Sunday, September 25, 2011

Who's That Girl?


After seeing her high school crush’s name on the obituaries, Elizabeth Pedrosa (Anne Curtis) heads straight to the wake and loudly expresses her grief and undeclared love for the guy. It is not until she sees the body in the coffin does she realize that it is the father, John Eduque Sr., who actually died and not the son (Luis Manzano). In the background, wife Belinda (Eugene Domingo), along with the many guests are flabbergasted leading them all to ask out loud, “Who’s that girl?!”

The movie is another example of a Wenn Deramas comedy that relies on exaggeration and overacting to deliver a point. The thing about this is that the trick is getting old. The said director has a movie out every year and the technique used is not changing at all, only the actors are. On second thought, most of the actors are recurring like Eugene Domingo and Deejay Durano, and even Anne Curtis. While the movie is enjoyable at some point, majority of the jokes fall flat and in the end you just laud the effort of the actors because you know they can do better and probably just wanted to do something light as a breather for their next big movie role. In Domingo’s case that would be her role in Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank. For Anne Curtis, it is her role in No Other Woman.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

[BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN] Budget and Itinerary

SUNDAY: September 18, 2011
Ferry (Labuan - BSB) - 35.00

Bus (BSB) - 2.00
Caffe Vito (Sweet & Sour Chicken w/rice + Pepsi + Choco Shake) - 9.10
Pusat Belia (2 nights/1 dorm bunk aircon) - 20.00
Jollibee (1 pc Chicken w/rice & Milo + Fries) - 5.55
Souvenir (Keychain x2) - 5.80
Caffe Vito (Fries and Pepsi) - 4.30

Monday, September 19, 2011

[BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN] The Filipino Invasion of Brunei

Forget any attempt trying to speak Malay with people who you might think are locals. Chances are, they are Pinoy too. Case in point: the bus driver. The money changer at Labuan gave me a hundred Brunei dollars and I forgot to ask him to break it into smaller denominations. Ending? I did not have small bills for the bus ride to BSB. So I negotiated with the bus driver, in Malay, that I would just pay in Malaysian ringgit. Halfway through the trip I suddenly heard people conversing in Tagalog. Lo and behold, it was the driver and the woman seated in front. The other guy whom I asked earlier on how long the trip would be also turned out to be Filipino. What were the odds!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

[SABAH] Budget and Itinerary (2)

FRIDAY: September 16, 2011
Taxi (Makati - NAIA 3) - 124.00
Travel Tax (NAIA 3) - 1,620.00
Terminal Fee (NAIA 3) - 750.00
Piattos (Cebu Pacific) - 50.00
Pepsi Can (Cebu Pacific) - 50.00
Banana Loaf (Cebu Pacific) - 50.00
Cebu Pacific (Manila - Kota Kinabalu) - 1,684.50

Saturday, September 17, 2011

[LABUAN] Brunei Through Labuan Via Ferry

Coming from the Philippines, first you have to get to Kota Kinabalu. Both Air Asia and Cebu Pacific have flights to those destination. Since most flights arrive in the late afternoon, you have to postpone your three hour Labuan trip until the next day. I suggest you stay at a guest house located near Jesselton Point, which will be your point of embarkation the next day.

[LABUAN] So There's a Chimney Made of Bricks

And then what? Labuan is really just stop over for me. I could have easily bought an Air Asia ticket to Miri and asked my parents to accompany me for a weekend Brunei getaway by car (they live an hour away from the border) but I really wanted to try the ferry from KK. Since my flight arrived in the late afternoon, I just went to Borneo BeacHouse to spend the night. I reached Labuan by ferry the next day during lunch time. For directions regarding the ferry, just refer to the Brunei Through Labuan Via Ferry article where the trip is discussed in detail.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Zombadings 1: Patayin Sa Shokot Si Remington


As a kid, Remington (Martin Escudero) used to make fun of homosexuals by calling them “Bakla! Bakla! Bakla!” straight to their faces. One day at the cemetery he meets his match when he gets hexed by a grieving gay played by none other than THE Roderick Paulate. Fifteen years later, Remington is almost turning 21 and behaves like the typical neighborhood bum: drinking in the middle of the day while chasing skirts. Meanwhile, his mother (Janice de Belen), a policewoman, is trying to solve a serial murder case in which all victims are gay. At the same time, Remington’s curse starts to manifest. Is he the next to fall prey to the serial killer terrorizing Lucban’s third sex population?

