This has been my jam for over a month now. I have to say they all sound good! Listening to music can be very therapeutic, and in my case a cure for homesickness. Thanks to this wonderful selection of original, varied, funny, heartfelt, reflective, and relatable Filipino songs. Having them on repeat puts me in my happy state. And now after careful deliberation with esteemed panel of judges, critics, and composers😊, here is my top 3:
1. TRIANGULO, written by Thyro Alfaro and Yumi Lacsamana; interpreted by Thyro Alfaro, Yumi Lacsamana & Jeric Medina. If only the repeat button could talk, it would charge me multiple rape cases. Man, this song! It kept on playing in my head days and weeks after hearing it. I love the beat, the melody, and the recall it gave me. Very Pinoy. I am sure a lot of people will relate to it. And great job to the composers! I hope this can be their Dati number 2 and bag the grand prize again.
2. TANGING PAG-ASA KO, written by Paul Armesin; interpreted by The Company. The words alone are music to my ears. I can play this song the entire day and I wouldn’t get tired of it. But here’s a tip, try listening to this wonderfully written song whenever you feel like giving up or if you are losing hope. “Hanggang sa dulo ng nalalabing katatagan, ay kakayanin ang bigat nitong pasanin. At kung ang puso ay magapi ng kapagalan, ika’y sinlapit ng isang panalangin.” It will make you feel better, that’s a guarantee.
3. WALANG HANGGAN, written by Ramiru Mataro; interpreted by Ramiru Mataro and Donnalyn Bartolome. I don’t know if it’s just me but this song gives off some serious 80’s vibes. Which makes it an instant favorite the moment I heard it. I can imagine an old hipster movie with this song in the background. And this will make you realize, may forever.😊
The other notable ones are Sa Ibang Mundo which has a great sentiment; the funny and quirky Apat Na Buwang Pasko and Paratingin Mo Na Siya; and the upbeat Musikaw. Altogether a good batch this year. Great improvement on how the songs are sounding, and how varied the selection is. Download the album on Spinnr or stream via Spotify. Visit their website HERE for more details and to vote. Support our local artists! Mabuhay ang OPM!
One word: surreal.
Being this close to the world’s tallest building feels like a dream. Not too long ago I was just seeing it on the news, the internet, on pictures, telling myself that one day I will set foot in Dubai and visit it myself. And now I am here! The past two months has been quite a ride. Decisions and sacrifices were made, risks were taken, changes happened – as if in a snap it’s so fast I’m still finding it hard to believe. The journey has began and I know it will be difficult but nothing is impossible with prayers; me in this foreign land, finally living out of my comfort zone aiming to grow and improve life, is a testament that it works.
Just believe, and it will happen.
2014 proved to be another banner year for the local film industry. As promising as the previous year, I am so delighted with the number of movies I have seen. Quite amazed with how great and rave worthy they are, too. The following reviews, however, are based solely on my observations and reactions. As I have mentioned the last time, I do not consider myself a film critic. Please do not expect anything grand. 🙂 So without further adieu, errm, ado, beaming with pride, here are my top 15.
15. BITUKANG MANOK, Alec Figuracion
This is my kind of horror/thriller/suspense movie. The premise alone enticed me, and sure enough it didn’t disappoint. I feel like I was part of it; like I was one of the barkada, or the brother of the family on vacation, or probably one of the truck drivers. That’s how engaging the characters were. The only minor flaw, for me, was the ending (I won’t spoil hehe). It’s as if it was rushed or probably they ran out of idea on how to end it. But it didn’t ruin the film’s entirety so it’s all good.
14. SUNDALONG KANIN, Janice O’Hara
Ahh, I will never forget how emotionally scarred this movie left me. The ending crushed my heart into tiny little pieces. Ang bigat sa dibdib. What I loved most is the film’s focus – the kids and their stories. No need for big stars and extravagant acting. Just them doing what they’re good at.
13. MULA SA KUNG ANO ANG NOON, Lav Diaz
A one-line review said it was “hauntingly beautiful.” Indeed it was, and as expected, long. Almost 6 hours. This is another Lav Diaz masterpiece. The long shots were impressive. Blink and you’d miss a single and important detail. I especially liked the scenes at the beach – mysterious, intriguing, full of clear and crisp images. And it’s in black and white, which gives the audience the film’s sharp and stark outline.
