Tuesday, November 30, 2021

[RIVAS] Budget and Itinerary


MONDAY: 29 November 2021
TicaBus (Liberia - Rivas) - 1,020.00
Immigration (Municipal Tax + Tourist Card) - 460.00
Airbnb (2 Nights) - 2,820.00
Vila's Rosti-Pizza (Chicken Fried Rice + Coke) - 230.00
NIO4,530.00

Monday, November 29, 2021

[RIVAS] Almost Ometepe


The officer looked at my passport. Asked a question. Ran to his supervisor. The officer looked at my passport. Asked a question. Ran to his supervisor. The officer looked at my passport. Asked a question. Ran to his supervisor. We arrived at Nicaraguan immigration at 12:05. I exited the building at 13:35. In that hour and a half, that immigration officer only managed to process TWO people, me included, as opposed to his other co-workers. While I’d like to think that he was just power tripping or being strict, he did stamp 90 days on my passport anyway. Perhaps it was the guy’s first day at work?

Sunday, November 28, 2021

[GUANACASTE] Budget and Itinerary


THURSDAY: 25 November 2021
jetBlue (New York - Liberia) - 86,503.40
Taxi (Airport - La Choza de Laurel) - 5,000.00
La Choza de Laurel (1/4 Grilled Chicken w/ Rice + Coke) - 5,600.00
Airbnb (4 Nights) - 123,413.56
Uber (La Choza de Laurel - Manuel Córdoba) - 3,900.00
Uber Eats (McDonald's) - 10,534.00
CRC234,950.96

Saturday, November 27, 2021

[LIBERIA] Trekking La Leona in Boxers and Flip Flops


Liberia was not really on the itinerary but considering how challenging it has been to find cheap flights or even just a flight to and from Nicaragua, it seemed to me that the only option left was to fly to Costa Rica and take the bus from there. Finding a $100 flight from New York to Liberia on jetBlue, I didn’t need a lot of convincing to book it given how it usually costs so much more. Landing in Liberia means painting Guanacaste on my Costa Rica map red. Now I’m left with just Alajuela and Heredia to paint the entire country velvet.

Friday, November 26, 2021

House of Gucci

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) does not really come from a poor family. Although they lack the pedigree, her father does own a trucking company where she works an administrative position. When she lays her eyes on Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) at a friend’s party, she immediately knows she has found what she really wants. She begins stalking him afterwards and he eventually falls for her charms. When his father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons), 1/2 of the fashion empire disagrees, Patrizia charms her way to the other 1/2. Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino) is more adventurous when it comes to business, takes his nephew Maurizio in, and treats him like a son given his disappointment with his own Paolo (Jared Leto) whose ideas are deemed too eccentric for the company. Once the power couple are back in the game, a dysfunctional family drama unfolds, pitting family members against one another until it all leads to a murder that would scandalize the fashion world.

Encanto

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During their clan’s darkest hour, matriarch Alma Madrigal is touched by a miracle through a magical candle that never loses its flicker. Along with it rises an enchanted house, very much alive and would be the center not just of the Madrigal family’s lives, but also of the town that flourishes next to it. The magic is also extended to each and every family member by giving them a special ability: son Bruno has visions of the future; daughter Pepa can control the weather; while Julieta cooks food that can heal any kind of ailment. The grandchildren also have gifts: Dolores has enhanced hearing; Camilo is a shapeshifter; Antonio can communicate with animals; Luisa has superhuman strength; and Isabela is the perfect granddaughter who can make flowers bloom. But there is one granddaughter whom the magic skips. Mirabel is ordinary, without powers, and is prophesized to put an end to the candle's magic.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

[NEW YORK] Budget and Itinerary (6)


THURSDAY: 4 November 2021
jetBlue (Cartagena - New York) - 242.87
Airbnb (2 Nights/Hudson Yards) - 260.19
MTA Card (Reload) - 11.50
Jollibee (2 pcs Chicken w/ Rice & Coke + Fries) - 11.08
AMC (Eternals) - 17.99
Convenience Store (Water) - 3.85
USD547.48

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Hawkeye: Episode 2


2. Hide and Seek
Barton’s Christmas plans are derailed as he is forced to babysit Bishop, who finally meets her favorite Avenger but not in the best of circumstances. Finding the dead body of a socialite related to her soon-to-be stepfather while donning the Ronin suit, she finds herself being trailed by one gang after another, the most persistent of which is the Tracksuit Mafia who burns her apartment down. Barton drops her off at her mother’s security firm for safety where she tries and fails to implicate Jack for random accusations off the top of her head. Meanwhile, Clint tries to retrieve his Ronin suit from the apartment fire but fails to do so, instead finding it stolen by a firefighter joining a live action role play. Eventually recovering the costume, he sends his children off to their mom as he deals with the ramifications of his vigilante past once and for all, with unsolicited help from Bishop who soon joins him in custody of the Tracksuit Mafia who are revealed to be working for Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox), a deaf copycat who goes by the name Echo.

