Film Review: Sakaling Hindi Makarating (2017)

sakaling-di-makarating-posterAfter watching Ice Idanan’s Sakaling Di Makarating last weekend, I was on the fence about it being a rip-off of “That Thing Called Tadhana” or perhaps just ‘a way better storytelling’ ala-Before Sunrise trilogy which ‘Tadhana” obviously tried to emulate. What I didn’t consider is the message within the film. Sakaling Di Makarating in comparison to the profanity-laden “Tadhana” has a much deeper message and obviously is more aesthetically pleasing.

What initially enticed me to watch the film is that it features the diverse beauty of the Philippines. Its beautiful landscapes being one of the focal points of the story should be a fantastic watch for a traveler like myself yeah? Then I found out that Alessandra de Rossi will star in it and I was absolutely sold! I knew I have to see this on the big screen.

A series of mysterious hand-illustrated postcards take a young woman on a journey throughout the Philippines in search of its anonymous writer.

The film didn’t disappoint with its aesthetic value. It felt like you’re traveling with Cielo (de Rossi) here – discovering the beauty of this tropical country whilst accompanying Cielo on her search for M.

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Cielo’s journey is a way for her to alleviate her pain and to find the answers to the many whys of her failed relationship. Cielo for all her strength is only human though. She’s in the process of grieving and trying to decipher what her next move would be. Her journey to finding the postcard sender, M, is her journey to finding herself again. Some of us call it soul searching but more than anything else, I’d like to think that it’s finding a reason to live again. The places she’s been to, I’d like to think, made her realize that there’s so much more to life.

The storyline, however, felt a bit disjointed for me. It’s like I’m watching a movie within a movie, rather it felt like watching two films altogether. The connection between the first and the latter part of the film was startlingly obvious but it felt forced. Good thing, the kid who played Sol (Teri Malvar) is an absolute joy to watch! When the spotlight was focused on her, ‘girl just kick some ass like no other.

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I have to be honest though. I actually enjoyed the latter part of the film more. The beginning which I find a bit mechanical was too reminiscent of ‘That Thing Called Tadhana.’ The dialogue were a bit off and Paul’s character was unnecessary in my opinion. The short affair involving Manuel (JC Santos) was a rather welcome distraction from the bleak narrative of the first half of the film. The parallelism of their scenes in connection to M at the latter part was just too clever! I just loved how so apt it was. I’m not sure if it’s just me who thought of it but if you think about it, there’s a rather eerie similarity.

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Overall, this film was able to deliver a solid ending. The story may or may not work with many but there’s a chance for it to have a sequel. I’d love for it to have a sequel! I want a storyline with more of Paul in it. Maybe, I’m just not giving him a chance. The story could be everybody’s story who struggle not only with their love life but simply every day and are looking for an escape. The film won’t fix your problems but it will inspire you to go out there. Have the courage to search for what you’re looking for and as corny as it may sound, you have to remember that you only live once…

Director: Ice Idanan
Cast: Alessandra de Rossi, Teri Malvar, JC Santos, Pepe Herrera

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

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Film Review: La La Land (2016)

la-la-land-posterSo how do I even start with this one without spoiling it too much for you guys? I’ve been meaning to write a review after watching it last weekend but I’m still at that point where I’m trying to digest every scene, every moment of Mia and Sebastian together and everything that makes it one of the best films from last year.

Okay, so let’s start with the stars of the film.

emma-stoneEmma Stone here is flawless. There’s nothing I’d change about her in this film. It’s like watching a beauty pageant contestant on stage performing flawlessly for her audience to win the crown. Emma plays a ‘struggling’ actress here who knows that she’s destined to play A-lister roles for the camera and her struggles to make it into the city of stars is so transparent in her luminous depiction which I’m pretty sure will resonate with everyone of us dreaming – maybe not of the same thing – to be that something or someone.

