Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week 51: Sbarro's Genius, My Letter to the Pope, and My 2015 Starbucks Planner

Allow me to express self-criticism, this is a delayed post.

The complimentary cheese pizza I got from Ate, faith-restored-in-humanity-moment after an "ordinary" day. Only purchased one, got two, nice right?
Me and my friend were discussing S&M in the Arab World, the hot European backpackers seated behind our table, the state of the world, her colleague's stupidity, when somewhere, somehow, the topic of the Pope's arrival arose in the most nebulous fashion. It was the traffic of the previous day that brought us there. "When the Pope's arrival is upon us, what will that be like, no?" Let me tell you why this is exciting for an Atheist Jew like moi. When you grow up in a society where the religion of the majority is a totalitarian force around you, the spill-over effect, makes you adjust in certain ways, to accommodate your existence in that society. In my case, studying in a Catholic institution brought with it a widely diverse experience, of various stimulus, across the board spectrum of humanly possible episodes within that chrono-spacial locus. In short, my interest in him stems from my general interest in the state of our world. 

The topic about him revolved around how the mainstream local media, subservient to the will of the masses enough, not to mention, vested with interests tantamount to crimes against humanity, would approach his presence, his experience, his will, and his action, here, in this country. That's when Eureka happened! 

I suddenly thought of me doing the reportage, or at least, me scoring an interview with the Pope. I mean why not? Relative to the quality of the majority of the mainstream journalists in this country, by all objective standards, I was more than qualified. Plus, unlike them, I was after the truth, and surely, I wouldn't ignore the reality around the Vatican, as they do, because unlike them, I don't intend on self-deprecating, and self-effacing myself to the Pope. Notwithstanding, the need to respect his status, and the needs of his profession. Kinda like interviewing a Royal, or Barbra Streisand (Difference?) Balancing act really. My admiration for him lies in his ability to lead and his well-though policies, his openness (relative to the Vatican hierarchy), his activeness, and his realistic approach. His courage to take on the bloated bureaucracy of Vatican-is definitely note-worthy. 

I then and there decided to take the plunge and write to the Pope himself, to solicit an interview, if not, then at least he knows, somewhere out there, a person who may not be his direct subject can still express gratitude and admiration towards him, above all wishes him all the best. Isn't that enough? Kinda like sending a Christmas card to the Dalai Lama. 


Got it. Very fortunate to have only needed to spend on half of the stickers, as the other half, was found on the floor on my way, with my colleague, to lunch. I thank the universe,  and my positive thinking.

That's what's inside.

First thing I did was, find out how I can reach the Pope, so I went to where all is. 

I got the address, the necessary information, and how the letter should appear to be.

I remember when I was in 4th grade, me and my sister (separately) wrote to Daniel Radcliffe, and after 11 months he replied with a standard reply to all fan mails. My sister still has her letter with an A4 -sized full body pic signed by Harry Potter himself!

While I was doing my usual stroll I decided to pick up some stuff to give as gifts to His Holiness Pope Francis. Postcards naturally, because seriously, who else would give him these? Simplicity right?

A tourist map, since he's of the people, I'm sure he'll love how an ordinary tourist would experience Manila. Again, who'd give that to a Pope? Only me, right? They're quirky, but makes sense, right? I'm sure he'll appreciate my gesture of appreciation towards his gesture of minting harmony with the people. Thanks to my map-gift, he'll see manila, not in the typical way a VIP experiences the city, detached, orchestrated, unnatural, almost theatrical, but in the most ordinary way there is. Simplicity, right?

The rosary's a gift from my Priest-friend way back in Elementary school.

A 1945 coin by the Americans during their occupation. This has a Joy Luck Club element  attached to it.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to include this in my package as it's "Cash & Coinage," DHL, FedEx, and the Post Office, didn't allow me.

Unexpectedly, got satisfied by the Philippine Postal System, they forced me to put Italy in it, even though Vatican is a city-state! (DHL and FedEx were insistent as well, when I inquired about the rates). People really need to learn their geo-political maps.

I made sure that my parcel wasn't a cookie cutter parcel just like from any other, I made sure I individualized it. I didn't want to miss an opportunity to express myself. Seriously, if you're going through 700,00 mails all identical, wouldn't you be curious with the one that stands out from the rest first? 

The result. "In 2-3 weeks it'll be in his possession already."

