Monthly Archives: July 2013

KIDZANIA comes in Manila @2014!!

I’m 20 years old and I’m still excited for this thing! (After seeing these pictures, who wouldn’t?)

Kidzania in Tokyo, Japan [Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images]

 Kidzania will finally open in Manila next year at BGC, Taguig City! 

For those who are not familiar with Kidzania, it is a Mexican-based company which builds a large theme park/role play community for kids where they can take on jobs and be like adults working for money. Kidzania has its own money, its own currency to be given to the kids to spend with on stores or activities inside the park….and when they ran out of money, they have to work to earn more. (Sounds familiar?)

Kids can choose any job they want. They can be a police officer, a chef, a fireman with his/her own firetruck, a veterinarian, a doctor, a photographer, heck even a news anchor or a reporter. The facilities in hospitals and restaurants are scaled roughly one-third of its structure but are made to be authentic as possible so that kids get a real ‘feel’ of the job atmosphere.

Children making hamburgers as they play the roles of hamburger shop clerks [Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images]

Rehearsing for a simulated television show as the kids play the roles of announcers and newscasters [Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images]

The kids spray water at a simulated fire site as they play the roles of firefighters [Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images]

Kidzania has already been opened in 13 countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, South Korea, Japan and Dubai. Kidzania Manila will be located at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, near Market Market and Serendra.

Kids playing as flight stewardess [Photo courtesy of]

Licensed educators help kids with their chosen fields to guide them about what they need to do in their chosen profession []


Kids can also act as real-life surgeons! []

In Kidzania, kids have their own money and they need to spend it wisely for the stores around the theme park. If they ran out of money, that’s when they have to work.

Today in Kidzania Evening News! []

So what’s the diagnosis, doc? []


Oh c’mon!!! They even have CSI!??!! I’m so out of here! []

Young scientists at work []

They even have my childhood dream job: Archaeology!! []

As soon as I’ve first heard of it, I really love the concept of Kidzania. It allows the children to learn the value of money and the importance of working hard for something you want. Now that we have the K-12, kids will be more aware of the real world and any attraction they enjoy doing at Kidzania can play a major part in their career selections later on. If you ask me, this is what Filipino kids really need: A career guide during their teens and pre-teens. Hopefully, we can eliminate the career discrimination and obligatory profession dominating our society right now. Kids in this generation will realize that no career is superior than the other; every career/job/profession/vocation is important for the society to function like a well-oiled machine.

Kids get to be their favorite heroes and life-savers in Kidzania

Are you kidding me? They even have dog trainers!

They also feature another of my childhood dream job: A Check-out Operator T_T []

Haha, they even have jails! []

Another thing is, there are absolutely no computers or internet or any sort of gadget in this theme park. With this, they can freely interact with other kids (co-workers) and enjoy the fulfillment of companionship and working together.

Fill ‘er up! []

OBJECTION, your Honor. I think Kidzania is for twenty-somethings too! []

I can’t believe Filipino kids are missing out this kind of fun. []

Also, Kidzania here in Manila will incorporate fishing and agriculture industry, which is a very good thing so that young Filipinos can understand the importance of the overlooked yet significant industries.

Although I’m not expecting Kidzania Manila to be this sophisticated, I’m really excited for what it will offer to Filipino kids! []

Not trying to be a secondhand press release but I’m really excited with this theme park. It’s one of the things I look forward to at 2014. I can’t wait to bring my baby brother here…and hopefully, I can get inside to have some fun too 🙂

Ready for take-off! []

For more details, visit the Kidzania website here:

And yeah, expect sky-rocketing price for tickets but after reading the reviews in other countries, I guess it’s worth working and saving for.  


On SONA and the Filipino diaspora

Heads up, Mr. President! Please read this. This is the SONA of the OFWs, their abandoned families and their children who would celebrate their birthdays without either or both of their parents. This is the Modern Bayani’s SONA. On your remaining three years, never forget about them. And please, don’t force us, the younger generations, to leave the Philippines to work abroad. Help us restore our faith in you and the government. I have always been one of your critics, even until now. Prove me wrong.

The worst way to start your day is to see a loved one off to a foreign land. I learned this, Tuesday morning when I had to see my father off to the airport.

No, I wasn’t sad about my Papa leaving. I guess, I’ve gotten used to him being around sometimes and most of the time he’s thousands of miles away. He’s been doing that for about five years now – flies off to some country for work, will come home after a year or more, and then he’s off again. So, no. I wasn’t sad that he has left. I was sad because he had to leave.

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Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Manila any more

I saw a different Manila today.

Bus-less road in Taft Avenue, Manila. Photo courtesy of GMA News

Gone are the long moments where you can do your make-up for fifteen minutes in a standstill jeep on a rush hour traffic, or the times when you sleep for ten minutes inside the jeep, wake up and find yourself at the very same spot the moment you fell asleep. Indeed, we are used to on hearing bad news and criticisms in Manila, we cannot believe that something good finally came out of the city.

