Heneral Luna


Oh, where to start? Like the typical Filipino, I waited weeks to watch this film, despite the humongous billboard a few meters from our house, several great reviews on the web and countless memes such as this:


“Aim carefully, don’t waste bullets!”

Finally, last week, I gave in. And let me tell you, I was blown away.

Director, Co-writer, Composer and Editor Jerrold Tarog is nothing short of genius (although from the number of roles he played, you’d think that already!). However, in this movie, everything came together beautifully.

Heneral Luna tells the story of how a revolutionary, sick of the government’s attitude, tried to change things, believing that nationalism is the key to unity. However, with every move he took, the misanthropic military strategist was met with obstacles from all sides, unsurprisingly including his countrymen.

The movie contained a lot of blood, but that’s just the way it is. Wars are bloody, even the wars we wage with ourselves. The picture it painted may be a bleak one, but it just goes a long way to promote nationalism.

I believe this movie couldn’t have been released at a better time. Now, more than ever, with the ever present political unrest, it serves well to shock all of us out of our couldn’t-care-less cocoons. Love of country is exactly what the Philippines needs right now.

With its beautiful cinematography, great cast, sound environment and attention to detail, I really would recommend this movie. It’s funny, action packed, but most importantly, it gives you something to think about.


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#14 You Know You’re Filipino If You Take A Shower Every Day

For most of us Filipinos, it seems normal, even mundane to take a bath every day (well, except on a friday, because our lolas told us it would make us ill 😛 ). Well, we do it primarily because of the sticky, humid weather of our country. This is added to the fact that most buildings are not really centralized. Also, there’s the abundance of water seeing as we’re surrounded practically by large seas and oceans.

I always thought this is what all the people in the world do. Apparently, some cultures take baths really infrequently. Well, they may have their own reasons though it’s a little hard for us to comprehend. Now, I am not saying that non-Filipinos are filthy creatures, (nor am I saying Filipinos are the cleanest in the world) I’m just stating this random fact of life.  While currently living in a place of more than 30 nationalities, I have taken a little look at how things are. Let’s just say, I’ve ridden taxis that makes a 10 block walk in 53 degree Celsius weather not such a bad idea.

It’s such an important part of everyday life that we even have “ground rules” in order to do it right. Here’s how to (or not to) take a bath, Filipino style!

  1. Do use a tabo (water dipper) in bathing. Get your water from the timba (pail).
  2. Do use Rejoice,Palmolive, Clear, Vaseline, Pantene (did I forget a brand?) in sachet. Use half and save some for next time.
  3. Don’t take a bath on a friday (it will make you ill)
  4. Don’t sleep after taking a bath (it will make you blind)
  5. Don’t take a bath at night (it will lower your blood pressure and cause you to have anemia)
  6. Don’t bathe your feline companions (you will get struck by lightning)

Now there is no scientific explanation for all these stuff. For no 4, however, doctors have discovered that a lukewarm bath before you go to sleep will actually help you sleep sounder. As to the cats and lightning, I can’t seem to connect the dots. But it sure is fun to learn this stuff!

my trusty tabo and timba (kabo and balde in cebuano)

FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW HOW A TABO WORKS: Here’s how you do it. Scoop some water from the “timba” and pour. It’s some sort of an alternative for toilet paper or a bidet. (although most of Philippine CR’s have toilet paper too). And if you don’t get it the first time, don’t worry. Practice makes perfect!

Personally, I distinctly remember bathing at a “poso” (Artesian Well) as a kid growing up in the province. It was a really fun experience, I got to bathe with my cousins as well as a few stray frogs. Yes, frogs!

So, what are your bathtime memories? Have you ever taken a bath at at a poso?

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#13 You Know You’re Filipino If You Have Your Own Time Zone

This time zone is also known as “Filipino Time” which may range from 15 minutes to several hours after the agreed time. This is one of the Filipino traits (bordering on tradition)  that’s, to say the least, undesirable.

Picture this, a party announced to start at 7 pm will usually start at, well 8:30. If you actually go on time, you’ll be present to witness preparations or awkwardly sit in a corner all by yourself, because you’re the ONLY FRIGGIN PERSON THERE!

When I was a kid, I always thought this was normal, but as I grew up and traveled around, I realized this not how the other parts of the world do it. I noticed they are actually early or on the dot. I do, however, have a theory on why this is such a persistent trait.

Maybe, once upon a time, Pedro held a birthday party at Jolibee. He invited his friends Banban, Jose, Juan, KC and Piolo. 4 of them arrived on time. However Jose was late, like he usually is. The party went on as scheduled. Then, it was Juan’s turn to have a birthday party at Goldilocks. This time, 3 of them turned up late because Banban thought it was okay since Jose was gonna be late anyway. Time passed by and almost all of them turned up late and later and later. Well, anyway, there’s always next year.  Except for KC who was born on February 29.

