Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Give Me My 15 Minutes

Looking For “Boys”

Does anyone here know how I can get my hands on a copy of the TV series “Crystal Boys” with ENGLISH subtitles? The one I saw online only had Mandarin subtitles.

Isa Pa ‘To!

Your Love Type: INTP

The Thinker

In love, you are honest and serious about commitment.
For you, sex is something you think about and desire a lot of the time.

Overall, you are pure in your affection and feelings.
However, you tend to be suspicious and distrusting at times.

Best matches: ENTJ and ESTJ

* * * * *

I wonder what ENTJ and ESTJ are?


You Follow Your Heart

You're romantic, sentimental, and emotional.
You tend to fall in (and out of) love very quickly.
Some may call you fickle, but you can't help where your emotions take you.
You've definitely broken a few hearts, but you're not a heartbreaker by nature.
Your intentions are always good, even if they change with the wind

* * * * *

After years of telling others and myself that I am a head-over-heart person, I take this silly online test and what result do I get? Of course I went back and double-checked my answers and the results remain the same.

I’m an Emo!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


There’s a guy in G4M who continues to bug me with “Musta?” and “Hi!” messages. I don’t even bother to reply but still he sends at least one message a day. Once he even sent a “Kulit ko, ‘no?” message.

Then there’s this other guy who messaged me in G4M. At first he looked interesting, so we exchanged phone numbers and started corresponding thru text. Just before we agreed to meet up, he revealed to me that he was someone I turned down before at another gay site. Funny thing is, I don’t remember ever turning down someone in that particular site and in the manner in which he described it. So I decided not to meet up with him and told him so. That was a month ago. For several weeks he kept texting me to meet up; after repeating my decision once I refused to reply to his subsequent messages. Then he switched tactics, and started texting me sexually explicit stuff he wanted me to do. Still I refused to reply. Then he changed to just texting “gud morning” or “gud night” almost every day. Nowadays I’d only get one or two a week. I don’t even bother reading his message; I just press delete immediately.

Persistence is one thing but dense is another. And I hate dense.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Zaturnnah: Ang Superhero Ng Teatro

I watched Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Musical for the fourth time on its fourth run. Now I’m enjoying the musical’s two-disc soundtrack in my iPod. Ibang klase talaga si Zsa Zsa!

I realize that after seeing Zsa Zsa in different media incarnations—graphic novel, stage musical, and movie—I realized that, sacrilegious as it sounds, of the three forms I enjoy the stage musical the most. Carlo Vergara’s original graphic novel is brilliant as both homage and satire of Pinoy pop culture. But the stage musical form has the advantage of having music to flesh out and deepen the emotional points of the story. The movie “musical” had a chance to push the envelope further than the stage musical, but alas its creators played safe and reined in Zsa Zsa into a more conventional piece.

I hear that there are plans for Ze Musical to go on its fifth run. I wish for Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Musical to have a very long run; may it be the Cats of Philippine musical theater. An extended run will also bode well for the graphic novel and even the soundtrack. Maybe Ze Musical will one day do what Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah can’t—fly. Maybe one day it’ll tour in countries with large Filipino communities. Wouldn’t that be grand?

* * * * *

As for Janvier Daily, the delicious new Dodong, all I can say is: I wanna have him daily, morning, noon and night. Ngyarap evur. Yun lang! (ala-Ada ang delivery)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Now, What?

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is one of the five books I brought to Bohol to read. It was the shortest of the five; up to now I’m still not finished reading it. I find it difficult to read because it repeats the same basic idea over and over—being in the Now. But there is reason behind that: most people are not used to being in the Now, which is why he takes time to repeat it again and again. It’s not as easy as it sounds: silencing your noisy mind and just surrendering to the Now.

However, there is this section in chapter eight on “Enlightened Relationships” that I feel expresses better what I was trying to grasp at regarding “love” in the earlier episodes of The McVie Show. When I read it I had to stop. It gave me a glimpse—just a glimpse, but what a sight!—of what I felt was the bigger, broader meaning of “love,” and how this affects our different relationships. But the more I read it again and again, the more I got a headache. Jeez.

The heading where the following paragraphs are lifted is quite telling: “From addictive to enlightened relationships”:

Love is a state of Being. Your love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you. It is not dependent on some other body, some external form.

