Victim of modernity

(Yes, lens flare. Thanks, JJ Abrams.)

For the last two weeks, two Santacruzans passed by our place (one per week). Both of them were sad images of the current times.

I used to remember Santacruzans of old. Growing up in the metropolis, these events were refreshing, a gust of fresh air to clear the stale atmosphere left by modernity and a hectic lifestyle. Every weekend of May, we looked forward to Saturday nights. They used to be grandiose spectacles – bright, cheery, and smoky. Yes, smoky, as they use firecrackers in these parades (I dunno what were kwitis for, but lusis I could understand). There were karosas with generator sets after them, exuding light in the dim road. There were young men in barong, dashing but most of the time a bit awkward or shy (or both). There were young women in white gowns, their smiles as bright as the sparklers, waving their hands as if competing in a beauty pageant. There were the busy moms, attending to their sons and daughters, like stage moms do.

After the parade, the busy road became dark and dreary, the way it was ever since. It remains dark and dreary during nights.

After twenty years or so, we moved to a different city. The atmosphere is different. There is no busy road, but it can be dark and dreary from time to time. Time rolls so slowly yet it passes quickly you’d not notice it. Poverty is more pronounced, more obvious. The improving economy always has its victims, and I wonder if this place is one of them.

Last week, when I heard that there would be a Santacruzan (and a niece would be part of it), I took my camera and prepared for a night shoot. I am not fond of using the flash, but I thought the lighting would help. I was wrong. A cousin borrowing a rechargeable flashlight was a sign.

It was a sad spectacle. No more fancy karosas with gensets. No more torches. Heck, no candles. Some relied on streetlights (and you know how reliable these are). Some managed to scrounge up rechargeable lamps and flashlights. There were occasional kwitis, which had no purpose but to announce the incoming pageantry of patheticness.

What were worse were the participants. They looked apathetic, bored, obviously forced by their moms to wear these uncomfortable clothes. Heck, a man was texting while walking, clad in a barong, unmindful of the woman whose left hand was in the man’s right arm. The girls were not smiling. It was pathetic.

Yesterday was another Santacruzan. This time it was late afternoon, so I had the benefit of fading daylight. But it was no different. It was a repeat of last week, only with daylight. The daylight did nothing to lighten up the mood. The walking young men and women were still wearing frowns, while the stage moms were laughing like crazy in a barangay van.

What a change twenty years have done.


Angels and Demons

Producers of Amazing Race should watch Angels and Demons and take notes.

Forget the factual errors. People, this is a work of fiction, despite the author’s claims of facts. Ignore that claim, so that at least you could enjoy this movie. See, strip yourself of these assumptions, and the movie’s kinda entertaining. Besides, most of the people who had read the book claimed that the movie is better.

The basics: Harvard professor Robert Langdon was summoned to the Vatican to solve a mystery. The Illuminati sows terror on the Vatican by kidnapping 4 cardinals and planting a bomb that could decimate the entire city of Rome. Then an Amazing Race of sorts revealed that the enemy is within.

The first hour or so was rather tedious and tiring, and the Amazing Race section was a bit fun to watch (because they were always too late). The movie will keep you guessing who the antagonist is – unless you have read the book, that is. But if you had read the book, there were changes made that will surprise you.

The scenes were marvelous though most of them were shot on soundstages, but they were almost real! It was as if you were down in the grottos when they opened the tomb of the deceased Pope. I had seen pictures of this section of the Vatican, and the scene looked as if they were indeed below St. Peter’s Basilica.

The music was rather flat, a surprisingly flaccid output from Hans Zimmer. I was expecting more choral works, bordering on the sacred. It is understandable that this is a suspense movie, but still…

Overall, this is a good movie to see, as it is entertaining enough. Just sit back and enjoy, stop “intellectualizing” while watching the movie. Looking for errors would only spoil the fun.

