Monthly Archives: July 2012

Falling in Love with Indie Films

At the peak of the annual Cinemalaya Film Festival, I found myself falling in love with the underrated facet of Filipino creativity in cinemas – the shoestring-budgeted Independent Films – all over again.

I’ve always been a fan of Indie Films. Even before Coco Martin could make his big break on mainstream shows, I’ve already caught glimpse of his hot smokin’ bod on Serbis and Kinatay, both of films directed by no less than the great Brilliante Mendoza himself.

Here, the family matriarch Nanay Flor (Gina Parenez) scolds Allam (Coco Martin) while Nayda (Jaclyn Jose) stands and watch. Just a typical day in a dysfunctional family running a rundown theater

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Coco’s appearance that drew me in to my long-term affair with Indie. There’s more to these films than the actors portraying their roles, or the directors planning the scene. There’s so much in Indie that you would rarely find on mainstream Filipino movies.

At the heart of every Indie is a great story. Sure some scenes depict graphic sex scenes, gagging violence and poverty stricken characters going on about their daily lives but what makes it so much worthy to watch for is its heartfelt sincerity. The characters in the story are real; in fact, they can be found in you and me and as well as to other Filipinos out there, They’re as real as they could be, and their flaws is what sealed them to heaven’s condemnation.

This is a personal favorite of mine. Eugene Domingo totally owns this movie

The actors, directors, writers, screenwriters, editors and any other staff that took part in the movie did not create it to sell – They created it to tell. To portray and show the real story behind a situation every Filipino can relate with. Indie Films are the perfect avenue for these artists to master their arts – to entertain and enlighten the public in the best of their abilities, for the pure love of the craft itself. In the end of the day, it’s what art is really all about.

And also after watching these movies, you wouldn’t spend it telling yourself “Oh, I totally expected that ending.” Instead, you’d find yourself mulling over the impact it did on your brain, the message it wants to send. It makes you think of the complexity of all things, how something like this can lead to that, and show you how lives of the characters are invariably linked with each other. It makes you brood on the trivialities of life, and how moral values can run alongside with hypocrisy and lies.

Though Indie films are receiving criticisms and controversies regarding its poverty porn aspects or extreme nude scenes, I still continue to applaud these talents that breed new movies with an altogether different story through the years. It’s great to know that international bodies are recognizing these movies and the talents and skills of Filipino filmmakers and still continuing to do so.

To all the winners of this Cinemalaya Awards, I bid you congratulations! Continue to show and tell all the stories that must be told, the lives that must be shared, through your movies 🙂

Indie Films are sometimes aired in Cinema One during late at night. Stay Tuned for it and you won’t be sorry. 

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Islands Insider: On how Nat Geo portrays the 7,107 islands of the Philippines

So after a hellish week for me, I decided to spend the sleepy Sunday morning  with some remote hogging and couch-hugging. It’s a rare moment for me; I’m seldom at home and whenever I am, my mom and her friends are in tune with their favorite teleseryes, reality shows and variety shows. hay, how typical Filipino. My mom isn’t even aware that her all-time favorite star Sharon Cuneta’s shows are aired non-stop in Cinema One all day long. (One channel only exists for her and that’s Channel ***!)

My dad’s another thing though. He’s a fan of Discovery Channel, Nat Geo and History Channel.If there’s one thing I owned him, it’s my geekiness and enduring interests in basically everything. But lately, all he’s been watching are the shows from History Channel that they eventually bore me. (But the shows are good! For one thing, HC featured the Maguindanao Massacre and the Manila Hostage Massacre with incredible analysis and in-depth interview of the survivors)

Okay, I admit I am pretty desperate on seeing my homeland in some foreign documentary feature (I am relatively jealous of Malaysia in its “Malaysia, Truly Asia” song which gets stuck in your head all day long. Since the golden age of WOW Philippines, I’ve never seen an ad that’s so creative and original)

And so, one day I was hogging down the channels after a bloody battle with my brothers over the remote, I stumbled upon National Geographic’s Islands Insider. I was stunned when I saw the name: Coron on its header, and even more amazed that the natives of the islands and Filipino experts are being interviewed complete with subtitles (hah, as if I ever need one!)

