The Season of Giving

Jason and I have been giving shared gifts for the past three (?) years. It’s cheaper for both of us and with a much more flexible budget, we’re able to get them something nicer. This year, because I feel like we’ve been so blessed, I amped up out budget this year, especially for our parents. I take care of the Christmas shopping: (1) because I love doing it; (2) Jason’s usually busy and I always want to lighten his load in anyway I can; (3) again because I really love choosing, preparing, and buying gifts!

Besides, I know Jason has a tendency to buy whatever is convenient (except for me! he’s an intelligent shopper when it comes to me!) especially when the shopping’s taking too long. I, on the other hand, go into it deliberately and carefully. I consider need, lifestyle, personality, and sense of style–oh and the budget, of course! I’m a self-proclaimed champion gift-giver (and I always tell Jason this) because, on a selfish note, I really love the feeling when someone finds our presents thoughtful. Appreciation is the best reward. Really, it’s not about what you give, but the process you went through to give it.

Last year I advised Jason that we’ll just buy everything from bazaars. Much cheaper, bigger selection, an opportunitya to check the product. My boyfriend is allergic to tiangge-style areas, but I figured one trip won’t kill him. Besides, it’s for a good cause–our families! But as usual, I couldn’t wait again and I bought almost everything (except for two) online. By the time November ended, gifts for our sisters and Jason’s mom were parceled and ready for delivery. I also ordered my mom’s gift on November 29. However, just as the year before, I got super annoyed a week later; I went to the World Bazaar Festival and I saw loads of awesome gift choices at ridiculously bargain prices (not exactly cheap, but cheaper than retail). Next year, I tell you.

Anyway, my mom’s gift arrived 16 days after ordering (a day late last Saturday)–the same time my brother’s did. We bought Jason’s dad’s gift on the same day too. Jason had the final say in that because he knows him best.

Finally!

20121216-230101.jpg

I was finished with most of the gifts by November, but I made a stupid mistake! I totally forgot which gift was for whom! Thankfully, I have a habit of making paper bags for gifts with awkward shapes (ie, are not in a box). I had to carefully peel off the tape on top. I scraped off a bit of wrapping paper but patched the holes up with cards. I wanted to make customized gift tags made with tea-stained paper and calligraphy, but I wasn’t able to find calligraphy ink that was up to par. It worked out well in the end because the homey rusticity wouldn’t mesh well with the cutesy wrapping paper.

Because everything was wrapped and ready by yesterday, I was itching, absolutely ITCHING–as in hindi kaya ng Caladryl toh–to give them to my mom and sisters and brother, but Jason was adamant to give everything at the same time on today. Boo. 😟 It’s fair though.

Can you guess which one is for whom? I hope everyone likes our choices!

I cut myself carving

Because I have no patience and I do not want to drive all the way to Craft MNL, I just hauled myself to the nearest National Book Store to get some makeshift supplies: a narrow cutter (instead of a utility knife) and erasers (instead of a rubber stamp).

Before I begin, let me just say that the eraser shelf in NBS Robinsons Forum is an utter mess, an ukay for erasers. I had to literally dig deep and deeper. They didn’t have any big CHEAP flat ones that weren’t Faber Castell or Staedler. I had just settled on a P15 Maped one, when I came across a P10 Best Buy one. I rummaged a bit more then finally, I chanced upon a pair of teeny erasers for only P9. Since it was my very first time to make rubber stamps, I figured I might as well go cheap–that way I can literally afford to make mistakes.

The attendant didn’t know what I meant by utility knife so I had to draw it for her. Artist lang talaga ang peg! They didn’t have it. Eventually I contented myself with a minuscule, dirt-cheap cutter that I figured could cut corners (#punny).

20121211-201544.jpg

First obstacle: the erasers were tiny! I’m an okay drawer, but I felt like the artist who uses hair to paint faces on pinheads! Second: due to my excitement, I did not realize that I had to sketch the mirror image for the figure (especially when it’s text) to come out right when I stamp it. I only realized it after I made the first incision. Sobrang sayang lang.