Speaking of errors, there are loads of pages on the internet regarding errors of this movie/novel. I’d like to point out two issues. The first one was the appointment of a mere priest as the camerlengo. This position has always been assigned to a cardinal, true. But a Pope can always change this, as much as Gregory VII dissolved the office of Archdeacon (predecessor to the current office of the camerlengo).

Next, which was not pointed out yet (as of this writing, or maybe I haven’t scrounged them all): the scene where they opened the deceased Pope’s tomb. In the current practice, the body is encased in three coffins. The first is made of cypress, the second, of lead, and the third coffin, made of elm. In the movie, it was obvious that only one coffin was used. (As a note, the disfigured face shown was similar to what had happened to Pius XII).


Krispy Kreme, then and now

Previously, I wrote about my first Krispy Kreme experience. That was almost a year ago, and for the past few weeks I had been in the same store, eating donuts and drinking root beer, while swapping stories with an officemate.

I thought that what I was eating mirrored that of life in general, and particularly life in the workplace and the economy.

Last year, I bought a Hershey’s Cookies and Cream donut:

A few days ago, I bought that particular donut:

Spot the difference. And yes, that’s how life has been since last year.


Star Trek 2009 impressions

I was looking forward to watching the new Star Trek movie ever since rumors of a new movie (and a reboot) surfaced three years ago. I am not the in-the-details fan (though I like details), but enough of a fan to be worried about diverting from the established canon. I was following the news (via TrekMovie.com), from the official announcement by Paramount, to the introduction of the cast and creative team, to the release of the official trailer. I was glad when they casted Leonard Nimoy, and saddened that William Shatner was not in the movie.

So, seating at the third row from the back of San Miguel – Coca Cola iMax Theater at SM Mall of Asia last Monday with silent anticipation, I was wondering about what would I see. When I saw the stars of the Paramount logo, I sat back, relaxed and prepared myself for surprises.

They said that it is not your father’s Star Trek. And indeed it is not.

I was staring at the screen, my brain embroiled in conflicting thoughts. A part of me winced for every fabric of Star Trek becoming alien to me; a part was awed by the beauty of what I saw; a part was annoyed by what I thought was unnecessary lens flares; a part was laughing at the jokes; and a part was relieved that the movie was glorious.

Relief: that was the emotion that I had felt when the end credits began. The use of Alexander Courage’s Star Trek theme at the end credits, I think, is testament to the creative team’s effort to honor what has been done. Yet, the reboot was nicely done, and I am sure those new to the franchise would appreciate the movie without getting turned off by technobabble. Only the die-hard, strict-stickler-to-canon Trekkers would diss the movie. In the end, I thought that the movie should be judged by itself, without the baggage of canon. Besides, it was an exciting and exhilarating adventure.

But still, it would take time to get used to the changes. The Apple-store like bridge, for example. And the engineering section looked like it was in the building basement, not in a starship. Also, I found the uniforms in Starfleet Academy more cool than those worn in a starship. Some of the changes were radical, what we have now is a revolution, the Star Trek world topsy-turvy.

I find the antagonist to be weak. Eric Bana’s acting was so low-key, you would have thought he was not the villain. He should have brought more anger even if in a subdued way. The character was just not angry enough. The fact is that I find the villain’s motive to be kinda lame (and it was already done before – Khan Noonian Singh, is that you?).

Michael Giacchino’s score was glorious. I am not familiar with his music, and when he was announced as the one who’d score the movie, I was ambivalent. Sure, he did Ratatouille and some TV shows, but for me, an epic score is a John Williams, a Jerry Goldsmith, a Hans Zimmer. Well, I was proven wrong, and now I am looking for the OST. I was used to hearing a strain of Courage or Goldsmith’s theme at the start of a Star Trek movie, and when the new movie started, I was a bit disappointed and thought that it was really a hard reboot. The music at the end credits, like the movie itself assuaged this thought.

I find the reboot clever. Lest I spoil the movie for you, I think the idea for the plot was a win-win idea from JJ Abrams and the writers. If the story line bombed (but not that much), they could always explain it away and then make another one that is more in line with the canon.