Hawkeye: Episode 1


1. Never Meet Your Heroes
Battle of New York, 2012. A young girl is inadvertently saved by one of Hawkeye’s arrows from a crashing Chitauri vessel. Losing her father in the process, she vows to be her mother’s protector and asks for a bow and arrow. 2021. Now an overachiever and a bit of a troublemaker, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) does not agree with the decision of her mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) to marry Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton). Reluctantly attending one of her charity galas, she stumbles upon a black-market auction putting Ronin’s retractable sword and costume on sale to the highest bidder. A gang of small-time thugs ambush the gathering. In the resulting mayhem, Jack steals the sword while Kate grabs and dons the suit, leading to an anonymous photo and consequent media report about the masked vigilante’s return. Enjoying time with his kids in Manhattan, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) sees the news item and is forced to hunt down and eventually rescue the wearer of his costume from the Tracksuit Mafia.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

[MASSACHUSETTS] Budget and Itinerary


SATURDAY: 20 November 2021
Megabus (Manhattan - Boston - Manhattan) - 77.48
Airbnb (4 Nights) - 390.83
McDonalds (10 pcs Nuggets w/ Fries + Coke) - 9.30
MBTA (2-Rides/Subway) - 4.80
USD482.41

Monday, November 22, 2021

[BOSTON] Downtown + Waterfront + North End


With Harvard out of the way my mission here in Massachusetts, aside from learning how to spell Massachusetts, is done. But since we’re already here and based in Boston, why not explore a bit, right? I think my assessment of the city might have been unfairly affected by the gloomy weather, though, what with the constant rain and gray skies. I still ended up enjoying the chilly stroll, however, particularly in the areas of Waterfront, North End, and Downtown.

[CAMBRIDGE] Harvard Campus Tour


I guess there was a time in the life of every grade conscious high school student when he or she wanted to go to Harvard. At least from my generation. Whether you actually had the means or it’s just part of your dreams didn’t matter. It was the goal. Don’t blame us, though. While our parents’ generation defined success by being married in their 20’s, having a roof over their head, and sending their children to school, us the children were taught to measure it by going after curriculum vitae fodder that looks good on paper. Harvard would be nice but for all of us mere mortals, UP, Ateneo or La Salle would do.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

[MANHATTAN] Broadway Barrage Season 6


Two weeks of Broadway shows every night. Wow, what more can you ask for? It was kind of exhausting, though, given the circumstances. But hey, it’s my happy place. I was a bit skeptical about this lineup for Season 6, but they all turned out to be worth the sleep deprivation on my part. And that’s it for Broadway Barrage 2021. Season 7 comes next year, moving from its usual fall schedule to early spring. Thank you, Broadway. See you again in late March!

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Lehman Trilogy (Broadway)

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Henry Lehman (Simon Russell Beale) was the first to arrive by boat from Bavaria. Fascinated with New York, he heads south and establishes his own garments shop in Alabama. His brother Emanuel (Adrian Lester) follows suit and helps him expand the business, transforming it into a broker for raw cotton between the plantation farmers of the south and the buyers of the north. Youngest sibling Mayer (Adam Godley) is sent last to play referee between the two bickering brothers, his arrival marking the business upswing and the beginning of a family empire. As the eldest brother succumbs to yellow fever, the remaining two bring the business to new heights. Emanuel relocates to New York while Mayer hesitantly follows after the Civil War decimates the south. Through their sons, the younger generation make their own mark in the family business, witnessing the transition to what would become Lehman Brothers and its impending demise in the stock market crisis of 2008.