Most of what I am going to say here is in consensus with what various reviews have already stated. First of all let me join the bandwagon by saying that Escudero should be nominated for an acting award for his role in this movie. His transition from neighborhood bum to loud homosexual is so natural. There is no instance where it seems that he is faking it. The gradual shift in character is flawlessly achieved thanks to his nuanced performance, which does not seem technical at all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Receiving 1,500 Yen from Someone I Barely Know

In the end all the blame on this one would be on me. I just know it. You know how people would tell you that you should always be prepared, that you should always anticipate errors and misfortunes along the way, that what happens to you is entirely your fault. Sometimes fate uses some people as instruments to victimize you, to learn a lesson, as they would love to say. At times, this lesson comes to you in cahoots with giant worldwide banking companies or their fvcking machines that you just want to axe-kick, karate chop, kidney punch (I do not care if ATMs do not have kidneys), bitch slap ad nauseam, douse in gas, and set on fire. Sorry, I got carried away. So, what really happened? I almost got stranded in Osaka, that is what happened. What is my defense then, your honor?

[KANSAI] Budget and Itinerary

THURSDAY: September 8, 2011
Taxi (Makati - NAIA 3) - 117.50
Travel Tax (NAIA 3) - 1,620.00
Terminal Fee (NAIA 3) - 750.00
Cebu Pacific (Manila - Osaka) - 3,049.00

JR Kansai Airport Ltd. Express (Tennoji) - 1,030.00
JR Loop Line (Momodani) - 120.00
Bonsai Guest House (3 Nights/1 Bunk Aircon) - 7,500.00

Monday, September 12, 2011

[KYOTO] Geisha Hunting at Gion

It would have been nice had there been an actual Geisha apparition. Actually, there was one when I rounded a corner but it was more like a middle-aged woman in a kimono. Not one Geisha in full regalia in sight! Are they on day off? Are they fictional? Non-existent? Invisible? It’s funny because there was this Korean couple walking along with me who flagged down a taxi just to ask the driver where they could see a Geisha. Unfortunately I couldn’t understand their conversation. All I could fathom was the sign language where the woman was saying “Geisha! Geisha!” while doing walking gestures with her pointer and index finger. Funny. The taxi driver did not run us over but was explaining something in rapid Nihongo.

[KYOTO] The Golden Pavilion of Kinkakuji

What do you do with a Golden Pavilion? You pose in front of it! This is not a sequel of Despicable Me and you don’t have the high-tech gadgets to steal wonderful landmarks and display them incognito in your backyard. Of course, there is an entrance fee and they say that they are only open until five, which makes me wonder how I was able to spend around an hour in there despite coming in 30 minutes before closing.

[KYOTO] Simple Japanese Castles

My trip to Kyoto was supposed to take the whole day. I would ride the Metro at 6 AM and arrive there past 7 and have enough time for breakfast and some walking and whatever it is that needed to be done. I rode the MRT at 12:55 after a quick lunch at Yoshinoya. Should I even reiterate this on every blog post I am going to make? My case is hopeless, okay. Sleep is more of a priority for me. Sightseeing takes the backseat! WTF. After the train transfers I arrived at Nijo Castle at 2:15 PM, which gave me just enough time for a rushed tour because they close at 4 PM. Yipee! Amazing Race Kyoto!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

[OSAKA] Universal Studios Osaka

When I was a kid I found out from two cousins from the US that there exists a magical place called Disneyland where one can ride roller coasters and Ferris wheels. Later on I also found out about Universal Studios which they say is actually more exciting than Disney. Now as an adult I have experienced both, although they are not located in the United States. Hong Kong Disneyland is boring and not advisable for the thrill seeker even though one could not dismiss it as worthless because Disneyland HK is cool, in a sentimental and trip-down-memory-lane kind of way. Universal Studios Osaka is the place for adventurers. If you want thrill rides and jaw dropping effects laden live shows, this is the place for you. I haven’t been to Tokyo Disneyland by the way, so forgive me if I say that Universal Studios Osaka just overtook Everland in my book as the best theme park ever, again, if thrill is the sole criterion.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

[OSAKA] Why You Should Not Go to Denden Town

If you grew up playing game consoles such as Family Computer, SNES, N64, and PlayStation, you might want to skip Denden, or prepare some cash because I am telling you that you will be tempted to buy something! I was lingering around that store for an hour or two just looking for familiar games and getting amused at how cheap everything was. A recycled N64, for example, only costs 2,980 yen, which would be less than 2,000 if converted to pesos. It comes with a free gray controller and the necessary wires. As for the games there is a wide variety of cheap options. Wave Race is just 180 yen, also recycled. An original Super Mario 64 is more expensive at around 1,000 yen, which would still be cheap when converted to pesos, considering how expensive those were when I was in high school! Of course the games will be in Japanese. It's actually a cool alternative method for learning that language!

