Archive for September, 2009

Like, OMFG!

Posted in Random Thoughts, tv shows, Uncategorized with tags , on September 24, 2009 by planetchuckie


Forgive me, but I just don’t get Gossip Girl. (Yet, there I was in the show’s Season 3 launch at Aquaknox. Go figure.)

For me to enduge a single episode, you’d have to tie me to a chair, strap my hands and feet, and force my eyes open with hooks just like the  Ludovico treatment in A Clockwork Orange. The show’s just not my cup of tea. Heck, it’s not my cup of anything.

I don’t find it awful. I just feel that life is dramatic enough as it is and gossiping is already something that pervades our daily lives, from school to family and yes, work. Our bosses do it, our neighbors do it,  and even our relatives do it.

So what makes this show any different? (Well, aside from that omnipotent narrator who XOXO’s her way through every episode).

Of course, we know why this show is such a guilty pleasure, aside from its staggeringly photogenic lead stars. It appeals to the tsismoso and tsismosa in all of us. Whenever we find ourselves “accidentally” eavesdropping on two people talking about Mr. So-and-So’s weeknight shenanigans, we  can’t help but listen. And when we listen, naturally, we want more.  It’s a vicious cycle. It’s entertaining – even more entertaining than enduring the moronic plot twists of Tayong Dalawa, only for Kim Chiu’s character to die under medically-erroneous circumstances.

Oh, and speaking of local telenovelas, don’t we just get a kick out of seeing people who are more popular, good-looking or successful than us attacking each other? Or better yet, dish about the skeletons in each other’s closets? It gets even worse when it becomes an unreliable source of self-assurance, when we start thinking: “Hey, maybe my life isn’t as f*cked up as Mr. So-and-So’s after all.”

We love to be entertained. We love drama.

Just as long as it isn’t our own drama. 

That is all.




Posted in Plays on September 20, 2009 by planetchuckie


Imagine an apocalyptic world where all sinners wear leather, politicians look like Gloria, and Sam Concepcion is God. That’s where the story begins in Trumpets’ N.O.A.H. (No Ordinary Aquatic Habitat)

In this modern, musical retelling of the famous biblical tale, Noah (stage veteran Carlo Orosa), is handpicked by God to build an ark for being the only righteous man left on Earth. Going on board with him are his gastronomically-inept wife (stage actress Sheila Francisco) and his three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth (real-life brothers Marek, Enzo and Luis Sison). And of course, we all know what follows.

 As far as cutesy kiddie productions go, this one feels like a school play. The show’s at its best when it gets the audience involved (pre-selected members are made to wear animal masks and pose as extras onstage), and at its worst in its feeble attempts at puns (The ark’s resident pigs are named Chi Charone and Bob Boy. Get it? Bob Boy?).

 But amidst all the cloying pageantry, the show still manages to conjure up a smile or two. And the real scene-stealers are the talented Sison brothers, who could all pass as shrunken Rayver Cruz clones.

 N.O.A.H. (No Ordinary Aquatic Habitat): Now showing at Meralco Theater from September 4 to 27. Watch it with the kids.

He’s Like the Wind

Posted in Celebrities, goodbyes, movies, tributes on September 15, 2009 by planetchuckie

Patrick Swayze is gone, after his long, valiant  battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 56.

Patrick was the definitive heartthrob.

He exemplified masculine grace in Dirty Dancing, swept people away as the wayward spirit in Ghost, and surprised us when he wore tons of make-up as a drag queen in To Wong Foo.

And even in his final role in the short-lived TV series, The Beast, Patrick showed his dedication to his craft in spite of his deteriorating health.

He was, is, and will always be a modern legend. The likes of which we will never see again.

So long, Patrick Swayze.

We hope you had the Time of Your Life.

Ode to a Grandmother’s Love

Posted in Family, tributes with tags , , , on September 13, 2009 by planetchuckie

[NOTE: This piece was published as “Ode to a Lola’s Love” in Philippine Star’s Grandparents’ Day special. I always kept asking Lola in Heaven to help me get my first major writing gig. I never thought that her answer would be this literal. Miss you, Lola!]

September 10, 2009

Today is my Lola Perla’s birthday.

Today, she would have turned 85.

 It’s been more than one year since she went away peacefully in her sleep; one year since that rainy Saturday morning when we found her lying on her bed, looking so calm and serene in her deep, peaceful slumber. My heart was racing as I gently tried to wake her up, my voice trembling as I whispered her name. But through it all, I couldn’t help but notice her face, how it looked so incredibly tranquil, almost like a still pond. And that smile. That smile. She looked so happy and fulfilled, that I could not help but feel the same for her. It was then when I realized – and reluctantly accepted – that our beloved Lola Perla has passed on. She has joined God.

 Yes, it’s been more than one year, but I still feel as if she never left. Her soothing scent still lingers in the room where she used to stay; her smile still embedded in my mind. Every trinket in her bedroom oozes with vivid memories of her – the old ash tray which she stopped using at age 76, her Jergens-smudged deck of cards she played for her afternoon rounds of solitaire, a notebook which she filled from cover to cover with handwritten family recipes, and a sheet of paper containing the lyrics to The Nearness of You – her favorite song, and, for that matter, the only one she was willing to sing.