12. BWAYA, Francis Xavier Pasion
The aerial shots were breathtakingly beautiful. It transported me to this small Agusan town, had a taste of how a Manobo’s daily lives and routines were, and felt the grief of the townsfolk when tragedy struck them. This is Angeli Bayani’s most riveting performance, I’d like to believe. The scene when she learned that her daughter was attacked by a crocodile and was found dead is absolutely heartbreaking.
11. BANG BANG ALLEY, Ely Buendia, King Palisoc, and Yan Yuzon
A first of its kind – a murder and crime trilogy. And that alone is enough for it to land a spot in my list. It has its strong and weak moments yes, but altogether a pretty good film. It was so nice to see Jimmy Santos on the big screen again. I wished more of his part and his story. The episode I liked the most was the second, Makina. Gabe Mercado aced the acting!
10. KUBOT The Aswang Chronicles 2, Erik Matti
I wasn’t able to watch Tiktik, but Kubot was a treat for me. Those blue-blooded aswangs (not zombies) who aren’t afraid of bawang but instead of bagoong, Elizabeth Oropesa and her big wild pubic hair-like hair, and Nieves, the character played by Lotlot De Leon, I believe are the film’s aces. I love how it introduces different kinds of aswangs in each movie (yes, there is a third part), it will make the audience crave for more. I will look forward for it next year.
9. SOAP OPERA, Remton Siega Zuasola
A young superhero with an unknown past, a pair of lovers torn between the magic of their romance and the reality of life, and a portrait of a family who will stop at nothing just to provide for its members. This film’s view of soap operas and how it affects its Pinoy viewers was a breath of fresh air. I thoroughly enjoyed Matt Daclan and Natileigh Sitoy’s performances. If this movie is a three-course meal, their story is the main dish.
8. MAGKAKABAUNG, Jason Paul Laxamana
This film depicts one of the many ironies in life. A coffin maker who can’t even provide a coffin and a decent burial for her daughter. Told mostly in Kapampangan, which I think gave it more zest. It sounded foreign to me. Allen Dizon’s character is one of my favorites this year. His scenes with her daughter are golden. Ah, things a parent would do for the family. It’s heartbreaking and so real I felt it.
7. THE TRIAL, Chito Roño
This film has the right balance of drama and comedy (which most of the time a hard thing to pull off), a well written screenplay, good directing, and impeccable acting. John Lloyd Cruz is the heart of this film. I had lumps on my throat in that scene where Sylvia Sanchez was beating him. Vincent De Jesus, on the other hand, was such a delight to watch. A comic relief that balances out all the intensities, emotions and drama of the whole situation.
6. VIOLATOR, Dodo Dayao
It was like I’m in a different dimension. That’s how it felt like watching this extraordinary film. Those series of vignettes haunted me in my sleep. I have never seen anything like it. Eerie and creepy. After watching, it made me question myself if I am able to find and eventually fight my own demon. Just the thought of it is giving me creeps. And oh, this movie also gave a new and different meaning to “The subscriber cannot be reached. Please try again later.”
5. DAGITAB, Giancarlo Abrahan
A long, sad, painful, but beautiful journey. This film can be poised as a classic, in my opinion. Easily became a favorite Cinemalaya film. Eula Valdez and Nonie Buencamino gave a very powerful and moving performance. The narrative was quite impressive, all done in good taste and it made me fall in love with poetry all over again.
4. LORNA, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
A roller-coaster ride of a film. Hilarious, yet very sincere. Almost half the time the cinema was filled with hearty laughter, and the next minute you would hear “Awww” followed by sniffles. That is how the people felt this movie. I am glad Shamaine Buencamino finally had a title role. There can be no other Lorna than her. A notable character though, was that of Maria Isabel Lopez. She brought the house down! And yes, Lav Diaz!
3. THAT THING CALLED TADHANA, Antoinette Jadaone
First minute alone, and I am sold. Seriously. The heart and the arrow – it’s like it pierced right through me. I knew I was watching something different, something I would remember and will not forget. And true enough. Days…no, weeks after watching it, the beauty, the sadness, the pain, the heartaches that this film gave the audience stayed with me. Whitney Houston’s Where Do Broken Hearts go was playing in my head for weeks. I am pretty sure a lot of people will relate to Anthony and Mace, the characters played by JM De Guzman and Angelica Panganiban. Tadhana also made me want to go and see the glorious Sagada. Favorite line: “Eh sorry, mahal ko eh.”
