Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Blue Moon:1964

"The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose."
Hadia Bejar


This is not about setting up Sydney Ink.

I was watching Tattoo Wars last night and came across another "useless" fact, that is unless you're into tattooing. Honestly, I did not know that the guy who popularized tribal tattoo is a Pinoy born in Washington DC, 56 years old Leo Zulueta. When the announcer said his name, I said this guy must be Pinoy.

Pinoy and tatts seem to go hand in hand. My research was right again when Zuleta said that most of his uncles have tatts, but the old western style adapted to Pinoy tastes. He grew up in Hawaii and California, and now run a tatts shop up in Ann Arbor, Michigan called "Spiral Tattoo".

There is a good interview by AsianWeek, a bit dated (2002) but it is the most in-depth info about Leo. Nowadays, Leo is into jewelry as well as clothing design for a Japanese company.

See here samples of his work, like the one above (which I lifted from this site as well, well hey I am doing the guy a favor - free ad for nothing!). And no I am not getting a tattoo, maybe a ring.
By the way, he "lost" to his protege, Rory Keating in that tatt war. But he countered that since he is the teacher, he won as well by being a good mentor!

For Sayote Queen: May 16, 2008

"Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger links than common joys."
Alphonse de Lamartine

"... you grieve for a person you never knew,
for a relationship that ended even before it really began.
... not for a person who has lived and died
but for an unlived life.
You are sad not just because of what you have lost
but because of what never will be."

Etching to go: An Exhibit of Prints 30 May Opening - 31 May till 1 June

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Philippine Food Festival: 11-22 June 2008

Received an email from friend, Sen announcing yet another Filipino Food Festival at the Grace Hotel in the heart of Sydney CBD. I am sure, from memory, this is not the first Philippine Food Festival held in this venue. I believe this is almost a yearly event hosted by the Philippine Department of Tourism and Grace Hotel, coinciding with Philippine Independence day celebrations.

Enough background. The details, as announced by Philippine Tourism Attache Ms Consuelo "Lito" Jones and the Grace Hotel website:
Filipino Food Festival, from 11 till 22 June at the Grace Brasserie, Level 2, Grace Hotel, 77 York St Sydney. Guest Executive Chef for this festival is Michel Le Teuff, from Travel Cafe Philippines, Makati City.

Lunch Buffet: Monday to Friday for only $35pp & Sunday $45pp
Dinner Buffet: Friday & Saturday for only $45pp

For reservations phone: (02) 9272 6636 or email:

I use to work around this area, Grace Hotel is on the corner of King and York Streets, just off George Street. Nearest train stations, in case you want to take public transport and walk; are Town Hall and Wynyard Stations.

In her email, Lito said "I do hope you all have a chance to come around and try Filipino cuisine prepared by guest chefs from Travel Café Philippines, Manila."

You will find that the food somewhat tastes the same but presented in a "fine dining" style. Hope to see you there!

Friday, 23 May 2008

descant soul

My MB20 USB Band

I just received the above MB20 USB wrist band (a paltry 256MB!) in the mail. Actually I picked it up at the post office just today. I am at home with my Nanay. I (we) cooked my first adobo!

It's a bit geeky even for an IT person like me. So maybe I'll just keep it somewhere as a souvenir. I am over the MB20 hype at the moment anyway, my new song is Newton Faulkner's Dream Catch Me song.

Listening to Matchbox 20, Maroon 5, Jim Croce, Chicago, Carlos Santana, etc., you would get the idea of the type of music I like and listen to. At times I'd go back to my collection, and re-acquaint and listen to my old favorites.

Music is like that. It's like a photograph, it brings back certain memories and feelings. It lets you travel back in time to places and moments you've been to, people you've met, friends and lovers.

Anyway, I am going back to my house chores... my reality for now.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Sydney World Youth Day 15 - 20 July 2008: 55 Days To Go

Every morning going to work, there is an electronic sign on the M4 highway counting down the number of days before the Sydney World Youth Day 2008. Obviuosly I wasn't paying too much attention since I am driving.

Today, I noticed that there is only 55 days to go! How time flies.

The event is as big as the Olympic in Sydney in 2000, that the government advises people to take a leave from work. As it is, the traffic in most major thoroughfares in Sydney are jammed especially during rush hours.

I received the above flyer at home "advertising" the event. Even friends from the Philippines are contacting me that their sons and daughters are coming. According to the WDY08 site there is an expected 125,000 overseas visitors.

The event is really more than a day, it's nearly a week, starting from Tuesday, 15 July; culminating on the Sunday, 20 July as the actual World Youth Day, with a Final Mass by the Pope.