Love is not selective, just as the light of the sun is not selective. It does not make one person special. It is not exclusive. Exclusivity is not the love of God but the “love” of ego. However, the intensity with which true love is felt can vary. There may be one person who reflects your love back to you more clearly and more intensely than others, and if that person feels the same toward you, it can be said that you are in a love relationship with him or her. That bond that connects you with that person is the same bond that connects you with the person sitting next to you on the bus, or with a bird, a tree, a flower. Only the degree of intensity with which it is felt differs.

See why it’s so hard to finish the book?

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Sometimes I just want to be on top of a mountain looking down at the world going about its business.

* * * * *

Caption Options:

“The hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiills are aliiiiive, with the sound of muuuusiiiiic…!”

“Wow. Kita pala ang bahay ko from here.”

“High on a hill with a lonely buddah, ohm-yodel-ohm-yodel-ohm-hi-hoooo!”

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Self-Preservation From Self-Pity

No matter how adjusted or mature or balanced a person is, there are times when that person feels ugly and unlovable and pathetic. I’m having one of those times right now. I feel so… bleh. So ugly, so unattractive, so chaka khan. Sigh.

I’ve tried to see your point of view
but could not hear or see
for jealousy

“Jealousy” by the Pet Shop Boys

* * * * *

My friend said in an SMS: “Beauty? Nasa loob yan. Nasa puso.” I texted back: “Kaya pala ang saging, beautiful. May puso.” Visions of Mark Lapid danced in my head.

What good is inner beauty if the outer ugly prevent others from seeing the inside? Can one make the outer ugly advertise inner beauty?

* * * * *

There, I’ve said it. Now snap out of it.



Take two produced this:

You are The Hierophant

Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching.

All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors. The Hierophant is often considered to be a Guardian Angel.

The Hierophant's purpose is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Where the High Priestess between her two pillars deals with realms beyond this Earth, the Hierophant (or High Priest) deals with worldly problems. He is well suited to do this because he strives to create harmony and peace in the midst of a crisis. The Hierophant's only problem is that he can be stubborn and hidebound. At his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

* * * * *

Hmmm. This feels closer to me.

Faking It

Have you ever faked a climax? I have. He was a balikbayan, in the country for several days only. He was staying with a friend in Marikina (they met online). He contacted me thru Downelink. He’s bulkier and beefier than me. We went to a motel along Marcos Highway. He gave me a pill; he said it was herbal and from Ongpin. I surprised him by being very aggressive; he surprised me by growling into my ear, “Make me your bitch, dude!” What came after was one of the longest sessions for me. We stripped to our underwear and engaged in a fairly lengthy foreplay. By the time, ah, all bets were off, he was sitting on me, riding me like a cowboy while I pushed deeper into him. After we finished I took a shower as a prelude to going home. He enticed me to rest a bit; in bed he kept caressing me down there. Pretty soon I was up and about, and we went through an even longer second session. We tried different positions, from the religious to the canine. I flipped him over and under and back again several times. We moved from the middle to the edge of the bed, with me standing on the floor and him lying on his stomach. All this time he kept calling me, “Sir!” Then the aircon broke down and we were sweating like pigs. I remember seeing myself in the mirror while I was pumping him from behind and thinking, “Yuck, I’m sweaty and ugly and my stomach’s too big! I cannot be a porn star.” And all this time I was ramrod-stiff despite this self-critiquing distraction; that pill really works! We transferred to the shower and turned the water on. After about 30 minutes more, I decided to end the proceedings because it was getting late and I had to be up early for work the next day so I pretended to climax with a lot of “Uuuhhhs!” and “Aaahhhs!” and “Fucks!” and “Yeahs!” and who says only girls can fake it? Just go through the right motions and utter the appropriate sounds and quickly throw the condom in the trash before he has a chance to examine it closely. Then pant a lot and smile.

Monday, January 22, 2007

What The...?!

You are The Hermit

Prudence, Caution, Deliberation.

The Hermit points to all things hidden, such as knowledge and inspiration,hidden enemies. The illumination is from within, and retirement from participation in current events.

The Hermit is a card of introspection, analysis and, well, virginity. You do not desire to socialize; the card indicates, instead, a desire for peace and solitude. You prefer to take the time to think, organize, ruminate, take stock. There may be feelings of frustration and discontent but these feelings eventually lead to enlightenment, illumination, clarity.