See what I mean? Arriving late in some countries is considered an insult. Not only are you missing out on opportunities, you are also wasting the other people’s time and energy. And no, it’s not “Better late than never”. It’s better be on time or you’ll be fired!

Let us change this mentality of “walang paki sa oras” (no regard for time). Start with yourself! Arrive on time! Ikaw ang simula! (You are the beginning!)

credits to Department of Science and Technology

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#12 You Know You’re Filipino If Your Parties Almost Always Involve a Karaoke

Yes, the term karaoke is Japanese. Yes, they claim to have invented it first and yes, Filipinos are very fond of Karaoke.

Karaoke is a japanese portmanteau meaning “empty” orchestra. As to who invented the machine, there’s a bit of a confusion as to who invented the machine:

  1. The Japanese- a man named Daisuke Inoue claimed to have invented a machine that when you insert coins in it, it plays a recording of a song that you could sing to
  2. The Filipino0 a man named Roberto Del Rosario who was famous for his inventions which included a machine that is basically an accompaniment to a song

As to who really did it, we’ll never know. After all, wikipedia didn’t exist then. (how ever did they live?) This kinda reminds me of the Apple vs Samsung patent case but that’s a story for another day.

So, on to the third point, Filipinos do love karaoke. Wherever they are, they are never afraid to belt out albeit sometimes out-of-tune renditions of popular songs. Karaoke or Sing-along is always present at big events such as birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas parties and even New Year’s. Also, the microphone is never left all alone. Usually, the brave ones go first and the more timid ones try to pass the mic to others. Inevitably, as the night winds down, someone hogs the mic and in turn belts out their version of “Please Release Me”,  “Dancing Queen”.

I’m not saying we’re all great singers. We can’t all be Sharon Cunetas, Sarah Geronimos and Christian Bautistas. Filipinos, however are great critics. In the Philippines, you could actually be executed for having a poor singing voice. But that’s a bit extreme.

If you’re a foreigner invited to a predominantly Filipino party, I would advice preparing a song or two. You might need it.

Basically, our love of karaoke can be traced to a love of music, a love of fun and a love of life all in all. After all, in a country where there’s a lot to be depressed about, the one thing you should never lose is your sense of humor. 🙂

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#11 You Know You’re Filipino If Your Nickname has an Unsolicited “H” in it :)

Names are important stuff, you stick with them all your life (unless you got a name horrible enough that you go to court to change it) But terroristic names aside, you get to stick with them for a long time. Ironic thing is, you don’t get to choose your name, your parents give that to you when you’re a little baby, sometimes even as early when they were kids. Filipinos, as usual, gave a new brand of naming conventions and other things.

Here’s how to name your kid the Filipino way:

  1. Start with an anglicized name, like in most other things, Filipinos love “imported” names such as John, Patricia, Courtney, Denise
  2. OR you could go another way, you could name your kid after patron saints- Mary, Claire, Therese
  3. You could try an american noun like; Charity, Hope, Lovely
  4. OR you could have a portmanteau of the kid’s grandmas or grandpas or parents
  • Joseph(Father) + Anna Maria(Mother)= Anjo
  • Butch(Grandpa) + Chynna(Grandma)= Butchi

See? Easy, right?

Now the nickname, that’s a whole other story, here are some pointers:

  1. You can try repeating the first syllable or last syllable of the first name : Trisha becomes Tringtring, Charlene becomes Chacha, Elaine becomes Lenlen
  2. You can try adding an “ing” to the end: Lucia becomes Lucring
  3. Oh, and like I mentioned before, add an “H” to the name: like Dhan, Mhark
  4. Or you could go the “imported” way, giving an english nickname to an english name: Nathaniel becomes Nat

Personally, I was blessed with a name that’s okay by today’s standards. So I’ll probably give my kid a name that won’t get him/her tied to the flagpole. What about you?

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“Mamamatay akong hindi n…

“Mamamatay akong hindi nasilayan ang bukang-liwayway sa aking lupang sinilangan. Kayong makakakita nito, huwag niyo sanang kalimutan ang mga namatay sa kadiliman ng gabi.” —Jose Rizal, “Noli Me Tangere”

TRANSLATION: I will die without seeing the dawn of the country of my birth. You who witness this, do not forget those who fell in the darkness of the night.

