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Showing posts from 2001

Johnson's Pure Essentials Teen Cheer Competition 2001

It's the girls' time to shine 
By Walter Ang
November 28, 2001
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Mobs greeted me at all three gates of the Araneta Coliseum. Parents were screaming at guards because they were not being allowed in for the Johnson's Pure Essentials Teen Cheer Competition.

I waited for the crowd to disappear before going in. When I asked one of the women at the gate, she muttered something about it being "standing room only" inside.

The oath of sportsmanship was already underway when I entered. If anyone had doubts that cheerleading was an actual sport, s/he should go to a competition like this to be convinced otherwise. It is not just a sport, but a difficult one at that! After a nationwide elimination search, 13 schools finally made it to the coliseum that day. Young women dressed in their school colors whipped up a storm as they performed their repertoire?they danced, they cheered, they yelled, they flew. And, boy, did they ever fly!

The Sisters of Mary Sc…

French Film Fest 2001 at Shangri-La Mall

French Film Fest 2001 at Shangri-La Mall
By Walter Ang
June 2001

I caught two films at the French Film Fest held recently at the Shangri-La Cinema. The lovely people at the French Embassy and Alliance Francaise de Manille made the film fest part of their French Spring Festival and admission was at my favorite price, free.

Foreign films are not for every one. An open mind for cultural differences and nuances must be the first consideration. Speed reading skills are also a practical consideration. After all, apart from the word 'oui' and 'omlette du fromage' (courtesy of popular cartoon nerd Dexter) not everyone understands French. Only the subtitles are our saving grace. And they didn't even translate 'oui' anymore, for that matter.

The first movie I caught will be familiar to comic book lovers of two warriors from a Gaulish village. 'Asterix and Obelix Vs. Caesar' was a hilarious look at how these two and their fellow villagers fight off the nasty Ro…

REVIEW: Tanghalang Pilipino's "Carmen"

Love-spurned soldier stabs wanton sex goddess 
By Walter Ang
Nov 3, 2001

The first opera I ever watched was a shortened English version of Macbeth. For an opera novice, 90 minutes of the stuff wasn't too bad to get introduced to the art form. (Although I must admit I came out of the theater thankful that it wasn't any longer.) This time around, the opera was George Bizet's Carmen. In chamber version (read: shortened) and in Tagalog, it seemed interesting enough to try out.

With two friends, I caught the story of Carmen ? a "wanton sex goddess" (Bridget Jones-speak for you) who toys with the feelings of geeky, milquetoast soldier Jose. His love spurned by this free spirited bohemian, Jose goes into a convoluted rage ("Turns into a serial killer," said my friend) and eradicates everyone in sight, including Carmen. All of this while singing, of course. And that, little boys and girls, is the lesson of this story: always be wary of the quiet ones. They'r…

Review of movie "Hotel Splendide"

Review of 'Hotel Splendide'
By Walter Ang
October 2001

In the dreary, wet Saturday afternoon that Jolina visited the city (the typhoon that is), I was contemplating whether or not to venture out the safe confines of my house. After sweeping and mopping, doing the dishes and praying the laundry would dry despite the continuous downpour, I had my fill of domestic chores and went to catch the British filmfest at the Shangri-la Mall.

Sponsored by the British Council, this year's fest was dubbed "Light and Shadow." Surprisingly, the queue wasn't as long as the one during the summer French filmfest. My friend offered that perhaps British dry humor is more difficult to appreciate. Either that, or the rains make staying home seem more fun than getting stuck in traffic and floodwaters.

Also, now that the schoolyear is underway, it's a little harder to get to the mall to catch the filmfest. Another place that's hard to get to is the Hotel Splendide ? a run-down,…

Of mooncakes and bookends: celebrating Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in Manila

Of mooncakes and bookends
By Walter Ang
September 26, 2001
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is always fun. At the very least, it gives you a day where you can pig out on great food. On a more formal note, this festival that falls on the 15th lundar day of the 8th lunar month is a day to think of family. Sometimes mistakenly called the Moon Festival; the festival is a day for reunion, with the round shape of the moon symbolizing family, abundance and prosperity.

If you think about it, a day where it's "official" to have a little fun with family isn't so bad now that the world isn't feeling so cheerful. Chinoys (or the much longer label, "Filipinos of Chinese descent") around the country have a chance to bond and strengthen a few cultural roots.

Kids get to play a popular dice game that involves confusing dice combinations that will either win you a dinky consolation prize (usually a ballpen) or the biggest, grandest pot of the day…

Butterfly farm and crocodile farm in Palawan

A Visit to Paradise 
By Walter Ang
September 19, 2001
Philippine Daily Inquirer

This is your intrepid 2bU! correspondent traversing the lush island paradise of Palawan. We have come to conquer the city of Puerto Princessa via an Air Philippines flight from Manila. To rest up for the adventure ahead, we spent the night at the tony Spanish villa- inspired Asturias Hotel. We all had a short nightcap at the lobby's Scenario Bar before turning in for the night.