The Hermit represents a wise, inspirational person, friend, teacher, therapist. This a person who can shine a light on things that were previously mysterious and confusing.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

* * * * *

While I agree with the introspection and the analysis, I certainly am not a virgin. I am a deliberate person, but I also am a kaladkarin, spur-of-the-moment guy. And while I relish peace and solitude, I am a social creature who likes to surround myself with happy, positive people.

Anong klaseng carot tard ito?!

Mark Lapid Goes Bananas!

And you will too. First, watch the video clip. Go ahead, it’s only 11 seconds long.

Done? Good. You can wipe off the blood dripping from your nose now.

That is the kind of performance that deserves to be nominated for an Oscar. Because who wouldn’t want to see that clip shown during awards night? It’s that impeccable timing and the sheer sincerity of the performance that astounds people to ask, “How did he do that? How could he do that?” It’s a once-in-a-lifetime tour de force that deserves to be nominated for Best Performance by an Actor Acknowledging He’s a Fruit. His stiffest competitors in this category are the notorious pajama twins, B1 and B2.

(Of course this raises the stakes for Mark to win in this category; can you imagine losing to a giant fruit in sleepwear? At least he’ll look better than the two on the red carpet.)

And the script is astounding. One wonders what the character of Dick Israel said to merit that kind of outburst: “You’re nothing but a second-rate, trying hard banana!”? “Walang saging! Walang saging! Ang saging ay nasa puso!”? “Akala mo lang wala kang saging, pero meron! Meron! Meron!”? Whatever the line was, one thing is certain: comparing your enemy to a banana can certainly make him go bananas. Lakatan? Latondan? Señorita? Cavendish? Your enemy will be wondering for hours.

Go ahead, watch the clip again. Better yet, watch the whole movie. And bring along some Lapid’s Chicharon for baon.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Comments On Comments (On Comments…)

I’d like to thank the viewers of The McVie Show who take time out to interact, give comments and feedback, whether positive or negative. So far almost all of the comments are sensible. Thank god for comment moderation, mwhahaha.

Because the latest episode generated lengthy reactions, I’ve decided to lift them out of backstage and plunk them right smack on center stage.

* * * * *

ANONYMOUS ONE said: “If by experiencing life to the fullest means experiencing everything it has to offer, then pity and envy those who have never experienced true love—for the best and worst that life has to offer is yet to come.”

I believe that experiencing life to the fullest means experiencing everything one can, given their limited time and opportunities on earth. Meaning, one cannot possible experience everything, as in everything, on this earth. Yeah, yeah, nagpapakapilosopo ako, hehehe.

But let’s take it seriously for a minute here. I believe no one is physically capable of experiencing everything life has to offer here on earth (and even beyond, like maybe Mars!). So there will be those who will experience an Ateneo education and those who won’t. There are those who will experience a La Salle education and those who won’t. Most likely these are the people who will be at each other’s throats come college basketball time.

Given that, I therefore have decided that I will neither pity not envy others as much as possible, to the best of my abilities, because of the following reasons. First, everyone has his or her own unique lives to live and no one is better or worse for it. And second, what is true love? Is it true romantic love? True filial love? True platonic love? True agape? Can someone define “true love”? Maybe if we can agree on what “true love” means then I can determine if indeed it is to be envied or not.

* * * * *

POLITE_MEGALOMANIAC said: “The basis of a marriage vow is this: your partner is more important to you than everyone else. It’s as simple as that.”

Are you talking about religious vows or legal vows? Do legal vows also state explicitly that your partner is more important than everyone else? I’m not familiar with marriage laws.

But what about this line of thinking wherein “the good of the many outweigh the good of the few or the one”? Indulge me in a what-if scenario. Pretend you’re in a lifeboat with several people, and two more in the water: your partner and another person. You can save only one. Here are your options:
[1] You can save your partner. The consequence? You doom everyone because the boat will surely sink.
[2] You can save the other person. The consequence? Your partner dies, everyone else has a fighting chance to survive.
[3] You can sacrifice yourself and leave the boat (either you can join your partner in the water, or you’ll be the only one left in the water). The consequence? Only you are skilled enough to keep the boat afloat, so by leaving the boat you doom everyone to die.
[4] You can get someone else already in the boat to throw into the water. The consequence? Removing any one already in the boat will cause the boat to fall apart, throwing everyone into the sea sans boat.

Notice in the situation above, either only one person dies (unfortunately it has to be your partner) or everyone dies.