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Berlin Wall, APEC, and Ebola

I'm absolutely horrified, at the same time disgusted, by the way the APEC Summit's reportage was done in Beijing, shocking, it is a mere continuation of the saga of the standard bearers of the world's media. 

Intrigue, mystery, imperial-like melodrama, with a splash of Daily Mail-like tidbits here and there, what I witnessed was the asymptomatic overall decline of the standards (if there is still such) of the way information is filtered through the behemoths of western journalism. True, the dissenting opinion is apparent-but only from time to time, the dominant theme is that of mediocrity and myopia, dangerous clouds that affect the status quo du jour.

The week began with an epochal remembrance, the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was reported as a watershed moment for the Germans, a harbinger of the total collapse of the Iron Wall-all right. What was bothering was the lack of thinking by the reporters, and in the BBC's case (by now a signature), the open-ended questions constancy. The significance, and the meaning, of the Berlin Wall was celebrated as if it was a theatrical event. Never mind that Germany's post-Berlin Wall human rights record and its total lack of responsibility ever so prominent in its propaganda to everyone else wasn't examined. Freedom? For whom? Tell that to the victims of xenophobia inside and outside of Germany, post-1989.

What you actually see is the lack of basic inquiry by the correspondents in answering the basic question which is, "What is the state of post-reunified-Germany's freedom?" This what after all was fought for, right? Let the Syrians and Yazidis spirit (denied freedom to move) answer that for Germany, for Europe. The whole commemoration is a farcical hypocritical narcissistic misrepresentative exercise.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC. You should expect news from this event to be about significant achievements and pertinent information relating to this truly opulent summit. Instead, the BBC, again-this time with CNN, decides to devote more attention to the fact that the Chinese state decided to censor Putin's moment with Xi's wife by lending her his coat, is this crucial information? How about the facts relating to costs? Is it really a matter for everyone to interpolate on how much the State splashed out for this event, shouldn't it be viewed positively that the "Middle Kingdom" "a secretive state" made momentous efforts to present a "face" to the world that's truly opposite of their "natural" displeasure towards anything not of, by, from, Zhonghua (China)? Isn't it nice that a "Han-chauvinistic attitude" was forfeited via their welcoming attitude to the rest?

Let's glorify those who deserve to have their voices heard, there are a lot within these powerful organizations, subject to the people's whim of Romanesque despotic Vatican-ish systemic power tripping  who are concerned with vital information, and not with trivial childish information gathering. Managing to outmaneuver a view devoid of material and style. An immutable sign of decline.

In the time of Shakespeare, "report" meant rumor. I read it in the Merchant of Venice, as much as I adore him (along with countless others) I disagree, having been witnessed to our generation's (and the past) excellent journalism, today's unacceptable.

It's beyond obvious that these people don't have any respect for the traditions laid out by their magnificent organizations, they're beyond disgraceful, bordering on senile, cacophonous, and have an undiagnosed case of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

What happened to basic journalism, probing for the truth? Challenging the assumptions? Digging for the hidden information? Where are the Watergates? Pulitzer-worthy researches? Scathing life changing information?

Lastly, Ebola. A person's Ebola concern is proportional to that person's knowledge (or lack thereof) and is a form of racist-o-meter. Africa can handle Ebola. Africa is not Africa (Diamond in Guns, Germs, and Steel). Ebola isn't airborne. The total number of fatal cases has no match for the annual victims of seasonal flu, in the US alone. Liberia is a third world country that is developing, and yet thank goodness for a NYT reporter's notice, could achieve something truly developed, internal sovereignty-the ability of a state to command and legitimize itself within a polity. The Italians need more of this. 

As Lola Adesioye wonderfully illuminates in The Tablet:

Realistically, Americans have more chance of contracting the flu—which kills some 36,000 Americans every year and results in more than 200,000 hospitalizations—than they do of contracting Ebola.

Yet this has not stopped growing panic and hysteria, which is being fueled by ongoing sensationalism, not only about Ebola itself, but about Africa and African people.
Perhaps, the BBC, and CNN, should focus more on reporting on the state of their country's institutions, the state of their country's commitments to its people, and to the world, rather than producing further unnecessary sensationalist Third World (Philippine-mainstream like) journalism. 