20121211-202105.jpg

Since I don’t know anyone who spells their name with an O and a backwards J and I didn’t want the project to go to waste, I decided to carve some more. I still had enough space on the other side of the erasers anyway so might as well. That’s the beauty of using erasers instead of actual rubber stamps; it’s much thicker! What it lacks in surface area, it makes up with… Duality!

For the complimentary images (an envelope for the mailbox and a properly laid out Jo for the OJ), I inverted the carving. I scraped off the borders of the envelope–a crazy meticulous task, by the way, without the aid of a proper knife–and I dug out the letters J and O. I went for contrast, imagining how the four would look on paper.

20121211-203303.jpg

The problem with this cheap eraser is that, apparently, it has some sort of weird dotted texture that shows up under the ink. I like how it turned out though. Not to pat myself on the back or anything but it’s not a bad attempt for my first time. I’m so kilig with the final product! That sweet handmade effect! I wish I had colored ink to create a more festive look but either way, I love the simple black and white effect. Knowing me, I would’ve gone overboard with the colors anyway.

20121211-210956.jpg

P.S.

Ironically, I did NOT cut myself carving. I was fooling around with the cutter post-carving when I accidentally pierced my finger. Just a little nick.

P.P.S.

Written on December 11, 2012. I had to delay posting it because I used the wrapper for my Secret Santa Baby, Jo. Hahaha

DIY Holiday Shoes

Disclaimer: I made these shoes last Christmas (as in 2011). I’ve just started using my iPad again so I rediscovered these images only a few days ago in my Photos. I decided to post them–albeit a year later haha. This entry also doubles as a MISSING ad. I have not seen these shoes since I wore them a few days after their upcycle.

At this point, I did not have my iPhone yet so I only took photos with my tablet.

Because I have the sweetest bud in the world, Jason bought me three pairs of shoes for my birthday last year. He initially got me something else but it didn’t work out so he gave me freedom to pick out shoes so long as it’s within budget (We assign budgets for gifts. We’re very organized, financially.) Being the freak that I am, the shoes I got were all the same style (plain flats) in different colors from Soleil. I got bored with purple ones almost immediately so I decided to give them a little holiday glam.

20121211-213651.jpg

The bottle of old rose glitter (which is less than P20 from National Book Store) is more than enough. I only used about 40% of it, in fact, and that includes the second coat to cover the bald patches. Extra-fine glitter looks neater than your everyday silver dust. (I based my choice of materials on a pair of Zara glitter shoes I have.) Everything else, we already had at home. The clear acrylic was leftover from when my brother made his Darth Maul mask for Halloween.

Newspapers for minimal mess! I lined the insides with tape (actually I put tape all over the insole) because I wanted to lessen the glitter on the lining; I also stuffed the shoe with crumpled newspaper to give it shape. Apply the glitter bit by bit. That way, you won’t have to worry about the glue drying up then the stress of sticky reapplication. Don’t worry about rubbing glue over the glitter; Elmer’s dries clear so it’s just added protection. Work your way through the shoe first before fixing any patches. I waited for the entire thing to dry up before I worked over the bald spots. Dry them again then spray with acrylic paint! I coated it three times. Make sure you get the edges (between outsole and vamp) because those are the most vulnerable areas. Spray adhesive is better for flexibility, but clear acrylic works fine, too. If I remember correctly, I did not sleep that night in anticipation.

20121211-214916.jpg

Ta-dah! I had worn it only once when whoosh (that is the sound of something vanishing). Interestingly enough, I have no idea where the red ones went as well! The black ones are terribly over-worn that there’s practically no sole left.

If you find these shoes, please tell me ASAP!

Written on December 11, 2012 (almost midnight)

Paper Roses

I had long bookmarked an online paper-flower tutorial when I saw my friend’s uber crafty mom’s paper roses. They were absolutely gorgeous. Even better than the ones I checked out on Pinterest. I’ve tried a lot of how-tos on both Pinterest and Craft Gawker–some which worked to a tee and some which ended up terribly (read: honey and olive oil in my hair made a greasy mess for several days). Looking at Tita Lucille’ beautiful (literal) textbook roses gave me inspiration not to mention confirmation that it can be done.

