Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger Died

The 28-year-old Australian-born actor, co-star of Brokeback Mountain, Casanova and Monster’s Ball, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment yesterday, face-down and naked at the foot of his bed with prescription sleeping pills nearby. There was no obvious indication of suicide, according to the NYPD spokesman Paul Browne, ignoring other reports and speculations saying Ledger committed suicide. Other reports indicate the actor died of a possible drug overdose.

I was listening out loud to Enrique Iglesias’ Hero when I heard this shocking news from a fellow blogger. Heath Ledger remains one of my favorite actors in Hollywood history, even before his appearance in Brokeback. His death is truly the saddest news I heard this year.

Ledger’s movies include The Patriot, A Knight’s Tale, Ned Kelly and the sequel of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, which will be shown some time in July. Ledger plays the Joker, whom the actor describes as a “psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.” Though I feel weird watching Heath as such, I might probably just watch the movie for the purpose of seeing this talented actor’s last appearance in any movie.

Ledger was engaged to his Brokeback co-star Michelle Williams and they have a 2-year-old daughter named Matilda Rose. He was also filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the time of his death. I am truly and deeply saddened by Heath’s untimely demise. He’ll forever be missed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Marlboro Lights

Right after the break of the night, Aso and I positioned ourselves on top of the terrace at our house. We prepared ourselves to pull out a brief drinking session for no reason at all. It was an ordinary Sunday night, shared by us – two happy people living in a gay-tolerant metropolis. We have conflicting schedules. We could only share a certain amount of time each week of the month. We really ought to make the most of it. For the night, I tried to mix up the latest drink recipe I’ve learned few weeks ago again. But, of course, we gorged ourselves by eating some foods first before we indulged with those toxic munchies.

It wasn’t too long after the first shot when we could hear ourselves laughing from our own shaggy dog stories and corniness. But we also considered some serious affairs as we tracked the development of our private liaison – the highs and the lows, the highlights and the unmentionables, among others. We also talked about the possibility of breaking up, but that remained something we couldn’t see as an option. We simply laughed at the silly idea.

The whole porch smelled like a bar as we burned some Marlboro Lights and intentionally spilled some drinks all over. The stars above were all trying to outshine each other. Everything else stood motionless, everything else snuggled down, everything else but us. We’re not drunk, of course. It was only a pitcher of some light drinks (though we could hardly stomach them all). We were obviously just enjoying the night like there’s no tomorrow.

But finally, we were caught at a halt when we saw fireflies blinking in unison around that mango tree near our house. Since we were at the terrace of the house, we could clearly see their interesting lights against the shadows of the night. These amazing creatures truly fascinated me. They reminded me of my childhood. I could see them coming in droves after a rain and we usually put them in a transparent bottle so we could take a nice, closer look.

Few more stories later, a lot of reminiscing, slight intoxication and empty brains, Aso and I decided to call it a night and slammed ourselves on top of the waiting bed. Yup, I know exactly what you’re thinking.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Bonbon Series: Brent Chua

In the quest for the Filipino international modeling star, Brent Chua appears to have gotten ahead of the few women who have managed to break into the global glamour industry. Enjoying steady, progressively bigger work in New York, he counts among his portfolio highlights a Benetton campaign shot by David Sims, as well as modeling credits for Target, Bang & Olufsen and Motorola. His striking, strong Oriental look may be deemed unconventional, by some quarters here, but, from his career trajectory in Asia (where he was a veritable male supermodel) and now, in the toughest modeling market in the world, Brent Chua may be poised to become the new, homegrown supermodel.

How would you characterize your success in modeling? Are you overwhelmed by it? Coming to this industry, I did not set any goals for myself, that is why I’m not able to describe if I’m successful or not. Success is infinite. You can only measure your own success if you compare it to other people’s achievements.

Is there anyone you’d like to measure your achievement by, then? There isn’t anybody in particular I would compare my achievements to because I’d constantly feel that I would have to live up to that of their own. As to being the top model in New York, why not! Anything is possible when you put your mind to it.

Did you ever expect the positive reception you got in modeling? In this industry, there are no guarantees. It’s not healthy to expect anything in an industry that relies so greatly on chance.

So can you hazard for us a secret to your success? Being genuine as an individual, patience, and, most important, having discipline.

How did you find modeling in Manila? I’ve acquired numerous close friends in the industry from modeling in Manila. However, the rates are too low and my look is too strong for the market.

What do you like and don’t like about modeling? I like being able to wear nice clothes seasons ahead of the pack, meeting a lot of people, traveling. I don’t like rejection but that is part of the industry. And people who take advantage of you. Hectic schedules, especially during fashion weeks.

What a regular day in New York for you? Conditioning my body, attending casting calls, chilling in the park with friends, experiencing the different neighborhoods of this incredible city.

