2014 in review


2014 was all about losses and wins. A number of things from a dear friend in Christopher Fajardo to a house I lived in for almost half my life, to pets and comedians and brilliant actors and actresses, to my ever failing ability to keep a proper time management to do the things I love.


This year was surely a year for valuable relationships. I made sure I had that in tact first.


Next year, I do hope to spend much more time at the movies and write about it more.

And yes, I think we do have a winner for the 500 film challenge. And don’t worry, it ain’t me. :)


This is me, featuring this year's favorite photo app.
This is me, featuring this year’s favorite photo app.


In case you’re interested, here’s the stats of my blog this year. Thank you!


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Everything I Learned, I Learned from the film [500] Days of Summer


It has always been on my annual list of 500 films. Yes, I kind of thought of the number of films to watch in a year was a coincidence, but it’s a challenge on it’s own. Though I could also write a different entry on five ways this film almost ruined me, because for three years now every time I try to manage a list for all of the films I watch, I loose them. But now let’s focus on the things I managed to learn from this film.

Whether or not this was based on an actual person named Jenny Beckman, I will never know. Though I keep tabs on every Wikipedia article on it’s cast and crew (not including boom men, make-up artists, personal assistants to the cast, it’s assistant directors, location manager, and whatever else you can think of) and of the film itself, I think the last time I read the articles about this was waay back in 2009. So, let’s get back on track.

For the benefit of anyone who hasn’t seen this flick, the reasons don’t normally show the order of scenes. And by the way, the film itself doesn’t show the films in order.


1. Summer Finn is not a Bitch


Summer Finn is not a bitch. Now in one scene Tom, the character played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt might assume she’s a bitch, along with his friend and officemate, McKenzie would also assume the same thing because she wouldn’t give a rat’s ass on another officemate who’s hitting on her. Another scene would explain briefly as to why she sees the world as it is. This scene would be the one at the bar, during an office party where she claims she doesn’t have a boyfriend and doesn’t need to. Summer is just a woman who knows what she wants. As a woman, I find that inspiring. Empowering even.

2. Being Single is one of the most exciting experiences in the world


Back in the old days, men and women are supposed to follow a proper social standing to be accepted in society. A woman going well into her thirties would have been married with three kids, and a man had already wed a woman and have been successful in his profession. Well, we’re way past those days and Summer states that she “doesn’t have a boyfriend because she doesn’t want one” to quote it directly and then further states that “we live in one of the most exciting cities in the world, might as well have fun” which exudes the freedom to choose whatever a woman or a man wants. No offense of course to anyone who reads this and may have found their matches early on but isn’t it fun to see a woman, a person enjoying the freedom of being single instead of wallowing at the thought that nobody else wants to love you that’s why you’re single?
I was single when I first saw this film. It exemplified the feeling to accept the fact that maybe time hasn’t come for me yet to experience what it feels like to be loved back by someone as special [as the one I have now] and enjoy things I couldn’t do had I chose a different path and went on to become someone entirely different. Being a singleton gave me the time to learn about myself, to do things I could share with other people, to undo the things I did towards my siblings in the past by spending time with them. I did all these and when I met the, possible One, I had so many things to share, a passion in life to talk about.

3. There are two kinds of people in this relationship


At least in a relationship that won’t work. A boy named Tom whose early influences were punk rock’s The Smith’s, (whose songs have blown me and my twin away even before this film was even made) 80s romantic love songs like She’s Like the Wind, The Pixies’ Here Comes Your Man, and of course the classic film The Graduate in which the guy gets the girl in the end even if all it takes is to get her away from getting married. Then we have the girl, Summer, whose parents divorced when she was younger, and that even cutting her long black hair didn’t feel anything meant that she can get through with life without caring for anything or anyone that might have an effect on her and might inflict pain or happiness. I like the contrast between these characters. Relationship is a two way street because there’s two of you involved. It can’t just go your own way just cause. Which leads us to the next reason.

Which is 4. Everything should be clear from the beginning of a relationship


Which did not seem clear to Tom as to what Summer wanted in the first place. I’ve had instances in my life wherein I thought the other person knew what I wanted, but he didn’t. And neither did I. So in the end it never worked out. I was a Tom at some point until I almost wanted to have a certain expectation in a relationship but it never went that way because I never did anything to let it go towards that direction. Communication is key as always. Summer asked Tom after the office party if he liked her only as a friend, and he said yes. But he had other expectations. In the end, Summer had to say that there was something she couldn’t understand between them because he never clarified what exactly did he want.

5. This is not a love story.


Films like The Graduate actually meant something completely different for me. In the film, what it meant to Tom was that the guy always gets the girl in the end, no matter what. Although that reference was great, I didn’t expect that classic to be included. This is a film about relationships, told in a nonlinear narrative because that’s how we all look back at the relationships we used to have, or the ones we have at the moment.