Another example: Given birth complications, the doctors can only save either your wife, who has suffered severe brain damage and will be a vegetable for the rest of her life, or your firstborn child who still has a chance at living a normal life; whom will you choose? Will you choose to save your wife because she’s the more important person hands-down, all the time, with no exceptions—as per your vows?

I guess it really depends on one’s set of values and beliefs. You want to make your partner “the most important person above everyone else, period”? Go ahead. You want to make your partner “the most important person above everyone else most of the time, but with exceptions”? Hey, whatever floats your boat.

I believe choosing who is “more important” can be tricky and should be considered on a case-to-case basis. Yes, the two scenarios I presented are unlikely and improbable. But that is why I prefer to always qualify things. Yes, I do like to keep things simple but at the back of my head I am always open to the possibility that complications can occur and things need not be black and white all the time.

* * * * *

POLITE_MEGALOMANIAC said: “…to find that one person who for you is the most important person in your life is actually a good thing.”

No argument that it’s a good thing. But here’s a question: what if you don’t? Another question: what if you find more than one person? Still another question: what if you find someone you think was the most important (at that time), made a vow with him, and then you meet someone else who, upon reflection, seems the epitome of your “soul mate” (it’s actually a song that goes “Oh it’s sad to belong to someone else when the right one comes along”)? What then?

Sigh, I wish things were that simple.

* * * * *

ACROBAT said: “do you think choosing ‘perpetual’ singlehood is just being selfish?”

Selfishness is putting your needs and wishes above, or even ignoring, those of others. Choosing perpetual singlehood isn’t selfish if there is no “other” to speak of.

* * * * *

ANONYMOUS TWO said: “For me it is not a question of hierarchy.”

Okay, I see your point. Experiencing the love of “someone special” means experiencing a different kind of love and experiencing more of what life has to offer. In this case, the longing is to experience a different kind of love, not a more important kind of love. That’s all well and good.

What makes me uncomfortable is a statement like, “The relationship with my partner is more important than the relationship with my family or friends.” That kind of statement implies assigning values to your different relationships; but as you said, “How can you compare your love for your parents as against your love for a husband, wife, or lover?” I prefer a statement like, “The relationship with my partner is different from the relationship with my family or friends.” At least it doesn’t force me into making a McVie’s Top Ten List of Most Important Relationships Ever.

* * * * *

ANONYMOUS TWO said: “But sometimes, though, they turn a blind eye to the fact that they are just afraid to be in a relationship.”

I would be lying if I said I do not long to meet someone special and to be in a relationship. But I am also self-aware enough that I try to guard myself against self-destructive thinking which may mask a fear of being in a relationship which may mask a fear of rejection or a fear of failure. I am also aware that all this self-awareness may not be enough, that there are things about me that others need to point out to me (remember the Johari window?). Or that I’m actually already lying to myself, but I’m deluding myself into thinking I’m not. Hey, I’m not Peter Perfect. :-)

But in the meantime, while there is no one extra-special in my life, I choose not to be burdened by it.

(Notice how I need to talk about this in The McVie Show? That’s me trying to convince myself not to be burdened by it. Notice how self-aware I am? But even with this self-awareness, I’m still not that cocky-sure of things. Jeez, I need to shut off my mind once in a while.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What Is Special?

Anonymous commented re. the “Singleton” episode of The McVie Show: “Although I’m ok being alone, living alone, and even dying alone, I must admit I’d prefer to do it with someone special (apart from family and friends).”

Several years ago I would have agreed wholly to the previous statement. If one had a choice one would prefer having someone special than just being alone. But the more I analyze the statement the more I question certain assumptions intrinsic in it.

The statement indicates that living with family and friends is not enough; one prefers “someone special” in their lives. It would seem, then, that there are values assigned to certain relationships, that relationships have a hierarchy. And the hierarchy is as follows: [1] “someone special” trumps everyone else; [2] “family” or “friends” follow, depending on one’s family background (admit it: people with dysfunctional families may more likely choose friends over family; people in happy homes may value their family over their friends).

But here’s the thing: why do we assign values to relationships? Is it because of the “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, ‘til Death do you part” vow? Or is it because people make relative distinctions between a lifelong partner, a close friend and a family member? Let’s tackle both statements one at a time.

For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, ‘til Death do you part. People seem to use this vow as their reason for regarding their lifelong partner as someone of extreme importance. But think about this: why can’t the same vow also apply to family members? “Oh but with family it’s duty, you don’t have a choice,” you might argue. But is a voluntary vow more important versus a duty you’re born into? Can one really compare the two and assign values to them? Can we look at things in another way? Perhaps comparing them is a useless exercise, a case of apples versus oranges. Both are equal and incomparable in importance.