Ryan Gosling meanwhile plays a passionate Jazz musician whose dream is to own a Jazz club in order to keep the musical genre alive. It all sounds very simple but in context it is a rather heartbreaking realization that indeed, jazz is dying and we need the likes of Sebastian in the real world to save it! Ryan played his role so
convincingly – playing the piano and dancing with vigor – that you’d fall in love with him all over again the way you fell for Noah in the Notebook. Ryan Gosling here without question cemented his status as a true ARTIST.

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As for the story, it reminded me a bit of Satine and Christian’s love affair in Moulin Rouge what with both of them chasing their dreams and having to sacrifice love in the process.

There’s nothing extraordinarily new in it but there’s that surprising element of the storyline’s effectiveness. The storytelling will affect you. It will make you contemplate about your abandoned dreams and will make you weep at some point. I know I did and I cannot really explain why it affected me so much. Isn’t that crazy?

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Perhaps, I was thinking of all the things we really have to let go in life in order for us to achieve something? I was asking myself tho, how worth is it to sacrifice one precious thing in exchange of similarly precious something? How do you weigh things out? I warned you that this may contain spoilers but there’s a lot of things to think about in this film – things that will make you stop, wander, and look back. Well, aside from the fantastic song and dance numbers, this film is just up there which will make you think that sometimes in life, we just have to keep dreaming. It’s free anyway!

Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars!

Pietro Boselli X BENCH/BODY

pietro-for-bench-2I wasn’t even aware of Pietro being recruited by BENCH to be their newest endorser so it’s such a wonderful surprise to see the “hottest maths teacher in the world” sporting what arguably the most popular clothing brand in the Philippines.

Here’s Pietro looking so cute…

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And here he is ready to heat up the Summer season even more!!!

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And he’s coming to Manila soon so be ready for this one!

See u Pietro!!!

photos courtesy of @benchbodyph

My 65th Miss Universe Final Predictions!

This is going to be a bit tricky for me because I’ve never seen the interviews of each candidate and I’m basing my final choices based on the preliminary competition as well as the events they have participated in leading into this event.

(Also, I’m a bit late posting this because I’ve just been to Burias Island and have not slept at all – so I’m basically zombie-ish watching this one right now.)

So off to my final 13 (apparently, the 13th spot will be given to the girl voted by the public worldwide to go through)

So I’ve made a ranking based on the swimsuit and the evening gown competition from the prelims (again) and below is what I came up with. (tho not necessarily my final 13)

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13. Indonesia – this is supposed to be the girl with whom the public voted for and Miss Philippines has it in the bag but she’s not gonna be awarded this because she’s a shoo-in even without this. I am predicting that Indonesia will get the 13th spot! Also, I found her not that impressive during the prelims so she should thank her lucky stars!

12. Curacao – sash factor wise, she may not make it at all.

11. Brazil – She didn’t make my Top 12 from the prelims but she’s obviously very personable in person and the fans just loved her! I do think that she’d make the cut but during the Prelims, she’s just too much for me.

10. Great Britain – This girl has got a great personality. She’s also exceptionally pretty. She need better styling if she wanna go further than this.

9. China – What a dear surprise from China! She’s not as polished as Miss Universe China 2011 but she’s got this enchanting aura that may work in her favor…

8. Portugal – This girl for me aside from Belgium, France and Australia has one of the most beautiful faces in the competition and if I’m being honest, her face alone made me put her on my list 

7. Spain – she was exceptional during the prelims but I’m not sure how exactly memorable she was when it comes to the eyes of the judging panel. I will still give her a chance tho. After all, her compatriot Amparo Munoz was crowned here during the second staging of the Miss Universe in 1974.

Top Six

6. Thailand – This girl won’t go unnoticed because she’s got a very interesting story to present to the judging panel. Aside from that, you can see that she’s studied so hard to be a perfect Thai delegate. She’s the one I’m suspecting to be the biggest spoiler of the night!

