Our July 3 To July 9 Issue

New Essays On X Men First Class, Noynoy Aquino, Tony Robbins, working in a call center, PBT’s Romeo and Juliet
With Videos of Little River Band, Earth Wind & Fire, Peque Gallaga’s Agaton & Mindy, Olivia Lamasan’s In The Name of Love and Alvin Yapan’s 2011 Cinemalaya film Sayaw Ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa
This week  feature artists: Labuyo, Chicosci, Sandwich, Jovit Baldivino with the theme from Guns and Roses, Gil Scott-Heron, 5th Dimension, Vanessa Carlton and Stevie Wonder

 Can You Embrace The Unknown?

Charles Xavier woke up in the middle of the night. The 13-year old telepath can sense there was a stranger downstairs. Carrying his baseball bat, he found his mother in the kitchen, but he knew it was somebody else who had assumed her form. That’s how he met Raven.the shapeshifter.He was so happy to find another person who has unique abilities like him that he virtually adopted her. She would eventually call herself Mystique
Meanwhile, 14-year old Erik Lensherr saw his mother dragged away to a concentration camp. He struggled with the Nazi guards, reaching vainly for her. Then the metal gates started to sway outward, as if magnetized by his hand. The commandant was so freaked out that he knocked the boy unconscious. Witness to this uncanny scene was Klaus Schimdt, aka Sebastian Shaw, a high-rankingNazi officer with a mysterious past and an even more mysterious power – the ability to absorb and manipulate energy in any form, making him virtuallyinvincible.
X Men: First Class is the intelligently superior moviethat reveals the origins of Prof. X and Magneto, how became the best of friends and what cause them to become mortal enemies – the rivalry that drives the popular X Men saga.
I’m on Xavier’s side unreservedly. If I were a mutant, which some people think so, I would use my powers for the benefit of mankind. After all, I grew up with those Saturday morning cartoons with The Superfriends and Space Ghost. It’s the least I could do as a superhero.

            A friend of mine asked me which two mutant powers I’d like to have. I chose Wolverine’s self-healing and Xavier’s telepathy. I won’t say I can read minds, not like reading a paperback, but I’m quite there because I consider myself a good judge of character and I can assure you it’s a wonderful thing to have. There is another thing I want to have, something that is more practical to my daily life, and that is the ability to sleep and wake up refreshed anytime at will, like a cat, or for that matter, like those graduates of Jaime Licauco’s Silva Mind Control seminars. But that is not the stuff of comic books and multi-sequel plus prequel blockbuster movies.

            Telepathy is a scientifically proven though still inexplicable phenomenon. We all have the ability to communicate with our minds. This is most evident for identical twins, and it’s perhaps a sort of compensation because their parents always make them wear the same clothes.

            Seriously contemplating the X Men story makes me think of Spiderman: “With great powers come great responsibilities.” That insight is marvelous. Power to control the minds of others, in the wrong hands, can spell the end of civilization as we know it. On the other hand, what if it’s in the “right hands”? But is there such a thing?

            Xavier had just been named professor, and while celebrating, a woman approached him. He immediately went into his routine of charming her with intellectual talk but she wasn’t biting. She wasn’t a coed – she was a CIA agent who had been shocked to see Shaw and his band of mutants: a teleport, another telepath and a guy who can control hurricanes.

            Xavier had always believed that mutants and ordinary people can co-exist in harmony. Through his covert work with the government, he met Hank McCoy, alias Beast, who designed the sleek black powerful X-Men jet and the Cerebro, the device that magnified his telepathic powers. He met Lansherr in their first move against Shaw in the incredible scene where Shaw’s luxury boat was destroyed by the metal chains of the anchors manipulated by Lensherr’s magnetic power.

            Facing a formidable enemy, Charles and Erik sought other mutants to foil Shaw’s ultimate objective of triggering a nuclear holocaust and creating a new world order in the aftermath. That was Charles Xavier’s first class: a group of young people with amazing capabilities, who need someone to teach them to accept who they are, harness their powers and use them for the greater good.

            The scene where they averted World War III off the territorial waters of the United States was so vividly mesmerizing, especially when Magneto lifted Shaw’s submarine from the ocean. The beach scene, when the war fleets of both the U.S. and Russia fired upon them, is one of the most original and exhilarating scenes in modern film.

            Mutants exist: people who can do things other can’t. People don’t understand it, and what they don’t understand, they shun. The deeper reason is the fearof the unknown, and that fear turns to animosity and discrimination. A lot of kids idolize the X-Men heroes, wanting to be like them. That is one of the most wonderful things about being a child: the innocence from the power play and megalomania of childish powerful adults.