Thus, my own version. (Please excuse the ugly photos. I used the iPad camera because I left my trusty phone in Jason’s car again.)

20121210-203357.jpg

I made it with an old Panorama magazine because my mom no longer allows me to waste newspapers for my “creative” schemes. I didn’t have the heart to rip out old books either. The glossy paper is much thicker which accounts for the stiffness of my little rose. Book pages look much more romantic and are more coherent in terms of color, but hey, reusing is reusing!

I cut out seven pieces each of five shapes that vary in size. Just make each one a little wider and longer than the other. Make sure that the tip is slightly pointy; this will mark the center. Fold a bit of the top end vertically then slightly curl the fat edges toward the fold (if I don’t make sense, please bear with me and refer to the photo haha). The curling is a drag, by the way, but it will make your paper flowers look like they’re in bloom.

20121210-204456.jpg

I used a Q tip (with the cotton ends sliced off) as base though some people prefer wire. Wrap a piece of the smallest petal around the Q tip then start gluing petals one by one. Tip: Fold a bit of the bottom end (still vertically) this time to give it a rounder shape; fill the folded area with glue then stick just that bottom part around the base. When you transition to bigger pieces, make sure to slide a little lower down to keep the petals level. I used a glue gun for neatness since it doesn’t seep through the material and it dries fast; it’s also easier to peel off especially when you get some gunk on your skin.

20121210-205833.jpg

When you’re done, just roll a strip of paper at the base of your rose. Actually, since I trimmed away the excess Q tip (I needed a flat flower because I intend to decorate a gift box with it instead of a ribbon), I cut a circle then glued it to my little flower’s exposed bottom. Much neater.

Ta-dah! That simple! Time to rip apart some books!

It’s only Monday…

I love Mondays. I don’t know, but for me Monday is the reason you appreciate the weekend anyway. My Mondays always suck. I trip, I bruise; I have the craziest luck with random misfortunes that are always hilarious in hindsight.

Case in point:

1. My fight with cab driver of taxi TWT 303 (I will report you, sir! I already texted the LTFRB).

I hitch with Jason to his office in Ortigas where I get a cab to MY office on Pioneer. I’ve had my share of terrible taxi drivers (including one where I was so annoyed I forgot my protocol of checking the seat after I leave and consequently left a very valuable item), but never have I experienced so much grief from a driver–well, I guess because it’s also the first time I fought back.

The bill amounted to P75 which is usual. I handed him a P100 bill and he shook it off saying he didn’t have change. I told him to kill the meter as I fished for coins in the deep recesses of my purse. He didn’t and soon enough, the meter read P78.50. I told him, “Kuya, pakipatay naman yung metro niyo. Andito na ako eh” to which he replied with a “Umaandar pa ako eh. Ang tagal niyo kasi magbayad.” That made me mad. First of all, it is not my fault that he doesn’t have change. “Kuya, nagbayad na ako. Ayaw niyo tanggapin. Problema niyo maghanap ng barya pero ako ang gumagawa ng trabaho niyo,” I said, obviously frustrated. He replied again, equally annoyed: “Di huwag niyo bayaran yung sobra.”

Hindi talaga, mandaraya ka!” I fished out three twenties and three fives and plunked it down my seat, and left in a huff. BUT NOT BEFORE I GOT HIS LICENSE PLATE.

I always discourage my mom when she quarrels with cab drivers just because we have no idea what they’re capable of and I’ve seen enough reruns of CSI and Law and Order to NOT want to know. I figured though that since I’m not home, he has no idea where I live, and I was already in my destination, I might as well fight back.

2. My embarrassing elevator incident.

After over a year at my job, I’m still confused about which floors are where. I’m on the seventh and I had to go to the sixth. The elevator going up was just closing when I ran and stuck my foot inside. I was already inside when I suddenly pressed the OPEN button. “Oh no, wrong! I’m so sorry.” They all laughed at me… but so did I so it was okay.