Some of the firsts are:

This is the first time the new Pope, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, first visit to Australia. A very important event to most Catholics.

The first time it would be held in Australia.

And it is the single biggest event ever hosted in Australia.

According to the site the World Youth Day was "Organised by the Catholic Church, WYD brings together young people from around the globe to celebrate and learn about their faith on a more regular basis."

"Through the WYD08 experience, young people from throughout the world will make a pilgrimage in faith, meet, and experience the love of God.

World Youth Day is an invitation from the Pope to the youth of the world to celebrate their faith around a particular theme. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The WYD08 theme, received from Pope Benedict XVI is:

'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.' Acts 1:8

This passage occurs after the death and resurrection of Jesus, just before his ascension to the Father. It represents the birth of the Church."

According to the WYD08 site, Pope John Paul II was inspired by the response during the 1984 Youth Jubilee and the United Nations International Year of the Youth the following year.

In 1986, the first World Youth Day was held in Rome and subsequently every year during Palm Sunday at the Diocesan level . Only every second or third year that an international gathering is held and international hosts are sought.

The biggest ever gathering was in the Philippines in 1995, with a final Mass attendance of 4 million!

(For more information and key statistics of the upcoming WYD/SYD08, click here.)

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

B Block Taps

A View of J Block & Tree From The Main Store

R Block & Three Benches

J Block

P Block's Empty Bin

A Block: A view from B Block

Dream Catch Me: As Sung by Newton Faulkner

Every time
I close my eyes
It's you
And I know now
Who I am
Yeah yeah yeah
And I know now


There's a place I go
When I'm alone
Do anything I want
Be anyone I wanna be
But it is us I see
And I can not believe I'm fallin'

That's where I'm goin'
Where are you goin'?
Hold it close, won't let this go
Dream catch me, yeah
Dream catch me when I fall
Or else I won't come back at all

You do so much
That you don't know
It's true
And I know now
Who I am
Yeah yeah yeah
And I know now


See you as a mountain
A fountain of god
See you as as a descant soul
In the setting sun
You as the sound
Just as silent as none
I'm young

There's a place I go
When I'm alone
Do anything I want
Be anyone I wanna be
But it is us I see
And I cannot believe I'm fallin'

There's a place I go
When I'm alone
Do anything I want
Be anyone I wanna be
But it is us I see
And I cannot believe I'm fallin'

That's where I'm goin'
Where are you goin'?
Hold it close, won't let this go
Dream catch me, yeah
Dream catch me when I fall
Or else I won't come back at all

My Dream

One night I had a dream.

My Father God came to me and spoke to me of my dreams and desires.

He said "all you have to do is enjoy yourself, be happy and follow your passion - your bliss.

As long as you respect your Mother Nature, The Spirit will always be with you.

We will be with you - guiding you every path of the way.

Life is meant to be enjoyed - enjoyed with your fellow creatures."

And that is how my dream began...

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

55th Sydney Film Festival: 4-22 June 2008

The Sydney Film Festival is one of the longest running film festival in the world and was established in 1954. The festival showcases contemporary Australian films as well as international cinema.

This year there are two Philippine films, both by director Brillante Mendoza. Unfortunately both are not included in the Sydney Film Festival's (SFF) inaugural "new directions in films" Official International Competition. All twelve were "selected for their original, 'audacious and courageous filmmaking'."

Films by Brillante's are:

Slingshot (Tirador)

"Filipino director Brillante 'Dante' Mendoza's sixth feature film in two years plummets headlong into a Manila slum, the camera hot on the heels of a police raid in a truly extraordinary opening sequence. Achieving a perfect interplay between the flexibility of digital shooting, the labyrinthine architecture of the squats and the multiple stories of the gang of hustlers and thieves it follows, the true brilliance of this film is to be found in its seamless staging."

Director: Brillante Mendoza, Scriptwriter: Ralston Joel Jover, With casts: Jiro Manio, Kristoffer King, Coco Martin, Nathan Lopez, Jaclyn Jose, Country: The Philippines, Language: Tagalog, Year: 2007 Duration: 86 mins Distributor: SourceIgnatius Films.

Another synopsis from the Victorian Film Festival 2008 describes the film as:

"A tribute to the real potential of digital cinema, Slingshot is a slum epic on steroids. It weaves stories left and right into a shocking tableau about life for the lowest of the low in the Philippine’s poorest and most crime-ridden districts.