Friday, December 5, 2014


When IMAX was developed by Graeme FergusonRoman Kroitor, Robert Kerr, and William C. Shaw, they must have had a film in mind for which their labor was for. Why the increased resolution anyway? Well it is Interstellar. Hats off to the Nolans (Christopher, Jonathan, and Emma Thomas) just as with Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, he (Christopher) managed to impress me again! A quality of any great luminary is chameleon-ality. In all those films, his touch was there, but all three were different in a way independently spectacular in each right. Think of Johnny Depp's and/or Jennifer Lawrence's ability to appear greatly different in every film they do, while maintaining midas touch, at the same time unrecognizable.  Marks of great actors indeed. Innovation. Newness. Progress. 

Semi-dependent on my new audio-drug, Hans Zimmer's work for Interstellar.

Why we must we go to the theaters in the era of film downloadability, films like Interstellar answer those rationalisms. Cinematicity, experiencing, transcending spiritual parameters, transportation,  teleportation, into another world, is a reason. Same way some films are irritating to watch in surround sound, and maximized screen. Some films are meant to be enjoyed cozily. Films that require you to be in bed, snuggling a blanket, with a Sbarro pizza stuffed in your mouth, with matching rain outside, this is what I'm referring to. Other's don't create the same effect.

This film will give you plenty of things to think about, out of this world, indeed. To watch this film is to gaze the ocean. Very therapeutic after a workweek. It'll deconstruct your superficial understanding of our world/s. 

Confession alert: I also listened to these two every time I finished Zimmer's wonderfully tantalizing soundtrack.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Filipiniana Galore

If you're looking for a place to conduct research that requires references that deal with topics pertaining to the Philippines, then look no further, as a library is in existence that can help you with your needs. Want to indulge on your book-related-sensual-needs? Are you looking for a private collection spanning topics from Filipina heroines to the genesis of post-war Filipino modern art? An extensive collection can help you with that.

A find has been found. An event of orgasmic proportions, that a bibliophile, can experience-yet, I had. My thoughts: Where have you been all along? Finally.

As I gazed and became more lightheaded for the sheer amount of choices, I was overwhelmed, in the best way. To avoid the kid-in-a-candy-shop cliché, let me resort to my own analogy. It was like eating the best cheesecake I can imagine while in a trance-like process of a dream-world realization. A dream come true indeed.

My relationship with books is by now a not so secret affair I've been having since I was a toddler. Just like any other relationships I had my ups and downs but I never gave up, I never gave up on books, I just chose different partners. Once upon a time, I was an addict to books that dealt with planes, then we broke up, I met cities, we broke up as well, and this process went on and on, until one day a pattern emerged from my new book/partner choices (in therapy this would be the "breakthrough" moment) my tendencies revealed itself, it turned out I loved certain books that talked about a matter I was interested in. Taste. The rest is history.

If you want to pay a visit, contact Mario Feir or Stephen Feldman online to schedule an appointment via their FB page MarioFeir FilipinianaLibrary.

The Philippine Literary Festival 2014: Amy Tan

The moment.

Dreams do come true. I have met in person, one of the many people in my long list of those I wish to have the privilege of bearing witness to one day, and perhaps interact for a few moments, and be a fangirl in temporary catatonia resulting from being starstruck. While I was waiting for my turn (125th), I reminisced the moments I experienced in the past, with the Joy Luck Club (the film and book). It reinforced the courage I knew I have and need more of. It overwhelmed me with feelings of gratitude to Amy. I felt the need to tell her how inspiring the story was, and how the film was a life changing event in my life. I did. I'm grateful for her contribution to the world. 

Shocked. Happy. Nervous. Excited.

It was nice to see how she interacted with people, she was very friendly, and she looked cute with her husband.

Everyone I saw was doing what the woman on the left was doing here, while waiting for their turn.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Intermedia: Met Open 2014

A candid photo I successfully mined through instagram (with the permission of the owner). The chat dealt with mostly ontological matters, revolving around personal matters, Judaism, nationalism, culture, history, God, death, faith, and purpose.

I got to know them better.

The Press Kit.

"The Metropolitan Museum of Manila invites the public to its first edition of MET OPEN 2014, a benefit exhibition on contemporary art which will run from Sunday, September 21 to October 4, 2014."