The show features the wonderful, amazing sights in Coron, Palawan and more importantly, the people who have been calling this their home ever since they and their ancestors can remember.

Even the logo’s pretty badass

I made a little research and found out that Islands Insider exclusively features the many islands of the Philippines..only. It’s more of a travel documentary that aired last June 23 and follows host Ginggay Hontiveros in travelling the different parts of the country, unraveling diverse culture and ethnic tribes. It’s divided into 6 parts, with the 2 earlier episodes featuring the Batad Rice Terraces and Coron.

Its writer-director Gabby Malvar is one of the renowned Filipino travel writers out there who promotes Responsible Tourism as a way of enjoying the new sights and experiences the Philippines has to offer. He urged travelers out there not to go to Boracay or Bohol or the underground river or any overly-populated tourist spots because these places need ample time to regenerate its resources and beauty. Furthermore, he encouraged them to stay out of the popular itinerary and go explore the country’s hidden beauty on their own.

I like him already.

Furthermore, he’s also amazed of the fact that even if foreigners are appreciating the country’s inherent beauty, on a local level, we Filipinos are yet to fully-recognize our country’s potential. When it comes to tourist spots, our imaginations are only limited to the pristine beaches of Boracay or the Underground River; there are still wonderful sights out there that we fail to recognize because it isn’t as well-known as the overrated ones.

Back to the Islands Insider, the show’s pretty interesting. The shots are good, the script well-written. It made me want to go out there and travel the whole Philippines right away!

Someday, I want to be a part of the team like those of the Islands Insider crew. I want to go out there and proclaim how beautiful my country is! Kudos to the Islands Insider Team, you have done a good job honoring the Philippines with all the recognition it truly deserves.

Stay tuned for another episode tonight at National Geographic channel, 8:30 PM. Early Sunday replays are also available as it is in my case. My whole family’s going to watch the Finale of Pinoy Big Brother tonight on local channel. My life sucks!

Tragically Indecisive

Has it ever come into your life when you have to prematurely decide on something big for your future?

If you don’t, lucky for you. You have a few years until college comes and screw your perfect, carefree life up. If you do, give me a brofist there buddy!

My fourth year in college seems to become a giant crossroads right now; divided into different roads leading to places obscured by the mist. Signposts are here and there, pointing to things I want to go and when I took the first step towards it, I looked back to study the other signposts and take a step back. Again, I’m stuck in the never-ending cycle of deciding.

Making decisions have never come easily for me. I make cold decisions in a snap for minor things in my life but something as big as this, as choosing where to spend my first OJT for print, is a decision you just couldn’t do in a flick of a finger.

Today, my friends and I ventured to the sleek city of Makati to try dropping our resumes to a travel magazine and a broadsheet. I like writing travel pieces, and the program they offer is quite good, but something inside me is not really satisfied. I want to experience BOTH magazine and broadsheet, writing features and news. I want the best of both worlds. I want both equal ends of the candy stick. I am greedy as hell when it comes to experience. I don’t know what I want more. I’m simply indecisive.

Choosing what you really want is a pain in the neck….You don’t know where will you be happy, where you will regret on doing,,,you don’t know what will you miss.

I guess being indecisive speaks much about a person. An indecisive person has no clear idea of what her goals are; her true ambitions. That’s why she’s so unsure of where to go because she was attracted by the sight of other roads or envious of other people who already made the decision of taking that certain path. She doubts herself; She thinks about joining the bandwagon or insisting to be different; She thinks about what will other people see in their paths and not of the path laid before her. She doesn’t trust herself any more than she trusts her own decisions. Simply put, indecisiveness is a sign of cowardice, or in more harsher term, inability to trust herself.

That’s one attitude I really want to change in myself. To do the first step, I am now making a decision I will never ever change whatever happens.

1. I want to go to The Manila Standard or The Manila Bulletin or Summit Media (For magazine)

2. I’ll call them for follow-ups for this week.  If there’s any luck, I’ll accept either one of them. If none, I’ll stick to Manila Times which offer a concrete internship program but with accompanying fee of Php 1,800.

