Friday, September 28, 2012

Johnny English (2003) vs Johnny English Reborn (2011)

When Johnny English was released in the Philippines almost a decade ago, Rowan Atkinson was, for all intents and purposes, "Mr. Bean", the hilariously eccentric British guy who doesn't speak. Seeing Atkinson in a speaking role and a new persona was a refreshing thing.

I really enjoyed the first Johnny English movie. I liked it so much that I gave it a 10 star rating in IMDB. I actually found it funnier than the first Mr. Bean movie and for years I wondered why the moviemakers were not making a sequel.

Johnny English poster

When news of a sequel came out, I was excited, but after watching the sequel Johnny English Reborn, the excitement quickly turned to disappointment.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ramon Bautista Stars in Nivea for Men's #LikeaPogi Campaign

I'm really liking Nivea for Men's #LikeaPogi campaign. It stars Hapontukin funny guy Ramon Bautista.

Ramon Bautista for Nivea for Men's #LikeaPogi campaign

I think Nivea made a really good move in choosing him as their new endorser instead of the usual conventionally handsome actors. Aside from not having sky-high TF requirements (I'm just assuming this), Ramon Bautista is a sort of a cult hero. His wit and talent as a comedian, filmmaker, producer and UP film professor give him an air of credibility and give his endorsement more weight compared to some boneheaded pretty face. He looks really Pinoy, not the tisoy or chinito type you see in a lot of ads, and he's not overly handsome and is therefore easier to relate to. At the same time, with Ramon Bautista as the endorser, Nivea is not bastardizing the meaning of the word "pogi". If Nivea chose a smelly-looking ugly guy, the result would have been patronizing. But Ramon Bautista is neat, cute in his own way, and in good shape. The implication is that for you to be truly "pogi", you also have to take care of your body and your health and not just rely on the good old "inner beauty".

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gyu Gohan's Sesame Pork was a Big Fat Joke!

My good friend Badet and her hubby Jeff went to 168 last week and tried Gyu Gohan, a food outlet that serves sizzling food ala Pepper Lunch but at lower prices. You can read Badet's post about it here.

Her post got me curious so when bf and I went to 168 yesterday, I wanted to try Gyu Gohan. Since I would be ordering only one dish (bf wanted noodles from another establishment) and Badet had just reviewed the place, I decided to not review Gyu Gohan or bother taking photos.

But the dismal quality of the food I got made me change my mind about writing a review. Still too dumb to take pictures though.

I ordered Sesame Pork (P79). I don't have any pictures but you can check Badet's post to see what it was supposed to look like.

When I got my food, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. The pork strips looked all-white. Did they just serve me nothing but fat? I thought, but I second-guessed myself since what resto would serve their customers fat strips to go with their rice?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ambeth Ocampo's "Fernando Amorsolo" Lecture

Yes, another Ambeth Ocampo post.

This time, it's about the Philippine's first National Artist Fernando Amorsolo in Ambeth's lecture titled "Fernando Amorsolo: Portrait of the Artist as Historian".

Fernando Amorsolo: Portrait of the Artist as Historian lecture by Ambeth Ocampo

I have to admit, I only know Amorsolo by name. I did not know much else about him, but after the lecture, I had a newfound respect for his talent.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Singing Lessons with Jeanne Velasco-Vicars of Showstoppers

Last January, Dealspot sold vouchers for singing lessons at Showstoppers Center for Music and Arts. The lessons would be handled by Ms. Jeanne Velasco-Vicars and the technique she would be using was called vocal sound management. According to the description, vocal sound management can correct vocal faults and effect vocal adjustment in the shortest possible time. So with this technique, the student can expect to learn to sing in tune, prevent getting hoarse, increase vocal range and volume, improve enunciation, enhance vocal expression, and clean up his sound.