People make relative distinctions between a lifelong partner, a close friend and a family member. Yes, “husband” is different from “friend” as well as “sibling”. Pushing it further, your relationships among your friends will have their individual differences: your friendship with John is different from your friendship with Paul, as your friendship with George, and so forth. Every individual is different, so every relationship is unique.

Remember the cliché parents say about their children? “All our children are special to us. We don’t have our favorites.” While we’re all human and we do tend to have our favorites even if we don’t want to, the spirit of the cliché is that ideally parents hold their children in equal and incomparable importance.

What is the conclusion then? Assigning hierarchies is detrimental to relationships. Going back to the statement “I’d prefer to do it with someone special (apart from family and friends),” one can ask, “Are family and friends not enough? Aren’t family and friends special too?”

* * * * *

While I was in Bohol I was reading this book, “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. In that book it espouses living in the Now; the Past is past, and the Future has not happened yet (que sera, sera/whatever will be, will be). It tells people to accept and embrace the Now. Which means that if one does not have a special someone, one shouldn’t bemoan the lack but rather embrace what one has—the love of family and friends, relative good health, a steady job, etc.

It is not everyone’s destiny or fate to meet a special someone, a soul mate who connects with them on so many levels. In fact, I really believe that there are numerous people who actually pass through their mortal life not knowing the deep kind of love (imagine all the kids who died early on, either through war or famine or whatever). Tough shit, right? But all that is relative. I mean, for them it may not be “tough shit” simply because they have no way to compare and contrast their lives.

In the end what is most important is to truly live life. Life is what you make of it. Stop wining and pining for things that won’t or aren’t or haven’t yet. Stop obsessing over the not and live in the now.


I have been single all my life. I’ve never had a boyfriend, or at least I never had one where in officially we were in a “mag-on” stage. I’ve been in a “seeing someone” stage, and I’ve (too often in the past) been in an “unrequited, love-from-a-distance” state. Ugh. There was a time in my late 20s and early 30s when I was out every Friday and Saturday evening, either in Makati or Malate or both, looking for Mr. Right in what may be the wrong places for me. When the Internet opened up new ways of connecting and hooking up with people, I had no dial-up connection either in the office or at home. Shet, dial-up, how primitive. So the great Internet train left me behind during its heyday. And I never was comfortable with going out on a formal date; I think it makes the two of you too stiff, trying to make a great first impression. Not that there’s anything wrong with great first impressions, so long as they’re indicative of who you really are and not what you think the other wants you to be.

So here I am at 40, still single but definitely not a virgin. I definitely have my single’s life down pat: work out, work, eat out, eat someone in the bathhouse, go to a bar on certain weekends, watch a movie at the theaters now and then, and surf the net. More and more I’ve become very comfortable being with myself, to the point that I actually don’t mind eating alone at times—just give me something to read and I’ll be a happy customer. I like making friends with myself. I like having to answer only to myself when faced with a free schedule. I value my freedom and independence.

But recently I’ve been wondering what would it be like to be in a relationship. Not because I have this deep want, nay need, to be in one; rather, it’s more out of curiosity. You know, to be able to compare and contrast first hand instead of being a mere witness on the sidelines. I remember seeing Jada Pinkett-Smith on Tyra’s show and she mentioned how her husband helps her see things about her that she wouldn’t have been able to discover on her own. I think you don’t necessarily need a husband or a partner to do that; they can be a family member or a close friend. Lucky are the people who have people who can bring out the best in them, who inspire them. I suppose that’s an argument for choosing your friends well. Sure, you can go for a bit of quantity; we all need our drinking buddies and our shopping buddies once in a while. But I think one should maintain at least a couple of quality friends, people who aren’t afraid to tell you things you need, not just things you want, to hear.

Do I want to remain single all my life? No, but it doesn’t mean that I’m afraid of being alone for the rest of my life. After all, one need not be alone if one so chooses; all one needs to do is reach out. And alternately having a partner is no guarantee; people can live under one roof and still grow apart.

My biggest obstacle? My knee-jerk reaction that nothing will come out of any possible relationship. Yes, it is quite a self-destructive quality, and I am working on it. At least I’m aware of it.