3. I mistook another person to be a girl! I’ve called two people (who are both named Louis) “Sir!” This time I called an “Ashlie” a ma’am. His parents are probably GWTW fans.

 

In other news:

If you or a friend are/is looking for a gorgeous designer wedding gown for less, please visit Patty Laurel’s blog. She is auctioning off her beautiful Rosa Clara serpentine dress to raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Pablo.

Twitter Booboo

For someone who’s owned a Twitter account since 2008–long before anyone can even pronounce micro-blogging–I’m terrible at tweeting. My page had long been underused except for a few automatic posts such as notifications of new blog entries, retweets. And when I was asked to manage our Twitter page at work, my personal account died entirely. The whole two accounts thing rattles me. I’ve only recently learned how to juggle both.

Which is why it surprises me how, after almost two years of manning SPOT.ph’s Twitter page, I’ve yet to make a major mistake (come to think of it, I don’t recall any mistakes EVER). My predecessor once told me she’d once been tweeting SPOT.ph links all day only to realize later she’d been posting in her own account. It’s not that humiliating but I feared that the reverse would happen to me (as in me posting personal posts on SPOT.ph’s page).

The time has come. My crazy luck managed this catch up with me. I was watching LOTR Return of the King yesterday. I don’t know about you but I think it’s one of the greatest book-to-movie adaptations in the world. My brother has a great influence in my interests and I grew up enjoying wrestling, comics, Mjolnir, Star Wars, etc. Jason can tell you that I’m always on hand with some trivia about Harry Potter or Street Fighter. Engulfed in Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy, I tweeted: “If Gandalf used his Magneto powers, he could’ve beaten the Orcs easily.” Well, you can tell what happened next.

20121208-105639.jpg

I realized the mistake as soon as I posted it and I deleted it just as quickly. Unfortunately someone had faster fingers than me. Gino Quillamor of The Morning Rush retweeted it. I immediately tried to cover up my embarrassment by responding and saying “Oh hey, LOTR is playing on HBO.” To make matters worse, Je Mendoza of Magic 89.9, my fellow geek and a close personal friend (or so I thought!), joined in with her own input about magnetism and metal and weapons. Soon enough, she and Gino were in convo over it with SPOT.ph tagged.

I quickly texted Je that it was me who posted the erratum and like a true friend, she responded by tagging MY newly active personal account with: “@ginoboi meet @sashalimuy.”

20121208-110329.jpg

Face palm much.

In an attempt to be transparent, I told my editor about the tweet. It was only up in the air for a few seconds but people have seen and responded to it which is beyond my control. I didn’t want her to be shocked by noticing our readers were suddenly talking about Ian McKellen and his role choices. Thankfully Jo was pretty game about it and even said we should post more of those random musings to encourage conversation with our followers. Crisis averted. I almost regret deleting the post.

Nail Polish of Steel (or in this case, Orly)

Do you like working with your hands a lot? Do you pick on your nails? Work constantly with scratchy objects? Couldn’t-care-less with a hidden, underdeveloped kikay side? If you’re all this and more, then Orly’s Gel Fix nail polish is for you.

I have a major fixation with my fingers. I nibble on my nails, I pick on my cuticles, I bite the tips. I like keeping my hands occupied. Nail polish is a recent kikay development that I’m slowly warming up to. On a practical note, it helps me control the nail-biting which, at 22, is no longer an adorable habit. The thing is, it never lasts with me. I sew, I make crafts, I slam my hands on so many things. The coat of colored protection becomes counterproductive because when I see it dull and scratched up–which is usually about three hours after application–I feel compelled to just peel them off and resume with my biting. I’ve never stepped out of a salon without a chip!

My editor was invited to try out Beauty & Butter, a nail art salon that prides itself with being the premiere spot to use gel nail polish in the country. Thankfully, Jo was kind enough to let me tag along. Let me just clarify that at this point, my interpretation of the “gel” polish is pretty much like regular cutiks but in a thicker, colloidal setting.