Why Noynoy Will Win In The End

I was watching President Noynoy Aquino’s address to the nation last Thursday. The President summarized the gains made by his administration in its first year, and that alone is the sign of transparency and accountability we have all been asking for in vain from the previous regime. Personally, I can’t even begin to fathom the demands of being the country’s chief executive in a time when global oil prices keeps fluctuating in the aftermath of the global recession, with our the economy being battered by the flashfloods in the south and the fishkill in the north. Can you imagine the pressures of being the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces while tension is brewing in the high seas as China aggressively tries to claim the Spratleys, even our legal properties Kalayaan and Recto reefs?

Deeply Ingrained

What I found most challenging is being the leader of a people with deeply ingrained apathy, in a culture where complaining about everything and blaming everything else is the norm. Taking personal responsibility seems alien to the national character. A lot of people do not work because they are too lazy to find one, and they blame the government for their lot.

What is really galling is that those who can’t even take care of their own lives, or even keep their affairs in order, are the loudest in denouncing a decent and good man who is doing his best in carrying out is duly sworn but extremely overwhelming task – which he did not even ask for in the first place.

Incontestible Victor

President Aquino has the mandate of the people, the incontestable victor in a rare honest election, and no one can take that away. His critics may be having a field day, but I’m confident that the majority of the people are willing to give our President the chance and the benefit of the doubt.

Crab-Minded Lives

Those critics, in contrast, do not know a good man when they see one, and they will complain even if Aquino is the perfect savior superhero they demand him to be. Chronic complainers, those who choose to focus on and only on the negative, do not and cannot assume responsibility for their own lives. All they can do, and what they will spend the rest of their crab-minded lives doing, is to criticize everybody else to make themselves feel good because they are, deep inside, empty.

Greatest Challenge

President Aquino is building an honest government in the aftermath of a corrupt one. That alone is Herculean, but his greatest challenge is the people’s deep seated apathy – the fundamental reason why our country remains, and will continue to remain, poor. I believe in the President, on his all the way, even if its public knowledge that I campaigned for Richard Gordon who, come to think of it, should be on the Cabinet. President Aquino will overcome all the obstacles because, after all is said and done, no one can put a good man down.

Do You Have A Mentor?

Tony Robbins is changing my life by teaching me new ways to control my thoughts and emotions. My attitude will dictate my decisions, and my decisions will create my destiny. I’m learning to change my state my modeling the actions of those who have achieved excellence. Success leaves footprints, he says, and all I need is to follow the path of winners. Little things can make a big difference, a milimeter can shoot a golf ball into the sand into the sand instead of the goal. I just have to meticulous and a bit OC as to how I think.

I don’t sweat the small stuff, but I’m now more conscious of what I think, making sure my desires does not conflict with my dreams, like searching for the sunrise while I go west. When I achieve something good, I celebrate (a symbolic gesture such as treating myself to a Slurpee), then I contribute – I pay it forward, giving back to the world.

People with extraordinary abilities have played the most significant roles  and touched the greatest number of lives in our history. Tony Robbins taught me  to create a compelling vision  for my future: I don’t have to go, it tugs me. I sent that powerful statement as Facebook Mobile post last Wedndesday.

He taught me to change my focus. Here’s my FB Mobile post Tuesday: I see the light if I don’t dwell in the dark, I see the rainbow if I look up in the mud.

Attracting success begins and ends with gratitude. I’ve always had this enthusiasm to savor life and enjoy the Moment, and I’m thankful for that, because not a lot of people do, and I still have that wish to be surrounded by people I can look up to. Tony Robbins actually makes me feel more excited about being alive and more confident about the future. Thanks Tony! If you think I’m using the right tools and the mindset of winners, raise your hand and say “Aye!”

Watch videos of Tony Robbin’s life-changing videos in Huggybear’s Virtual Life Coach, only here on 2Rivers

Can You Motivate Yourself?

I love my call center job. I really like the people and the environment, not to mention the salary and the schedule. My next move, upon the June end-month payout, is to find an apartmen that’s near, preferably walking distance, a place where I can actually get some decent sleep unmolested by the demonic heat of daylight. But something happened last Monday that ignited a change that I never before seriously thought possible. I have learned from Tony Robbins that true success and fulfillment come in crafting a life where you can do exactly what you want to do, adopting the lifestyle in the direction of your true passion, which in my case is writing.

My job gives me the financial means and security that I need, but it is just part of the journey, not the destination; a means to an end and not an end in itself. I’m happy I still have the youthful idealism, and happier still that I also achieved a measure of maturity, enough to make me realize that where I want to go cannot yet give me what I have where I am right now.