The city council of Manila starts the ban for provincial buses in the city on Tuesday, Buses coming from south via Taft Avenue must turn right to Vito Cruz while those coming from San Juan must turn left to Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard. The ordinance, of course, is met with critical reception and mixed reactions. Others welcomed the city’s move, other commuters who took the bus are unsurprisingly angry by this. For my part, since my commuting in Manila never involved taking a bus, I was pleasantly shocked by the smooth ride from Intramuros to the Manila City Hall, a site for one of the most horrendous traffics in Metro Manila. With the bus ban, I still can’t believe it took only ten minutes to get to downtown Manila from the City Hall that I almost wanted to turn to the girl sitting beside me inside the jeep and say, “I think we’re not in Manila anymore”

Bus-less Manila City Hall. Photo courtesy of Manila Bulletin

But let us not rejoice. What about our fellow commuters who regularly took the bus and now must pay double for the transportation to their destinations? What would happen if it’s rush hour? What would happen if heavy rains will again flood Manila and people have to wade far into the flood just to ride a jeepney to Quiapo, get off at heavily flooded Espana, wade on the flood again and take the bus there?

Yes, the ordinance is an achievement for the new Manila government but next time, I hope they listen to what other commuters have to say though. Yes, walking is a healthy solution to get to the nearest bus stop but with Manila’s infamous sidewalks, dark alleys and hell-bent jeepney drivers, not to mention, the pollution, daily commuting would be a pain in the neck.

In some news, I heard Manila city council is planning to have its own bus line composed of electric green buses. Too good to be true, but I hope they would develop this project in the near future. In the meantime, MMDA wants to adapt the same bus ban on the whole Metropolis to decongest the national roads. Wow, goodluck with that chairman, and I mean it on an my most un-sarcastic tone.

Anyways, I think they should also implement a strategy on the garahe-jeeps or jeepney drivers who make intersections, traffic stops and LRT entrances their own terminals as they wait for passengers. This is another problem persisting in Manila City Hall for some time. Garahe jeeps should have a time limit or something but I know this is close to impossible since traffic enforcers should be stationed in every possible national road in whole Manila. Discipline is also very important on both sides, the motorists and the commuters. You may have good laws, good ordinances, good schemes, but effectiveness ultimately boils down to the public who will follow your rules.

Whatever the fate of the bus ban ordinance will be, I hope it would lead to more comprehensive steps to rid Manila of its trademark traffic without compromising both the commuters and drivers. A livability of a city is not measured by its traffic schemes after all. It’s also about the basic transportation services it offers to the public and the public’s general opinion towards it.


Still, I didn’t expect Mayor Erap to do this. I’m genuinely shocked 😀 If he could also divert his political will to the part of the commuters too, then Manila wouldn’t be a commuter’s nightmare anymore.

For the love of everything reel: Books turning into movies

From books to movies.

For bookworms out there, how many times did we cringe when a film-maker announces he’s going to make a movie adaptation of our beloved books? How many times we got our heart broken when we get out of the moviehouse at last, determined to forget the monster Hollywood spawned out of our beloved stories?

Why is it hard for some film-makers to remain faithful to the material? Or is it the fault of the book that the plot won’t sell in the cinemas? What makes a good book a good movie? Is it with the incompatibility of methods used? Both media share the same ingredients, right? The power of a good storytelling compounded with strong imagery.

Although in books, your imagination is your TV screen. What I appreciate about books is they let you imagine whatever you want provided the facts and premises from the story. Writers will teach you how to paint with language, how to create the lyrical arrangement of tone and emotion behind words. There’s still imagery in a sense that the most effective writers can force you to imagine a world, a situation, a character, a place, a story.

Movies, meanwhile, show what it’s really happening but they do so in ways that would actually make you think and feel the visual essence of the story. They create attachments with camera angles, script, ambiance and overall message or the theme. Like books, a film needs to have a logical order of the story, although post-modern writers change the way they tell the story, there is still a sequence in the story.

It is quite common that avid bookworms, especially those who are big fans of a particular series or author, are strangled with fear when their favorite book will be turn into movies. And you don’t need to research why. So many times our hearts bleed when those movie-makers shred our favorite stories into pieces, cutting away very important parts and adding unnecessary elements then coldly serve this to the patronizing audience. Then our friends who haven’t read the stories first but watched through it will conclude that since the film is bad, the book is also bad. Whatever happened to judging the book by its cover, or more specifically, by its crappy film version?