But if there’s one major advantage to being single, it’s this: it makes me ready for the final day of my life, when I have to face Death in the eye. Because when my time’s up, it’s just Death and I. Because most likely we’ll die alone. Oh sure, you may have your family and friends by your death bed, but no one’s going to accompany you when you finally cross the line. And rare are the Thelmas and Louises of this world. So unless you two commit a double suicide, chances are your partner will stay behind while you croak. Or vice versa. Morbid? Nah, I’d like to think of it as being practical.

So my whole life is just a preparation for the ultimate singlehood, when I’m separated even from myself.


Putting it that way makes it a wee bit uhm, depressing, isn’t it? Hahaha!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Here Come The Dames

This is precisely the reason why Entertainment Weekly is my bible!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Let’s Pause For A Break

Commercial time! Kababawan lang muna.

* * * * *

In the seaside town of Guindolman in Bohol, there are caves on the cliffs looking out into the sea. In some of those caves are hanging coffins. The locals have no idea where they came from, who placed them there. Even their grandparents have no idea.

We recently went to view these coffins for the first time. See more Bohol pics in my Multiply site.

* * * * *

My siblings and I have been flipping over two movie trailers for different reasons.

The first movie is Music & Lyrics. Just knowing that it’s a Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore romantic comedy will give you a very clear idea of what the movie and the trailer are like. In fact, the trailer is nothing remarkable, really; it looks and sounds like any rom-com.

However, for anyone who grew up in the 80s, the first thirty seconds of the trailer are priceless. It shows Hugh Grant as a member of Pop, an 80s mega-band. The snippets of the music video of their song, “Pop Goes My Heart” (from the album Poptastic!) are hilarious send-ups of the 80s: the hair, the costumes, the sets, the music, the silly choreography.

Those born much later may not get the wink-wink silliness of the joke, but for those who loved Duran Duran, Boy George and those New Wave bands, this trailer is a must-see! (And a must-hear: the songs featured in the trailer are all 80s hits.)

The other trailer is the sequel to the Fantastic Four. Here they go up against the Silver Surfer, one of the coolest Marvel characters ever (and for me, one of the hottest, since he’s basically a nude hunk on a surfboard—dude, ride me like a wave!); in the trailer though, it’s only the Human Torch who goes up against him.

Now the Torch is played by yummy-licious, juicylucious Chris Evans, so when he and the Silver dude confront each other, a different kind of excitement wells inside—and below—me. (I wonder who plays the Silver Surfer. The character may be wholly CGI, though.)

The trailers of Music & Lyrics and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer are available at (you need the latest Quicktime—you can download it for free—to view them).

Monday, January 08, 2007


…and you shall receive. Me and my big mouth. :-)

* * * * *

Anonymous wanted me to write about the wonders of being single or my resolutions for the New Year. I’ve stopped doing the latter decades ago. The former needs more time and thought, so pardon me if I defer it to a later date. But I will talk about being single.

* * * * *

Nelz on the other hand asked several questions that are easier to tackle, so I’ll answer them first.

[1] I’ve been reading about “Enteng Kabisote” winning the best picture, and the bishops lambasted the movie. Care to comment on that?

I haven’t seen Enteng and I have no intention of watching it. I also don’t know what reasons the bishops gave for lambasting the movie.

However, I do know that Mother Lily (Regal, producer of Mano Po 5) and Malou Santos (Star Cinema, producer of Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo) have protested over the best picture winner because—as per filmfest organizers—the film that has the biggest box office returns automatically wins best picture. Duh, right? Mother and Malou further pointed out that they were never informed of the criteria for judging. Had they known that earlier, they would have fielded in a more commercial fare. Hahaha, right… as if one can consider the stretched-out franchise of Mano Po and the reel-and-real pairing of Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo as serious “art films.” But the two power producers have a point: being most watched does not a best picture make.

[2] I also viewed the Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah ze Moveeh website, and I’m curious how it went. I’m coming back to Manila in June for a very short visit, and I’m hoping to snag a DVD copy to bring home with me (and show all the afams about Pinoy kabaklaan he he he).

I’ve been fortunate enough to stumble upon the comic book and gone gaga over it, to the point that I was lending it out to any and everybody I know just to spread the word around. And I’ve also seen the several incarnations of Ze Stage Musical (at CCP and at PETA), and loved the way they were able to take the wit, spunk and spirit of the comic book and graft it into another medium (the western stage musical, aka Broadway and West End) that could handle the giddy subversive tone of the original source.