Friday, November 19, 2021

American Utopia (Broadway)

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Along with a band of 9 musicians playing musical instruments that are either portable or wireless as well as two interpretative dancers, David Byrne completes the dozen to perform songs from his albums reimagined as an onstage performance full of music and dance. He starts off with “Here” while holding a replica of a human brain uttering some facts about neurons and connections and how these are trimmed down as a human being grow older. He follows it up with songs such as "I Know Sometimes a Man Is Wrong", "Don't Worry About the Government", and "Everybody's Coming to My House" among others. With the onstage rendition in predominantly gray hues from the production design all the way down to the performers’ suits, music and dance light up the stage in this cathartic take on utopia, human connection and isolation as well as some candid commentary on random issues lately.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Company (Broadway)

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Bachelorette Roberta (Katrina Lenk) aka Bobbie to her social circle is celebrating her 35th birthday. Along with the surprise party comes unsolicited worry from her friends regarding her marital status now that she is the only one left either not married or divorced yet. Most of her friends are already hitched or going through rough patches in their respective marriages. Bobby does not see what is in it for her, though. What will she get if she marries one of her three flings? Elderly friend with an acerbic tongue, Joanne (Patti Lupone), chimes in and gives some frank advice. But Bobbie still does not get it. Reflecting on her current situation, she goes on a soul searching of sorts, visiting and revisiting her friends’ very own relationships in the hopes of discovering what she really wants and whether married bliss or tragedy is really appropriate for a girl like her.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Hadestown (Broadway)

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In an impoverished town, Hermes (T. Oliver Reid) tells the story of his poor ward Orpheus (Reeve Carney), a talented musician who has a gift to give and Eurydice (Eva Noblezada), a hungry waif who has seen the bad things the world has to offer. Every year the swinging tavern anticipates the arrival of Persephone (Amber Gray) who brings along fruits and flowers of spring and summer, a much-desired annual event after the harsh autumn and winter brought about by the other half of the year that she spends in Hadestown with her husband Hades (Patrick Page). As the young lovebirds give in to love and romance, their poverty-stricken reality brings forth some serious challenges, leading her to succumb and receive a one-way ticket on the train to Hadestown. Armed with his lyre and unfinished melody, her lover gatecrashes the party down below and strikes a deal with the God of Death, but will his faith be strong enough to rescue his lover?

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Thoughts of a Colored Man (Broadway)

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Seven African American men gather in a Brooklyn neighborhood, each with a face but devoid of a name, only known via the fundamental human quality or character flaw that they embody. Each and every one is given the chance to take center stage to talk about his life being black in New York, sometimes in monologues, at times in tandem with another. Love (Dyllón Burnside) sings about his appreciation for a certain unnamed person. Happiness (Bryan Terrell Clark) defends himself from the labels that society is forcing upon him being gay and black in a gentrified neighborhood. Lust (Bjorn Dupaty) talks about his sexual exploits and their respective complications. Anger (Tristan Mack Wilds) preaches about the inhumane treatment of athletic scholars and how they are treated more like commodities rather than people. Depression (Forrest McClendon) bemoans his once bright future at MIT which he chose to let go as a form of familial sacrifice. Wisdom (Esau Pritchett) anticipates being a grandfather while also serving as an elderly beacon for the community. Passion (Luke James) is both excited and terrified of his impending fatherhood.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Six (Broadway)

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

New York. Henry VIII’s six ex-wives, all of them seemingly alive and donning glittery corsets, come together onstage for a concert, asking the audience to judge who among them is the best fit to be queen by telling their stories through song and dance. Divorced Catherine of Aragon (Adrianna Hicks) sings about, well, divorce. Beheaded Anne Boleyn (Andrea Macasaet) jives to a playful tune about not losing one’s head. Jane Seymour (Keirsten Nicole Hodgens) who died of natural causes belts out a ballad of devotion and never-ending love. Divorced Anna of Cleves (Brittney Mack) raps about how her portrait with which the king was fascinated failed to match her actual face. Beheaded Katherine Howard (Samantha Pauly) lights up the stage with a flirty pop track about promiscuity. And last but not the least, Catherine Parr (Anna Uzele), the only one who actually survived, ruminates about how moot the concert is considering how a comparison of the six of them just reinforces the entrenched patriarchal nature of how they are all written in history in the first place.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

[BUFFALO] No Niagara Falls for You


Talk about ill-advised itineraries. Now starting to sound like a broken record, I’ve told everyone again and again that the original plan for Niagara Falls was to cross the bridge from the Ontario side to the New York side, but since this happened when inbound US land restrictions were still in place, I had to scrap it. Even though everyone has been saying that the falls are just majestic from the Canadian side anyway, I still wanted to see it from the American side. So, I booked a roundtrip weekend flight via jetBlue. Oh well, still no Niagara Falls for you. What welcomed me was snowfall in mid-November and no buses going there.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

[MANHATTAN] Broadway Barrage Season 5



Diana: The Musical is perky. Perhaps that is the best adjective to describe it. Unlike the seemingly somber and serious tone The Crown and Spencer opted for, this musical is more tongue-and-cheek, rather irreverent, and somehow weird. Perhaps it has something to do with its very nature as a musical. The song and dance numbers have to be vivacious. The costumes need to be flashy. The dialogues must be attention-grabbing, the banter between Diana and Camilla, sassy. Maybe that’s where absurdity enters the picture. The creative license is taken advantage of, probably a little bit too much.