Jo opted for the Orly massage while I selected the Orly Gel FX Manicure. It seemed the most intriguing to me, especially since I felt normal polish was difficult enough to apply. My attendant, Shiela, however, was kind enough to explain to me the difference:

20121204-210118.jpg

I love how girly yet non-girly the salon looks.

1. Apparently, the gel version, like the regular one, is done in multiple coats. Every coat for the former, however, has to be dried under a special type of LED light, including the top and base layers. I like how the base coat gave my nails a clean and buffed finish. I almost told Shiela to stop because I liked them as is.

2. It’s creamier than regular polish, but it’s not exactly the thick and gooey mixture that I imagined. It’s just–heavier. For more durability and strength, I suppose.

3. It’s chip-proof, scratch-proof, and peel-proof! It’s almost like it’s part of your nail… Or rather, it is your nail. The gel supposedly lasts for three weeks. It’s advisable to remove it after that period not because it’s worn buy because ewwy nail and cuticle growth will start to show. You’ll have a perfectly manicured part on the tip with a bit of bare nail showing near the bed.
Very grunge.

4. Because it’s totally extra strength, you cannot remove it with nail polish remover or even the highly discouraged extra potent acetone! Shiela even dared me to try to rub acetone on my nails as soon as I get home. Only a special Orly solution can wipe it clean, which, of course, you can get only at the salon (it’s free if you had your nails done in Beauty and Butter). I find this strategy terribly shrewd. No one in their right mind would trek to a salon just to have their polish removed! You go to salons for something more purposeful like getting your nails redone, ordering a foot spa, have a massage, the whole enchilada! Treatments you’ll end up getting after having your nails cleaned just so you won’t waste a trip.

5. It’s really advisable for girls with thin and feeble nails like mine. Because it’s thicker, it gives the illusion of stronger nails. I forgot to ask Shiela if it would stain the nails especially after such an extended duration. Looks like I’ll have to update this post after a month.

I chose a neutral shade (Pink Nude) after a painstakingly long selection process. I initially decided on a pretty pink hue but I remembered that I was going to be stuck with the color for at least three weeks and the soft Pink Nude seemed more versatile and practical. Orly’s Gel FX is a commitment, but I think I’ve found the perfect nail polish for me.

20121204-210009.jpg
A naughty girl pressed the LED dryer just because the attendant wasn’t looking! Hahaha please excuse my Frodo fingers!

Beauty & Butter has branches in SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM San Lazaro, and SM Cebu. Watch for Jo’s review coming soon on SPOT.ph.

The problem with sequels

Or prequels.

I don’t wander around the Internet. Honestly, I don’t. I limit my computer usage to mostly work. Switch office PC on, open e-mail accounts (both Gmail and Outlook), open SPOT.ph, open social media networks (mostly for work), research (for work again). After that it’s just a matter of checking, updating, and having Alan Silvestri (and quite recently the London Philharmonic Orchestra) on loop.

On the rare occasion that I did wander, however, I found this:

Romy and Michele: The Beginning

What this is, I can’t even explain. I’ve always been against needless part 2s (especially when they’ve been downgraded to a TV movie), but like every compassionate human being out there, I try to keep an open mind. Romy and Michele’s prequel, however, is beyond comprehension. Starring Katherine Heigl as Romy White and Alex Breckenridge as Michele Weinberger, this was just a big WTF, with audiences mostly gaping as they watch–but only for the first 10 minutes of the film because that’s the most anyone can take.

It’s painfully idiotic. PAINFULLY. I cringed so much (and mind you, I only had it on audio) for a while I thought my face was going to be scrunched up permanently. While Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow’s ditzy, Valley girl interpretations gave “dumb blondes” some witty, sort of obvious charm, Heigl and Breckenridge’s attempts to copy the former two’s fun performances made them sound overly rehearsed, fake, and well, ridiculous. Heigl herself sounded like a bad female imitation of Ashton Kutcher’s already annoying Jesse Montgomery (Dude Where’s My Car).