6. You find people/things when you stop looking.


I’ve discussed this over and over with my sister, and although the Deli scene was only mentioned by Summer in passing, the Deli was sort of responsible for her finding the man she married. Although it had crushed me several times in the past to know that someone somewhere has met the guy I thought would be the One and are currently spending fruitful days enjoying each other’s company, this scene would play in my memory several times as a reminder of how happy I am at the moment. I met the One at an office party, a party I wasn’t supposed to go to but I had to because my boss told me I would be tagged as Absent (and I am quite obsessed over my attendance). He was sitting outside the bar of the After party. I asked for a lighter and we talked while we smoked. Two years and six months later, I still find myself smiling at the thought of his face smiling back at me, and his hand clutching mine in his.

7. To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die.


I’m actually talking about the Soundtrack. Who knew Carla Bruni could sing back in 2009? This film introduced me to the indie bittersweet song Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap which was smoothly played during the time Summer and Tom were on their way to Millie’s wedding. Plus we got to see another singing episode of both Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt during the office party scene. My favorite acts like The Smiths (which was always blissful to listen to), The Pixies, Feist and The Black Kids were included. Also, that moment where Tom is left startled in the elevator after Summer sings a line from The Smith’s song to die by your side/is such a heavenly way to die has happened to most of us.

8. Friends and (your sister) is all you need to get through a [messy] break-up


Well if you don’t have a sister, then a brother or someone whose close enough to a sibling helps. Other heads are better than one and friends and family help us get through life. Tom’s friends were always there for him even before, within, and after his relationship with Summer ended. This helped me realize that as stubborn as I was when I really wanted someone at some point in my life, I got through it with so much help from them. If my sister hadn’t told me how foolish I looked like to be chasing after a failing dream, I wouldn’t believe how foolish I did look.

9. Expectations vs Reality


Admit it. You always wanted to stay on that other side of life. The Expectations part of life. Filled by daydream, illusions, and fantasy. The Reality part is always too scary to look at but that scene where Expectations vs Reality was phenomenal for me. Especially when they really had to literally push the Expectations part out of the screen was genius. Heartbreaking, but really genius.

10. Intense Passion can be Inspiring and Destructive


When Tom and Summer were in the good times of their relationship, they were both benefiting from it. Sexually fulfilling and inspiring for both of them. The wisdom Summer gained from Tom’s hopeless romantic mood had encouraged her to realize that not all relationships would fail much like her parents’. Plus, she gained a friend in Tom. Tom was inspired to do well at work, and realize that he should pursue his passion as an architect and that being a card writer wasn’t all he was good at. It became destructive to both of them along the way, but in the end letting go of the other had at least taught them a few things as a couple and as friends.

11. Lessons from a Fallen Love


It had to end, at some point or the other. They both became people for the things they learned about each other that they wouldn’t have learned had they still kept their relationship. For me, it’s okay to look back and the things I learned were beneficial to who I am. It’s not who I am completely but the experience I had from a Fallen love is interesting. Like Tom there were times when I’d remember and be bitter about it. But mostly these days I’m not. But without overcoming it, I probably wouldn’t have met my guy from the office party, just like Tom meeting Autumn while going for an interview for an architecture firm and knowing what he wants for the better. And Summer ending up married to the guy who changed her mind about how relationships should be but staying firm on what she really wants in life. Happiness.

Being Chris Fajardo

I first met Chris in my imagination. That may sound ridiculous but allow me to explain.

It all started about my twin sister’s stories about a tranchemate/officemate she had at work who lent us copies of foreign films. When I say foreign, I don’t mean easy to pick up at the videostore Hollywood movies (with the exception of some Hollywood films which are surprisingly available in local videostores). These were all interesting, well-thought foreign films my twin and I only knew from film books we secretly read at the bookstore. From the great Fellinni to Akira Kurosawa, whose works we only heard of by characters from other foreign films we’ve seen on cable. I always imagined him as this skinny guy with glasses (though my sister corrected me several times that he never wore glasses), with messy hair. It’s not usual that you’d meet a guy who was interested in the same stuff you did. So I asked her “gwapo ba?” (is he handsome?) And my sister replied “well, kind of. But I’m just not sure he’s interested in me in that aspect.” Since I, we, were both single at the time my hopes of nabbing someone who had the same interest, as in built-in interest in these kinds of movies, just died then and there. But I was still interested in meeting him in person.