5. Venezuela – She’s my initial pick for the title of Miss Universe but I’ve seen some of her videos and I just have this feeling that she’s going to falter come Q and A portion.

4. Australia – this young fresh thing from Australia has all the making of Miss Universe. She’s gonna go higher, I can already tell but I don’t think she’s stronger than my pick for the final three.

2nd Runner-up: Argentina – I know that this is not a popular pick but I just loved her! She was spectacular during the prelims! She was mesmerizing and if the Q&A will work on her favor, she could make it. The only thing that’s preventing me from elevating her as my Miss Universe pick is her sash.

1st Runner-up: Philippines – This resilient, brave and very beautiful Philippine delegate will always be remembered as the first Miss Universe representative from the land of the orient sea to use an interpreter (as confirmed by the Philippine Tourism Secretary, although there’s a disclaimer that says, “In case”). From the divisive support from pageant fans Filipino and Non-Filipino alike, Maxine has rise to the occasion and delivered a spellbinding preliminary performance. 

She still can accomplish a back to back but she needs to be perfect tonight to do such thing!

My Miss Universe 2016 is Miss FRANCE!

She was gliding like a queen during the preliminary. Her body’s to die for and clearly has the best face in the competition. I firmly believe that she should win the crown for these points alone and if she’s got the wit to back these area – then we will have the perfect successor of the confidently beautiful Pia Wurtzbach!

My 65th Miss Universe Hot Picks #1 – Pre-Preliminary Competition

mariam-habach-no-1-for-paddylast-incs-first-hot-picksThe 65th Miss Universe fever is finally on full swing and the delegates from around the globe are trying  to out-stage each other while trying to play nice! Hah! Just this week, we’ve witnessed the Terno Fashion Show from some of the ladies who graced the beautiful historic Vigan to showcase the beautiful ternos created by Filipino designers. Then there’s was the Governor’s Ball, Their photoshoots from different historic sites in the metro as well as visits in the beautiful Boracay Island, Cebu and Batangas. With more press releases, videos and photos available for fans and pundits, let me present to you my first hot picks for this Manila edition of the Miss Universe beauty pageant!

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  1. Mariam Habach of Venezuela

At this stage of the competition, Miss Venezuela for me is the most ready to become the new queen – charisma and performance-wise. Her simplicity and unconventional beauty is refreshing from the usual brunette-filled Venezuelan delegates sent by their great national director Osmel Sousa to this pageant. Her posture and contagious smile is a thing of beauty that you can’t help but fall for her. Mariam came prepared to battle it out to the finish here in Manila!

  1. Maxine Medina of the Philippines

Admit it or not, Miss Philippines’ beauty is a beauty that is very hard to ignore. She exudes confidence and a hint of mystery whenever she struck a pose – until she opens her mouth that is, as per pageant pundits’ usual criticism. To be fair tho, I think we’re too critical of Maxine because we’re comparing her to Pia and whether or not she’ll be able to carry on the latter’s legacy. I still believe that there is a big fat chance for the host-nation to snag a back-to-back win equating Venezuela’s record back in 2008-2009. After all, Maxine has the hometown advantage and with a smooth performance, albeit, a most probably less than confident answers in the Q&A round – she could probably pull it off.

  1. Raissa Santana of Brazil

This Amazonian goddess is everywhere! Like literally every event! She’s such a stand out that you can’t help but be mesmerize by her modelesque bone structure and captivating smile! I’m only placing her as my third pick for the crown at this point because I’m still not sold with her overall presentation. It’s too finesse for me and I want her to be more vibrant and more natural!

  1. Kiran Jassal of Malaysia

Miss Malaysia may not be getting much hype compared to her ASEAN counterparts such as Thailand, Indonesia, and her roomie Miss Philippines but she’s definitely someone to watch out for. She’s a real stunner in pictures and in motion and it may look like she’s playing it under the radar for now but come preliminaries, I’ve a feeling that she’ll be in everyone’s list afterwards. I actually think that she’s way better than Deborah Henry – the most prominent Malaysian delegate in memories who got snubbed during the 2011 edition of the pageant. Like Deborah, she’s got an amazing personality, stunning looks (way better than Miss Henry, IMHO) and good communication skills to boot. Will her sash prevent her from entering the top 16? I hope not.

