Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sept 29 to Oct 5

I have no words to express my admiration for independent musical artists, who write their own songs and produce their own albums. I got a lot of insights and had such great fun while tuned in to Lourd De Veyra's radio show Chillax last March 17. Guests were the world-class ace saxophonist Ronald Tomas and the irreverent guitar god Dong Abay. Heard a lot of original Filipino gems for the first time too. There's Gary Granada's Undefined, from a groundbreaking album designed to teach math to kids; they say it's not on sale on record bars but you can buy it in Conspiracy Bar. There's Joey Ayala's Basta May Saging, where the alternative rock icon actually, listen to this, raps. There's also a track from one of Dong's indie albums; didn't get the title but it was sung by no less than Mon David

Here's my SMS, read by Lourd: “Assuming there's already a bunch of orig songs, how much does an artist need to prod indie album? Where do u get musicians and arrangers? Mabuhay OPM!”

Ronald said you can get away with 100K, but it doesn't include marketing and promotions. That's just for a master copy, Dong said, and you have to shell out more for replicating copies. As for musicians, Ronald said you may go up to 250K if you don't know them and you'll have to pay their full TF. That was very helpful information. Thanks guys! Dong's latest album is Rebulto, sort of a tribute to Jose Rizal. Ronald is embarking for another series of shows abroad. Lourd, frontman for Radioactive Sago Project, have a gig that night at 70s Bistro 

That episode was dedicated to the late rock icon Karl Roy, whose ashes was then laying in state on Mt Carmel Church. Karl was the frontman of Kapatid, P.O.T and Advent Call

Huggybear’s favorite Party Pilipinas production number  is a celebration of classic Filipino songs by musical legends with today's singers, last Feb 19 on GMA-7, lunchtime (beef nilaga). Dingdong Avanzado sang his breakthrough Tatlong Bente Singko with Dingdong Dantes. Next was Chad Borja and his Ikaw Lang with Jay Perillo. Then Marco Sison and Gian Magdangal in Si Aida, Si Lorna At Si Fe. There's Richard Reynoso and Mark Bautista with Paminsan Minsan. Next was Rannie Raymundo and Kris Lawrence with an incredible rendition of Why Can't It Be. There's Hajji Alejandro with his Panakip Butas performed with Janno Gibbs. 

My favorite performance is Gino Padilla and Jay-Ar singing Gusto Kita: two great artists at their best, and the synergy between them took the music to a higher level. 

The last duo was Nonoy Zuñiga and his unforgettable Never Say Goodbye, with Ogie Alcasid. Finale was everybody singing the refrain - and Nonoy's great voice soaring to that final timeless ending

I love Jet Li. As a martial artist, I regard him as an inspiration; watching his moves is sweet exhiliration. He is the star of one of Huggybear's favorite movies of all time, Once Upon A Time In China II. Only Jet Li can bring to vivid life the legendary kung fu master Wong Fei Hung. My favorite scene is the first major battle, when the cult White Lotus tried, but spectacularly failed, to abduct his cousin. One of the most fascinating film characters I've seen, aside from Wong, is the silent but extremely deadly Triad boss played by Jet in Lethal Weapon IV. His supreme confidence is borne of his steeled-nerve, preternatural skills as a killing machine. 

Jet Li is "coiled, watchful; he implodes before he explodes," says Richard Corliss in his 1998 Time story. Jet Li is the "Spirit of restraint and dignity," and his "Persona is one of grace and gravity." Tai chi is about balance, of "soft and hard," says Jet Li, so "Use them both." Jet Li "Does that," says Corliss. "Brilliantly."

My astral body goes traveling when I go to sleep. Oftentimes, I forget these out-of-body trips, except for flashes, which I call dreams. Sometimes, I find myself trying to escape from unspeakably frightening creatures; when they're about to grab me, I would jerk awake. I get nightmares because my astral body wandered into the twilight zone. Perhaps, one day, these demonic beings will finally overtake me, and I won't wake up anymore. I said "I" because this is what I believe to be true, for all men too. 

Years ago, a psychic and medium, Elise, suppressed the memory and astral abilities of a young boy, Josh, to prevent an insidious creature from imprisoning the boy's astral body and taking over the physical. Now grown up, Josh finds his son, Dalton, in an inexplicable coma which baffles even doctors. Elise returns. The only way to wake Dalton is for Josh to rescue him from the lower dimensions of the astral plane. His only guide was his wife's voice, calling him in. 