Apparently he made the first move of talking to my twin during their training at work. My sister was reading Orson Welles’ biography and she says this guy just came up to him, the expression on his face was a mix of excitement and amazement and wonder at her, a girl who looked too young but too serious to be working in this business and to intent at learning more about Orson Welles, the genius whose passion towards films were just as mad as his great masterpiece, Citizen Kane.
So they chatted and they began exchanging conversations about films. The next day he brought her about five films for her to share with her film buddy, me.
The first film I ever saw from that pack was Fellinni’s Amarcord.. And I told myself that if it was possible to love a man, without all the romance, only for gratitude… Well, damn I love this Chris guy! Of whom I haven’t met, yet.
And so each week, there were several others he lent us, a few others we lent him back. I admit since I’m such a couch potato I just relied on HBO, Cinemax, WOWOW, PBO, and the two african channels MM1 and MM2 (which served as doors for developing my interest in classic Hollywood films, silent films, and french films), the ones we had at home consisted of Marlon Brando’s and Jimmy Stewart’s films, Hitchcock, a slew of other foreign films he’d already watched, and rom-coms which were necessary for the three of us siblings (the times after highschool got pretty depressing for us), and a couple of classic horror films. We lent him some, he lent us some more. And everything just went deep after that.

Suddenly I felt like this was the world I wanted to be in. The world of complex characters or predictable ones, in black and white or in the Silent Film era, in talkies, in Propagandistic films, in all the rom-coms, campiness of local drama, and the smoking ways of the Parisians during the 40s to 70s, I wanted a tragedy as written by Woody Allen or a youthful resilience as told by the folks at Studio Giblhi.


When I was younger I wanted to be so many things because my parents allowed me to choose. I wanted to be a veterinarian, a Broadway [super]star, an impersonator, a singer, an actress, a writer, a lawyer, an archaeologist, a philanthropist, a psychologist, a playwright. But when I lost my mom to cancer in Christmas of ’06, the hopes of achieving anything became minimal. As luck would have it, I became optimistic when I had learnt that I passed this Science and Tech scholarship. Which meant I could go to good schools. But my dying wish to go to UP and all of a sudden I couldn’t afford to go there either. And I suddenly added “Systems Administrator” and “Computer Engineer” to the things I wanted to be.

I took up IT in college because it was also known as Instant Trabaho or the most in demand job out there. I realized through the subjects I had which were all about computers, and it wasn’t something for me. I realized that I had myself stuck in a situation that’s never gonna work out for me. So, I left school early and decided to work early. I had to drop out of my scholarship, and work at 17.

I wrote this two page review for the movie Serendipity in high school and I never thought that my teacher would be impressed. I had forgotten all about that. I knew I should have went to college and pursued something I really, truly wanted which was to study film. To be a part of it all. It was BA Film all along. Why didn’t I think of that earlier?

The first time I finally met Chris was at this monthly film screening in Cubao. The group had a tribute to (komiks guy, Susan Roces and Eddie Garcia flick) and I didn’t know that the place was a bit religious. Well, my twin mentioned it but I thought it wasn’t that religious. So we wore dresses and stockings.. And our faces were filled with make-up, sixties style! Our hair was all over the place as usual. So when he met us at the gate, there was that smile that one would know when they’d seen an old friend. His smile was that warm. He laughed when I told him the nuns gave us a look of disapproval as we walked in.

The thing about living in San Jose del Monte was that it was in the middle of the urban and the rural. So when film festivals started popping up here and there, the travel time my twin and I needed was at a minimum of two hours. Hence, whenever Chris would invite us to festivals or film screenings, we’d always be an hour late. Plus, we worked in call centers and most film screenings occur by the time we’re asleep or in the middle of our shifts. And yes I do feel like I’ve been making up excuses my whole life.

For some awesome luck of time management, Chris was always, almost always present during these festivities. Especially one Saturday each month in Cubao. I haven’t met anyone else (apart from Queen and my boyfriend) whom I can talk to about every character, every detail about the film but Chris. He was just as enthusiastic. And he listened and he shared everything he knew about films.

He introduced Queen and I to this “underground” film society formed by these guys from UP and PUP and Titus Brandsma. This society was formed in Facebook of all places. There were about a hundred when he added us up. And it was interesting in many ways. Forums bored me to death but conversations that took place in Cinephiles were entertaining, educational, and sometimes emotional (why the fuck post a spoiler filled review?!?!). I owe Chris the opportunity to meet these people. To be included in that group.

The very last time I saw Chris I told him about Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. I didn’t have that Spring Breakahs forevah vibe with me but I tried my best not to be a pussy in front of him. He’d lost so much weight from the cancer. The Big C yet again. I was several hours late though Joseph had texted me to come ASAP several hours before because Chris was in critical condition. I had the same terrible feeling when I lost my mother. My fake optimism kicked in just the same although I understood what critical condition was. When he was gone I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t care less if I didn’t have enough sleep, if I cried the whole day even while at work, if I spent at least a portion of my day during his wake. But I guess he appreciated anything. He did. He really did.

