Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Gray Matters mug shot

Here are the photos from my Gray Matters Project session.

I really had a hard time deciding on what to write on the board. (We were supposed list the things on our mind.) Of course I think about family, friends and the Miss Universe pageant, but this question is really what I have in mind 24/7. If you've found the answer to this question, then you're blessed. You may now chart the course of your life :-)

Oh and I also hate chalk. And I have an awful handwriting, lol.

There were close to 40 participants, raising over P40,000 for Jason's treatment. A second session will be scheduled soon.

To know more about the project, visit

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mr Gay World 2011 is South Africa

This news is two weeks old :-P but still, I thought I'd share the news: South Africa won Mr Gay World 2011.

CM by Carlos Melia |

I was actually rooting for USA, who looked dashing in a Barong Tagalog, but he ended up as first runner-up:

CM by Carlos Melia |

My other fave, New Zealand, ended up in the Top 5.

CM by Carlos Melia |

I was delighted to know that Mr Gay World also has a national costume competition. And as in Miss Universe, there were hits and misses.

Mr. Spain looked dashing as a matador:

CM by Carlos Melia |

Mr. India was regal in his pagri and kurta:

CM by Carlos Melia |

Mr. Czech Republic looked cute too.

CM by Carlos Melia |

Mr. USA's was one of the misses:

CM by Carlos Melia |

Mr. Canada, ang super hero ng mga becky, lol!

CM by Carlos Melia |

Pero eto na, di ko kinaya ang ate nyo from Hong Kong. Gayahin ba si Miss Venezuela?! LOL!

CM by Carlos Melia |

Miss Venezuela at Miss Universe 2010

But in fairness, I think it's justified since this reminds me of one of the famous buildings in Hong Kong, and perhaps, one of the most recognizable in the world, the Bank of China Tower.

Now can you guess who won Best in Costume?

When I learned that Philippines won, all I could think about was 'luto.' But when I saw the photos, I have to say achieve na achieeeeve. I love it!

From carabao:

CM by Carlos Melia |

to tadaaaaan!

CM by Carlos Melia |


Again, it's too bad the event didn't get as much mileage as I hoped for, even if Mr. Gay World 2010 spoke about the alarming HIV statistics in the country (Mr. Gay World prods Philippine gov’t on AIDS); and the contestants' visit to a Gawad Kalinga baranggay.

Although I'm happy that our mayor gave keys to the city to the Mr Gay World Organization. Yey Mandaluyong, where you can buy condoms without a doctor's prescription!

Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos in red
CM by Carlos Melia |

Next year's event will be held in South Africa.

Never say

... you're never gonna watch Justin Bieber's movie because that's what I said and I had to eat my words last night when I finally did see the movie, Never Say Never.

In 3D.

The movie is essentially a biopic: Justin is only 16 so that fits quite easily into a two-hour movie. It chronicles how he was raised by a single mother and her grandparents; showed immense musical talents as a child; became a hit in the local community; and eventually rose to fame in YouTube. Having only been a professional artist in a year, will he be able to successfully mount a concert at Madison Square Garden?

Despite the many materials on Justin—all those family photos home videos, and interviews, YouTube clips, tweets, radio guestings, amateur competitions, and media reports—it was a tightly and well-edited film, making creative use of fan videos, concert tour performances, and documentary-style interviews. I can only imagine how fans must have screamed/squirmed/giggled in their seats while watching the film: 3D technology sure has made Justin so unbearably close and life-like, especially in that segment wherein they discussed his famous/infamous hair.

Now I have to say, I did deride Justin Bieber fans on Twitter for professing undying love for who I personally think looks like a lesbian. (Not that it's wrong to profess love for a lesbian.) However, after seeing the movie, I'd be happy to lay off the Bieber jokes. I can't count the number of times I was impressed by his talent every time they showed his home videos. I also love that he still sleeps at his grandparents' house, keeps in touch with his childhood friends, and that when he heard Madonna comment on how the industry robbed Michael Jackson of his childhood, he told his manager to "not let that happen to me." He also works very hard (or pwede ding works out very hard—when the movie showed him shirtless, the young boy behind us couldn't help but blurt out, "Wow, big muscles." Awkward.) and would definitely put the many starlets, who bank on nothing but celebrity status and fame-whoring, to shame.

Needless to say I love this movie, and I now like Justin Bieber :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The chaff and the wheat

I laughed so hard when I read this on my mobile phone yesterday; too bad I couldn't update my blog immediately.

