Friday, February 23, 2007


A day before the Oscar's, and I'm busy downloading some Oscar-worthy movies. We'll be watching them tonight at a friend's place to add up our two cent's worth to the million dollar industry. I used to plan Oscar parties for fellow film buff friends and film school mates when I was still living in London. We even used to put Oscar pot money out for grabs for the individual who predicts the most number of winners. We used to prepare finger foods and cheap wine from Tesco just to get that chi-chi feeling. It was always a blast because the party usually ends up in the morning because the Oscar’s were telecast in an ungodly hour because of the time difference.

We took the voting and the bet seriously. It was, for us, a sport. We’re film geeks and this was our version of Olympics. And just how geeks were we, we really take time to analyze the picture’s scientific probability to win the coveted award. We all knew that the Oscar’s doesn’t really represent the best films of the year – it was really all about who comes up with the most successful film campaign, who has the most clout. It was really all about the politics of celluloid and we love it to the very last minute or until the envelope reveals the best film with the best handler.

If you really take time and study every bit of detail, take time and research the politics behind it, or analyze the precursor awards that comes before the big night, chances are, you’ll be able to predict who’ll end up with the golden statuette. I thrive on this yearly chance to outsmart and outwit all my other fellow film friends. I end up loosing though, because even though the science behind it dictates who the winner will be, the idealist in me always votes for the most deserving nominee among the lot. Back in my mind, I'm always hoping for an upset. I was for example hoping for a Cate Blanchette victory over Gwynethe Paltrow even though the odds of her winning was slimmer than queen Elizabeth’s waist.

But it was the Oscars after all, more than an awards show, it’s Hollywood’s excuse to come up with a glitzy party. We the geek film buffs follow and enjoy every bit of it… Fast-forward to 2007 - that was like nine years… almost a decade ago. When I came back home to Manila, I learned, much to my dismay, that Oscar’s not really a big thing here. There are no Oscar Nominated Film Marathons on theatre’s, heck we’re actually lucky if majority of the nominated movies were locally released… there are no Oscar pot money’s and I’m missing the second rate Oscar parties with friends...

I actually find this odd because last year I was actually in Thailand during the Oscar season and I was surprised that there’s a big Oscar buzz there. The big movie houses in Bangkok are actually showing all the Oscar best picture nominees a week before the awards night to get the much needed buzz. I would think that Manila will be more busy with all things Oscar’s. But low and behold, you open your TV and you see the buzz on the latest Koreanovelas and what have yous…

I’m actually on an Oscar movie rush, and the absence of the movies here locally is actually what gets the film buffs on the other side of the fence… you can’t blame them if they end up downloading torrents to get the fix that they’re craving for, illegal ways to satisfy the addiction so to speak.

A day before the big night and I’m all ready for my pick. I finished downloading the movies that matter and I’m ready for an Oscar night with friends – I might not be the gracious host this time but the great thing is that there are still fellow geeks just like me who go gaga with the magic of dear old uncle Oscar.

For sure, my bets will not get the elusive Oscar but what’s important is I’ll get the chance to root for them, and enjoy the magic that they bring. Do yourself a favor, download these movies, and have great fun watching!!!


WHO WILL WIN: Little Miss Sunshine
WHO SHOULD WIN: Letters from Iwo Jima


WHO WILL WIN: Helen Mirren for THE QUEEN
WHO SHOULD WIN: Penelope Cruz for VOLVER

WHO WILL WIN: Martin Scorsese for THE DEPARTED

WHO WILL WIN: Jeniffer Hudson for DREAMGIRLS
WHO SHOULD WIN: Adriana Barraza for BABEL


WHO WILL WIN: The Departed
WHO SHOULD WIN: Children of Heaven

WHO WIL WIN: Little Miss Sunshine
WHO SHOULD WIN: Pan’s Labyrinth

PAN’S LABYRINTH for me is the most surreal, the best movie experience, the most engaging picture that I’ve seen this year. It's one of those movies that keeps you thinking long after you've finished the movie. It's one of the most disturbing movies that I've seen in years. This is great cinema. The production design, the cinematography, the wonderful story, the great acting and the enigmatic direction of Mexican auteur Guillermo Del Toro are all top notch. I truly admire the daring and the audacity by which it painted magically but painfully the horrors of fascism - the images will haunt you for the rest of your lives. It's one of those cinematic experience you should and could not miss. Go watch it!!!

Monday, February 12, 2007


"How is it possible to feel nostalgia for a world I never knew?
What do we leave behind when we cross each frontier? Each moment seems split in two; melancholy for what was left behind and the excitement of entering a new land. "
- Che Guevara

I was watching Motorcycle Diaries with my friend Carlo the other day, this great movie by Mexican director Walter Sales. The movie chronicles the travels and adventures of South American key figure Che Guevara before joing the Cuban revolutionary group. We were kinda prepping up ourselves because we will be embarking on our own journey in the next few weeks. Nope, I'm not joining the red army in the near future but just like Che I'll be living the nomadic and spartan life of a backpack traveler for the next three months. This dream of travelling turrned advocacy have occupied me for the last few months- hence the absence of entries in my blog.

The last three months saw me cramming all my work and assignments so that I don't leave any projects undone. I already asked permission from my regular clients if I can be excused for the next ten weeks. This will be different from my last year's sabaticcal because I'll be with friends this time. We're all in it for the journey and for the life realizations that it will impart to each and everyone of us.

10,000 kms on land, 10 weeks, 9 border crossings seems like a long journey - five souls lost in transition hoping that each will find what each is looking for in the end. My other friends are actually asking me why the long travel again - what am I looking for this time? I travel because I long to discover. I don't know what I'm looking for but all I know is that by the end of the journey I'll be able to fill the void or something. It's always a good learning curve for me.

I travel because I still can. I have the time, I have the strength. That's what's important. Time is running out I feel. I'm not getting any younger. And the adventure and the thrill of setting foot on another land is what keeps me going. Trekking on the highest of altitudes, walking the hottest of deserts, living the most spartan of life, interacting with people whose only similarity to you is that you both celebrate the very meaning of life... I don't think I'll be able to do this if I'm in my midage.

I don't see myself joining the busload full of tourists. I travel for the thrill of it.

I am in a rush and this can only be fixed by a bohemian trip where I am allowed to charter my own course and to follow my own road. It maybe the path less taken but I'm sure it'll all be worth it.

For the next few months, I'll be posting a series of entries about the great trip which I am about to embark... the diary of a true bohemian.

I'll be with other travellers this time and just like Che said - "This won't be a tale of heroic feats. It's about lives running parallel for a while, with common aspirations and similar dreams".

Join us in spirit.