Much apologies for an extremely late post. I turned off both my phone and the wifi connection all Christmas break, and when January kicked in, I was flooded with work, extra curricular activities, and more grad school stuff.
So here’s what I finished last December – a very bloody and criminal set, if I may describe them – from robbery to mob wars to drug wars to civil wars.
The first book I finished this month is Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather”. I have seen the first movie, but as every bibliophile know, there’s nothing like reading the book.
As I type this, the much publicized President Duterte’s “War on Drugs” is going on in the Philippines, and the crackdown on the druglords has intensified ever since The Punisherhas risen to power (More on druglords later, I guess, coz the third book on my reading list this month is Mark Bowden’s “Killing Pablo”). He even has a diagram of the hierarchy of drug personalities involved. How is this connected to “The Godfather”? Two words – ORGANIZED CRIME. Perhaps another set just as apt, that got the story rolling- NARCOTICS.
This is what has once more challenged the peaceful and organized rule of Don Vito Corleone. An upcoming underboss named Virgil Sollozo has offered the Don financial rewards in exchange for protection in his new drug business. The Don politely declined, saying “… if I were a part of it, could damage my other interests.” He also quoted his friends from high places. “They would not be so friendly if my business were narcotics instead of gambling. They think gambling is something like liquor, a harmless vice, and they think narcotics is dirty business. No, don’t protest. I’m telling you their thoughts, not mine. How a man makes his living is not my concern.”And we all know what happens next: he makes an attempt at the Don’s life; murders Luca Brasi and other buttons. Michael Corleone retaliates and a full scale war known as the Five Families War of 1946 ensues (and we learn Sicilian idioms like “go to the mattresses”and “sleep on the bottom of the ocean”). Soon, Don Vito’s era as the boss ends, and Michael takes over the family business, and does his best to make the family legal.
Here are my favorite bits from the book:
On family. “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family, can never be a real man.”
On goodness.“He helped them all, Not only that, he helped them with goodwill, with encouraging words to take the bitter sting out of the charity he gave them.” But let me just note that Vito is also a businessman, and he knows himself. “[ all that he does] of course was not pure Christian charity. Not his best friends would have called Don Corleone a saint from heaven. There was some self-interest in this generosity.”
On power and responsibility. Michael, the next Don, said the following words in an exchange with his future wife Kay Adams: “My father is a businessman trying to provide for his wife and children and those friends he might need someday in time of trouble. He doesn’t accept the rules of society we live in because those rules would’ve condemned him to a life not suitable to a man like himself, a man of extraordinary force and character… But his ultimate aim is to enter that society with a certain power..”
Everything is personal. Yep. Damn straight. Stop saying it’s only business, not personal (Walang personalan, trabaho lang. Heeeeeeeey is this the literal translation of the famous quote??) Michael said the following when they were planning to execute Sollozo: “Tom, don’t let anybody kid you. It’s all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of shit a man has to eat everyday of his life is personal. They call it business, OK. But it’s personal as hell. You know where I learned that from? The Don.My old Man. The Godfather. If a bolt of lightning hit a friend of his the old man would take it personal. He took my going into the Marines personal. That’s what makes him great. The Great Don. He takes everything personal. Like God. He knows every feather that falls from the tail of the sparrow or however the hell it goes. Right? And you know something? Accidents don’t happen to people who take accidents as a personal insult.” (Phew, that was loooooong!)
Hoping to get ahold of Puzo’s The Sicillian!
Meanwhile, time for me to go watch the rest of the trilogy! 😀
Viola, Ophelia, and Portia. A few years ago, we were together in a play called “Cafe Shakespeare”and those were our characters’names. Quezzy played the Irish coffee-drunk in love Viola; Loi was as the espresso-guzzling teary-eyed Ophelia; and me, Latte girl Portia.
A few more years down the road, and Quezzy is now an English teacher/quality analyst, Loi is making a name for herself with Homebakes, and I a gradschool student and university instructor, who had just arrived home from two years of Cambodian adventures. We decided to catch up over coffee, song playlists, and love life (or the lack thereof).
One marvelous Saturday, however, I came over Little Theater’s office to find both actors’and writers’workshops in progress. Turns out, Loi has been formulating a recipe for a play about different kinds of love and lovers based on cupcake flavors: blueberries and cream, red velvet, and caramel bliss.
Under Sir Eric’s (USALT) guidance, and over the course of many discussions, the play’s thesis revolves around “home” – the one place or person you always return to. Lifted from Loi’s fresh home-baked products with flavors and smells you’re bound to look for (confession: I adore the Cinanamon Caramel Roll. My goodness! I rarely eat bread, but that’s one bread I have difficulty resisting). Also, it is a homage to Iloilo City, our home and the setting of the play.
Now introducing, the cupcakes. *cue in Applause
Blueberries and Cream Cupcake – Mildly sweet, fruit-based so shelf-life is short thus has to be consumed right away. The type of love or lover: one that’s good for you, the kind that you’ve been waiting for, like the old pair of slippers that you come home to after a long tiring day strutting in high heels. But it has to be now, or never..
Or you wait for a long time for something like it to come along. 😦
Quezzy was tasked to write for Blueberries and Cream, something that she was more than willing (or inspired) to do. The exciting back story is entirely another tale for another post. Only, it’s not my tale to tell, or to post, unfortunately. But if you’re curious, poke around QZ’s blog and you might find a clue.