3. Sunday is the decision time. Monday is the orientation for Manila Times. I’ll go there if I can’t see any hope for my applications on the aforementioned publications.

4. If the Three told me that I’ll be called on days after the second week of July, I’ll gladly wait for them and try to stop myself from running after other OJTs just because my other classmates have already started.

5. I will never ever regret anything.

I guess my indecisiveness roots back to the fact that I hate to regret. Who doesn’t? But the difference with other people is that they make the best out of that decision and throw that regret away before it further dampens their spirits.

It’s time for me to do the same.

My Internship for Rappler

And this is how I spent my summer of 2012……..Interning for Rappler.com! For those who are unfamiliar, Rappler.com is a rising social news network operated by veteran journalists and reporters who came from different networks. I think Rappler is pretty revolutionary in its own, and I was glad that even for just a little time, I became part of their team. This is my re-telling. 

Each gift is uniquely delightful in its own special way but what Rappler wrapped up for me is an entirely different present altogether; something you can take it with you wherever you go, whoever you meet, whatever you do.

Before my fateful internship for Rappler, I was basically spending the whole summer in a silent monologue with myself if I am really that capable of being a journalist, or in essence, a writer.I never doubt my love for writing, which had been with me as long as I can remember. It’s how I live up to it that I was very concerned about. Writing is a craft that I longed to use to transform other peoples’ lives, and had been one of my biggest frustrations ever since.

All that changed when my blockmate recommended me to be part of the internship program. I confessed that I took it to escape from boredom brought upon by the summer air of restlessness, but little do I know that Rappler has something big in store for me.

Chronicling the experience

First week is all about research, research and RESEARCH. Other tasks include transcribing, tabulating, data-mapping, and believe it or not, adding sums for incomplete data entries. This may not sound promising but the experience taught me a lot. One, patience is not only a virtue, or a policy. It’s an art. Two, a good soundbyte for a 20 minute transcription is worth the wait and exhaustion. Three, government websites are the most colourful corners in the net, complete with cute text animations and flashy display of colors. I would be happier if some of them could be updated though.

Just me and Chay Holifena and Maria Ressa. Nothing really special. Oh and did I mention I’m with Chay Holifena and Maria Ressa?

During the 2nd week, I had my first profile article. It was a great experience for me; I got to meet new people at different kinds of places and just talk to them casually. I never felt the duty of having to get important information from them for my story. As long as you listen earnestly for their say like an enraptured kid for a bedtime story, you get into somewhere. One lesson I learned: People are not what they seem. Just like a lake, you wouldn’t know how deep they are just by staring them then judging them right away.

3rd week is where I finally had the chance to cover events and media invitations. Here I met all kinds of people working on the same industry, writers, bloggers, editors and some VIPs here and there. I learned to do things I never thought I can do before. True, my guts were tested and I have to squeeze every bit of street smarts I have to get a story but I felt in every coverage, every invitation, step by step I was moving away from my comfort zone to get somewhere.

My first junket trip in Bataan is the highlight of my internship days. After this, I realized what I really want to see in myself after five to ten years. I want to travel to places, experience all different things each culture of this world to offer. Best of all, I want to write about it, to share it to others and show them the beauty that mostly goes unnoticed, especially that of our country.

The last two weeks were as eventful as they go; I never even realized that the summer is ending and I need to go back to school. Gone was the bummed out, burned out old me; replaced by someone who is more confident in her reporting and writing skills. More confident in her ability to not only handle conflicts in schedules or priorities but also within herself.

What Rappler taught me

My days in Rappler are all wrapped up into one thing: Whatever you do, as tough and challenging and impossible they may be, if it is to serve the people with truth and perspective, it’s very well worth it. I realized that this is really the true essence of journalism which Rappler just elevated in a wholly different level, but the purpose remains the same. I am grateful to Rappler for reminding me that even a small and ordinary pebble like me can cause huge waves of change if I put all my heart into what I do.

And it’s one gift I shall keep for the rest of my days.

Me and my co-interns chilling out in the office

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