Friday, November 12, 2021

The Lion King (Broadway)

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Destined to be the future king of Pride Rock, Simba (Corey J.) has always been some kind of a spoiled brat, equating recklessness with proof of bravery, much to the worry of his father current king Mufasa (L. Steven Taylor) and his red-billed hornbill bodyguard Zazu (Cameron Pow). With constant prodding from his Uncle Scar (Stephen Carlile) who wants the throne for himself, the young cub never runs out of dangerous ideas to try, with one proving to be fatal and eventually leading to his self-banishment from the kingdom. Through his soul searching he meets carefree meerkat Timon (Fred Berman) and gluttonous warthog Pumbaa (Ben Jeffrey), forgetting about his royal destiny. But his past will catch up with him, as an adult Nala (Adrienne Walker) stumbles upon the trio and tries to persuade her childhood friend to go back to claim the throne usurped by his uncle. With the help of sage shaman mandrill Rafiki (Tshidi Manye), Simba (Brandon A. McCall), now a full-grown lion, rediscovers his past to secure his future as the lion king.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Jagged Little Pill (Broadway)

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

The Healy’s are what everyone in Connecticut considers to be the perfect family. Mary Jane (Heidi Blickenstaff) is the enviable supermom keeping the family together. Steve (Sean Allan Krill) is the big shot corporate guy getting big bonuses and one promotion right after another. Nicholas (Derek Klena) is the overachiever son who has multiple swimming championship medals and just got admitted to Harvard. Frankie (Morgan Dudley) is the adopted African American daughter who is saved from being homeless and unloved. But these are all superficial, for they all have their own quirks lingering just below the surface waiting to boil over. MJ is struggling with a secret reliance on opiates. Steve is sex-deprived and has an ongoing porn addiction. Nick is going through the ups and downs of the classic golden child syndrome. And Frankie feels unloved and unable to fit in, even in her very own adoptive family.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Mrs. Doubtfire (Broadway)

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Free-spirited and never a boring father, Daniel Hillard (Rob McClure) loves his three children: Lydia (Analise Scarpaci), Christopher (Jake Ryan Flynn), and Nattie (Avery Sell) more than anything else in the world. As a husband, though, he leaves a lot to be desired. Being a struggling actor does not help and wife Miranda (Jennifer Gambatese) feels she is doing this alone, until one day she snaps and decides to call it quits. Appearing before a court judge in San Francisco, a divorce is granted, and they get shared custody of the kids, in the condition that he find a stable job and rent a place that is appropriate for his son and two daughters. When he finds out that she is hiring a nanny for the children, he comes up with the brilliant idea of earning his keep and being with them at the same time. With the help of his make-up artist brother Frank (Brad Oscar) and his husband Andre (J. Harrison Ghee), they come up with the character of Scottish veteran nanny extraordinaire Mrs. Doubtfire.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Ain't Too Proud (Broadway)

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

After a six-month stint at a juvenile center, Otis Williams (Derrick Baskin) is determined to turn his life around and finds the perfect inspiration for it through gospel music. He then starts gathering a select group of people to form his own band: co-Alabamian and perfect bass Melvin “Blue” Franklin (Jawan M. Jackson); rival duo Eddie Kendricks (Jeremy Pope) and Paul Williams (James Harkness); and charismatic tenor David Ruffin (Ephraim Sykes) to complete the classic five of what would become one of Motown’s most successful acts, the Temptations. The jukebox musical chronicles the origins of the group as they navigate the music scene in Detroit, their own personal ups and downs as they deal with success as well as the many shakeups the band lineup has gone through from its inception all the way to the present, narrated through the point of view of Otis Williams by constantly breaking the fourth wall.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Trouble in Mind (Broadway)

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

1957. Wiletta Mayer (LaChanze) is a veteran theater actress coming into a new production with a mix of enthusiasm to be acting again but a little bit of hesitance due to the nature of the play, which tackles race issues in the south. Completing the cast are: John Nevins (Brandon Micheal Hall), a neophyte who has an idealistically naïve point of view; Millie Davis (Jessica Frances Dukes), a foil to Wiletta whose husband would rather she no longer work onstage; Sheldon Forrester (Chuck Cooper), another veteran who might have significant inputs as far as personal experience with the material is concerned; and Judy Sears (Danielle Campbell), one of only two white members of the cast who needs to immediately prove that she is not out of place even if she obviously is. Tensions begin to rise when their director Al Manners (Michael Zegen) demands certain aspects to be tackled in such a way that is not representative of the community he is trying to have portrayed onstage given his different background.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Diana: The Musical (Broadway)