2. NORTE, HANGGANAN NG KASAYSAYAN, Lav Diaz
It was 4-hour long, but I wanted more. I actually wished it never ended, or at least it was longer. Fabian (Sid Lucero) was such a character; a beast of a man, he devoured the rest. My favorite was that of Mailes Kanapi – her acting speaks volume and it haunted me for several days. Angeli Bayani and Archie Alemania did not disappoint either. I hope that this film will FINALLY bring us our first Oscar nomination, and win too.
1. BARBER’S TALES, Jun Robles Lana
Powerful and exceptional. Every minute, every scene, every symbol in this film is perfection. I may be exaggerating but this is a movie every Filipino should see. Masterfully done, set in the 70’s but kept itself relevant, worth every peso. Equally powerful is Eugene Domingo. None of those TV Patrol/elevator acting but pure and raw emotions.
I have seen more, and it’s too difficult to make a list of just 15. Hoping for more quality Filipino films in the years to come, and eventually more people to embrace and support these type of movies. With NORTE having a lot of Oscar buzz, and lots of amazing pool of directors and writers showcasing their talent each year, our film industry is indeed in good hands. See you at the cinemas! 🙂
Fast forward to August, please!
Now that August is fast approaching, it’s time for the country’s biggest independent film festival as Cinemalaya celebrates its first decade this year. Running from August 1-10, this year’s festival, dubbed as “Cinemalaya X: A Decade of Connecting Dimensions”, will once again showcase the power of independent films in providing quality cinema in the country. This year’s 10 New Breed films, 10 short films, and 4 Directors Showcase that are in competition this year are:
(descriptions taken from the press kit available online)
1. ASINTADO (Between the Eyes)
Director: Louie Ignacio
Cast: Aiko Melendez, Gabby Eigenmann, Jake Vargas, Miggs Cuaderno, Rochelle Pangilinan
Plot: In the middle of the preparation for TaongPutik Festival, a young man penniless and in love, takes on a drug courier job that goes terribly wrong. To save him, his mother now makes the most difficult decision of her life.
2. HARI NG TONDO
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I am torn. Whose version do you like best?
The one from The Voice US grand winner?
Or the ginger-y cover? 🙂
It’s that time of the year again! Now on its third year, PhilPop Foundation dishes out a new batch of 12 songs for the competition. After hearing about it, I right away checked the songs out on Spinnr where it was released. From the huge success of PhilPop 2013, I have to say I am expecting a lot from this group of composers, songs, and interpreters. After more than a week of putting it on repeat, here are my top 3 picks:
1. AWIT MO’Y NANDITO PA composed by Ronaldo “Toto” Sorioso, interpreted by James Bucong and Aldrich Talonding. My personal favorite this year. It spoke to me, actually. Which is what I look for in a song. I love the chorus and the line that went, “Nawala ako at natagpuan pagkatapos lahat ng nagdaan, awit mo’y nandito pa. Pag-ibig mo’y kinakanta.” and it’s very refreshing to hear Aldrich sing this lovely piece.
2. SALBABIDA composed by Jungee Marcelo, interpreted by Kyla. This song has what it takes to win it – great lyrics and melody, LSS-inducing lines, and the interpreter. I may be biased here being a Kyla fan, but I’d like to believe she’s got this charm in song festivals (Tara Tena, Himig Handog 2001 grand prize; and Buti Na Lang, Metropop 2003 third prize).
3. BABALIKAN MO RIN AKO composed by Soc Villanueva, interpreted by Nikki Gil. I am pretty sure this will be that one song people can relate to the most. Heartache speaks volume in this song, which I think would be a great tool in making it very popular. Not to mention Nikki Gil interpreting it. Watch out for the last line, it’s a killer. Ouch.
Another notable one is the Taglish No Girlfriend Since Break which is starting to grow on me. I personally think last year’s batch is more diverse, more distinct, and more Pinoy. But this is still a good batch. Give them all the support you can give. Check out their website for voting and downloading details and for other festival information. Mabuhay ang OPM!