After devouring a hearty breakfast, we dropped by the butterfly farm first. They showed a video of the butterfly's life cycle that we all thought was hilarious. We felt like a bunch of kindergarteners with this video voice over telling us not to do this and not to touch that and all sorts of other precautions.

I grew up in fume-filled Metro Manila, so butterflies were, and still are, a rarity. It was interesting to see all these colorful flying insects hovering about. There were plates laid out with gumamelas and sliced banan…

Nature Trip to Coron

Nature Trip to Coron
By Walter Ang
September 12, 2001
Philippine Daily Inquirer

2bU! arrived as the sun was setting into the earth, casting a glow across the clouds. After landing in Busuanga Island (found at the northern tip of Palawan) via a 19 seater Seair plane, we took an hour jeepney ride to Coron town. We used air, land and, finally, water transportation (a 5 minute boat ride) to reach DiveLink Resort.

Nestled into the hillsides of Uson Island, the bright yellow color of the resort's jetty was already visible from afar. Welcomed by the indefatigable resident manager Maween Reyes, we shared dinner and stories that night. Buffet was served in a charming miniaturized boat as 2bU! and other members of the media were told of the exciting activities that were lined up for us.

In the light of the morning sun, we were able see our cottages in their full Caribbean colors of red, blue and yellow (as are even the bathrooms tiles). Cristina Matta (whose husband Noel co-owns the resort a…

Bobson storms Baguio

Bobson storms Baguio 
By Walter Ang
August 1, 2001
Philippine Daily Inquirer

In the not-so-distant past summer months, parties and events were liberally sprinkled with "wet" themes. They had rain machines, foam machines and only heaven knows what other kinds of water producing machines. Now that the rainy season has begun and is well under way, the party climate is beginning to take on a different dynamic. The scene won't need artificial water sources anymore, but that certainly doesn't mean the energy levels have gone down the drains and open manholes.

Baguio City was besieged by real rain when 2bU! arrived to join in the fun of this school year's first splash of a party. Despite the continuous downpour, the city was enveloped in a lovely mist and the crisp cold air was perfectly appropriate for some serious revelry making. What better time to usher in another year of studying hard, and of course, partying hard?

Bobson Jeans was throwing an event for all the stud…

Dulaang Talyer tweaks two plays

Dulaang Talyer tweaks two plays 
By Walter Ang
June 27, 2001
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Dulaang Talyer is certainly revved up to take on the theater scene this year. This theater company's purring along smoothly like a well oiled car with its performances so far. It recently showcased Tagalog translations of a well known Columbian fictionist's short stories in "Mga Kwento Ni Gabriel Garcia Marquez."

Herbert Go directed mostly Philippine High School for the Arts alumni in this trilogy of short plays, performed at the CCP Rehearsal Hall. The show began with a children's play "Isang Napakatandang Lalaking May Higanteng Pakpak" and ended with "Ang Pinakamakisig na Nalunod sa Buong Daidig". Both these plays took off from the author's magical realism style and had a light and surreal, dreamy feel to them.

The second play though, "Makikitawag Lang Ako", was suspenseful and occasionally frightening. It reminded me of a Twilight Zone episod…

Set design workshop at the Cultural Center of the Philippines

Summer Designs 
By Walter Ang
June 6, 2001
Philippine Daily Inquirer

For close to two months, the Cultural Center of the Philippines became a sort of office/second home to me and a motley crew of diverse personalities and characters. With seven other individuals, I took the set design workshop offered this year. We commandeered the lobby of the Production Design Center everyday for almost eight weeks. Drawing floor plans and set design perspectives in the morning and working hands-on in the Scene Shop building stages and sets in the afternoons.

The set design class was composed of an interesting mix of students, school-based technicians, and community workers. We came to class bleary eyed every morning to take in nuggets of set design techniques from Bobot Lota, who was the set supervisor for the local production of Ms. Saigon.

The whole class had fantastic rapport and we got along gloriously with Bobot. Bobot is fun and has a light, uncomplicated approach to teaching. He has a decepti…

Start your own school club

Start your own school club 
By Walter Ang
May 30, 2001
Philippine Daily Inquirer

School has just started and you're raring to join one of the many campus organizations available. The only problem is, you don't feel like joining the Math Club and you re not interested enough in writing to try out for the school paper. The sound of Chemistry Society makes you cringe and the Drama Guild feels too intimidating to join.

None of the organizations or clubs offers anything that you might remotely be interested in. Too bad, what's an energetic, enthusiastic, eager person like you to do? What if, say, you're really into the esoteric arts and want to get in touch with other persons who like to read rune stones? Start your own organization, of course!

