sadly, their condition turned for the worse. So I'm praying it's because they won their battle. Be strong kids! 

     Towards the end, I thought about what must be going on on these children't minds especially the older ones? Sanay na ba sila na halos kada linggo may nagseset-up ng Christmas Party for them? Is our party just another day in a life of a kid with cancer? Do they feel that people pity them (we can't help it--no one can) and how do they feel about it? Are they tired from their treatments? What if they're thinking that these events people throw are just pity party for them and these are just things people do to make them feel good about themselves? What if I just did this to feel good about myself? 

     I don't want to write and post this with just smiles and cheesy sayings. If anything, then yes, I want to be a therapist. But these kids are probably too innocent to worry about their diseases. They have not yet succumbed into the so-called abyss of depression unlike adults who are battling the same disease. Their families are probably the ones doing all the worrying for them. And for that I am a little bit thankful to these little angels for what they are and what they have---their innocence, hope and faith. It is my fervent prayer for God to bless me more so that I can be more of a blessing to others as well. Although I am ashamed of having to post this since I believe that one must not show off the help you give, I just want to dedicate this to all the people who are saying that they can't "feel" Christmas. Bear in mind that these kids are in a daily battle to add a day to their lives, to maybe even make it to next year's Christmas. 

If not for us, I wish we can do something to make others feel like it is Christmas. You know, pay it forward. A random act of kindness. I like doing mine in little (and of course, anonymous!) ways. I hope this wee lil' post touched something in you like it did mine. And I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!