But the malevolent creatures heard it too. Slowly, Elise looks up, feeling the atmosphere. "They're crossing over," she whispers

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sept 22-28

I grew up with the music of Martin Nievera. His songs are part of my life, a musical journey filled with joy, pathos and sweet remembrances. I was witness to history as Martin gave an unforgettable rendition of Erik Santos' This Is The Moment during the ASAP grand celebration of his 30th year in showbiz last July 29, 2012 on ABS-CBN. The Martin-songs production numbers, introduced by Robbie Domingo, opened with an electrifying version of You're On The Right Track with international star Billy Crawford and pop-rock icon Juan Miguel Salvador. Then Pain with The Dawn frontman Jet Pangan and Nikki Gil. Next was Huggybear's favorite Martin song, You Are To Me, with Gino Padilla and Toni Gonzaga. Martin came on stage next, singing You Are My Song, joined by Verni Varga and Rachel Alejandro. There was also Bamboo and Yeng Constantino singing a rock version of No Way To Treat A Heart

In the next production, Martin was alternating with Kuh Ledesma and Pop Fernandez singing Ikaw Ang Aking Pangarap; then with Ariel Rivera and idol Gary Valenciano as they sang Ikaw Ang Lahat Sa Akin. Next was picture perfect: Martin and Pops alone on stage, singing Maybe by George Benson and Roberta Flack. Then their kids Robin and Ram joined them, singing the Martin classic I'll Be There For You. Martin was crying. We all mistakes, we learn and we move on, he said. Martin Nievera, the one and only Concert King, said that, in his 30 years in showbiz, his greatest achievement is right on that stage with him -- his family

See Huggybear's Favorite Martin Nievera Songs

If I could, then I would watch the afternoon soap Angelito: Ang Bagong Yugto. I've only seen part of the Aug.16 episode. Apparently there was a bar gig the night before. Angelito (JM De Guzman) and his wife, Rosalie (Charee Pineda), who just came out of the shower, are very sweet. "Give me a kiss, baby!" She says she's happy because she and her mother had settled their misunderstanding. He tells her that he saw his ex-girlfriend, Jenny (Kaye Abad), at the bar. Jenny's fiancee, Paeng (John Pratts), told her that somebody saw her and Angelito together last night leaving the club. Angelito's wife's sister, Rona, who was also at the bar, implies to her that there's a lot she doesn't know about Angelito. Paeng confronts Jenny in their garden. In the teaser for the next episode, the engagement has been called off. "Do you still love him?" he asks under the trellis. "Do you still love Angelito?"

Paeng and Kay gets to marry, after all, and the Aug. 31 episode is the reception. "I'm sorry if I assumed that your child is mine,"Angelito tells Kay. She doesn't know how to react; there is obviously something she wants to tell him but she cannot. All she can do is to beg him to think, from now on, that Paeng is the real father. For the sake of everyone's peace of mind, Angelito agrees to close that chapter in their lives. The next day, he is overjoyed to know that his wife Rosalie is pregnant again. 

Flashback to the party: Angelito's sister, Tere (Devon Seron), breaks up with her boyfriend Migoy (Sam Concepcion) because he wants to have sex and she didn't. "You did the right thing," her grandma (Elizabeth Oropesa tells her. At the same time, she says, a relationship should be open for second chances to make it work. What she is most proud about, as she tells her granddaughter, is that, "You have proven that I raised you well!" 

(See also Huggybear's story on Elizabeth Oropesa)

Americans invaded the hometown of Simeon (Orlando Pabotoy) in Ilocos and executed his father, a rebel leader. Simeon went to the United States, and there he found racism and a white girlfriend, Patrice. Her brother Claude cuts off her feet so she won't run away with the guy who has "inferior" Asian genes. Written and directed by Chris Millado, peregrinasyon (Wandering Nation) was staged by Ma-YiTheater Ensemble, the Fil-Am drama group based in New York. Ma-Yi (pre-Hispanic name of the Philippines) has another triumph: the 1996 Off-Broadway hit Flipzoids, written and directed by Ralph Peña. Ching Valdes-Aran, in this "witty, touching play," about three modern-day Filipino-Americans struggling with identity crisis, won the highly-coveted Obie Award for best actress. There's a scene where she dunks her face in the Pacific to remind her of Ilocos. "At a Ma-Yi performance," says Ricardo Saludo in his 1998 Asiaweek story, "one gets the same drenched awakening to the Asian inside the American."