The teacher, Ms. Vicars, is the voice coach of several celebrities such as Katryn Bernardo, Jennelyn Mercado, Sarah Geronimo, and Isabella de Leon. The office was located in Delta in Quezon City and the rate was P750 per hour per student (regular rate), P375 through the Dealspot promo. I texted Ms. Vicars to confirm if the lessons would be one-on-one and she said yes. I bought six vouchers -- three for me, three for bf. Our first lesson was done in the Delta office, the second after they moved to Timog (in the unit where Ms. Vicars also lives) due to rising rental cost in the previous office.

Bf and I both love music but we're not the singing type. We don't even like contemporary pop and Rn'B. We don't have any ambition to sing professionally. Although they're undeniably great singers, I don't dream of singing ala Charice or Regine Velasquez (my singing idols are more like Chris Cornell and Sebastian Bach, even if they're of the wrong gender). Anyway, my goal was pretty simple: I want to sing in tune. And of course, our overall goal: to try new stuff.

So how did things go? Well, both good and bad.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ambeth Ocampo's "Before the Japayuki: Japan in Philippine History" Lecture

Many Filipinos are familiar with the Japanese culture. We watch tons of anime and eat lots of Japanese food. However, when it comes to the intersection of the Japanese history and our own, many Pinoys are limited to talking about World War II or some girl they know who became a Japayuki (a term which originally referred to Filipinas who went to Japan to be cultural entertainers but later came to refer to Filipinas who went there to prostitute themselves).

Ambeth Ocampo Before the Japayuki poster

In Ambeth Ocampo's recent lecture titled "Before the Japayuki: Japan in Philippine History", I learned about the karayuki-san. They were poor Japanese girls who went to East Asia and Southeast Asia (including the Philippines) to work as prostitutes during the 1800s. According to a Japanese sociology blog, many of these girls did not really set out to sell their bodies, but were made to believe by mediators that there were many good working opportunities in other countries and that they could make enough money to support their families. Heavily indebted to the mediators for transporting them out of Japan and not knowing the language of their destination countries, they were forced to work as prostitutes to pay off their debts and to be able to send money to their families.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book: The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

The Bonfire of the Vanities is a book published in 1987 by Tom Wolfe. It was a big success in the 1980s but I was too young to remember or care about it then. I finally got to read the book and now understand why it became famous.

There are some funny scenes but overall, the story is a drama which touches upon ego, racism, social classes, politics, and the media. 


Sherman McCoy, a married hotshot bond trader in a prestigious Wall Street firm, is having an affair with Maria. One night, Sherman and Maria get lost in the Bronx. The road is blocked and two young black men approach them to help. They feel threatened and Sherman attacks one of the men while Maria takes the wheel. As they are leaving the area, Maria may have hit the other black guy unintentionally. Sherman feels guilty but Maria convinces him not to report the incident. Things get complicated when suddenly a black youth ends up in coma, apparently hit by a car driven by a white person. A black activist-religious leader persuades Peter Fallow -- an alcoholic British tabloid journalist -- to write a series of articles that fuels protests and media coverage about the hit-and-run victim. Larry Kramer, an assistant defense attorney suffering from an early midlife crisis, seeks out the guilty driver while the DA monitors the case with his upcoming reelection in mind.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

White Knight e-Chariot Tours in Intramuros

One item on my bucket list is to ride a Segway, so when I found out about the White Knight electric chariot tours in Intramuros, I was thrilled. The tour is provided by White Knight Hotel Intramuros which is in Plaza San Luis (same complex where Barbara's Restaurant is located).

On the way to the tour, it suddenly rained and since we were scheduled at the last tour of the day, I was worried that our tour would be rescheduled. When we arrived at White Knight though, thankfully, the rain had stopped. The skies were still cloudy and there was a slight drizzle during our tour but the light rain was manageable and White Knight was equipped to handle that.

Aside from the tour fees, there is a P100 insurance fee for each person and you will also have to sign a waiver. Small sling bags are allowed but since the e-chariots are controlled by the rider balancing his weight, heavy bags have to be left at the White Knight Hotel's front desk.

White Knight e-chariots tours in Intramuros
geared up and ready to go

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