Prominent Filipino newspaper columnist Carmen Navarro Pedrosa became a prime example of what she ranted about. Warning Filipino readers not to be gullible, she then proceeded to unwittingly cite fake statistics from a satirical blog.

In her From A Distance column in the March 26 issue of The Philippine Star, Pedrosa expressed concern over the purported findings of a Harvard University study, which claimed that Filipinos are "the most gullible people in the world."

'A serious allegation'

"This is a serious allegation we should not ignore... we better take it seriously," she said.

The problem is that the supposed Harvard study — including its "content analyses of over 500,000 historical documents from 300 different societies" by the "Harvard Institute of Socio-Political Progression (HIS-PP)"— is entirely fictitious, the work of recently founded satirical blog

Apparently, the satirical nature of the post was lost on Pedrosa, who concluded her piece by saying, "We are gullible because we are not able or do not question information. We prefer to believe what other persons tell us."
* * * * 

Originally posted on March 15, 2011:

"... from birth to death, we aren’t taught to question the prevailing wisdom."
 iwriteasiwrite on yesterday's hoax text message

I blew my top on Twitter yesterday:

However, I'd like to think that this was the result of a series of unfortunate incidents.

Since February, a new Tumblr account, Mosquito Press, has been getting some attention. Its particular entry, "29% of Filipinos think ‘People Power’ is title of talent show that launched Kris Aquino into stardom—survey" made the rounds of Facebook and Twitter, posted with comments from Pinoys who know nothing but to criticize, whine and hate. Comments that just have to say something negative about Kris Aquino. Comments that spat on the memory of EDSA.

Since they are losers, I doubt if they realized that the joke was on them. If only they used their brains, or sige, kahit wala ng brains, if only they scrolled down to the bottom of the website, they would have read the disclaimer that Mosquito Press is a satirical blog. (I checked the site as I was writing this and the disclaimer is now gone; I actually like it better that way. My reason later.)

In any case, I opted to bite my lip. Even if I'd still occasionally see people post Mosquito Press news, believe them to be true and include some smart-ass comment, I still bite my lip.

So when a well-meaning friend forwarded me that now infamous radiation-slash-Betadine text message for verification (if there had been indeed, a nuclear meltdown), I just had to... let off some steam. I was angry, not at the original source or at my friend, but at the persons who were gullible enough to even believe them and pass them forward.

That was yesterday noon. Imagine my incredulity when I learned this morning that some schools actually canceled their classes because of the text message. Juice ko, nakaka-high blood!!! Good luck na lang talaga sa bansa natin. Bago tayo mamatay sa radiation, baka mauna pa tayong mamatay sa kabobohan ng ibang tao dyan. I can't even say, "ng ilang tao dyan," because it reached to a point that again, classes had to be suspended!  (On a related note, can the Department of Education close down these schools?! Seriously.)

So I learned about that and a few minutes later, I saw this 'news' item from Mosquito Press: "Harvard study finds that Filipinos are the world’s most gullible people." It was funny until I read the many comments from readers. Comments such as this:

This article is JUNK!

#1 - What is the Gump Index? Google it... if this is indeed a Harvard study as you said... then why is it that nothing comes up on the search results? Is there even such an index?

#2 - You wrote, "Filipinos scored 1,344,399 points, placing it first, ahead of the Trojans of 12th Century BC, who scored 1,086. “The gross Trojan Gump Index was higher than Filipinos’, but it was offset by the fact that the Trojans are a dead civilization,” said Dawson."

WHAT? Does this paragraph even make sense to you? How is it possible that "The gross Trojan Gump Index was higher than Filipinos" when as you wrote Filipinos scored 1,344,399 points while the Trojans scored only 1,086. (so inconsistent...)

It was so long, it won't fit into a screenshot.

Nir Rosen said, "Twitter is not a place for nuance." I say the Philippines is not a place for subtlety. When the person behind you at the cinema begins to kick your seat and you turn around to glare at him, he won't get it. You'd need a machine gun to get your message across.

* * * * 
(Should make a good sociological, undergraduate study. Is it the Filipinos' lack of experience in satire? Is it the ever-pervasive intrusive Catholic presence? What ever happened to good old Maria Clara flirting? Why does everything have to be obvious? In a soap opera, you can immediately tell who the bad guy is in the first episode.) 
* * * *

Which is why I liked that Mosquito Press removed its disclaimer: I think we should repeatedly bombard people with informationboth true AND falsein the hope that eventually, we will all be forced to stop, think, assess and verify.