Max's father, Charlie, had left him even before he was born, 11 years ago. He knows his father wants to sign him away, giving full legal custody to his aunt and her rich husband. "You sold me!" he accuses his father. "I want half!" Here's the catch: father and son gets to spend that summer together while his new foster parents goes to Italy. Charlie makes a living with his fighting-robots; but they were all destroyed, and he's up in his neck in debt. One rainy night, Max and Charlie sneaks into a junkyard, looking for robot parts to build one. Max falls into a cliff, sliding down the muddy embankment. He is saved when his jacket gets tangled in a piece of metal, which turns out to be a half-buried sparring robot. The bot, Atom, has a shadowing function, able to imitate the movement of its controller. One of my favorite movie scenes, ever, is little boy Max and giant robot Atom dancing, in perfect sync, in the parking lot

Sooner than expected, it's already time to return the boy. Max refuses, begging his father not to give him away yet, wanting to be there when Atom fights with Zeus, the world's most powerful robot. "What do you from me?!" shouted Charlie. "I want you to fight for me!" said Max, crying. "It's all I ever wanted..."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 15-21

Legendary singer and songwriter Freddie Aguilar is the King of Pinoy Folk & Country. His iconic 70s song Anak (about a young man ruined by drugs) would have had an international English version by Kenny Rogers if not for the people who grabbed the copyright from him. "Ka" Freddie is kinda like the Bob Dylan of the Philippines, whose songs are emblematic of his era yet they remain timeless. With his guitar and signature hat and long hair, he gave us memorable, socially relevant classics that stands the test of time, like Katarungan (about an innocent man on deathrow); Sa Kuko Ng Agila (about the social ills of foreign military bases); the Metropop awardwinning Bulag, Pipi At Bingi (about the lives of blind, mute and deaf people); and a lot more. My favorite Ka Freddie song is Magdalena, about a woman driven by a cruel world to become a prostitute.

Obviously, I have great respect for him, so I was happily surprised when I saw on Sarah Geronimo's Sunday night musical Sarah G: Live! on Aug. 12 (or is 5?), 2012, where Freddie and the "Pop Princess" did a duet. But before that, Ka Freddie performed his famous hit Estudyante Blues, the angst-driven anthem of high school kids, with the entire studio audience rocking. That's how it should be: great artists, in fine form, solo on stage!


Brian went out with Nadine, whom he met over the Internet, on a double-date with his colleague Joseph and Joseph's girlfriend, Dina Brian is Troy Montero Joseph is Diether Ocampo Jessa Zaragosa is Dina. She is also Nadine. It's complicated. 

The movie, Bakit Pa, is written and directed by Jose Javier Reyes, who also did Kasal Kasali Kasalo, which starred Judy Ann Santos, who starred in Isusumbong Kita Sa Tatay Ko, which also starred Fernando Poe Jr., who was the best friend of Joseph Estrada, who appointed as his press secretary Dong Puno, who had a public affairs show with Rey Langit and Mon Tulfo, who had a airport fight with Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto, who starred in Mula Sa Puso with Rico Yan and Diether. 
Diether, to continue in another paragraph, is the ex of Kristine Hermosa, who is married to Oyo Boy, who is the son of Vic Sotto, who starred in Agimat & Enteng Kabisote with Bong Revilla, who was linked with Ruffa Mae Quinto, who had an issue with Jessa Zaragosa.

Jessa, continuing on to a third paragraph, is married to Dingdong Avanzado, who was the ex of Rachel Alejandro, who is the daughter of Hajji Alejandro, whose song Kay Ganda Ng Ating Musika was written and composed by Ryan Cayabyab, who is the mentor of Geneva Cruz, who is the ex of KC Montero, who is the brother of Troy


Lysa (Denise Laurel) gets out of prison and returns to her hometown of Cervantes, facing the social stigma of being a convicted murderer even though she was innocent. But she's now under the protection of a rich young businessman, Noel Crisostomo (Lemuel Pelayo), with his own agenda of vengeance against the mayor, Victor (Tata Mara). Noel appoints her to head his new scholarship program. Lysa is surprised to discover that, of all the teachers in the local high school, she has to work with Sev (Martin Del Rosario), her ex-boyfriend who had testified against her in court. On one of those rare days when I got the time the watch TV, I came across the afternoon soap Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Pintada on Aug. 30, 2012; the next day, I was glad to watch another episode because I was beginning to like it, although I knew I wouldn't be able to follow the series
Lysa is interviewing the candidates for the scholarships one by one. Sev remains silent as he sits next to her, looking at the applications. "It would be better," she points out to him, "if we do this together!" Sarcastically, Sev asks an applicant: "What would you do if you have to work with someone you dislike?" The applicant says he'll ignore the person. Without missing a beat, Lysa asks: "What if the other person is reaching out?" The applicant says he'll stand his ground because he's a man. "Men...!" sighs Lysa, rolling her eyes
Lysa asks another candidate: "What are your strengths?" Answer: "I can carry heavy objects!" 
During one of their awkward days working together, Sev refuses the school project of one of his students who submitted it late. A deadline is a deadline, he says. Lysa asks him to give the boy a chance.