 It’s impossible to forget a kind, loving person like Lola Perla. She was a steadfast woman who, along with her beloved husband Zosing (whom I never met because he passed away a few months before I was born), raised seven exceptional children – five girls, two boys – in their humble Malate abode. In some ways, they were like Manila’s answer to the Von Trapp family, and in Lola’s case, she was both Maria and the Captain. She exuded warmth and affection, but she was also stern as a rock when the situation called for it. It’s no wonder why one of my Titas kept referring to her as “The Emotional Rock”.

 More importantly, she was a woman who took on a prominent role in raising me and my younger brother. She was my second mother in the absence of my father, and the devoted homemaker while my mother spent her long hours in the office. She would always wake up at 3:00am to cook our breakfast, and then wake me up at 5:30am to prepare me for school. And whenever I arrived, I always had a taste of her trademark strictness every time she helped me with my homework. I used to refer to her as my “terror tutor”. Since math was one family skill I never fully acquired, she never failed to guide me through every single equation.  Much of my elementary academic success, I owe to her patience and vigilance. I learned a lot from Lola Perla – the value of hard work, the power of prayer, and the importance of family, among many other things. She always kept reminding me, “Chuckie, your Mama loves you very much”.

 As years passed, she started to mellow down. She was no longer my “terror tutor”, but she was still every inch the “Makulit na Lola” we all came to love. She was the one who would always ask me “Anong oras tayo magsisimba? (What time will we hear mass?)” at the end of every week and “Pasado ka ba sa lahat ng subjects mo? (Did you pass all your subjects?)” at the end of every academic term. 

 I could go on enumerating my countless memories with Lola Perla, from the way she would firmly grip my arm for support while walking to church to her surprising familiarity with Britney Spears.  But one thing’s for sure, Lola loved our entire family more than any way that we could ever imagine.  

 Losing a grandparent is no different from losing any other loved one. It always begins with that sense of denial, followed by that ubiquitous period of grief, and – probably the most excruciating – that feeling of emptiness and void. But then, it’s also rather bittersweet whenever an elder member of the family passes on. We feel a sense of accomplishment of a life well lived, and a sense of legacy whenever a new member of the family is introduced. When Lola died, my cousin’s wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy. And just like that, our mourning transformed to joy, as we welcomed the newest addition to our already large clan.  It simply reminded me of what life essentially is – an endless cycle. With every inevitable end, there’s always a new beginning.  

 In moments when I really miss Lola most, I simply look back at one of the conversations we had when I was a kid. Lola, being one of the first people to tell me about angels, said, “You know, Chuckie, when I become an angel, I will keep coming back from heaven to visit you”, to which I naively answered, “OK. But Lola, I don’t want you to have wings”. And with a smile, she simply said, “Then I will remove my wings”.

 For years, I’ve pondered on the relevance of that conversation. But now, it dawned on me. Lola Perla never needed to sprout wings in the first place.

 She was always our angel. And I believe that she still is.

 Happy Birthday, Lola Perla! 

Our New Boarder One Year Later

Posted in Animals, Pets with tags on September 7, 2009 by planetchuckie

Rocco Then and Now

Left: Rocco as a two-month-old pup getting acquainted to my bathroom floor;  Right: Rocco giving new meaning to the term, “backseat driver”

It’s officially been one year since we brought home this playful, footwear-mangling, little bugger.

I call him Rocco Ono, or just simply “Rocco”. “Rocco” after the chef, Ono after Yoko because of his peculiar bark. You’d swear it almost sounds human. 

He is an affectionate critter, but whenever people come to visit, his loyalty shifts. He likes pouncing on unsuspecting footwear, especially Crocs

Rocco  is also  a feisty spirit; having once survived a nasty infection which confined him to an Elizabethan collar for three months. Fortunately, he reverted to his usual hyperactive self no sooner after his complete recovery. Recently, he also mastered the ability of jumping onto beds in a single bound – much to my neat-freak-of-a-mom’s forehead-slapping consternation.

Happy anniversary, Rocco! 

Legend of the Sucker

Posted in press launches, tv shows with tags , , on September 5, 2009 by planetchuckie


Well, this is new – a press launch held on the rooftop of our building. I wouldn’t say it was “brilliant”, but nevertheless, it was…unique. Considering how every day in our office is an elevator jamming contest, it must have taken forever to bring everyone to the topmost floor. Not to mention, all the backdrops and cocktail tables.

This, by the way, was for The Legend of the Seeker, the bland TV adaptation of Terry Goodkind’s The Sword of Truth novels. I can’t quite fathom how Sam Raimi, who earlier this year came out with the deliciously campy Drag Me to Hell, could come up with something like this – the Diet Coke version of The Lord of the Rings . According to its Wikipedia entry (which itself reads like it was copy-pasted from other Wikipedia entries), it follows the epic journey of a charismatic young woodsman named Richard Cypher, an enigmatic woman named Kahlal Amnell, and – *drumroll* – a wizard named Zeddicus Z’ul Zorander. Together, they must join forces to stop the malevolent dark load Darken Rohl from – wait for it – unleashing an evil ancient power.

Hay nako. One word: Derivative.

If you like this kind of thing, do catch the show on SciFi every Wednesday at 10:00pm. That is, if you’re not already watching something else.