Getting started
First thing you have to do is figure out what it is exactly that you're interested in. Make sure that there aren't any other orgs that cater to your idea already. If your search ends up in zero, then you re on y…

Review of Actor's Actors' staging of "Mother Tongue"

Review of Mother Tongue
By Walter Ang
May 11, 2001
Tsinoy.com

"Mother Tongue" is overwhelming at first glance. After all, it explores race, culture, language, identity, homosexuality, and family in two hours' time. The list goes on, but this latest play from Actors' Actors, Inc. does not choke its audience and serves up a full course of ideas that's done in a funny, poignant manner.

Written by Paul Stephen Lim, "Mother Tongue"'s protagonist is David Lee, a Tsinoy (Filipino born of Chinese descent) who immigrates to America and becomes an English teacher in Kansas. The play is semi autobiographical and goes on to show the inner workings of Lee's mind, more to the point, conversations with his mother in his head.

Lim explores what makes a person who he is. Are we the language we speak, our skin color, where our parents are from? The play brings to light Filipinos who live in a bicultural, displaced world. Most Filipinos have at least one family mem…

A few of the Hundred Islands (in Pangasinan)

A few of the Hundred Islands 
By Walter Ang
April 25, 2001
Philippine Daily Inquirer

In every out-of-town trip I've joined, someone always forgets to bring something. It's usually a toothbrush or a pair of nifty sunglasses especially bought for the trip.

You knew things were off to a funny start when 2bU! went to the Hundred Islands and realized each and every single person in the group forgot to bring a camera. Thus, no single picture to show of the trip. Lack of visual proof notwithstanding, we still had loads of great fun.

Day one
We had to call and wake each other up in the dead of night so we could get to the bus station by 2 a.m. Of course, with a relatively big group of eight people, delays were inevitable and we got to the station at 4 a.m. instead. The 4 a.m. bus was already full and the next one wouldn't be leaving until 6 a.m. Groan.

Plans were hatched and it was decided we would use Lavinia's van and wake up her driver to bring us to the promised (Is)lands. W…

Turn off those cellphones and earn people's respect!

Turn off those cellphones and earn people's respect! 
By Walter Ang
March 10, 2001
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last Sunday, a friend invited me to watch "Mansfield Park" at the Glorietta Cinema. We're both avowed fans of the movie "Sense and Sensibility", another movie based on a Jane Austen book, so we figured Mansfield Park might be worth a look.

About halfway through the movie, an old grandfather sat beside me. He whipped out his cellphone and promptly started to compose a text message. He had one of those annoyingly bright blue screens that is even more distracting than the regular green ones.

Of course, I wasn't about to raise a ruckus just because this man was using his cellphone inside the movie theater. It's a given these days that most people do not have a clue when it comes to cellphone etiquette. (I still believe those elementary school lessons on phone etiquette should be updated to include cellphone and email etiquette.) In most instances,…

Lee-Limketkai Wedding: A colorful Oriental wedding

Lee-Limketkai Wedding: A colorful Oriental wedding 
By: Walter Ang
March 4, 2001
Philippine Daily Inquirer

"Kulit!" was what Noel first thought when he met Bonita. On the other hand, she considered him, "sungit." As with classic love stories the world over, in this case, first impressions certainly did not last because one year later, Noel Georgson Lee asked Bonita Limketkai to marry him.

Daughter of Alfonso and Benita Limketakai, Bonita was born in the Philippines but raised in Toronto, Canada, and took up her MBA in Calgery. Noel, son of George and Concepcion Lee, on the other hand, grew up here and attended the Ateneo, taking up chemistry.

First catching each others' eye at a family gathering, with the gentle prodding of their matchmaker Atty. Geronimo Sy, they exchanged wedding vows at the Manila Cathedral in January this year. The bride wore a gown by Oliver Tolentino and had 24 children serving as attendants and flower girls. Principal sponsors were led by…

Gems of Filipino Theater for the Year 2000

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Gems of Filipino Theater 
By Walter Ang
January 22, 2001
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The theater scene in 2000 was certainly filled with pomp, big machinery and extensive publicity. There were, however, gems throughout the year whose creativity and charm were easily eclipsed by the noise of bigger productions.

We caught several smaller, intimate plays and musicals that didn't enjoy the same amount of hype of the other shows. It's heartening to know that in Philippine theater, big things do come in little packages.

With a lot of debate and discussion surrounding Western themes and stories invading the Philippine stage, the year 2000 certainly didn't start off in that direction. Gilda Cordero-Fernando's "Luna: An Aswang Romance" was an imaginative (and big) production that showcased what the creative Pinoy mind could conjure.

Hodgepodge
Delving into local engkanto folklore, this tale of love between a manananggal and a mortal is as Filipino as Erap jokes. It brough…