To conclude, Star Trek is a thoroughly enjoyable film, which old fans and those new to the franchise can appreciate. Go see it. And if you can, watch it on iMax.


PlurkLakbayan 09 – The Paranacue Tour

It’s been a running joke. That Plurkfiestas always happen at northern Metro Manila, to the consternation and detriment of plurkers based down south. (For this post’s purpose, south refers to southern Metro Manila area that can be reached by the South Luzon Expressway or SLEX).  But it cannot be helped. Traffic at SLEX is just horrible, even on weekends. So some plurkers have been planning of going south. Actually, there was a PlurkLakbayan Alabang edition last December 2008, but no plurker from the south joined the trip, so another one is needed.

Taking advantage of a needed business meeting in Alabang, Gareon invited plurkers Jenijenjen, Juned, and me to Alabang and Parañaque for some food trip. This time, we made sure that a south-based plurker will join us, and Jayvee consented to be our tour guide of sorts he he.

Two hours late, no thanks to the infamous SLEX traffic, Jayvee met us at Cafe Año for a very late lunch (at around 2:30 pm). We wanted to try Kanin Club (which we had tried last December at Sta. Rosa), but they close at 2PM, so no dice. Anyway, food at Cafe Año is good, though they can be a bit pricey. I got their Pork Belly Adobo for Php 385. The pork was cooked adobo-style then fried. It was served with rice, achara, and a slice of tomato (which I gave to Jen). I was afraid that the pork was tough, since most fried pork tend to be tough; I was surprised it was very tender. Since this is pork belly, those who watch their blood pressure should probably avoid this dish. Though I can’t blame you if you order this one – it is sinfully delicious.

Anyway, Gareon got lengua (delicious – I took a bite); Juned got a bowlful of callos; Jen got a pasta with a big green pepper (the kind that you put in sinigang) above the past; Jayvee got the beef salpicao, which Juned graciously devoured since Jayvee couldn’t finish it. We had chorizos and a cheese platter for appetizers. The blue cheese is scary, and it has a nasty aftertaste.

Gareon went off to his meeting, so the remaining plurkers decided to wait at BoNa Coffee Company. There, we found Seav waiting for us.

This sign was appropriate, specially for Juned.

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Anyway, this was not the first time we went to BoNa – the PlurkLakbayan Alabang edition started at BoNa. For the second time, the item I ordered wasn’t available (Vanilla Bean Smoothie). The barista instead recommended hazelnut smoothie. I kinda missed the bubblegum smoothie, though.

We sat outside, talking about anything. Juned was thinking of recording a podcast, but the ambiance was not perfect – there was construction going on, and then it was raining. The rain was a good excuse to go inside. Jayvee then suggested to Jen to install Games of the Generals for iPod touch (I had the misfortune of leaving my iPod touch at home, but I had the headphone in my bag, boo). So the two played via Wi-Fi, with Eugene advising Jen. Guess who lost.

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Gareon’s meeting over, we moved to the second leg of the tour. We had dinner at Twentyone Plates at BF, Parañaque. The restaurant was so named because they have 21 dishes to offer. The place was a house converted into a restaurant. The garage was converted into an al fresco style dining area, and some of the rooms inside were converted into private dining rooms, sort of like function rooms. We got assigned in the so-called Library room, so named because one of the walls have bookshelves. I’d rather call it the cellar, because there were more beer/wine bottles than books.

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For appetizers, Jayvee ordered this kimchi roll, which I had wisely avoided, since it’s kimchi (read: it’s spicy hot). For whatever reason, Gareon kept on breaking the rolls that he got using chopsticks, while the others did not. All of them liked these kimchi rolls; they are weird people, like all others who like spicy food.

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The next appetizer was this feta cheese, which was fried in olive oil, and four bread pieces. (Yes, there are four, but someone got hungry and took one; guess who?) I took a small bite of the cheese. Nothing extraordinary.

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I ordered this callos for Php 265. Cheap, only that it was bland; Gareon said it had no taste. Pity. Also, at this point my stomach chose to grumble and rumble. The toilet for men was somehow broken, and I was rather shy of using the facilities for women, so there.