It’s been months my dear friend since I last saw you. I promise to finish watching all the films I borrowed from you. I’ll tell you all about it soon. I told you once how I was so glad to have met such a wonderful person like you. Because you are. You truly are…

Christopher Fajardo’s love for films were as strong as the heroines his most favorite actress, Catherine Denouve, has portrayed through the years. He was a film programmer though his day job was as a telephone banker. He passed away on February 8, 2014 and his ashes are interred at the Manila North Cemetery Green Park, a few meters away from where FPJ, the King of Philippine Cinema rests along with former Presidents, Boy Scouts and other heroes of this generation, and of course my mom.

wine or beer?


I whiff a scent of you
Cigars and a musk of confidence.
Is that wine or beer?
I spare my loneliness
In exchange for a moment with you.
I’ve wanted to feel your presence
Yet my question remains,
Is that wine or beer?

I’ve always wanted
A hand to hold,
A face to cheer,
A weekend to spend,
To give a gift so bold,
I’ve waited each year
Yet here you are,
At the end or the line
Holding a glass of wine
Or is that beer?


*image courtesy of *****

Les Cousins (The Cousins)

13 June 2014

Dear Being Chris,

It’s Friday the 13th and I chanced upon Claude Chabrol’s Les Cousins. It says on the back that this is a love story. Well, sort of. About this provincial man going to Paris to study Law and live with his cousin and then he falls in love. The summary at the back’s quite vague so I’m giving it a chance. Plus its a film by Chabrol and you know how the French New Wave gets me all excited. By the way, that transition from Charles bedroom to Paul’s driving in Paris was cute.

Paul took him to the Latin Quarter, in a club called the Union. There his cousin introduces him to the locals while flirting with a girl named Martine. While he watches a game of bridge,walks in a girl whose smile can easily put a strain in your heartbeat. Her name is Florence. They get introduced and he lights her cigarette. But she leaves after seeing Vonvon in just a split second. Ah, there goes that momentous look as Charles comes after her. He finds her outside walking away with another man. He decides to go inside a bookstore and looks for a Balzac novel. The bookshop owner is delighted and lets him take Lost Illusions for free.

His cousin Paul looks charming even with the trimmed beard all over his chin and the sides of his mouth. He gathers some friends in their apartment for a little soirée. It’s early 60s France but he plays Mozart for the evening.

Charles reminds me of Montgomery Cliff. Florence appears in the scene a few moments later, she looks very pretty. He tells her “I’ve been waiting for you ever since, well, for a very long time.”

After Mozart, Paul puts Wagner on. Suddenly the lights go out, and in comes Paul with a soldier’s hat and a candlestick holder filled with candles. He recites a poem which ends as Charles and Florence kiss. The record scratches as Philippe, one of Paul’s friends makes a scene.


Charles and Florence flee, as they hide behind a skinny tree they kiss. It was quite romantic. I love it when a man in a film becomes completely bashful of himself and thinks he says stupid things or if he’s got a stupid face. He confirms this with Florence and like this manic-pixie girl she’s becoming she tells him flat out that she thinks he’s got a lovely voice. She begs him to recite her a poem, but instead he tells her “I’d rather think it for you and then you tell me if it’s good”, and they just stare at each other for a while. He confesses he loves her but worries about the guy he saw her with. She tells him he’s just a friend, but he tells her he’s not all about “just friends”. He asks her out for a quick drive but this fancy meet-cute gets cut short after Paul ends the party and drives Florence along with another woman. He ends up in a different car with thoughts in his mind about his feelings.

Is Paul in love with Florence? But there’s something strange about Florence too.

Charles asks Florence to meet after class but she forgets the time and ends up talking to Paul and his hustler of a friend Clovis. He convinces her that wanting him for herself would be selfish. “You are meant for caressing, not for feelings” he tells her. It appears that Florence has had a reputation of sleeping with many of Paul’s friends. She reconsiders an offer to sway her feelings towards Paul instead. Clovis convinces her that having sex with Paul would be a better way to forget her feelings with Charles and in a way she won’t become a distraction to Charles studies. And as we know it, they head over to the bedroom.

As awkward as it sounds, this becomes both heartbreaking and motivating for Charles to move on and study further.

Juliette Mayniel and Jean-Claude Brialy
The stunning Juliette Mayniel as Florence

Paul passes the exam as he predicted without even taking the time to read his notes. Not only did he get the girl, he gets to prove he’s far more better than Charles. Unfortunately for Charles, he lost the girl and his chances of getting through with life as that violent ending occurs.

"We were happy, us three" Juliette Mayniel, Jean Claude Brialy and Gèrard Blain
A longing exists between Florence and Charles
Charles' innocence has been broken after a recent discovery

Paul’s thrill-seeking life may not have been used to the kind of honesty Charles was about to afflict him, but I guess in a way it was better that Charles had died that way rather than be filled with more unfortunate events by means of killing Paul. It saddened me though that his love for Florence had to be ruined that early. It was selfish for Paul to think that the two did not deserve the kind of relationship they would have if they were to become a couple.