"Consistent to its goals of exploring various channels of engaging museum audiences in  experiencing Philippine contemporary and modern art, Met Open 2014 brings together five of the most respected curators in the country to curate the entire exhibition which draws chronological and current references from the survey exhibition of The Philippine Contemporary Art Exhibition: To Scale the Past and the Present. Old and new works by different artists (including national artists) will be juxtaposed in the curators' collective and designated spaces. The Met Open seeks to promote a better understanding of past, current, and evolving themes, period trends and movements, artistic media and many more recurring and timely concerns in the Philippine art scene today. "

"What I expect from the visitor is to feel enlightenment, and pride in our arts."

Jerome of art+.

ABS-CBN Cameraman.

The museum director's tour. Charlie Co's The Burning World
hanging on the left.

"We need genuine art critics."

Catholic iconography.

I must admit how fun the guestbook-post was. I mean, you get to meet and interact with every person who'll enter (artists, writers, socialites, oligarchs, titans, politicians, academics, curators, etc.). Don't forget you'll be first in line to see the hot guys. :3 

Introductory remarks.

The President's speech.

As a proud Starefier (a person who stares and looks out for selfie potentials at any event), it amazed me how people can be so un-snobbish if they wanted to.

The tour-guide-savant, anti-oligarchy activist, Carlos Celdran.

Fashionista-niche-r Tessa Prieto, and visual artist Asian-modernist Arturo Luz.

Interview # 1

A friend of mine asked him if he was in this so-in-so  ballet the other night, he told us, that if anybody wanted him to fall asleep, then they should simply take him to the ballet. I appreciated his candor.

Doris Magsaysay-Ho, a patron of the arts. Obviously, hard-working and down-to-earth.

The red-dressed, high-heeled, senior facing Luz is a model for geriatrics. 

Art-worlder, moi, and Irene Marcos-Araneta.

Hot French Aryan alert... :-#

Interview # 2

The brother representing a world icon, the late (and one of many favorites of mine) Pacita Abad.

Me: Hi! Sorry, but...can I just say, for the record, I abhor violence for violence's sake.

Florencio (Butch): Hahahahaha

I think it's important that everybody acknowledge the often forgotten significance of the photographers (of whatever social stature-past or present). Whether it be, at a wedding, the Oscar's, the Paparazzis, these people help us dream, help us relate, deconstructs, gives us meaning-and for that we must be thankful.

Doris, Tina, and Amando. 

Interview # 3

I asked Charlie Co, what pushed him over the edge to paint this, and he replied that it was his desire to express the ongoing crises, the status quo. I also asked him whether his works are parts of grander theme, or each belonging to a different world. He said that all his works were part of a continuity. His paintings are truly original and manage to reflect what is hard to do, prima facie, expression.

Interview # 4

She is a psychiatrist, ohh and the wife of National Artist, sculptor-genius, Napoleon Abueva. She is Sergia "Cherry" Abueva. I thanked her tremendously. I sang my praises  for her husband to her, and remembered telling her, that Napoleon was a true Filipino artist. 

Interview # 5 

Me: Were you trying to show the differences or the similarities between Paris and Manila in your Common Oddities (video-piece) in the Brave New World exhibit?

She generously explained to me that her point was to show that even cities like Manila and Paris, in people's mind so far apart, can still harbor commonalities. 

Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah Tallent

With Angelo and Chloe, art restorers from non other than the National Museum, ultra-major! I expressed my gratitude to their profession, and for choosing it, as in this Third World dystopia, fewer and fewer people are choosing to be like them, at a time when the world needs to preserve even more cultural works for understanding, cooperation, and peace. It's mind-boggling how through their work, monuments to civilization's achievements such as, the Mona Lisa, or the Forbidden City, can be saved from eternal banishment, call that life-saving!

"The Met Open 2014 encourages the participation of as many artists, art students, artist representatives, galleries, and the art community. It gathered a collection of two hundred works in different art forms; including paintings, sculptures, mixed media, ceramics, art installations and performance art. Proceeds of this benefit exhibition will support the museum's education and exhibition programs. The Met open 2014 is being launched in cooperation with Rolls Royce, Del Monte Philippines Inc., and other media partners."

As I was leaving, I chanced upon the artist, Paul Pfeiffer, and one of the five curators of the exhibit, Yael Buencamino, I didn't want to lose an opportunity to go Louella Parsons on them, so I did.

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila is located at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas complex, Roxas Blvd., Manila. Museum hours are from Monday-Saturday, 10 AM-5:30 PM. For more information, visit or call (02) 708-7828.