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Jen got this spicy chicken thingie. Spicy. End of story.

Seav got this pasta dish, which he said was OK. The others got steak. What could go wrong with steak, specially if it’s very affordable (at Php 5++)? Well, Gareon and Juned ordered their steak rare, but only a small portion of their steaks were rare. Well, it’s still steak, so I am sure it’s delicious. For drinks, we got their bottomless iced tea. It was a mystery for us. The taste got better during the second pitcher. No explanation was offered.

Across the street, Gareon was curious about the Miracle Spa (who wouldn’t). Seriously. That got everyone interested in getting a massage, and I was the only holdout. I had to be taken with arms flailing and legs kicking, and I found myself at the dim lobby of Wensai Spa (don’t ask me how we got there and not Miracle Spa). Anyway, as compromise, I had a foot spa instead of a massage. It was my first time, and I found it calming. The masseur (the only one who was available at the moment, which says a lot about the popularity of the place) was courteous; he even asked me to tell him if I feel any discomfort. I think he knew it ws my first time, as he guided my feet into that tub. I almost fell asleep, but I was busy plurking.

Also, I took the opportunity to use their toilet (hihihi).

On our way to Twentyone Plates, we noticed that spa places were like sari-sari stores; there are plenty of them along that main road. The area must be the spa capital of Parañaque. Business must be good. Also, many of them cater to Koreans, evidenced by billboards in Korean.

Gareon got hungry after the massage, so off we went to Cafe Francais. The place was quaint; the building was concrete, but the table and chairs were old, antique-looking (but definitely not antique). Funny thing is, the non-smoking area was at the inner-most area; Gareon says this is expected, since the owner is a French man.

I was not in the mood to eat (what with the toilet episodes earlier), so I got an iced tea shake (at Php 145 pesos, not cheap); besides, it was almost 1AM. Jen got coffee, Jayvee fries and San Mig Light, Juned sausages and Cerveza Negra, and Gareon spaghetti with meatballs. Everyone expressed satisfaction with their food; Gareon said the spaghetti was good (count how many time the word “good” was used in this post).

The tour ended with us departing back to the north. Our thanks to Jayvee for playing gracious and very patient host. There will be a next time, I guess.

The trip home (and the trip going south) was laughter galore, with entertainment provided by Juned, with his interpretation of music blaring in the car. Jen had contributed to the laugh trip. Unfortunately, everything is off the record. Sorry.

Now the only remaining place to visit is the east Metro Manila.

PS: My only regret is that we haven’t tried Elfav. Maybe next time.

(All photos taken using Olympus E-420. All the pictures are posted at PlurkLakbayan 09 – The Paranacue Tour album over at Ovi.)


KO laughter with K.O.3an guo

I rarely watch TV. Those rare moments are usually limited to the news or some good movies, with some bits of Iron Chef America and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I got tired of ICA, and EMHE dulled me with replays, so that’s less time with the TV.

And you will never see me watch those imported, Tagalog-dubbed shows, whether eastern or western fare.

But some of you knows that I like playing Dynasty Warriors, which is loosely based on Sanguo yanyi (aka Romance of the Three Kingdoms). The games led me to read RoTK online (the complete volume is expensive and is not available locally. I like it eversince.

Which led me to watch this new Taiwanese TV show called K.O.3an guo.

I cannot remember how I found out about this show, but I have been watching it online for the past weeks. Most online descriptions say the show is a spoof of Sanguo yanyi, but I prefer the phrase “inspired by.” What hooked on this show is the way it took inspiration from Sanguo yanyi. The show is funny, sometimes just plain weird, and most of the time some plot points are lost on the way. I like the cartoonish effects; they remind me of that old Batman series.

So Guan Yu and Zhang Fei got expelled from their 24th school because they got into trouble all the time. Then they saw shrewd Liu Bei being harassed by some people, and the two went to his rescue. Upon learning of their predicament, Liu Bei decided to be sworn brother with them so that they could enroll at a royal school (Liu Bei being of royal blood), on the condition that they pay his tuition.