Well, I enjoyed that drama Chris. The close-ups on these three main characters were stunning. Also, that bit when Paul was waking up his Italian-Jewish friend Marc had a close up and said, “You scared me Paul.” That was clever.vIt’s one of the most memorable lines one could ever say in a black and white French New Wave film like this.

From one half of your beloved Kinoc twins,

A Letter To My Twenty Four Year Old Self

Here’s something even more personal, brought to you by no one else but me.


I’ve reached rock bottom several times in my life before and it is most definitely the toughest place I’ve ever been.

Sometimes even if you surround yourself with plenty of people, when you hit rock bottom, you’re there all alone. With no one else to guide you but yourself and probably a little hint of faith.

For people who know me I am a particularly happy person. Pretty much optimistic at any cost. When I lost my mom to cancer several years back, there was nothing I could do. It was something out of hand. Something I never expected to occur on a Christmas morning. She wasn’t the type who’d smoke on a rainy day while she ate ice cream. She disliked having pork as a regular meal, she loved cooking pinakbet a mixed vegetable steamed in fish sauce. Her version only included veggies and fish or shrimp paste. She ate healthier than anyone I know. She wasn’t an alcoholic and worked even after her chemo. But death is an inevitable force. There was nothing I could do when that happened.

It’s very easy to say “move on with your life” but its really not that easy to do. Most of my mom’s life was dedicated to us and her work. She didn’t stay long at home because she’d rather do the laundry in the office than waste the electricity at home or let us do our own laundry. The best I could do was cook her a good meal and there were times that I failed even at that. It was so much easier to pretend that she was just in the office rather than remember her dying.

But acceptance must happen and that’s, well that’s still happening. I try my best every time not to feel like I’ve lost everything again. It’s really not a good place to be in. And so every day I thrive to live my life the best way that I can. I’m done wasting my life in misery. I’m done chasing dreams of others. I’m done wondering what if I ended up with the first guy I ever thought would make me feel happy. I’m done making excuses, excuses that would make me leave my job. I’m done spending my money on nonsensical things. I’ve realised that time is essential. My time can no longer be spent on moments that would ruin my life. Decisions can be carefully thought of. And this happy face I’ve built on my face my whole life? Its no longer fake. I smile all the time because I know that even after everything I’ve been through, there’s always something good that can happen. I just have to have a little faith and work on it. As hard as I can. People can come and go, loved ones may come as easily as they go, bridges will burn as easy as they can be built. But people don’t just burn bridges that easy.

Thank you for reading this little piece about myself. I’ve been through a lot and I’m sure you have, too. Just don’t worry too much. Well, worry and then think about what else you could do better. I’m sure there’s this force somewhere that’ll help you figure things out. It always does.

A World of Wander

First times will always be the best.


I’ve been out of my couch lately and I’ve set aside a couple of films to catch up on other aspects of my life. Though I will forever be indebted to film, and will still find myself wanting for more time, recently I’ve caught up on the latest trends on television and music.

I attended my very first real concert. Finally. And the experience is far more overwhelming. At the cost of 3,099php, I found myself wandering along with fellow wanderers KC, an officemate; Nico, my long lost brother from another mother whom I knew since we were ten; his former officemate Jan who apparently looks ten years younger than her real age (this ain’t a sponsored comment). We all basked in the sunlight, clad in our shortest shorts and the coolest (breathing in and out) outfits along with other diverse fellows who came there to enjoy the hippie soulful spirit.
I never got to see the first three acts but I heard they were good. I may bore you with other feelings and thoughts I had during the festival ’cause I can tell you now that I remember every bit. So, I’ve compiled ten things about this year’s Wanderland Music Festival.


10. Tis the spirit of Summer
Shortest of all shorts, see through blouses, flipflops, smoltering heat, and sandos and breathy outfits clad in both women AND men. Booths like Jamba Juice that catered refreshing drinks to complete the essence of summer. The weather was perfect in a way. Many didn’t seem to mind how hot it was (let me remind you that the festivities began at 12 noon). Some who did made every effort to hide from the sun (ahem me and my friend did). But this kind of weather gave everyone the excuse of wearing anything you want but a coat.


9. There’s nothing as majestic as clowns and a carousel ride.
You can’t find a music festival that has clowns and a carousel ride and booths around the corner like what was offered in Wanderland. And yes, there were clowns in stilts too. Although it was a bit sad when the Ferris wheel we expected downsized to a three feet Ferris wheel stuck on a wall of some booze drinking booth.