But some movies or TV series have remained true to the books and to the author’s message. Movie adaptations of ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Lord of the Rings’ & ‘Schindler’s List’ may have at least restored our faith to the movie industry’s obsession with books. I think the directors of these movies just have the passion to introduce the book’s magic into film. Although the factor of fame and fortune is right there, their passion is evident in their works, the very same passion that rubs into the audience.

I guess my advice to these directors reflects the sentiments of both readers and the viewers. If you’re going to adapt a material, please do so in the sake of the art of storytelling. Make sure you are interested into the material before you take it in. Don’t just rely on cinematic effects or technology or star-studded casts. Just please, be truthful. Time will come when people won’t troop into the movie houses just to see the books they love in the big screens. That flimsy excuse won’t work anymore in the future.

List of good books turned to good movies that I’ve watched

1. Harry Potter (which in terms of its faithfulness to the plot, is pretty good overall)

2. Lord of the Rings

3. The Godfather

4. Schindler’s List (I could make another list why this movie is awesome!)

5. The Notebook (a good story combined with Ryan Gosling’s adorable droopy-eyed gaze, what can you ask for?)

6. Wuthering Heights (The 1939 version. Another classic you must watch ((and read)) before you die)

7. Jurassic Park (I remembered being scared sh*tless by this movie  as a kid)

8. Jaws

9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (whether it’s the 1970 version or the 2005 one, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory can make its way into your hearts. Special mention is another Roald Dahl’s Matilda

10. Pride and Prejudice (Some critics would say the 1995 version is the better version ((or the one with better Darcy)) but the 2005 version can still leave an impression to you, especially if you are a historical fiction fan like me)

So, what are some good-books-turned-into-good-movies you know? Let me know 😀 I’m excited to hear your suggestions.

My shirt IScuter than yours!

Trust a witty shirt tagline to stir debates in even one of the most prestigious universities in the country, the University of the Philippines.

Quite recently, in an attempt to spread the UP pride and try to raise some funds at the same time, an organization from the university released freshie baseball and v-neck shirts bearing the words: “ISKOLAR THAN YOU” in accordance with the University Student Council. The phrase is a word play between ”Iskolar” (Filipino word for ‘scholar’; UP students call themselves as Iskolar ng Bayan) and ”Cooler than you.”

You couldn't get any iskolar than that!

You couldn’t get any iskolar than that!

The message wreaked havoc in social media, with activists clamoring for the misuse of the word ‘iskolar’ in the shirts as degrading the very meaning for which UP stands for, which is to serve the nation as the ‘iskolar ng bayan’ and not as a tool for egocentricity or arrogance. For them, the word is too much precious to be used as a pun, even if it’s a funny, witty pun.

Naturally, students from other state universities reacted at this. Ohhh, what would they think if they stumble upon the Diliman Shopping Center?

Naturally, students from other state universities reacted at this. Ohhh, what would they think if they stumble upon the Diliman Shopping Center?

Being somewhat of an activist myself, I get their point about the ‘iskolar’ thing. Coming from a state university, I understand the value behind it, that the word ‘Iskolar’ isn’t just a label to call yourself and your university’s culture. It’s being given the honor to be educated by the state, to be supported by honest taxpayers in this country, and no greater honor can surpass that than being in UP, which, despite its best efforts to provide education to poor yet deserving students, is forced to adapt income-generating schemes while acting as the trailblazer on the development of science and technology, research and innovation, arts and culture in the country.

Yet, you have to consider the marketing strategy behind ISKOLAR THAN YOU. To be honest, this is only pretty modest in UP standard. During my brief stint as a campus reporter, UP Diliman has become sort of my beat and I’ve seen more ‘aggressive’ and, dare I say, high-and-mighty ‘taglines’ than that. In defense of UP students, most of my barkadas are from UP who are the most humble, most unassuming people I’ve ever known, and yet, they are very proud of the school. Come on, people, what is NOT to be proud of at UP? 

The issue is a debate of perspective, not directly the message. Some people are okay with it, even non-UP students. It’s what UP is known for, right? Iskolar ng bayan? It’s not much different when you’re creating a slogan for UST or La Salle or any other school. A marketing strategist would approve.

But at the same time, bearers of this shirt, UP students, should understand that being an ISKOLAR goes attending the most prestigious school in the country; it goes beyond self-fulfillment and school pride. You are expected to give something back, even a greater part of your life, for the nation. In a way, being the iskolar ng bayan is both a privilege and a bane. A true iskolar is the one who understands how hard it is to serve the people and a nation who couldn’t, wouldn’t, help itself. He/she, I think, is the person who is way ISKOLAR than you, than me, and everyone else who call themselves as such.

Although, as one blogger pointed out, it would have been great if it’s ‘ISCUTER than you’ or ‘ISMARTER than you’. More catchy, less controversy, everyone’s happy.

To end this article, let me share to you some light exchange between two UP alumni


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