  1. Chalita Suansane of Thailand

Chalita is definitely a force to reckon with in the Manila edition of the pageant. She came prepared and ready to fight it out like Miss Venezuela and the other three in my top 5! She’s by far my ‘ultimate spoiler’ for the crown! She’s very polished, though not the prettiest candidate, she’s one scene-stealer that has a very likable personality to boot!

  1. Andrea Tovar of Colombia

Andrea Tovar is no Adriana Gutierrez. The latter is personable whilst Andrea has this superior air about her. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to project but at times, it’s almost as if she’s already won the crown when in fact she hasn’t even step up her game performance-wise. I was expecting more from her and so far she’s giving me such lackluster performance that I’m relegating her to 6th place. Why is she still in the top 10 despite non-personable aura I’ve mentioned? Well, she’s Miss Colombia and Miss Universe loves their controversy. She’s a definite shoo-in for the semis plus her beauty is truly undeniable that truly separates her from others. Thing is, she really needs to work the crowd. After all, nobody wants a villain queen.

  1. Deshauna Barber of the USA

Facially, Deshauna Barber isn’t the most conventionally beautiful delegate in the bunch but her background as US military and her subpar communication skills matching her vibrant personality makes her the most interesting girl to talk and listen to which I think is a big plus for whoever will win the Miss Universe crown!

  1. Kezia Warouw of Indonesia

Indonesia is up for the country of the year in 2016 and a win here will cement their newfound status last year. It’s not an impossible feat because the reigning Indonesian queen is a breathtaking beauty that is both relatable and personable! I am still waiting for her spark to go full on but I’ve a feeling that she will deliver when it matters most.

  1. Hawa Kamara of Sierra Leone

This debuting lass from the West African nation of Sierra Leone is already endearing a lot of pageant fans around the world as she struts with her natural hair on flick, she’s definitely stealing the spotlight from the more hyped candidates. She’s also very dear to Filipino pageant fans as the OFW’s and local fans helped her preparation for the pageant which include her flight to Manila as well as her wardrobe for the duration of Miss Universe. And she didn’t disappoint so far as she is both luminous in pictures and in motion. I’m not sure if Miss Universe is ready to crown another African queen after Leila Lopes’ victory in Brazil but if Sierra Leone delivers the goods come finals night, I’m pretty sure that everyone will be celebrating with her win!

  1. Caris Tiivel of Australia

It’s very simple how Miss Australia landed as my 10th pick. She’s the prototype of the Miss Universe Australia in recent years and I can totally see her eclipsing some of the powerhouse Latinas to make it all the way into the top 5. She’s beautiful, a good communicator and very polished. Although I haven’t envisioned her winning just yet, I’ve a feeling that if she step it up in the prelims – there’s a big possibility of that happening.

Bubbling Up…

  1. Stephanie Geldhof of Belgium
  2. Kristal Silva of Mexico
  3. Sal Garcia of Dominican Republic
  4. Camila Barraza of Kosovo
  5. Jaime-Lee Faulkner of Great Britain
  6. Le Hang of Vietnam

Sign The Petition Now! Say NO to Nickelodeon’s Underwater Theme Park in Coron, Palawan! #coronisnotbikinibottom

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We call on the Local Government of Palawan, Nickelodeon (Viacom International Media Networks), and Coral World Park Undersea Resorts Inc., to junk their plan to build a 400-hectare underwater theme park in Coron, Palawan.

Why is this important?