8. The water is Golden.
The Filipino expression is “ang tubig nila ay ginto”. Get it? If you still don’t get it, the cost of a bottled water the size of a Coke Sakto [read: the smallest bottle of Coke you can buy at six pesos] is at 50 pesos. Quenched my thirst for only a couple of minutes and although I wanted to get more, I kind of wanted to save it for later when I got even more thirsty. And when I said earlier that the weather was immensely hot, you’d expect a back up of thirst quenching water around. Not a hundred peso fruit shake or ice cream or booze to be worth more drinking. Stock water or “baong tubig” not allowed. It was amazing how some people stayed hydrated. I understand if it was to prevent people throwing bottles at bands they hated (which didn’t seem to exist) or so they can help out their sponsors (the bottle company was never heard of), but it definitely wasn’t green. There were loads of empty bottled water scattered everywhere. What a waste of money, right?

7. The Booze
Although I never got to play on the Margarita pong, the fact that there was excited my, ahem, drinking fantasies. I didn’t want to play because it costs a bit and I didn’t want to risk losing. The drinks available for purchase was the regular San Miguel light beer which was like water to me (thus me mentioning “I’ll save my thirst for later”) at 50 pesos which later was at a buy one take one sale. Not bad.


6. The Fashion
My friends and I went as simple as we could. She was quipped with the latest hipster vibe with her DMs on and a cool salmon colored blouse that complimented her fair skin while I wore a pink knitted blouse and boots from Forever21. Her friend wore the shortest of shorts and a sando with a tank top underneath.
The usual hippie setting trend of this year was still yesteryear’s (literally) hippest trend: the flower band. Also, men in Sandos, men in curly wigs, models and actors and music enthusiasts were in their best garb. Even the musicians! I love the violinist from Woody Pitney’s band who wore a simple white with rose prints tube dress and boots. Very country! Plus there were garbs from Timex and River Island available for purchase.

5. The booths!!!
You have McDonald’s on one side, a beer and water station, Jamba Juice for healthy refreshments, some other fancy booths like River Island whose booth was probably the most photographed. And since they sponsored the event, tickets were given away for a 500peso discount on a single purchase at any River Island branch. Oh and by the way, they’ve got their own stocks ready for view and purchase at the festival. There was also the Timex booth, Globe (whose walking charging stations served great purpose for my phone), among others.



4. Art Candies and the Crowd
Several displays that were all over the center isle were made of Candy. You read it damn right. And no I didn’t grab a piece.
Come afternoon some guest artists began painting walls and walls or art which was free for everyone to ponder upon and take pictures upon. Cool.




3. The weather was perfect
It was soo hot that most of us had a feeling that the Water Cycle would begin to take effect. But alas, the weather played along just right! Although yes many would complain about Manila weather as just scorching enough to make everyone who went go tan, we were advised enough to bring our own mats to sit upon the grass (I brought my blankie, which fit six people and is three times bigger than me) and bring sunscreen and an umbrella to avoid the sun’s harmful rays. It drizzled a bit when Londoner Lucy Rose sang but everyone just went along her gray and pink colored songs and even loved her more when she asked “is it raining? I’m used to the rain. I’m from London. You guys are great.”

2. F.R.I.E.N.D.S.






I’m sorry Queen if I let you go to The Killers concert alone. This was fun especially with the company of friends you can sing along the songs with, drink beer with, who’ll save you a spot to sit on, and who’ll actually take a video of you dancing to Architecture in Helsinki’s Escapee.

I also stumbled upon Queen’s officemates Lalai and Jen. This event is the ONLY time I will be using a mono pod. It was fun though, especially when I set it on a ten-second timer (because I was afraid two seconds was too fast) and we all panicked this way.


I also met up with my co- Shoutboxers, a group of people devoted to this local radio station called Jam 88.3. The Philippines’ finest alternative rock radio station.
They were just chillin when I came up to them.


And lastly, the real reason I came for and was willing to spend three thousand bucks for.

1. The Bands
Chocolate Grass, Brisom and Techy Romantics and The Ransom Collective are just a few of many uprising indie artists striving to make a name for themselves in the local music industry although they’ve already got a number of fans here. I got to watch The Ransom Collective and I loved that they mixed folk and pop and excellent lyrical compositions.

Woody Pitney’s country inspired songs jived with the afternoon weather. And yes, Woody Pitney is hot.


Franco’s rasta sound will always, always remind me of trips to Baler. Okay, that means a trip to the beach to surf and smoke man. Since it was prohibited to smoke in the crowd (although I got to snuck for one by the side of the restroom), he just had to say “parang ang sarap mag smoke no?”


And then came Lucy Rose.
‘Shiver’ would have to be the most LSSd song from her line-up that stuck me the most. Lines like “Now I shiver like I used to/ And I’m leaving just for you/ And I shiver like I used to, just for you..” Her cold, smooth voice mixed with a gifted knack at playing the guitar and piano, no wonder the crowd has been excited to see her play. Plus, she gives Taylor Swift a run for her money just by coping Lucy’s look which by the way was ethereal but very simple.