MESSAGE: We live in an awesome age. We have freedom to worship, do, speak about whatever we want. Let us use that freedom wisely and remember, it hasn’t been always this way. 🙂

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You Know You’re Watching A Filipino Rom-Com If…

  1. The Title– It is usually a title of a song, more specifically, a love song from the 80’s or 70’s. Cases in point:
    • Won’t Last A Day Without You (2011)
    • Babe, I Love You (2010)
    • When I Met You (2009)
    • You To Me Are Everything (2010)
    • many many others
  2. The Language– generally speaking, the language is Tagalog…however, a more accurate name for it would be “Taglish”. I’ve honestly sat through some movies thinking “Someone who knows English but not Filipino could understand this movie even without subs!”
  3. The Leads– most of Filipino movie stars share something in common with Severus Snape (I’m not an HP fan btw. Just trynna be clever:) ) : They are Half-Blood princes or princesses. Apparently, it’s quite an honor to be part-Filipino in the Philippines.
  4. The Story– Guy and Girl do NOT like each other at first. By some sort of luck, they are  forced to interact with each other, realize they love each other. And end up together. Simple.
  5. The Ending– Oh and the guy always, always gets the girl 🙂

Agree? Anyway, I do not have anything against Filipino moviemakers. In fact, I sometimes peruse these movies mainly for their predictability. They’re awesome pick-me-ups for a day when your middle finger seems to be answering every question. However, a bit of originality could go a long way. 🙂

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It’s Been A While…

…since I posted some of my musings and observations about basically anything Filipino. That is because I have been to…

…wait for it…


I have just arrived from a 2 week vacay and I’m kinda sad it’s over 😦 .

Anyways, more posts ahead!


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#10 You Know You’re Filipino If There Are At Least 4 Big Boxes Beside You at the Airport

credits to ofyuppies.com

It is a well known fact in the Philippines: You must never, ever, go home without pasalubong. Even if you’ve been gone only a few days. Even if you’ve only been to a place a few kilometers away.

Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration but time and again, people we leave behind usually have last words such as :

  • Ingat! Pasalubong ha? (Take care! Bring home something, okay?)
  • Ui, Size 8! ‘Yaw kalimti! (Size 8, don’t you forget!)

And, in the spirit of tradition, there came a magical invention called the Balikbayan box (literally means “Repatriation Box” courtesy of Wikipedia). It may look like a normal box on the outside but look inside, you’ll see all kinds of things such as:

  • Imported lotion, perfumes, make-up
  • Rubber shoes, sandals
  • Barely worn, as well as, brand new, brand name clothing
  • Ipods, ipads, and other toys
  • Canned goods (Spam, anyone?)
  • and of course, Chocolates!

As a result, it is not uncommon to see Pinoys at international airports incur exorbitant excess baggage fees. It’s a hassle, I know, but somehow, seeing how happy that makes the people being given the pasalubong, kinda makes it worth it. 🙂

A lil’ side note: If you’re pinoy and you want to avoid the extra fees as the airport. Here’s a tip. Try buying a handy weighing scale, like this:

my trusty scale

Or, if you don’t have one. You can use the normal bathroom weighing scale. Balance your box/ luggage with a can of Sky Flakes 😛 and you’re good to go!

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Jeepney Mathematics

credits to gegegegeo.blogspot.com

This may look just like your run-of the mill type of transportation but there’s something about this super brightly colored, heavily decorated jeepney that defies even the most complicated laws of Physics.

Before I discuss that, let me discuss the basics of the wonder that is the jeepney.

Jeepneys originated from the jeeps left by the American troops after the second world war. To make it their own, the drivers decorated it with bright paint, flags, posters and whatever they could think of. Soon, it became the most popular mode of transportation in the Philippines.

It’s origins are simple, clearly. The laws that govern its very existence, however, are not.

Let’s see… the jeepney driver must be some kind of super being as he or she is able to do all these things(and more) at the same time:

  1. driving the vehicle, of course
  2. keeping an eye for who has paid their fare and who has not
  3. announcing how many did not pay yet (and there’s that awkward moment when the only one who hasn’t paid is actually sitting beside the driver)
  4. computing for the change of fare
  5. dodging the potholes in the road
  6. analyzing when a passenger needs to go down
  7. psychically deciding if the person on the roadside is a potential passenger or not
  8. and of course, mad driving skills needed to evade cops

Now, what’s really baffling is how so many people can fit in a tiny space. The secret is the driver’s or the conductor’s magic words:

“Ipit-ipitin lang po!” (sit closer to each other) or “Sikit- sikiti bisan dili mag-uyab!”(sit close to each other even if you’re not girlfriend-boyfriend)

And just like magic, 30 sweating and extremely uncomfortable passengers fit into passenger seats intended for 18 people. This is not counting the dozen sitting on the roof just like celebrities on motorcade during MMFF week and of course, the 2 unfortunate ones left to dangle on the jeepney door.

Another mystery is how it has the ability to gather the most diverse groups of people. From the rich-looking, well made-up donya to your loud, bubbly colegialas, to your headset-donning, head banging rockstar wannabe to the guys sporting that “just-got-out-of-bed” look.

I actually have friends who have ridden jeepney just once or twice in their entire lives. I tell them, they’re missing out on a lot.

Riding it, however mundane it may seem after thousands of  rides, kind of gives me a sense of adventure. An interlude before I reach the end of my journey is trying to figure out the other mysteries of this amazing contraption.


credits to texaninthephilippines

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