Off they go to a temple for the famous oath at the peach garden. Meanwhile, some people from another dimension (Iron) visited the Silver (local dimension), and a single misstep caused some changes in the dimension, causing one of the dimension travelers to switch persons with Liu Bei. And from there the story shifts to the school, where students defend their school against other schools.

Too bad the show appeals to womenfolk more, what with all those good loooking men. There are two token women for the menfolk – not surprising, since Sanguo yanyi is not replete with women characters. Setting aside that slight, this is a good show to watch – it’s funny, and references to Sanguo yanyi are cool. It’s currently being shown in Taiwan, and there’s an English-subbed version somewhere on the Internet. You know how to google.


Saan Ba Tayo Ihahatid ng Disyembre review

Last night I saw Philippine Educational Theater Association‘s 41st season closing play, Saan Ba Tayo Ihahatid ng Disyembre?, Tony Perez’s play to close his second trilogy of plays. This is my first theater play for the year, and it was a jarring start, to say it mildly.

The set was minimal but surreal. Colors were limited to black and white, with red for emphasis. There was a hole at stage right where one of the characters just popped out from time to time. And there was a small pool of water at the middle, not apparent till the last act of the play. The central motif was an Advent wreath. The central table was uneven, taller at an end.

The set was designed to emphasize the surrealness of the story itself. The first part of the play (just before the interval) can confuse most viewers, but this confusion is necessary to drive home the point of the play. The second part brings clarity to the confusion of the first part, a dramatic twist to end the story.

The story is heavy and serious; the play is heavy on dialogue. Humor is scattered throughout the play, bringing some light moments to an otherwise serious scenes.

The actors that night did well, as the alternating characters can be tough to play out. Most of these alternating parts happen in the same scene, adding challenge to the already tough dialogue. Alison Segarra as Isa Pang Babae, playing alternately as Angelique and Miriam, spoke clearly on some parts but there were times when her lines were unclear for the hearing, specially when mouthing scientific verbiage. Angeli Bayani as Babae was wonderful, mataray when needed, frail and weak when needed. She conveyed the role of conflicted lover very well.

Lex Marcos startled me when he first appeared on stage. I thought I saw Edu Manzano! Anyway, his was another challenging, dual personality role, and the second part was specially a killer (though he did get to lie down for around 10 minutes he he). His voice was clear enough though there were several instances of unclear dialogue and flubbed lines. Jack Yabut exuded confidence with the material, and his was the most challenging role physically. Imagine wading in the pool of water for 15 minutes – and the PETA Phinma Theater is cold. His acting is the best among the cast – solid performance from him last night.

The lighting design was curious and eerie. The placement of the canvas stand and the light at its back is deliberate. Look at the backdrop stage right, the shadow is there all the time. Gave me goosebumps. Otherwise, I thought the lighting was subdued.

I was divided on the use of projector. It could be helpful (specially when the actors were delivering scientific jargon), but the fact that the word and the delivered lines were not in sync was distracting.

The play is long (2 hours and 5 minutes), so better relieve yourselves before getting inside the theater. And it’s a bit cold, too, so don’t wear summer clothes inside.

(Ticket is Php 300, and the play runs till March 16, 2009 at the PETA Theater, 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City. Call 7256244 for inquiries or visit their Web site.)

(Thanks, Arpee, for the invite!)

Some stage mockups (found at the lobby of the theater):


Valkyrie movie review

Movies with known endings are not attractive to most viewers. After all, you already know beforehand how the movie would end, so there’s no incentive to watch it. Movies based on history suffer from this prejudice. And most movies based on history had to take a creative license just to make them interesting (hence the fact the this genre is best left to be presented as a documentary). Not interesting = boring, a formula that most movie goers would avoid.

Fortunately for Valkyrie, this was not the case.