Now, Ze Moveeh. On the one hand, blessed is he who watches Ze Moveeh without watching Ze Musical or reading Ze Original Komiks este Graphic Novel. In other words, ignorance is bliss. You see, generally the people who’ve fallen head-over-heels with Ze Musical and Ze Graphic Novel are those who can appreciate the subtle, the snappy and the sarcastic; in other words, those folks who find nothing ironic about using the word “ironic” in their everyday conversation.

On the other hand, this is the movies. Or specifically, this is Ze Moveeh, an adaptation of Zaturnnah into a Pinoy movie musical-comedy. So they adapted Ze Graphic Novel while borrowing zeveral zongs from Ze Musical (zyet, nakakahawa pala itong puro “z”!) and adding a few new tunes (thanks to Vince De Jesus, who also penned the songs for the stage). Movies are a pop art form, a mass medium where subtle and ironic aren’t your usual fare.

I have heard people say time and again that the Filipino masa audience is not stupid, and should never be treated as such; they deserve better. I agree. However, I also believe that in matters of taste preferences and sensibilities, the masa clearly is mainstream. Now, if you’re working with a medium that can cater to this vast mainstream audience (like movies or television), you have a choice: you can either play directly into the sensibilities of this bigger mainstream audience, or you can decide to pitch your movie several notches higher (or lower) and therefore cater to a smaller segment of that audience (after all, making it too sloppy will also turn off a mainstream audience).

In the world of mainstream or commercial film production, where big film companies such as Regal or Star Cinema spend millions to mount a movie, there is a need for them to watch the bottomline. After all, they are a business, and movies are their products. As companies, they are expected to make, not lose, money. This I also understand and appreciate. After all, is there anyone who would go into a business to lose money?

To be fair to Joel Lamangan and company, Ze Moveeh was given an “A” rating along with Kasal and Ligalig (the latter a Cesar Montano film, very dark, looks very serious). And I can see why it got a good rating: the storytelling is clear, the pace brisk, the humor not too crass. Certain musical numbers actually have an emotional lift to them, or at the very least the staging is brisk enough so that it doesn’t slow down the movie’s pace. I guess Ze Moveeh is better crafted compared to the other entries.

But there are flaws. The transitions to musical numbers feel awkward at times. Additional characters are unnecessary. The special effects are uneven. The flaws are not major, but they do detract from the movie’s over-all impact.

And the move to a different medium (novel to stage, or novel to screen) always involves some gains as well as losses. The risk involved in casting different actors to play Ada and ZsaZsa is evident here as well as in Ze Musical: there is a dissonance between the characters of Ada and ZsaZsa. In Ze Graphic Novel, I can still “see” Ada in ZsaZsa; the latter is just the former allowed to “burst” out of his self-and-societal-imposed shell. But in the musical as well as in the movie, Ada and ZsaZsa are really two different people. (Eula Valdez succeeds better in the stage musical because her ZsaZsa is able to retain the vulnerability of Tuqx Rutaquio’s Ada.) Of course one can argue that it can be treated that way: Shazam is an example wherein the human “host” is subsumed by the superhero. Still, it is a missed opportunity; one wonders if, in the hands of a more skilled actress, this more difficult task could be pulled off.

Here’s what I noticed: all of the people I know SO FAR who have really liked the movie (they come close to raving about it, though they were still objective enough to point out flaws) have never seen the musical nor read the graphic novel. Which got me thinking that they fully embraced the movie for what it is—warts and all—because they have no basis for comparison.

Which is why in the end I came out of the movie house generally happy for the movie. Why? Because when I watched in Megamall, the audience was lapping up the humor, reacting to the musical numbers (I heard a ZsaZsa Padilla fan[?] copying her singing style during her song number), and generally enjoying the movie. While the more (gay) political tone of Carlo Vergara’s original novel (also present in the musical) is clearly missing from the movie (ironic given the fact that it’s directed by Joel Lamangan), the openness and the matter-of-fact treatment of the gay characters plus the theme of acceptance (as exemplified in Dodong’s character) lifts this movie above the tired comedies of old wherein gay characters are the butt of jokes. And although the movie clearly can still be crafted better, it isn’t every day that a smarter-than-usual Pinoy movie musical can make its way into Philippine cinemas. Yes, you can cry because the glass is half-empty; or you can be happy because the glass is half-full.