My ultimate dream is to be a full time writer – a novelist and newspaper columnist to  be precise – but not a staff writer. I want to have complete control of my schedule. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life forcing myself to wake up even if I’m still sleepy just because I have to go to work, or forcing myself to sleep even if I’m still wide awake because the’re work that night.

I was actually praying, while on the way to work on that fateful Monday night, for God to give me a sign. Later I was called for coaching by the operations manager himself. Turns out that one of my calls was monitored by the quality assurance team, which was normal since that’s what  they do. It was a good call by itself, and I’m grateful that I was talking to a professional who was fair enough to say it is.

Here’s the clincher: the call got disconnected while the customer  was on hold while I was checking some information. Apparently it was  Non-Negotiable Behaviour, and they gave me my first written warning. All the more ironic because the same day I also a high customer-survey rating and 100% QA score, which made up for the last lousy one, which was the trigger that demoralized me in the first place.

The following night, Tuesday, I did not report for work, my first time to be absent. Solid financial security is not something you walk away from without a compelling reason, and I really do enjoy my work: I’m happy with the interaction because I love people. I know I’ll come back the following day, but for that moment, I need the company of my soul in solitude.

“If there’s one thing in my life that’s missing, it’s the time that I spent alone…”

I went back Thursday, and after a mentor coaching that turned into a refreshing open forum, I realized that my instincts were right all along – this is a place where I can grow. I learned a lot not only on how to improve my performance but also in developing the mindset to play close attention to details, especially in an industry where a single word can spell the difference between  a markdown and perfect QA score.

“I have decided to stay, “ I texted a friend when I got home Friday morning. I told him that I already made a lot of close friends there, and it’s not something you can let go that easily. I was also advised to stay by a respected writer, and just about everybody else.

I just have to get into that state of peak performance, I told myself. What’s the point, after all, in adopting Tony Robbins your virtual life coach if you can’t even motivate yourself? I’m in a good company with good people, and for that I’m glad, and that’s how Huggybear got his groove back.

Let’s Groove!

 You Think You Can Dance?

I like to think of myself as a fairly good dancer. I’ve been a fan of Gary Valenciano and Michael Jackson since I was a kid, long before Bruce Lee and my teenage martial arts obsession, but that’s another story. I have friends who are ballroom instructors and members of school dance troupes. I love boogie but I can’t do ballet. Maybe a little macho dancing but I’m trying to be wholesome.

Ballet is an art form – grace comes from strength and discipline. I was tuned in to Heard On Thursday, with host Raffy Reyes, last, well, Thursday, on Monster Radio RX 93.1. The guests were David Kiyak and Naomi Hergott, who will perform the lead roles in Romeo and Juliet, on July 7 to 10 at CCP Main Theater. It will be the biggest ballet production in recent memory, by the Philippine Ballet Theater, full a live full orchaestra conducted by , and directed by Maniya Barredo.

Some of the most unforgettable Filipino movies I’ve see have dancers as their main protagonists, such as Agaton and Mindy, directed by Peque Gallaga, starring Chase Vega and Louise De Los Reyes

Of course there’s the just-shown In The Name of Love, directed by Olivia Lamansan, starring my idol Aga Muhlach, with Angel Locsin and Jake Cuenca

Then there’s Sayaw Ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, directed by Alvin Yapan, with Jean Garcia, Paulo Avelino and Rocco Nacino. This indie film is part of the Cinemalaya 2011.

Watch all the films in Cinemalaya


Photo credits:

Noynoy: Autism Society of the Philippines: http://autismsocietyphilippines.blogspot.com/2010/07/president-nonoy-aquino-starts-term-of.html

Noynoy Podium: VisitPinas: http://visitpinas.com/the-state-of-the-nation-address-sona-of-the-president/president-benigno-noynoy-aquino-speech/

Tony Robbins: Success Magazine: http://www.successmagazine.com/Unleashing-the-Power-Tony-Robbins/PARAMS/article/465/channel/19

Call center cartoon: Life: You Can Never Define It: http://jefreyapuli.blogspot.com/

X Men poster: Green Tea Movie: http://greenteamovie.blogspot.com/2011/06/movie-review-x-men-first-class.html

X Men scene: We Got This Covered: http://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/official-trailer-xmen-class/

Guns Roses: Celebrity Hot Spot http://celebrityhotshotph.com/tag/robin-padilla/
How to Have Good Luck - Powerful Subliminal Training (in HD)

People with extraordinary abilities have played the most significant roles and touched the greatest number of lives in our history. Tony Robbins taught me to create a compelling vision for my future: I don’t have to go, it tugs me.
Huggybear said…

"...Seriously contemplating the X-Men story makes me think of Spiderman: With great powers come great responsibilities..."