Do you miss Manila? Work means being away from home, and I should take advantage of it while it’s still here. Modeling is not a long-term job. When I retire, I could always go back home and be with my family. (Excerpts from Imagine, Issue One, November 2007)

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Quickie Update

I went back to that ‘hair salon’ in Malabon today to have a new hair style, cut and color … and to somehow meet my ASO (also known as My Buddy). It was raining and all but I was still able to sneak through the perilous EDSA (a national road in the Philippines) and through the gloomy roads of Malabon to reach that place. But what happened at the end of the day was something I don’t really feel like talking about. But I also feel like I have to let this unpleasant feeling go. So let me continue the story…

The Cab Driver: Once I got into the cab and saw the taxi driver, I thought he was Sonny Belmonte (the mayor of Quezon City). I know that’s a foolish idea but I am not exaggerating. He really looks like the honorable mayor. I even checked if there are cameras set up around to see if I was being spoofed or something to that effect. But the driver started talking endlessly … and so I was able to point out that he couldn’t be Sonny Belmonte. He started talking against the status quo and ignored the idea that the country is making headways. I can’t blame him, of course. I simply stayed hushed and laughed at my own crazy idea. Belmonte, of course, will not disguise as a taxi driver and will have nothing but praises to the government. The crazy idea remained one.

The Hair Stylist: Of course, to balance the scale, I have the hair stylist, a huge loyalist and a huge talker. He stopped watching the pirated DVD copy of Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo when I came in and switched it over to Studio 23’s sports car racing show while he started to give me a trim. He also picked some colors for my hair, pointing to those shades that could’ve made me look like one of the Simpsons. Finally, we agreed to one color and, in fairness, he was only an inch away of making me feel like Bart Simpson. While we were waiting for the color to dry up, he initiated some indecent proposals. He bluntly told me that he likes me because he preferred someone who is not really gorgeous but legally chic. (It ain’t a smear, is it?) He also tried to make a tease by touching my hands, elbows, cheeks, tummy … and even my belt and the trousers. But I don’t play around. Not anymore. He eventually sensed no hope. But this guy is simply not a quitter. He turned the DVD back on and ... Guess what ... He played some Bel Ami porn videos. I couldn’t imagine what could’ve happened next, but customers started to pour in and I left the salon as soon as I got my hair rinsed and paid my due.

The Chosen One: I don’t have any cell phone with me, but I still took the chance to wait for ASO in their house. I waited for almost 6 hours for him (including the time spent in the salon) but apparently, he forgot about the talk we had last night. He didn’t show up, so I just decided to end the day and went home. Once I got here, I receive a call from him, but he only started to tell tales about work and other stuffs. Though he started apologizing, I still feel like it’s something I don’t need from anybody today. I easily forgive, but something that wrong should not be done in the first place. No one should be apologizing at the end of the day.

I spent half of the day working over the phone, hearing different stories of customers from the United States and Canada. I spent a quarter on the road, hearing a taxi driver’s distress. I spent a quarter in a salon, hearing stories of illusions and hyperboles from a desperate gay guy. I spent a fraction of it on the phone, this time, hearing a special someone’s excitement and sweet nothings. But BIG THANKS to Simply Manila. At least, I’m the one who’s talking sharing right now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bad News

I’ve been celebrating these past few days. I’ve been celebrating those days where I don’t have to do anything because I had to, but because I just wanted to. I’ve been looking for ways to change the look of this blog, but I can’t find a better alternative so I just stick with the current design. I know it looks generic, but I ain’t a computer geek and I only depend on Google when looking for widgets. (If you have a better suggestion, feel free to drop some comments.

Some news from the office: I was transferred to a slightly different department and to a new team. Damn, I know. I am starting to miss my old team. I’ve been with them for barely a month and they’re already transferring me. My TL was like, “Don’t take Rent from me! Don’t take Rent from me!” But some administrative decisions just can’t be disagreed like that, thus the reassignment. I heard that a lot of promotions are always happening in the new department, but I’m not really sure if I should take that as good news. They also said that higher commissions are offered in this division. Now, that’s something to celebrate. But I was assigned to a terror, gay Team Leader (TL). Hmmm, I like that. (My previous TL told me that this gay guy has a crush on me. I take that as a compliment, but, trust me, I ain’t bragging.)

Some news from the telemarketers: I received a phone call from HSBC today. The girl informed me that I have an excellent credit standing and I was pre-selected to avail a Personal Loan from HSBC. She said I could borrow up to half a million if I wanted to. Wow, am I really this desperate to actually do that? Okay, I’ll think about it.