National elections are coming up so in the usual attempt to appear “tough-on-crime”, The Big Boys have been sent in to crack down on the local squatters, thieves and miscreants who litter the film like broken bottles. And since no sweep is ever a clean sweep, the cops’ brutal shock-force tactics quickly ripple outwards with jagged repercussions. Starting from the film’s amazing night time raid and climaxing with a candle-lit vigil by those insulted by the empty words of the politicians, director Brillante Mendoza uses the camera’s apparent attention deficit disorder to maximum effect, investigating lives at every turn and blending their true fictions right onto the city streets of Manila for a rich and incredibly immersive feel.

Much of this effect might have been entirely impossible to capture if not for the ease of shooting made possible today. Mendoza is not only clearly aware of the technological revolution happening in his hands but he is able to seize it so well that he brings back to life the ensemble-cast movie on a level not seen since Robert Altman’s finest films."

Foster Child

11th June, 11.45AM State Theatre Market Street

"The impoverished Manlangqui family provide a foster home for the gorgeous, abandoned three-year-old John-John. While motivated in part by the subsidy this brings them, the genuine (and differing) emotional connections each family member forges with the child are revealed when he is abruptly removed from their care and given up for international adoption. Elegantly shot on 35mm and making great observational use of locked-off camera, the indelible Foster Child was made prior to Mendoza's kinetic Slingshot, and while both films are set in a Manila slum, they are stylistically very different. Foster Child benefits enormously from being seen after Slingshot, as the enclave of care and support sustained by the family is rendered all the more powerful when haunted by an awareness of the surrounding environment." CS

Director: Brillante Mendoza, Writer: Ralston Joel Jover, Producer: Robbie Tan, With casts: Cherry Pie Picache, Eugene Domingo, Jiro Manio, Kier Alonzo, Country: Philippines, Language: Tagalog, Duration: 98 mins, Distributor: Ignatius Films CanadaWorld Sales/Australian distributor Ignatius Films Canada.

Richard Bolisay's acerbic review says:

"As for the film, it feels like Mendoza is trying to hit multiple birds on different trees with one stone. Familiarity is a factor here: we see these things every day, every waking day of our lives, not the foster care idea but poverty itself... International audience is lauding Foster Child for its Third World-liness and pathos.

"A friend asks, if you experience poverty every hungry day, then why watch it? Why does it have to invade our solemn hours of entertainment, when we must laugh and feel good because we paid for it?"

As a result of my "research" (err.. Googlesearch), I found that there are so many more Pinoy indie films out there. For example see this 2007 review by Francis Cruz. Very fascinating reading really and these guys (together with Richard Bolisay) are doing these on their blogs!

I wish that these Pinoy independent films be distributed via DVD. I am sure there will a lot of overseas Pinoy and non Pinoys who love to see these films and will purchase a copy. Just make sure it is of good quality, DVD-wise and close to or as cheap as the pirated copies. But for now I need to fork out AU$17.00 to see Slingshot.

Also see ABS-CBN's Boy Villasanta's article on Brillante's bid for Cannes 2008, with his film "Serbis" (Service).

On the Way to Bianca's (15) Blog

Honesty of Emotion

"Something about the way you said it reminded me
that I'm not the same person I was.
And I'm not saying that in a bad way.
It's just that I keep adjusting to myself and my world to find it shifting again.
So I learn to love new faces.
Learn to live in other spaces.

And I keep trying to measure my life in intangibles.
A night not in sleep, but in conversations and connections.
A day not in hours, but in the walks I took
and the music I listened to.
Because that kind of stuff is infinitely more important than anything you can take from a classroom and anything you feel in the middle of a well-rested stretch.

It's about the honesty of emotion
and why that weighs so much to me.
So I keep lifting my head, finding a smile
and I keep on going even though I have circles under my eyes.
I keep trading words for sleep.
I keep breathing and loving and laughing and reading
and I guess maybe all of that makes up for what I lose in the sleep I don't get.

But mostly,
the more I try to make this life a balanceable equation,
the more I am reminded of its flux.
The more I try to quantify these experiences,
the more I am reminded of the limits of measurement.
And so it's constantly changing, and I am too.
Growing and giving pieces of my heart to everyone
and every place I meet.
Because everything else is just pretense."

Posted by Bianca at 4:01 AM

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Champagne Bay: Up Close

"I think my work has to do with a sense that we are attempting, all the time, to create a logical, rational path through the day. To the left and right there are an amazing set of distractions that we usually can't afford to follow. But the poet is willing to stop anywhere. . . . And it's that willingness to slow down and examine the mysterious bits of fluff in our lives that is the poet's interest."

William Collins Poet

Slowing Down at Port Vila

"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why."

Eddie Cantor US Comedian & singer (1892 - 1964)