"How can he change if he doesn't learn?" he says, both of them knowing he's also talking about her.

Lysa answers: "How can he change if you don't give him the chance?" 


John Quincy Adams (Anthony Hopkins) stands before the United States Supreme Court. A group of young men, abducted from Africa and sold as slaves, overpowered their kidnappers and now they stand on trial. This is the most momentous decision the High Tribunal has to make, declares the former President, because the true nature of man is not enslavement -- it is freedom. If this was not so, he asks, then what do we do with the Declaration of Independence? I have a modest suggestion, he continues, and he takes a pro-slavery pamphlet -- and rips it in two.

Does the truth stand, tall and proud? No, he said, it is "wretched and destitute." 

The Mende tribe, he tells the court, when faced with adversity, would call upon their ancestors for guidance. He walks around the courtroom, passing the statues of the Founding Fathers and invoking their names, pausing with reverence at the figure of his father, the late great President John Adams.

We never asked for your help, he intones, because we're afraid we may look weak; we want to shape the future, but we don't look back at the past. Now, we realize, and we are made to understand, "that who we are, is who we were..." 


April 21, 2012, Saturday, 2:27pm: I was cooking Quickchow pancit canton beef on my rice cooker. The radio was playing Deep In My Heart by Jose Mari Chan, on 96.3 EasyRock. I was in Mulawin, Tanza, Cavite. Over the kitchen sink, the window overlooks the highway. While eating, I surfed the radio, wanting to hear people talking. Glad I discovered the Twisted Tag Team with Stan and Cage on Mellow 94.7, Sounds Good! Earlier that morning, I made another good discovery: Anthony Pangilinan in a Saturday morning motivational radio show, Magbago Tayo, on 92.3 NewsFM

Saturday, September 08, 2012

September 8-14

Eddie Garcia
Ako Si Kiko, Ako Si Kikay 
Lokomoko U 
Dear Jasmin

Eddie Garcia is one of my favorite actors and role models. It's really nice to see him in the midnight variety program Master Showman on Aug. 25, 2012 being interviewed by a fellow living legend, "The Master Showman" German "Kuya Germs" Moreno, who has discovered and mentored dozens of aspiring young stars. Eddie is already in his 80s but he has the charisma and the body of a much younger man. He started his acting career in 1949 after a stint in the Scouts, the predecessor of the Philippine Army, as one of Manuel Conde's Sietes Infantes De Lara. Eddie made a name as a brilliant actor even if he did a lot bit parts and villain roles, finally doing lead roles in action movies in the 90s.

He gave himself 15 years to be a director but it took less than that. His directorial debut was Karugtong ng Kahapon, starring Mario Montenegro, his  Infantes co-star and one of the most bankable leading men in Philippine cinema's "Golden Age" in the 50s.

Today, Eddie, after the soap Legacy, is starting a new TV series on GMA-7, Aso Ni San Roque; and he and Kuya Germs will be starring in the movie Talo, Tabla, Panalo with Boots Anson Roa.

"Be punctual," he tells the new generation of young stars. Don't be a pain in the neck, prepare for your role, be disciplined, "and you'll go places!"

(See more Huggybear stories on Eddie Garcia, German Moreno and Boots Anson Roa on 2Rivers. Eddie Garcia is part of Huggybear's League of Extraordinary Filipino Gentlemen)


Roderick Paulate, who started as an award-winning dramatic child actor, became a box office star in the 80s doing gay (as in "flagrant queen") roles, and is now a councilor in Quezon City. In Ako Si Kiko, Ako Si Kikay, he plays twins. The macho Kiko meets his cross-dressing, super gay brother, Kikay. Family lunch: Kiko proudly tells their mother (the late great Nida Blanca) and aunt (the ageless Nova Villa) that he's been promoted. His friend Randy (the late matinee idol Ronnell Victor), for whom Kikay has a crush, says Kiko is now dressing the bodies in a funeral parlor instead of just washing them before embalming. Kiko tells Kikay to apply. What else, laughs Randy, as a make-up artist!