We left the cinema after Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion only with an LSS of Cindy Lauper’s “Time After Time.” We didn’t question their motives to move to LA (I mean if you’re two larger-than-life girls with even larger hair to match, you should be in the big city!); we didn’t ponder over their experiences in high school (it was fully explained!); we weren’t kept hanging. While the prequel could have had some good moments, its reason for existence remains dubitable. Networks’ continuous production of lame, half-hearted sequels for profit is slowly but surely biting at the industry.

While Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion gave power and character to the “dumb blonde” characterization, its stupidly needless replication took everything back and more, leaving the stereotype as dull and empty as before.

**

Other crap sequels:

Legally Blondes (yes, there’s a third one), Mean Girls 2, Save the Last Dance 2, Cruel Intentions 3 (Amy Adams was brilliant in the second one so we’ll forgive it), Bring It On 4 and 5, Marley and Me 2, X-Men The Last Stand (and disappointingly so, especially after the masterpiece that is X2), Evan Almighty, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. The list goes on.

My Christmas Wishlist

In the three years that I’ve maintained this blog, it’s become tradition that I list down everything I expect to find under the tree come Christmas Day. Two things: (1) My family stopped installing Christmas decorations over 10 years ago; (2) I’ve yet to receive a single item I’ve asked for since starting my list in 2009! People have a very different perception of what they think I want and need from what I think I want and need, apparently, even though I write them down for easy reference.

So for this year, I demand:

1.
2.
3.

It’s not a coded equation. It’s just… Right now, at this very moment, I feel like I have everything I need. I don’t want to ask God (or anyone else) for more because I know I’ve been dealt a great hand this year. All aces (forget that I had to endure a couple of clubs at the beginning of the game). No complaints. 🙂

I’m 22 and reasonably healthy. My family is alive and kickin’; some months are rough, but we always manage to stay afloat and come back fighting. I have a cool job that people envy that allows me to try things I ordinarily wouldn’t be able to. I eat more than what my body requires. I haven’t paid for a haircut all year. I’m part owner of three amazing dogs, two naughty hedgehogs, and one obese hamster. I’m blessed with a wonderful boyfriend who you can’t help but love… That’s what Jason does: he shows you all kinds love–unconditional, friendship, tough–because he has so much of it to give.

20121123-225522.jpg
Not in photo: my sister and her family!

From some sort of Divine Intervention, I was given the tools to survive a heart ache I didn’t think was recoverable. I was offered a ticket to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world–all-expenses paid. I was given a chance to watch Lady Gaga (no thank you) and Nicki Minaj (no thank you) front row and center. My patience grew several inches. I was one of the first customers to sample the country’s first TWG branch where I had a mini tea tutorial. I gained so many new friends from my various endeavors. I’ve taken more responsibility at work. I’ve stopped harassing people for every little mistake (okay, this is a work in progress). I interviewed Sen. Miriam Santiago and shared jokes with her. I regained a more positive outlook of the future.

Physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, professionally. What else could I possibly ask for? As for wants, well, they’ve always been supported by my needs–which can range from shallow to actual necessities (eg “I need these shoes for my image” or “I need food to survive.”)–anyway. Whatever wants I have I choose to get with, by, and for myself. I won’t burden other people with them (unless of course they want it for me, too!).

I believe in the good life, but not in excess. I’m not about to be all high and mighty because I do have hedonistic tendencies, but I’m grateful for everything that God chose for me this year. If I could ask him for something else (maybe next year because I’m already maxed out), it would probably be for more experiences, more chances, more lessons, more love (you can never have enough!), more–of life in general. Oh and a pony!

And if you can give that to me too, wrapped and ribboned and placed under our imaginary tree, then by all means. I thank you in advance!

Blog Challenge Day 2: Favorite Movies

So at this point, in the exactly one-week span between my last post and this, you know I’ve failed the blogger’s challenge. I’m not going to bore you with excuses except for this one: I wanted to write about my favorite movies; heck, anyone who follows this blog knows how much I love film. But that’s the problem. I’ve discussed my favorites in great detail so many times over. Forrest Gump, Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Little Miss Sunshine, Gone With The Wind, Let The Right One In, Catch Me If You Can, Exorcist. When I saw the next category, my hands froze over the keyboard; I sighed then just walked away.