Contrary to the press statement that the underwater theme park would “advocate ocean protection,” it will accomplish the exact opposite. By building artificial structures, you will undeniably damage and disrupt Palawan’s marine ecosystems — our Last Frontier. If you are sincere and serious about marine conservation, the money allocated for the underwater theme park should be invested in marine protected areas, sustainable livelihoods for local communities, and environmental education programs.

For a channel that targets children, Nickelodeon is setting a terrible example to the younger generation by taking away their right to enjoy our natural resources. We don’t need an underwater theme park — our underwater life is fascinating, entertaining, and educational on its own.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PEITION!
https://www.bataris.org.ph/petitions/no-to-nickelodeon-s-underwater-theme-park-in-palawan

The Ticket Prices for the 65th Miss Universe Live in Manila!

65th Miss Universe Ticket PricesThey finally released the ticket prices for next month’s beauty spectacle – the much awaited 2016 Miss Universe edition dubbed as the 65th Miss Universe – to be held in Manila at the Mall of Asia Arena on January 30, 2017!

I think most of you guys will be happy to know that they lowered down the rates for the general admission and upper box tickets. The rest are too pricey already if I may say, tho, I am pretty sure that these prices won’t matter much because we Pinoy fans are crazy about the Miss Universe and I’m betting that once the tickets are available (they will be, on Dec. 20th), they will selling like pancakes!

Ready to fall in line on Tuesday or make sure that you’re glued on your devices to buy your tickets online via smtickets.com!

See ya next year in Manila!

The Contestants of VH1’s America’s Next Top Model [Cycle 23]

Y’all know that America’s Next Top Model is coming back to the boobtube right? And it’s coming back to it’s original home – VH1. In less than a week – that is December 12, 2016 – 14 girls will be battling it out for the title of America’s Next Top Model. This time tho, Rita Ora will be spearheading the return of our favorite modeling show acting as host and one of the judges along with model Ashley Graham, Drew Elliot of Paper Magazine and celebrity stylist Law Roach. And don’t worry about Tyra not showing up at all – she’s actually serving as the show’s executive producer!

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via Entertainment Weekly

Let’s meet the contestants of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 23!

Obviously, the show is back to an all-girls cast (thank goodness!) and they are all relatively tall (hallelujah!) so I wonder how this would figure out over the next few weeks with the judges determining who should win! Are we going to see more outrageous ANTM-patented model stunts? Will the return of the show give us back the Cycle  1-3 modelseque epicness? We shall see next week…

[click picture to enlarge and read profile]

Who do you think has what it takes to win it all this early in the competition?

Book Review: Morning My Angel (Angel Enterprises #1) – Sue Brown

morning-my-angelDate of Publication: September 29th 2016 by Sue Brown’s Stories
Theme & Genre: LGBTQ, Romance, Mystery
ISBN 9781370601196
Format: Ebook
Characters: Callum David Ross, Josh Cooper


Blurb: 
Josh Cooper, top US security field agent, is sent on an inter-agency assignment to London, when a partner in his firm goes missing in suspicious circumstances. Used to working in sole charge of his well-honed team, he clashes heads with the handsome, but pompous Cal, his UK co-operator and superior. Josh’s gut tells him something is wrong. He’s being kept out of the loop and Cal’s agenda is running on a different path.

 He also has a personal issue to deal with. He’s involved in a cyber-relationship with “Charlie”, an unknown man who connected with Josh by accident. Their banter has led to deeper respect and a sexual interest, but now Josh is faced with a growing attraction to Cal. Between this conflict and the tension of the mission, Josh’s heart and head are overworked and confused. Things can’t get much worse.

Then Josh discovers the enemies he’s seeking have a new target: him.

Review: Let me start by saying this is by far my most favorite read from Sue Brown! It’s got romance, mystery, suspense and the writing is just simply sublime!

The characters in this story are dynamic, vibrant and very easy to picture in your head.

I super loved Josh’s character! He’s smart, witty, cocky and just all-around adorable! I loved his voice and the way the author showed different facet of his character. He’s definitely one of my favorite characters this year!