Yes to more satire.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I might as well be British

In this regard, at least:

Applying Carroll’s theories to Britons, you understand why foreigners think we are repressed. Americans won’t touch strangers, the French won’t talk to them, but Brits will neither touch nor talk to them. Passport to the Pub, a semi-official guide for foreign tourists to the UK, warns: “Don’t ever introduce yourself. The ‘Hi, I’m Chuck from Alabama’ approach does not go down well in British pubs.”

Nor are Britons permitted to make eye contact: the former French prime minister Edith Cresson, disconcerted that British men didn’t look at her, estimated that one in four was homosexual. No wonder Britons drink ever-increasing amounts of alcohol. Alcohol was first distilled so that British people could reproduce.

But I suppose being a little French wouldn't hurt; I just need to get over my apprehension with small talk. (By the way, where do you think Pinoys fall under? I think we're touchy and talkative (or nosy) with an overt eagerness to please aka 'hospitable' hence, there is no device left for some flirtation?)

Small talk with strangers and new acquaintances drains me; it makes my head hurt. Outside, I calmly sip my wine. Inside, I'm flapping about thinking of questions to ask. That or wishing I know someone in the room. It doesn't help that I read somewhere that it may now be considered impolite if you ask questions like, "What do you do?" or "Where do you work?"

Um, so "Who are you wearing?"

On a somehow related note, here's an article listing why introverted employees make the best leaders. I'm not sure about the second pointmeaningless chitchats are fun and welcome too in many circumstances but I can definitely relate to the rest:

  • They think first, talk later (In other words, they think before they speak.)
  • They focus on depth. They are drawn to meaningful conversations, not superficial chitchat, and they know how to ask great questions and really listen to the answers.
  • They exude calm. In times of crisis, they project a reassuring, calm confidence
  • They prefer writing to talking. This comfort with the written word often helps them better articulate their positions and document their actions.
  • They embrace solitude. The need to get away from people and recharge actually fuels their thinking, creativity and decision-making and, when the pressure is on, helps them be responsive, not reactive.


Full article: Don’t touch me, I’m British by Simon Kuper, Financial Times

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Gray Matters Mugshot Photo Session

On March 20 (Sunday), photographer Jill Lejano will hold the first "Gray Matters" photo session at Daylight Studio in Cubao X.


For P1,000 (student rate: P500),  two kinds of photographs will be taken of each participant:  their portrait and their special Gray Matters mugshot, wherein they will be asked to answer the question, "What's in your head?" Participants will be encouraged to upload their photos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networking sites to help spread awareness about brain cancer.

All proceeds from the photo session will be used to fund Jason Buera's treatment, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in December 2010.

To know more about Jason and this project, or to reserve a slot for the photo session, visit the Gray Matters Project website.

*Text and images were taken from the Gray Matters website.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Bb Pilipinas 2011

I just haven't blogged about it, but for the last three weeks, I've been obsessed following the Bb Pilipinas competition (finals night on April 10). Photos and videos and some contestants have made the rounds in various pageant websites and blogs but it was only yesterday when BPCI released the contestants' official headshots.

Here are my favorites for the Bb Pilipinas Universe crown:

The Underdogs:

Jenn-Roe Gubat is my Czarina Gatbonton of 2011. I think few people expected her to go as far as win the Bb Pilipinas - World but there was something about her during the Bb Pilipinas contest that made me root for her. (Unfortunately, I was no longer a fan when she went on to compete at Miss World.)

Miss Venezuela 1st runner-up Angela Ruiz
Jenn is not in major lists of favorites this year, although there are some who have listed her as a dark horse. Count me as one of them. She has fine chinita features and an impeccable posture (as I've seen in some of her videos). I think she should style herself in the same manner as 2010 Miss Venezuela favorite (and eventual first runner-up), Angela Ruiz of Monagas, who played up her eyes to look very contravida. On finals night, her jet-black hair was very sleek and parted in the middle.

Kathleen Subijano is the sister of Miss World 1994 finalist Cara Subijano. I like how cheery, spontaneous and genuine she has appeared in videos.

Mary Jean Lastimosa. You should see her body. It will drive men crazy.