This movie is a classic example of a movie with a known ending (that is, if you know your history). You know that in the end, Claus von Stauffenberg (the character played by Tom Cruise) would die. The plot to kill Adolf Hitler (played by David Bamber) would fail. Yet the movie worked.

I think in my case, I approached the watching of the film this way: I am curious on how the movie will present von Stauffenberg’s story. And here the movie found its success – it was a gripping film, with the way the suspense was made. I couldn’t help but wince when some of the characters dilly-dally; I couldn’t help but curse silently when the first attempt failed due to indecisiveness. I was actually hoping that the plot would succeed even if I already know it won’t. And the ending was draining, but with an ironic consolation that I had not grasped when I first found out about von Stauffenberg.

Director Bryan Singer and scripwriters Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander presented the story in an engaging way, without much deviation with historical facts. John Ottman’s editing is tight, and his score subdued on most parts. Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise, so we’ll have to excuse his acting. But the supporting cast assembled for this film is a powerhouse. Who could go wrong in casting Kenneth Branagh (who looked like Ewan MacGregor), Tom Wilkinson, Terrence Stamp (regal as always, the male Judy Dench), and Bill Nighy. When I saw Nighy, I almost shouted “Viktor!”, in reference to his character in the movie Underworld. Brilliant actor, I must say.

Overall, your two hours will be well spent watching this movie. You can learn some lessons from the movie, not the least history of the German resistance to the Nazi regime. And of course, it is a cautionary tale for us: apathy will lead us to no good.


Cervical cancer is preventable

I had attended a forum about cervical cancer last August 29, 2008. Held at Mi Piace, The Peninsula Manila, bloggers were introduced to the facts about cervical cancer, some grim statistics, and some hope on preventing this cancer.

Dr. Ricardo Manalastas, professor at the UP College of Medicine and chief of the Infectious Disease Service in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Philippine General Hospital, taught us the basics of this disease and told us what we can do about cervical cancer.

This cancer all begins with the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is a common virus, and about 100 types, most of which are harmless. They do not show noticeable symptoms and will go away on their own. About 30 of these types infect the male and female genital areas. Even if there are no signs or symptoms, it can be transmitted to others.

High-risk types of HPV include types 16, 18, 31, and 45. If infection by these types persists, it can lead to cervical cancer and other cancers of the genital area.

Cervical cancer develops in the cervix, the part that connects the womb and the vagina. It develops when abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix begin to multiply out of control in response to HPV infection. Abnormal cervical cells can gather to form a lump called a tumor.  Benign (non-cancerous) tumors do not spread and usually are not harmful.  Malignant (cancerous) tumors, however, spread from their sources and grow into life-threatening cancer.

A WARNING ON THIS PICTURE: Graphic image. I have blurred this image. To see the clear image, clickity-click. You have been warned.

In 2002, there were 6,000 new cases of cervical cancer reported here in the Philippines, and 4,349 deaths due to this cancer were reported. Worldwide, cervical cancer is the second-most common cancer affecting women and the second-leading cause of cancer death in women.

Women who are in their 40s and 50s tend to get cervical cancer. Women in poor communities are in greater risk because they do not get to undergo cervical cancer screening like Pap smear. A Pap smear is a simple test that can detect abnormal or cancerous cervical cells. Dr. Manalastas emphasized on yearly Pap smear tests, since this could lead to less cervical cancer deaths. And since precancerous changes and early cancers of the cervix generally do not cause pain or other symptoms, a Pap test is needed detect cervical pre-cancers or cancers at a stage when they can be treated most effectively.

As the cancer progresses, one or more of the following symptoms may be noticed:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding:
    • Bleeding that occurs between regular menstrual periods
    • Bleeding after sexual intercourse, douching or a pelvic exam
    • Menstrual periods that last longer and are heavier than before
    • Bleeding after menopause
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

There are several ways to treat cervical cancer. It can be treatable, but it can get expensive at the advanced stages of the cancer. For pre-invasive stage 0 (when the cancer has affected only the outer layer of the lining of the cervix), treatment may include the following:

  • Laser surgery uses a laser beam to destroy abnormal cells.
  • Cryosurgery destroys cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions by freezing them.
  • Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a thin wire loop (through which an electrical current is passed) to cut away an area of abnormal cells from the cervix.
  • Conization surgically removes a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix.