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Already in his mid-30’s and next in line to the British throne, Prince Charles (Roe Hartrampf) is prodded by his mother Queen Elizabeth II (Judy Kaye) to find a suitable wife. While already contented with his extra-marital relationship with his married lover Camilla (Erin Davie), the two scout for prospects and lay their eyes on Diana (Jeanna De Waal), the younger sister of Sarah Spencer (Holly Ann Butler) whom he dated for quite a while. Diana is a breath of fresh air for the monarchy. Primarily naive and clueless of royal protocol, her genuine personality easily wins the heart of the people to become their princess. As the pair get married, they try their best to make things work despite his continuing affair, but the birth of their two heirs doesn’t prove to be enough to turn the doomed marriage around. Hopeful but exhausted, Diana decides to take control of her life, manipulate the press, and attempt to live the way she sees fit in order to find her own happy ending. But will she?

Saturday, November 6, 2021

[ALBANY] Another Capital Another Capitol


New York every year since 2016 and I never really got to go sightseeing. I tried to find the Brooklyn Bridge once. I got lost. I sailed by Lady Liberty via the free Staten Island Ferry and bought a ticket to see her up close the following year. I woke up late. Never have I been to the Empire State Building or the 9/11 Memorial. At least I went to the MET once to admire their Egyptology collection. What a geek. Every year has been all about Broadway. And so, this year I thought, maybe it’s time to see what lies north of Central Park? Booking a ticket to Albany, I guess I overshot by a few hundred kilometers.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Last Night in Soho

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Aspiring designer Eloise Turner (Thomasin McKenzie) receives a letter of admission to a prestigious fashion school in London, prompting her to move to the capital from the Cornish countryside, much to the worry of her grandmother who believes that the British capital could be too much. After all, her daughter, Ellie’s mother, also tried once, failed, and never got a second chance. But her granddaughter is a fighter. Despite the fact, she soon discovers that granny might be right all along. Moving out of her dorm to find her own place after getting bullied by her pretentious roommate, she finds herself in a bedsit in Goodge Place at the apartment of Ms. Collins (Diana Rigg). Her evenings soon become a constant trip down memory lane as her vivid dreams transport her to 1960’s London through the point of view of Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), an aspiring singer who is also new and adjusting to the cutthroat life in the big city.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Eternals

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

In the beginning, the Celestials created the universe and populated it with planets that could harbor sentient life, all for the purpose of the Emergence. To ensure the survival of the populace from those worlds’ APEX predators, the Deviants were created, who later evolved to become the very hunters they’re tasked to round up. This led to the birth of the humanoid Eternals, superpowered beings dispatched to counter the deviant threat. In 5000 BC, Celestial Arishem the Judge sends a group of ten to Earth: leader Ajak (Salma Hayek) who has the power to heal; sorceress Sersi (Gemma Chan) who can manipulate inanimate matter; ubermensch Ikaris (Richard Madden) who can fly and shoot laser beams from his eyes; technology inventor Phastos (Bryan Tyree Henry) who creates innovative weapons; speedster Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) who has super speed; forever young Sprite (Lia McHugh) who can create illusions; trickster Kingo (Kumail Nanjani) who weaponizes energy blasts; aloof Druig (Barry Keoghan) who controls minds; strongman Gilgamesh (Don Lee) who has super strength; and warrior Thena (Angelina Jolie) who can form cosmic energy weapons with her hands.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

[BOLÍVAR] Budget and Itinerary


MONDAY: 1 November 2021
Avianca (Medellín - Cartagena) - 235,165.00
Hotel Blue Concept (3 Nights) - 535,800.00
Taxi (Airport - Bocagrande) - 30,000.00
COP800,965.00

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

[CARTAGENA] Intramuros By the Sea


Spaniards. You know the drill. THE THPANIARDTH ARE COMING! AAAAAHHHHH! Oh wait, we are the Thpaniardth. THE FRENCH! THE FRENCH are coming to take away the land we took away from the nativeth!! AAAAAHHHHH! PIRATETH!! AAAAAHHHHH! We need to build wallth around thith town! AAAAAHHHHH! THTHTHTHTHTHTH! AAAAAHHHHH! If they had to do it in Intramuros, there’s no way they couldn’t have NOT done it in Cartagena. After all, this city was their first colony in the Americas.

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