My ASO just arrived, so that’s all for now. Have a wonderful Thursday night.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Bonbon Series: Iago Raterta

How am I gonna describe Iago Raterta aside from the fact that he’s tall, dark, handsome and, uh, arousing?! I think that summed up all. But for a change, let our newest bonbon describe himself in his own words, too. This one’s taken from his Friendster account. I think it’s a real account of Iago because most of the pictures posted there cannot be seen anywhere else and he even featured some photos of his visit to New York.

It’s hard describing myself but I’ll start with tahimik (silent) and shy type person. I just don’t want to be talkative. I am funny, have a good sense of humor, nice and simple. I always laugh even with corny jokes. I am both strong and weak, I keep things to myself but talk to someone when I can’t handle it anymore. I always pray though sometimes I am being bad. I easily fall in love, friendly but I choose friends, I hate plastics and prima donnas. They say I am mysterious, I guess I am secretive.

Iago also admitted that he’s malambing (sweet) and digs hugging and cuddling. But there’s one thing that amazed me big time though: He said he cries sometimes when it gets hard—and, nope, that’s not double meaning—but he cries alone just to let it out.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Shake. Rattle. Roll.

Some friends and I were in TriNoma some time last week to watch one of the movies included in the latest Metro Manila Film Festival. We are supposed to watch Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo, but a friend seen it already. Based on his reactions and stories, the Judy Ann Santos film is as witty as last year’s Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo. It was originally the movie that I am looking forward to see, only because Star Cinema rarely disappoints me. But we want no one repeating any movie so we decided to go for Shake, Rattle & Roll 9 (one of them seen Bahay Kubo already).

Shake, Rattle and Roll 9 is an anthology of three horror stories: Christmas Tree, Bangungot and Engkanto. Christmas Tree tells a story about a family celebrating Christmas in their grandmother’s archaic house in some rural area, troubled by a starving, eerie Christmas tree they got from a local store. Most parts of this movie are both hilarious and stupid. I feel sorry for the actors and actresses who became helpless victims of other people’s lack of creativity, innovation and sense.

Bangungot, starring Dennis Trillo, Roxanne Guinoo and Pauleen Luna, did better than the other two. It follows the story of a young, sophisticated woman (Roxanne Guinoo) who turned out to be an obsessed ex-girlfriend of a serious IT specialist (Dennis Trillo) who’s about to marry his fiancĂ©e (Pauleen Luna). Both Roxanne and Dennis were trapped on a nightmare, after Roxanne performed a spell that would let her and Dennis meet on their dreams. But a Gregorian-like ethereal figure wearing a red cloak started to chase them, and they were even unaware that they are brazening out each other only in their unconsciousness. If Bangungot is made out for a full-length movie, it could rival other Regal horror films in the past including TxT, Tiyanaks, Hide and Seek, among others. (One thing you shouldn’t miss in this movie? Dennis Trillo’s huge bulge, when he was laid down topless on the hospital’s bed.)

Engkanto has a plot similar to Wrong Turn, Jeeper’s Creepers, and other Hollywood films set in rural areas. (I noticed that Regal Films loves to compare their movies to Hollywood films. They said Mano Po is “the Philippines’ answer to The Godfather” and Yamashita is the “the Philippines’ answer to Pearl Harbor.” Gosh, they gave me goose bumps of disgust. Mano Po could stand on its own, and probably other Regal movies, too, so please stop comparing.) Engkanto is a story of a gothic band on their way to a gig in a remote area, inhabited by a sexy engkanto – a mythical creature who resides in a balete tree.

Engkanto, a badly-made slapstick story disguised as a horror tale, doubles the stupidity brought to us by Christmas Tree. But Felix Roco’s charm and naivety is hard to resist in this movie, I even forgot that Mart Escudero was on this film. But regardless, Shake, Rattle and Roll 9 was a regretful film to watch. Had they promoted the movie as a comedy, I could have recognized its real beauty and essence.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

What Was 2007 Like?

It wasn’t a blur, I know. But was there any difference? Personally, 2007 was a year full of indecisions and reservations. I slowed down a bit, yielded some thoughts and dreams, took a chance and tried to enjoy the simple life. Some phases and chapters of it were recorded through this blog, and it’s funny how I failed to remember that I have been blogging for more than a year already. It was a fulfilling diversion though, and you can define that any way you want to.

I did a resolution or something, but they were like promises … only made to be broken. Nevertheless I somehow felt like I accomplished some of those without realizing that I have. Some treasures were found: the relationship that I have with Aso is one of them. Some material things were lost: my Samsung phone was one of them. (I accidentally left the phone in the pocket of the denims I tried on in TriNoma last week. Unfortunately, the person who got it showed no interest of returning the phone. I just hope they won’t post my nude pictures online. LOL.)

So, what was 2007 like for Simply Manila? Let's see...

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