Their mother's life savings gets swindled, and the twins concoct a plan to raise money: Kiko will fight the boxing champion Baculao (Jimmy Santos). But Precious (Beverly Salviejo) kidnaps Kiko to force him to marry her. So Kikay goes up againts Baculao.

Then there's the magic cough syrup that turns Kiko into Adonis (Jestoni Alarcon) and Kikay into Venus (Rita Avila), and of course, Adonis and Venus falls for each other


Empoy brags to Edgar Allan Guzman that he's not afraid of his wife because he has a secret weapon: his tattoo. I stumbled upon the TV5 gag show Lokomoko U while channel-surfing last Sept. 1, 2012, Saturday. Empoy's wife comes looking for him, angry because it's already late and he's still outside. So Empoy takes off his shirt, and his wife goes away. Edgar is impressed by his buddy's tattoo and wants to have one too so he can use it against his wife. He asks to see it. The tattoo reads "Mauna ka na boss! Sunod na me! (You go ahead, boss! I'll follow!)"


Surfing through the radio around 10 p.m. last Feb 18, I discovered Dear Jasmin. I've heard about it but it's the first time I tuned in. It's a dramatization of readers' love stories on Tambayan 101.9 FM. Yumi's blind date with Dave was a disaster, finding him obnoxious. Next day, Dave had a proposition: help him find a girlfriend before New Year, 23 days away, for him to win the bet with his friends. In return, he'll find Mr Right for her; her cousins thinks she's a tomboy because she's so choosy.  Eventually, Yumi introduced Dave to Corinne, and he gave her Enzo. I love the dialogue: witty and snappy. There was a pointed reference to One More Chance, even playing the theme. Then Yumi realized she misses Dave. The second story is about a girl, Bern, who broke up with her boyfriend Jonas after 2 years. She wanted to focus on her career. Soon, she realized she wanted him to come back. She was about to tell him, when Jonas said, "I have a new girlfriend!"


Cannot think of anything more important than freedom. What could be more comforting than knowing that you're not stuck wherever you are? Sometimes, your comfort zone becomes the twilight zone

Saturday, September 01, 2012

How Do You Solve Problems?

September 1-7

When golf player Angelo Que encountered problems in his career, he overhauled his techniques with the help of sports psychologist Andrea Furst and swing coach Bong Lopez, and he went on to bag the 2008 Philippine Open and the 20th rank on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Problems are meant to be solved. Happily, there are a lot of ways to do that, and what they have in common is what think-tank RAND Corp. calls “Applied common-sense.” Here they are:

Redefine the challenge. Solutions come when you view the issue from a different perspective. Problem: Sony engineers in 1978 can’t fit the recording mechanism in their prototype small cassette.

Solution: Co-founder Masaru Ibaka instead got the idea of a portable player with headphones, and the Walkman became and still remains Sony’s flagship product.

Take advantage of the disadvantage. The idea sounds weird but it is a time-tested technique. Problem: Soo-Jin Jang’s Web-based company SNI went bankrupt during the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Solution: Knowing that no one would develop a new program at such a time, he started JPD Internet, and its Widemail e-mail service became so successful that it was awarded the New Software Prize by the South Korean government.

Work backwards. Start from the possible outcome, then work your way back to find the answer. This method was developed by the Center for Constructive Change in Durham, New Hampshire, and they also give an example: Problem: How will you maximize your salary?

Solution: Ask yourself instead, What do I want to be 5 years from now? Whether it’s to be an entrepreneur or a Ph.D., you now have an idea of what to prioritize.

Break routines. Sometimes, radical problems need radical solutions, like changing your lifestyle to fit your new schedule or upgrading your business to capture a new market. Problem: Hugh Moore’s coin-operated, water-dispensing business was severely affected by the public panic about unsanitary drinking water.

Solution: He sold only his paper cups, got an endorsement from Kansas health officials, and renamed them Dixie Cups.

Gather ideas. The answer can come from anybody and anywhere so you have to be receptive to practical alternatives. Problem: Clarence Crane’s low sales of his chocolates during summer.

Solution: A druggist helped him develop a distinctive candy mint that looks like a sulbabida, and a New York salesman marketed them – and Life Savers became one the world’s most popular candies.

Photo courtesy of