(More to come about other bands and the continuation of this article. Good night for now)


Love in the Modern World

200_sJoaquin Phoenix, "Her"
#17 Her (2013)
3 February 2014
Love is an inevitable thing that mankind cannot ever withstand. Love is an intense emotion that can cross boundaries. This is accurate in Spike Jonze’s 2013 sci-fi romantic drama comedy about a man in a not-so distant future falling in love with his Operating System.
Exactly how complicated is it to love and be loved? How does technology affect our daily lives in this non-distant future? How important is it to care about the differences between two people? How do you describe your relationship with your mother? How do you share your life with somebody? What’s it like to be … alive?
These are just a few of the questions we get to encounter with “Her”. Written and directed by Spike Jonze who came up with the idea when he read an article about how instant messaging could be upgraded with artificial intelligence.
Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore Twombley is sensitive, calm, but immensely lonely. He works as an online letter writer — for people who couldn’t write letters for their loved ones. We see snipets of a lost love, though not immediately explained until we meet his new operating system. The OS1 is a hyper-rationalized artificial intelligence programmed to adapt to change and to evolve faster than any non man-made race. He chooses a woman voice for his operating system, since he’s recently been separated from his wife, played by Rooney Mara. Her name is Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johannsen (who never meets Joaquin Phoenix during production of the film, as she states in her interview with David Letterman). Her voice has this raspy quality that would probably sound appealing at night and sweetly assertive by day. She checks his emails, and works like his personal planner. Immediately “they” form a bond over feelings he tries to explain to her versus facts she’s gathered online.
It was exciting to see how sparks flew between Samantha and Theodore. It was immediate, intense, fun, exciting, and quite overwhelming. Overwhelming in a sense that I could never imagine how one could love someone so different from themselves. Different in a sense that one could never imagine possible. At this time and age we’d never deny that there would be a possibility but that’s not what this film centers on, which is great. I liked the subtleties of how modernity has changed in terms of what they’d wear (in this film, they wear really, really comfortable clothes), what things are most important, which ones to prioritize, etc. Everyone just had control on everything at the tip of their hands. They could just easily tap on walls to open doors, on table tops to control the temperature of their food. I liked that when there was a moment when Theodore could not find Samantha, a metaphor on how one cannot control the other, not one tap on his earphone could just bring her back.
Conflicts arise when Theodore realizes the differences between him and his girlfriend. Like most relationships, when we feel the same way we are oftentimes advised not to care about the differences. But what happens when the differences go as far as physical to metaphysical? What’s real and not real depends on the two people concerned. Theodore is able to address how he is aware of the differences that may put consequences towards his love for Samantha, being the hyper-rational system that she is programmed, she begins to feel confused with this sudden conflict that she is beginning to understand.
Although they resolve their differences by accepting each other, reality comes to Theodore in a far more bigger weight than what his past experiences has brought to him.
I was definitely moved. Love is a broad subject that I can’t really put a finger on. My favorite scenes, I’d probably just keep those to myself. Sharing your life with somebody, as discussed in the film, can be one of the greatest human experiences one definitely should not miss out on. I mean, I’ve never been too much personal on my posts here but at the moment I am happily in love. I love him. I didn’t feel as madly hurtful as before although the last scenes of a film would actually leave me broken or jaded. What I took away from this is that although we choose to find someone for ourselves, the more advanced our technology get, the more connected we are not just with one person but with a community or human nature in itself.
Here’s a short documentary of this film called ‘Love in the Modern World’.

GIRLS Catch-Up: Season 1 Episodes 2 and 3

I’ve seen this episode several times to cover my catch-up days with both my sister and my boyfriend (who obligingly saw these with me).

So, GIRLS fans out there, I’m sure you’ve all seen the first two episodes of Season Three. And I’m sure a lot of you are just like me, re-watching the episode as much as you could. I realize that this season is quite different from the other two simply because everything still seemed normal between Marnie, Shoshanna, Jessa, and Hannah. But like any show and story, there will always and will be conflict.

“Vagina Panic”


Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath

Jemima Kirke as Jessa Johannson

Allison Williams as Marnie Michaels

Zosia Mamet as Shoshanna Shapiro

Adam Driver as Adam Sackler

Christopher Abbott as Charlie Dattolo

Also starring

Mike Birbiglia as Brian (interviewer)

Sakina Jeffrey as the Gynecologist

There’s nothing more comforting as a woman than to watch other women talk about abortion, uncomfortable sex, and to listen to other women talk about the dangers of having unprotected sex just because you haven’t experienced it yet.


