Where You Are Is Not Who You Are

Saturday Stories August 12, 2017

The subjects of food, diet and weight came up while talking with a friend earlier this week. I told her there's no need to feel self-conscious since nobody notices anybody anyway – because everybody is looking at their cellphones.
I gave her an analogy as a way of sharing my own perspective. This is what I said:
Let's say, coming from here, you are going to up north to Bantayan Island. Naturally, you would eventually find yourself in one of the towns along the way, say, Danao.
Do you say "Oh, I'm here: this is my life! There's a cow crossing the road and blocking the bus because God is punishing me. I'm beside a stranger because this is my karma. I'm in this place because this is who I am!"
No, you don't say that. Why? Because you know you are just traveling. Where you are at any given time is just a place you're passing through.
Yet that is precisely what most people do. They take a snapshot of a moment and …

We Are Spiritual Beings

Saturday Stories August 5, 2017

Just when I thought that things just couldn't possibly be better because of the incredible events of the past few months, I got blown away from the avalanche of wonderful new things during the past week alone.
I actually forgot all about Facebook.
Wednesday was a touchstone in my professional career and my love life (which I never share with the public), and then culminating in a poignant yet happy dream about someone who was close to me who had died that same night.
Then came Thursday and Friday when I'm completely offline and out of the loop. In other words, those are the days where I cease to exist.
I came back online earlier after a week. There was some news that seems to represent the full spectrum of human emotions.
One is a distinction. One is about a promise to keep. And one is the news about the death of an aunt who has been a like a mother to me.
It was a reminder of how beautiful life is precisely because of its fragility, and it…

How Can Stella Get Her Groove Back?

Saturday July 29, 2017

We were watching Crying Ladies, and I couldn't help but think of the times in my life when it seemed that everything was going wrong. With all the things I've been through, it is quite a subtle understatement.
Yet, I also feel grateful beyond words that those days are over, and that I have survived and even emerged as a better person.
I like the Stella, the lead character, primarily because I love Sharon Cuneta. She really is a good person who had just fallen on hard times.
But there is more to a person that his or her circumstances. She loves her son more than than anything else, and I've known few things more painful that having your child taken away.
Her greatest dream is to go to Japan as a singer, make enough money and get her son back from her ex-husband Guido (Ricky Davao).
The problem is that she kept getting passed over at auditions.
And so, she has to be creative to make ends meet.
She has a clever way to save money on transportation…

My Top 7 OPM Songs In English From The 80s

Wednesday Songs July 26, 2017

Of the many songs from my beloved Michael Jackson that I love, there is one that is really special to me...
"...We've been together for such a long time, the music, music and me..."
I love so many songs that I have to organize them in my mind in different ways. I can use, say, genre, so I have ballads ("Is It Okay If I Call You Mine" by Paul McCrane), jazz ("Sweet Baby" by Stanley Clark and George Duke), folk ("Scarborough Fair" by Simon and Garfunkel), rock ("Stairway To Heaven" by Led Zeppelin), country ("Summer Breeze" by Seals and Crofts) and a lot more in between and beyond.
I also have a group of pop with a fast beat, like the kind of music played in the smart but sadly gone 103.5 K-Lite: "Believe It Or Not" by Joey Scarbury, "Trapped In A Stairway" by Paul Jabarra, "Steal Away" by Bobby Dupree, "What You Won't Do For Love" by Go West, "…

Chicken Adobo For The Soul

Saturday Stories July 22. 2017

It is beautiful how some people stay in our lives even while we go our own individual journeys.
There will always be those who will leave, but as sure as God made apples, new people will come – and new chapters will begin.
I've been thinking these thoughts when,  by coincidence,  the same themes began to appear as we watched Laurice Guillen’s American Adobo,  a bittersweet story about Filipinos in the United States.
I like American Adobo as much as I love chicken and pork adobo, and that's saying a lot.
We watched it primarily because of Christopher De Leon, one of my favorite Philippine actors, right up there with Aga Muhlach, Eddie Garcia and Rogelio De La Rosa.
I happily saw that the film is more than I expected. It's not because of all-star cast – Christopher De Leon, Dina Bonnevie, Ricky Davao, Cherry Pie Picache, Sandy Andolong, Paolo Montalban and Gloria Romero, with American actors Randy Becker, Keesha Sharp and Wayne Maugans  – but …

The Magic of Jose Mari Chan

Wednesday Songs July 19, 2017

I honestly don't know where to begin a story about Jose Mari Chan. My all-time favorite OPM song of all time is "Constant Change." My favorite Christmas song of all time is "A Perfect Christmas." My favorite remake of all time is his "Perhaps Love"
I will never forget the time I was singing "Thank You, Love" to someone whom I had once loved more than life itself. I chose Christmas In Our Hearts when somebody once asked me to name an album I'd want to have if I'm stranded on an island. The other item on my list: the Avengers' Quinjet so I can go back home.
My personal soundtrack has featured "Tell Me Your Name" and "Can We Just Stop and Talk Awhile" at different times in my life.  Even my LSS (last song syndrome) right now is from Jose Mari Chan – "The Sound Of Life"
"Can you hear the laughter, can you hear the music, sing with your heart, it's the song of life!

Once Upon A Time In Manila

Saturday Stories July 15, 2017

"She came to me. She said, 'Anna,' just like that. I said 'Why?' 'How are you?' I said, 'Fine.' But what I was thinking, what I really wanted to say was, 'Mother, your breasts are sagging now. Your face is already wrinkled. I bet your lover is not fucking you anymore.' She tried to give me money. I refused. I showed her my bag. 'Look,' I told her,' I have a lot.' Then I tried to give her some, but she also refused. 'We both have a lot of money,' she said. Then she cried. Me, I never did. I don't want to cry. I don't want her to see me cry."
I couldn't pinpoint any predominant emotion among the mix in me when I watched Mel Chionglo's Lagarista again recently. Lagarista is about a young man named Gregory (Piolo Pascual) who lives in the same house where I used to, a mansion built during the Spanish era in the 18th century in Quiapo at the heart of Manila. Gregory'…