Then there’s the big, alpha, swoon-worthy Cal. His character simply complemented Josh’s in every way. I loved that we get to see his vulnerable side, which is very much adorable, if I may just say since it usually involves Josh’s welfare.

As for the secondary characters – it’s interesting to note that we get to read more of Jesse and Dan here from the Lyon Roads Vets series. I wasn’t a big fan of Jesse from that series but I kind of enjoyed him here. The rest are very well written that you’d have to read until the last chapter to really get to know them.

The mystery part of the story was fabulously sketched here. It’s well-paced and  I loved that it keeps me guessing until the very end.

And the romance – ohmygod! Absolutely delicious! I adore Josh and Cal individually and together – they’re just explosive! Their chemistry is just absolutely beyond!

I cannot recommend this enough for fans of the author and mm romance/suspense readers! Seriously, you have got to get hold of this one! ‘Cannot wait to read more from this series!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About The Author
Sue Brown is owned by her dogs and two teenagers. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop.

Sue discovered M/M romance at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favourite television series. The series is long gone but the kissing was tender and Sue had a lightbulb moment.

Since then she has written many stories hoping to recreate that tender moment she saw on screen. Sue has high hopes that one day she will provide a lightbulb moment for someone else.

Book Review: An Honorable Man (Men of Manhattan, #7) – Sandrine Gasq-Dion

an-honorable-manBlurb:
Officer Danny Finnegan loves his job. As one of the youngest faces on the police force, he has taken on the challenge of going undercover to catch a serial killer in Manhattan. Ten rent boys have been murdered, and Danny knows it won’t be long before another one turns up dead in an alley. He and his partner, Tiernan Callahan, gear up to hit the seedy side of the city that never sleeps. There’s only one problem. They need help to make Danny’s cover convincing.

Bobby Laughlin left the back streets of Manhattan behind when he came way too close to becoming another number in the rent boy killings. He spends most of his time on Fire Island working at a bar. He is trying to get his life back on track when officer Danny Finnegan walks back into his life. Bobby was attracted to Danny the first time he saw him — when the boyish-looking cop took Bobby’s statement after a client beat him brutally. Working with the the sexy cop could be dangerous. It would put him right back on the streets he’s been trying so hard to avoid.

Bobby reluctantly takes on the task of teaching Danny how to work the streets. As things heat up on the case and in their hearts, Bobby finds himself falling for Danny, and Danny has eyes only for Bobby.

But can they catch a killer before one of them ends up as the next headline?

Review:
I’ve really enjoyed reading this one right after finishing the sixth book. I loved Bobby – love his character that is so similar to Ryan in most aspect but way more explored. I also adore Danny! The guy is perfection!

I was able to guess who the serial killer is midway through the story and it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book. The story revolves more about the development of the relationship of the main couple here. I loved the vibrant character of Danny. He’s just so adorable! Bobby, as I’ve said is an absolute replica of Ryan from the last book but he still complemented Danny in every way.

The sixth book is enjoyable but this one is far more meaty in terms of plot lines. It’s very easy and very fun to read! I just loved everything about it!

Now, I am very excited to read the next book which I’m hoping will be involving a drag queen and a playboy cop!!!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About the Author
I have been blessed in this life to not only have parents that support me, but kids that do as well. I grew up in a loving but “Old School” French household. My parents worked for the airlines (TWA) so I was able to see a lot of Europe as a kid. I moved to Seattle Washington at the age of 22 and stayed there for twelve years before moving to Alaska for a little over two. Fairbanks, AK was one hell of an experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back! I spent a little over a year in South Carolina before moving back to Arizona. I then left for Kansas for five years and now reside in Arizona. I’ve been connected to the military in one way or another for over half my life and wouldn’t change a thing about it. Writing has become my full time job and I’ve never been so happy doing a job I love and being able to do it in my jammies. I plan on writing until I dry up and die. Hopefully, that won’t happen soon!