Upon learning that Jessa might be pregnant, Marnie schedules an appointment for the girls at a clinic for Jessa’s abortion, and for Hannah’s suspected genital problems. This episode takes me to that moment when you will realize that Marnie isn’t really for Charlie, and that Hannah isn’t for Adam (somewhat). If you’ve got your television on full volume, I suggest you turn that a bit down unless you want your neighbors (or your parents) to catch you watching someone having sex. A little porn-ish, except that this one doesn’t have that fake-perfect body we find in pornographic situations. In this episode we find Hannah and Marnie having sex with both of their partners but in almost similar situation: One feels like her heart is being possessed by a maniac, while the other feels like she is being consumed by someone who isn’t destined for her.

On the other hand we find Jessa, who is scared of what’s about to come her way. An unexpected encounter with a stranger will leave her with an unexpected answer to her “problem”. While Shoshanna, oh Shosh. She will be forever adorable with the weird unfiltered thought construction confesses to Marnie that she has never had sex with anyone.

The episode ends with Hannah having to expose herself for the first time to a gynecologist. That famous line where the Gynecologist says “Oh how I’d pay to be 24 again (while examining her vagina)” was funny.

All Adventurous Women Do


Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath

Jemima Kirke as Jessa Johannson

Allison Williams as Marnie Michaels

Zosia Mamet as Shoshanna Shapiro

Adam Driver as Adam Sackler

Christopher Abbott as Charlie Dattolo

Also Starring

 James Le Gros as Jeff Lavoyt

Kathryn Hahn as Katherine Lavoyt

Andrew Rannells as Elijah

Jorma Taccone as Booth Jonathan


Hannah receives the results from her gynecologist and apparently she’s contracted HPV. She automatically blames Adam for giving her STD but he denies it, stating that he had himself tested for it last week. The truth is, there is NO test for HPV and men so that fact might have come out wrong from Adam just because he was pressured to say something to Hannah. Most sexually active people in the world will get this unknowingly since the symptoms can be unnoticeable. The complexity of Hannah’s character is that she is seemingly affected by the people surrounding her, she can either adapt to them and think that what they do is correct, or she can be against the idea of being what they think she is and will do anything to object it. In this episode she accepts the idea passed on to her by Shoshanna that her ex-boyfriend in college may have passed on the disease. And so Hannah confronts Elijah with hopes that they may patch things up. But a revelation will seemingly leave them off topic.

It also seems that Marnie gets even more and more disconnected from Charlie as the episodes go by. In this episode we are first introduced to Booth Jonathan. The absurd first name- last name thing doesn’t end there. Jorma Taccone who wrote MacGruber plays the character well that we might just want them to end up or just test the waters if his highbrow attitude would put Marnie into a certain perspective. She gets that instant attraction from Booth Jonathan simply because he is everything Charlie is not.

And as for Jessa, she gets a job as a babysitter for the Lavoyt family but that glance she gets from Jeff Lavoyt is a bit questioning. Given that Jessa’s free-spirited character will do anything for the experience of it.

‘Till next week for the next episode recaps. Here’s the ending of this episode where Hannah and Marnie dance to Robyn’s Dancing On My Own. Enjoy.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Dear Underthefiretree visitors,

When I started this blog, everyone was looking forward to posting about their day, about their crushes, and about food, wine, music, and films. I tried posting about those topics, except for my day which would never be accurate whenever I try to post something here. I think I posted something about an intoxicating event so the wine thing’s been covered. I’ve posted something about a lost love, for my mother and for that person I thought would be — something (which thankfully didn’t so I’m really thankful for that. Otherwise I wouldn’t be so happy right now). I’ve also posted something about food, I think, and of course my love for films.

2013 was a quite a year to look forward to as we’ve had several contenders for the annual 500 Film Challenge. From Targod to TheQueen, we even had an offer to raise the stakes by letting the winning contender bag a price for this year. So far the offer was to let the winner win a bridge camera. Another says a free movie poster from a film director. What do you think?

We’re still gonna push through for this year’s challenge. I’ll be posting soon for updates on our Year 2 challengers.

I’d like to thank you, fellow blogger and reader from another country (or from within) for visiting this site. I hope to share more stories about film, myself, my cat and dogs, people in restaurants, and anything under the fire tree.

I’d like to apologize for not being able to post more here. If you’re eager enough to know how many posts I’ve made in 2013 and the year before, you may click on the link above. I think I’ve managed to post the same amount of posts for 2012 and 2013. It’s purely a coincidence and I find it a bit amazing too. But I will try my bestest to keep up with my posts. I’ve been given a tip to use IMDb as well to post my everyday viewings in there. Since I keep loosing my sources for my 500 list (my phone, my journal, my laptop crashing..). But thank you for reading. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I think I’ve said a lot. I’ll go back to eating chicken for lunch. Happy new year folks, and a pleasant day to you. :)