[OSAKA] Shitennoji

Shitennoji is the first and oldest Buddhist temple in Japan. That is if I’ve read the flyer right. You know how I always tend to mix up some trivia and come up with factoids instead. Please do not quote me on this, hahaha. Of all the days I spent in Kansai, there wasn’t one in which I started my tour in the morning. Most started after lunch, which sucks because had I only been an early bird I could have squeezed in Kobe and even Nagoya in my itinerary of less than a week. What’s done is done. Let’s just move on.

Friday, September 9, 2011

[OSAKA] Introducing... Osaka Castle

“Bakit labas masok ka?” the immigration officer asked. “Because I can!” I retorted. JOKE. I wish. Instead, I told him that I was on Leave of Absence. If I told him I was unemployed it would have been a longer question and answer portion. His gaze was glued to page five of my passport, viewing it in different angles in search of something I am not truly aware of. What are you looking for, a hidden Mickey? The Japanese immigration officer was more straightforward, “Have you been to Japan?” I told him that it was my first time. Immigration sticker down. Done. That was easy. When I found out that I would be paying 1,030 yen for the train ride from Kansai International to Momodani Station of the JR Osaka Loop where my guest house is located, I thought for a second if I should just go back to the boarding area and check if the plane was still there. Maybe I could still go back and avert the bankruptcy waiting for me here. Everything is so effing expensive! Like, seriously?!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

VISA: Japan (Single Entry)

Here are the requirements I submitted for the application of a single entry tourist visa for Japan:

-Philippine Passport
-Visa Application Form
-Photo (ask Kodak)
-Birth Certificate (NSO copy)
-Daily Schedule
-Bank Certificate
-ITR (2316)

I also included a copy of my round trip ticket. A single tourist visa to Japan is gratis, but the embassy does not accept personal applications. I don’t know if they ever did. What we are saying here is that you have to course your application though a travel agency. Of course, they will charge you for it. I chose Reli Tours because it had a branch at SM MoA near our office. Their processing fee is 1,200 pesos. I do not know if you could find an agency with a lower fee. Processing was fast and only took two days. When I got my passport back it already had the visa sticker in it. The said visa will have your picture.

The required photo is special for the Japanese embassy. You might have seen it already when you have your 1x1 or 2x2 pictures taken at Kodak. Just tell them that it’s for the Japanese embassy and they would know what you need. The daily itinerary is not definitive and I think it is just for formality. They won’t hire a private investigator to follow you around Japan. Just go to Wikitravel and copy some places of interest and some guest house addresses. You could take it seriously if you like a prepared itinerary that you would actually use, It’s all up to you. Just make sure that it’s believable enough. You could download a sample PDF file on their website.

This is one of the easiest visas to get if you have all the necessary requirements because you just drop by the travel agency and give them your documents. They call or text you when the passport is ready for pickup. Unfortunately, they do not disclose results by phone. You just have to see it for yourself. Added bonus: the element of surprise. An unused but valid Japanese Visa could also be used to enter Taiwan, if you are a Philippine Passport Holder. A single entry tourist visa to Taiwan costs 2,400 pesos by the way. You do the Math.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

[SABAH] Budget and Itinerary

MONDAY: August 29, 2011
Taxi (Makati - NAIA 3) - 110.00
Travel Tax (NAIA 3) - 1,620.00
Terminal Fee (NAIA 3) - 750.00
Cebu Pacific (Manila - Kota Kinabalu) - 1,781.00
Ham and Cheese (Cebu Pacific) - 100.00
Pepsi Can (Cebu Pacific) - 50.00

[KOTA KINABALU] No Chickens or Demonic Possessions Here

Both Manukan and Sapi would sound weird if you read them and apply their corresponding meanings in Tagalog. “Manukan” means a place for chicken, either a restaurant, a poultry house, or anything that has something to do with them. “Sapi” would mean possession in a supernatural sense. I didn’t see any chickens at Manukan. Neither did I witness any possession or exorcism at Sapi, so I wonder what these words could mean in Malay. I find it strange how the vocabulary of these two languages greatly vary despite belonging to the same language family. Oops, geeky verbal diarrhea. I apologize.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

[KOTA KINABALU] That’s Like, So Halimaw sa Banga

Kota Kinabalu is our perennial stopover, the city of the connecting flight to Sarawak since there are no direct flights from Manila to Miri. Our usual routine here is to get a taxi after clearing immigration, head to the hotel or guest house, sleep, grab a taxi the next morning, and fly out. For some weird reason, I have flight bookings to and from Kota Kinabalu which would entail a few days of stay here. My parents have been consistent in persuading me to just rebook my Air Asia flight so I could go and stay with them longer. I declined. This time I'll explore. This time I'll get to know KK.
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