So in the interest of pursuing the challenge and not being redundant, I decided to narrow down the category to my favorite Filipino films. I’ve mentioned before that I’m such a local movie buff; so long as it’s quality entertainment, who cares if it’s local? Cinema One is one of my go-to channels when I turn the TV on. I grew up watching Jolina, Judy Ann, Wowie, and my one great love, Rico Yan. I’d tune in to Home Along Da Riles and Okidokidok. I watched Ang Pulubi at Ang Prinsesa, Anak, and Tanging Yaman in the cinema. I don’t watch everything. Up to now I deeply regret wasting two hours of my time watching Supahpapalicious.

There’s a wealth of wonderful local filmography, but it’s usually buried deep under a pile of not-so-good ones. By wonderful I mean refreshing, poignant, and artfully constructed (taking into context, of course, the technological limitations of the time).

*No spoilers here (because I really want people to watch them).

1. Magnifico (2003)
Directed by: Maryo J. Delos Reyes; starring an all-star cast including Jiro Manio, Albert Martinez, Gloria Romero, and Lorna Tolentino

I’ve seen this film so so so many times and every time, I still tear up, I still feel inspired. I still have hope for Philippine cinema. It’s about a young, unassuming boy who touches his entire neighborhood in the smallest of ways. Magnifico is a display of innocence, poverty, and love. It’s a simple story that has the most profound impact on me.

2. Abakada… Ina (2001)
Directed by: Eddie Garcia; starring Lorna Tolentino, Albert Martinez, Nida Blanca, Alicia Alonso, Bobby Andrews, Matet de Leon, Joanne Quintas

Nothing on YouTube except reenactments. It’s about an illiterate mother who never gave up on herself and on her family. Warning: It will make you cry.

3. Kasal Kasali Kasalo (2006)
Directed by: Jose Javier Reyes; starring Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo

You’ve probably seen this. If not, I’m raising my eyebrow at you! Filipino ka ba??? I like it for its originality: how it didn’t stop at happily ever after. Because really, in the real world, there’s no such thing. You can be happy, but it’s a constant struggle, a daily choice that you have to painstakingly work on. Ever after only comes when you’re dead.

For Kasal Kasali Kasalo, I like the poignant and unobstructed view of marriage especially in the local setting. It’s very original, considering we’re in a country full of saps. Feed us cheese and we’ll gladly eat it no matter how it’s served! I’m not hitched (I’m only 22 years old for crying out loud!), but I’m aware enough to know that  in marriage, you get more than romance–you get busybody in-laws, farts, incompatible living habits, kabits and the threats of, child scares, yaya problems, and more.

4. Magic Temple (1996)
Directed by: Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes; starring Jason Salcedo, Junell Hernado, and Marc Solis

Magic Temple–a family-fantasy film that does not include neither Vic Sotto nor Bong Revilla. It’s about three gifted boys who journey to restore balance in the enchanted world they live in. Some elements in the film are a hodgepodge of materials taken randomly from other movies (watch it and you’ll see what I’m talking about), but they’re weaved together so seamlessly, it doesn’t matter. It’s complex and thoughtful without being overly done. Thankfully, good people who want to preserve good literature uploaded it in parts in YouTube.

5. Itim (1976)
Directed by: Mike de Leon; starring Charo Santos (her acting debut!), Mona Lisa

Eerie is the main qualifier for this entire film. You’ll have goosebumps from the start; I certainly did. It’s primarily a ghost story–a restless soul haunting her living sister–but it’s punctuated by jarring shots of Catholic symbols interspersed with equally disturbing music. I don’t know about you, but I find statues of saints very spooky, especially with the proper lighting. You’ll be a little shaken, but Itim is really a must-watch for those who appreciate Philippine cinema and its potential. This really set the bar high for local horror movies; I’ve yet to seen something like it (it’s probably hard to replicate and we’re usually so good with those!). It may be 36 years old, but Itim is refreshing the current crop of campy, contrived, commercial horror movies we see today. Fortunately again, the Itim is uploaded in seven videos on YouTube.