Just my Luck

The day started out pretty badly. The venue of the convention I attended to was so far from where I live, I had to travel 2 hours to the city, and walk at least 300 meters from the MRT to the hotel. Conference participants didn’t care if their mobile phones rang loudly or how they answered just as loud and disturbed the whole plenary session. Add to that my lack of comprehension of scientific and clinical terms on TB. I’m a development communications graduate, not a nurse and definitely not a doctor.

But as fate would have it, the day ended weirdly, as I won the grand prize of P20,000 for the raffle that was drawn at the end of the conference. How ironic can it get? I was complaining the whole time, and yet I won the prize in the conference I “hated”.

My father (bless his soul) used to be very lucky in raffles, coming home from abroad with a television and a stereo system he won. Guess luck is in the genes?

Still I’m very thankful. Extra money to pay for important obligations could not have come at a more perfect time. I’d still have to share my small blessings with my colleagues, friends and family. A simple lunch or dinner is surprisingly enough to satisfy everyone. More bang for the buck, I guess,

Have a great weekend everyone!

Weekend! Yey!

I especially enjoy the weekend, as most of you would, because of the relative peace and quiet.

Of course a downside is that some of my neighbors opt to play their music systems a little louder than what I would prefer. And Celine Dion! Ugh.

Mom is giving the dog a bath. So cute. Yes I live with my mom, for my non-Filipino/Asian readers this is pretty common in this part of the world, parents living with their children even they get to be really really old.

Part of my weekend is also shared with H, as this is the only time that we can really be together. I am so looking forward to swim this weekend and fix my breaststroke. For those who still don’t know who H is, back read please.

Hope you have a great weekend guys!

Thy Womb: A Rare Digital Gem in a sea of Celluloid Garbage

I started my year quite right by watching the only movie worth watching in the MMFF, ‘Thy Womb’, which is of course starred by the only superstar, Nora Aunor, and directed by Brilliante Mendoza, both winners of international festivals where this movie was showcased.

I tried recalling if I have ever watched any movie of La Aunor in a moviehouse and I realized that this is only the 2nd that I did, the first being Flor Contemplacion.

H and I have read numerous reviews of the movie and the generally positive review has convinced me to watch the movie. Several online searches revealed that Thy Womb is only shown to at most 10 cinemas in the Metro, fortunately with the one being very near my workplace.

The movie tells the story of a Badjao couple, Shaleha (Aunor) and her husband Bangas-an, played by the equally great Bembol Roco. Despite their advanced age the couple have failed to have children. Shaleha, a traditional birth attendant, has to be reminded constantly of her own failure of bearing a child by keeping the umbilical cords of the babies she delivered, hanging them by a special corner of their house, a small shanty on the Badjao Village in Bongao, Tawi-tawi.

The frustration and desire for a child has led to Bangas-an to convince her wife that he should take on a second wife, (later played by a bland Lovi Poe) a tradition accepted in the Muslim faith. Shaleha, loyal and loving wife, has no choice but to agree, and starts on a quest to find the wife for her husband.

The next scenes reveal to the audience the simple yet complex Badjao-Muslim tradition and way of life, of  how the people can be poor and yet manage to pool money for dowries worth hundreds of thousands, of the the lavish ceremonies celebrated despite gunfires shooting from a distance, of lives flourishing despite odds and conflicts.  Mendoza, in his style of story-telling that makes you think you are watching a documentary instead of a feature film, gives the audience a glimpse of the life in the islands. Its beauty against poverty. We see the juxtaposition of the catholic chapel and the muslim mosque, reminding us that in these islands, christianity is a weakened, ignored force. The picturesque, wide-angled shots of the Tawi-tawi landscape and the sea reminds us of its pristine beauty but then we are also subtly reminded of the conflicts; of pirates stealing even meager pieces of fish caught by Shaleha and bangas-an, of military personnel chasing unseen bandits.

This style went on for most part of the film. While H and I couldn’t complain, I could imagine other viewers exasperated to the point of being bored. I can’t blame them if they’ve been waiting for some action to happen. The only conflict, revealed by Mersila, Lovi Poe’s character, is simple yet it would turn the old couple’s life around. Mendoza, however, has prepared his audience for this moment.  We no longer question the logic of their tradition. We only eagerly await what happens next.

But the brilliant (pun intended) Mendoza did not craft some run-of-the mill drama of wives and mistresses.  You will not see ‘sampalan’ anyhere in this film. You may question how the arresting beauty of Mersila would accept a wedding with an aging Bangas-an but as she reveals her ‘requirement’ for the wedding to continue, her beauty and desirability made sense. The next few seconds after the reveal managed to be gut-wrenchingly painful by the mere sight of Nora Aunor’s eye-acting.

Ah, Nora’s eyes. She may have lost all the glamour, she may have aged and botched her plastic surgery which affected her golden voice (a mystery if you ask me), but those eyes could tell everything inside Shaleha’s conflicted heart. The satisfaction of a completed task, the happiness in holding a new-born and the subsequent desire to have it for her own, the confusion, pain and acceptance rolled into one expression when she realized that what she found for her husband would be worth more than the 150 thousand peso dowry and their married life. No words, just those amazing eyes.

I would have preferred a more dramatic ending to the story. Just a few seconds longer would have made a huge difference, but in Brilliante Mendoza’s mind, the ending where exchanged looks said everything, I should no longer complain.

Bits and Pieces

Another semester is over but I still have a long way to go. Sometimes I’m kinda surprised to know that I have actually learned something. When I took the final exams I was relieved I understood everything. Or so I thought I did.

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I’m still thinking if I’m going to enroll next semester or file a leave of absence. I’m still not quite stable and I don’t know if I will have the extra time or the money. Signs, signs… give me the signs…

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I just recovered from the Flu. Or what I thought was the flu. I had an inkling it was dengue because I did not even have colds or something. Just fever and body pains. I just drank lots and lots of water and took paracetamol till my liver collapsed. Kidding. I’m better now though.

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I want to finish the two rolls inside my two cameras but I don’t know what to shoot!

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Okay back to work now.

Decisions, actions, consequences

Life has not been a bed of roses lately.

When you half-expected the arrival of bad news, you also expect to be half-hurt.  But when you dismiss the hurt and try to reduce it to almost nothing, it turns into a needle prick that is irritating and nonetheless painful.

You actually can not reduce the disappointment to a mere “Oh It’s okay, I sorta expected it, and besides I didn’t put my hopes up too high.”  Because at the back of the mind, you did put up your hopes higher than what you should have.

I’m disappointed because I believe that whatever it is that’s been happening to my life is the result of one decision that I made years ago.  A decision I made without even thinking because I was ambitious and greedy.

I would not have the done the same had I been more mature.

So many “what ifs” have cropped up again.