For stages 1-4 (when the cancer has penetrated into the cervix and possibly to other tissues and organs), treatment may include the following:

  • Radiation uses high-energy rays to shrink tumors by destroying the cancer cells’ ability to reproduce.
  • Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs which reach all areas of the body to kill cancer cells, including those that have spread to distant organs.
  • Hysterectomy can be performed two ways, depending on the extent of the cancer: 1) Simple hysterectomy is the removal of the cancer, the cervix and the uterus.  2) Radical hysterectomy involves the removal of the cervix, the uterus, part of the vagina and lymph nodes in the area.

Cervical cancer can be prevented if Pap tests are administered regularly. There is also a vaccine that prevents cervical cancer, but it can be very expensive.

Dr. Manalastas believes that the best form of prevention is keeping oneself informed. I agree.

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The Eraserheads Reunion Concert 2008

(NB: It is spelled Eraserheads. Get that?)

I like the Eraserheads, I’m not a big fan as Influential Fritz is, but I really like them. I mean, I have their tapes – Ultraelectromagneticpop, Circus (my favorite), Cutterpillow, Fruitcake – and I enjoyed singing them in the banyo. No, not a big fan to kill for tickets, not a big fan to shell out monies to watch a concert, but a fan still, I guess.

When the hoopla regarding the Eraserheads Reunion Concert began, I was mildly interested but not enough to say I WANNA WATCH. Even when a cigarette company began taking registrations for FREE tickets, I did not move an inch. Maybe I was lazy, or maybe I was kinda turned off by this move. When the concert was almost canceled thanks to Department of Health (which I think is in the right), I felt bad for big fans like Fritz. But when the plans were changed and the show was a go, well, it was great for big fans, even if they have to shell out monies.

Then Ely Buendia’s mother died. That for me is a very good reason to cancel the concert, yet the show must go on. For this, I must commend Mr. Buendia – a true artist believes that the show must go on, and with his decision, he has shown that he is an artist and an entertainer. (Some part of me says it’s all about the money, but there’s nothing wrong with earning your bread, right?).

Yet, I was there. How did that happen?

It was a convoluted story that does not need retelling, but suffice to say that I was there.

I had two first-moments last night:

  • It was my first open-air concert ever.
  • It was my first Eraserheads concert ever.

When the first countdown ended, the reaction was all cheers. And then they played. And played. And played. And oh boy. It was like a huge videoke session, with the audience singing along. And all those cellphones! And digital cameras! And straight-from-the-box bottled water and iced tea!

After the last song of the first set, Ely sat in exhaustion, which for me was understandable. Was surprised that there was intermission. Twenty minutes had passed and no Eraserheads came out. Then the three members came out, together with a lady and the promoter. The lady turned out to be Ely’s brother, who announced that Ely was rushed to the hospital. The concert was cut short.

My favorite songs were not played. I was wishing for Wishing Wells (they played Fruitcake, so there’s a slim chance it would be played). I thought Minsan would be the most apt finale. But it was not meant to be.

The Eraserheads defined a generation. Witness the thousands of people who saw them play for probably the last time. This was the generation that grew up in the dark due to those interminable power outages. This was the generation that began exploring their world. This was the generation that was seeking answers to their questions. This was the Eraserheads generation.

The Eraserheads heralded the explosion of the bands into the mainstream of pop. They spearheaded the invasion of the bands into the popular consciouness. Sure, there were better bands, but the Eraserheads captured the people’s attention.

Hence, the Eraserheads’ place in history is fixed.

My Plurk during the concert: Countdown to start of eheads reunion concert begins. 7:54

You may also want to read other accounts of the concert:

UPDATE: Here is a video of the countdown and the first song, Alapaap. Taken using Sony Ericsson P1i.

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