Let’s be realistic and take into consideration the audiences. For the graphic novel, the audience is clearly a sharper reading public. The people who pay their way to watch the stage musical are clearly a more exposed (and in general more affluent) crowd. The movie, on the other hand, is obviously pitched at getting the biggest crowd possible (hmmm, did Joel Lamangan know the festival’s best picture criteria?). That Ze Moveeh is not as whip-smart and sassy as its earlier incarnations may not necessarily be a negative thing for ZsaZsa.

“But we must lift the Pinoy moviegoers’ sensibilities!” you might cry out loud. “Lift”? Why “lift”? It connotes that their sensibilities are low. Now that’s a condescending attitude. I think there is a place in this world for simple, light entertainment as well as works that bothers, challenges and pushes the envelope. If entertainment is well made then there is method behind the “mindlessness”; it takes smarts to create well-made pop. And remember: even Hollywood has B-movies, and across the Atlantic there’s annoying Euro-dance music (think Crazy Frog, which was invented by—gasp!—Swedes and popularized by Germans).

More and more I appreciate the need for the Spielbergs and the Pixars of this world. Between the commercialist and populist touch of a Michael Bay or a Chris Columbus and the head-scratching, patience-trying tastes of a Lars Von Trier or a Lav Diaz, there are very few who can straddle successfully between the two worlds of aesthetics. In fact, I think that is also a different kind of genius: the ability to touch and be relevant to a mass audience while refusing to dumb down. The saying is true: try to please everybody and you please nobody. But the one who pleases the most opposite of the spectrum—the uncritical moviegoer and the hypercritical reviewer alike—is the one who is extraordinary.

By June the DVD may already be available. Cross your fingers, raise your hands and shout, “Zaturnnaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

[3] Your thoughts on Daniel Smith being handed over to the Americans despite his conviction

President Arroyo blinked. Given the vague wording of the Visiting Forces Agreement, both sides could argue that they have the right to insist on where Smith should stay, in a Philippine prison or in US custody.

But I think the more interesting aspect of this case is not where Smith goes. In fact, I think many people don’t really care about Smith. Of the many women familiar with the case whom I’ve talked to, most of them feel that it is not only Smith’s fault; Nicole is partially responsible for what happened to her. They feel that Nicole placed herself in a position where the boundaries are blurred and it’s difficult to tell if it’s rape or if it’s first with consent then she changes her mind. Do you “fault” someone for misjudging her capacities? That’s why most people are ambiguous about the case. In a situation where both parties may have been responsible for what happened, why should blame be placed on just one?

On a separate note, when is rape considered rape? Consider this scenario: the man already has his cock inside her vagina and is pumping away, but a few seconds later she changes her mind and says, “Wait I changed my mind, I don’t want this anymore.” He doesn’t believe her and continues. She repeats her request to stop. At this point he’s bewildered. He tries to continue pumping, while at the same time telling her, “C’mon, we’ve gone this far now!” She now tries to push him away as well, and her cries of “Stop!” get more frantic. He resists her pushes as much as he can until she becomes too violent for him, then he disengages from her and stomps out of the room. That’s when she discovers that he had already ejaculated inside her just before he was finally pushed off her. Questions: Can she cry, “Rape!”? If yes, at what point did it become rape?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hello, I’m Back-la…

…and I need your help. :-)

I’m back in Manila as I’m writing this. I’m in Starbucks using WIFI because our line at home is slower than usual; unfortunately, the WIFI service isn’t any faster either. Grrr.

It’s weird going back after an absence of two weeks. Everything is strange yet familiar. When I sat behind the wheel of Orlando, the look and feel was different. You see, back in Bohol I drove either a van (L-300) or an AUV (Adventure) whenever our relatives lent us their vehicles. Plus in Bohol there are zero traffic jams. And no seatbelt rule; the first thing I forgot to do when I drove Orlando again was to strap my seatbelt on. Sheesh. Driving, I was more careful than usual; it’s as if I was driving for the very first time. The streets looked familiar, yet things seemed off. It’s like the feeling of coming out of your house and looking at your surroundings after a particularly harsh typhoon blew through town.

I need a couple of days before everything becomes familiar and routine again. Including doing The McVie Show.

Right now I’m stuck not knowing what to talk about. Maybe you guys can help me. Any suggestions? Anything you want me to talk about? Any questions you want me to answer? Let’s go interactive, shall we?

Suggest and ask away!