The Contenders:

Few faces can be as exquisite and exotic as Diana Arevalo's. She competed in 2009 but failed to win a title, and looks like she has returned with a vengeance.

Seeing Ma. Paula Bianca Paz makes me chortle because according to Tammy, she looks like the female version of Raymond Fortun, lol! Another returning candidate, I have to say I love her fighting spirit -- she never fails to bring it in every Bb Pilipinas activity so far.

Martha Chloe McCulley was one of the ladies who modeled briefcases in the local version of Deal or No Deal. I initially liked her because she resembled Miss Universe 2007 3rd runner-up Honey Lee but I liked her even more when I saw one of her interviews: she makes sense. The only problem is that unlike most of the ladies, she isn't TH (trying hard) so she appears indifferent to the competition.

For The Win:

Shamcey Supsup is a magna cum laude graduate of the UP College of Architecture and was last year's topnotcher (!!!) in the architect licensure exam. Those are academic credentials that are hard to top.

The thing is, for the last 11 years (not sure with the years before that), no UP graduate has ever made it as a Miss Universe finalist, whether they be as gorgeous and smart as Fine Arts graduate Nina Alagao, and UP Law graduates Zorayda Andam and Teresa Licaros. It will be interesting to see if Shamcey will be able to break this curse should she win Universe.

During the screening, pageant fans criticized her for looking plain and boring. (She also looks like Chef Rosebud Benitez.)

And then this video surfaced, lol (she appears in the 0:07 mark):

Pano naging boring ang blue eyeliner ko with glitter-glitter effect? LOL. Ikaw na.

* * * *

These are only based on photos and the snippets of video clips I've seen. I'd get a better idea of my bets once the preliminaries are over, in about three weeks or so. See the rest of the finalists in the Bb Pilipinas website.

Monday, March 07, 2011


So. Earlier, I was looking at hotels in Hong Kong because I was trying to decide if I should spend my birthday week there. (By the way, I use for hotel booking transactions because I find the deals generally good; if you know a better site, please do share :-D)

As I was browsing through the roster, I stumbled on The Peninsula in Hong Kong, which of course, is a beautiful hotel with a lot of history as the Kowloon property is also The Peninsula's flagship hotel. Of course, as its crown jewel, accommodation doesn't come cheap: a room costs P20,000++ a night, at the least.

I clicked on the hotel as I fantasized how grandiose it would be to stay there. I entered pretend-dates to see how much an entire week of stay would amount to. It didn't show the total amount, but instead, it asked for my credit card details, which I duly entered. I was thinking, it would ask me for a final confirmation before the transaction is finalized.

I clicked enter. The next page sent shivers down my spine; pinagpawisan ako ng ice water ng bonggang bongga:

Dear XXX Jason XXX, your booking with Agoda is confirmed and complete. The hotel voucher was sent to your e-mail address. You must present it to the hotel at check-in. 

Ay pota. Downpayment ng sasakyan!!! LOL!

I scrambled to cancel my booking (which *I think* I successfully did; otherwise, you'd find me sipping afternoon tea at The Pen and then proceeding to Wan Chai at night for work, lol), albeit, I was charged US$15 for the cancellation. While I hated to see how the amount just vanished into thin air, I'm just grateful Agoda had a cancellation policy for this particular transaction. (Some don't, especially for promos, similar to those Cebu Pacific low-fare promos.)

Anyway, what a way to rouse me back to reality :-P

The Adjustment Bureau

  • Splendid acting from Matt Damon and Emily Blunt; I cannot imagine anyone else capable of giving credence to this sci-fi thriller without reducing the premise into incredulity. As a young Congressman running for Senator, this must be Matt's best role yet (though I haven't seen Good Will Hunting in a long while): I love how one look at him and you instantly get a feel of his character's narrative (my new word for the month :-D). Emily was flawlessit was easy to believe how one man would throw caution to the wind (apologies for the clichΓ©, I'm avoiding spilling a potential spoiler here) for this woman.
  • Awesome premise, albeit overused: destiny versus free will. Amusing in that 'God' was given a bureaucratic treatment, and thus, is referred to in the movie as 'The Chairman,' and hence, I keep imagining the face of our company's own CEO and Chairman, who does have a slight resemblance to the Western image of a catholic God. 'Angels' in this case appear as corporate drones ("We do need vacations," said one to the other) clad in suits and fedoras.
  • The ending was as trite as Hollywood can be, which was a shame.

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