Eventually the female character was christened Hope Tan, so named because presumably she embodies everyone’s hope for real love. I refused any other surname, and requested (hoped) for Hope to be chinay (pronounced tSi-naI). Since I’m going to play the character, I want it to be a homage to my Chinese roots.
Red Velvet Cupcakes – A red chocolate cake. Looks good, too sweet. A “red”chocolate cake? Hmm. More on that in a while. We have a word in the Philippines, umay, meaning “tired of something after having been exposed for too long”. But with the red velvet cake, you don’t have to be exposed too long. Its off-the-charts sweetness will overwhelm your tastebuds until you can’t take anymore.The kind of love? Something that isn’t what it seems. The kind of lover? Overwhelmingly good. Or bad. Someone who’s just a bit too much.
I was tasked to write the script for Red Velvet Girl. Honestly, I don’t date so I don’t have that much experience to draw from. Luckily, I have friends who do. HAHAHA!
While conceptualizing the Red Velvet Girl, only one person was on my mind. Clue 1: She looks super good. Nice dress, red lips, rosy cheeks. As for the red velvet cake, yup, coz man, look at that cake. You ain’t hooman if you ain’t tempted to sink your teeth into that deliciously red goodness.
Clue 2: Is she really what she seems? Country girl, geek, hopeless romantic – or – a manipulative, backstabbing, man-eater? “A ‘red’chocolate cake?”, you ask. “But.. that’s not natural for a chocolate.” My point exactly.
Clue 3: Supermodel Squad goals? Intrigues? Charitable works? Dates? Hits? Demands for companies to change their rules because she didn’t like it? OVERWHELMING. Just like the men that our Red Velvet Girl dates.
Eventually Red Velvet Girl was christened Arvee. Because. Why not?
Caramel Bliss Cupcake – caramel based-cake, topped with white frosting glazed over with caramel sauce and crowned with salted caramel chewies. You might think this is a sugar-filled treat, but the base itself isn’t too sweet, and the frosting is only enhanced by the sauce. And the salt? Compliments the caramel in a way that puto and dinuguan compliment each other. Or, coffee and tv (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?? BLUR FANS? ANYONE?). Or Oreo’s and milk. Or you and me (char).
This cupcake shows us what love really is: a choice, and hardwork. This cupcake is relatively more difficult to make compared to the other two. Yet here it is.
And all the effort put into making this kind of cupcake shows us how much effort we need to put in for love to succeed: a lot.
Perhaps that is why, we made Loi into a character to represent this cupcake, she’s the best living example of love and effort. She chose to go into the cake business, and we know how much effort she puts into it, and she is succeeding. It is also for her (our collective) love of theater that this particular project is underway. I know it will be wonderful. So far, it already is.
It was a wonderful Friday, like all Fridays are. With my big, red scuba bag I headed to SM City Iloilo to meet up with a very good friend, Gretchen, who was at the mall shopping for dog treats. Gretchen is a lifestyle blogger in Iloilo City, we went to the same college and have been friends ever since. Aside from her blog and work in Ateneo grad school, she’s busy raising up an enormous 10-month old Belgian Malinois named Zeus.
Weeks ago, she received an invitation to stay in B Lifestyle Complex, a new hotel in Iloilo City, and she asked me to tag along with her. Yay!
We stayed in the Bukidnon room. Apparently, every part of this hotel has a label that starts with a b. Compared to other hotels, the rooms here are relatively smaller. But I thought the space was used efficiently, not a corner wasted: a bedroom, living room complete with flatscreen television and a speedy wifi connection, a small counter with sink beside a fridge, bathroom, and a patio reserved for pets.
That’s the aspect where B Lifestyle Complex stamps out all its competitors: it’s pet friendly. Finally, animal lovers like me can stay in hotel without leaving our furry friends somewhere else.
So the sleepover commences. At one point, we started looking for food. The thing about introverts is that we rarely attend sleepovers, and as such, none of us had thought of to bring junk food and drinkies. We had food alright, for dogs. She bought dog treats for Zeus, while I… well, one of my daily responsibilities include bringing home food scraps from the school cafeteria to feed the dog and cat strays close to my house.We burned through a myriad of topics the whole evening, and topped everything with The Phantom of the Opera, before calling it a day.
The excitement of the staycation apparently has not abated yet, as we started early the following day. We dressed up and agreed to have a breakfast then a mini photoshoot all over the hotel.
The food didn’t disappoint. It was instagram worthy, and insanely delicious.
After a while…
We had such a great time! Oh, and we greatly commend the staff. They were awesome during our stay.:D
B Lifestyle Complex is located in Diversion Road, Cuartero, Jaro, Iloilo City
Magic happens nowhere else in the world but here – on a stage.
Within the limits of its space an entire parallel universe emerges. Writers see their words come to life. Directors conjure a vision from their mind. Performers get to live someone else’s life. Actors feed on each others’ energy, and the audience willingly suspend their reality and are purged of their own emotional toxins as a result.
The most magical of the whole theatre experience is not the sum of individuals’ contributions that brings the thaumaturgy before a live audience; it’s the change that inevitably happens in one’s soul once the magic is felt.
I used to be clad in plain shirt, a pair of jeans, and sneakers/flip flops. I never cared for how I looked or bothered about the clothes that I wear. The long and short of it is, I matured. While in Cambodia, I vowed to wear dresses everyday, which looked like they were forced me ‘coz I insisted on wearing sneakers and Doc Martens with them. Now that I’m back in my hometown (juggling grad school while teaching in a uni, social life, me time, and family responsibilities), I decided to wear high heels. Though from time to time, i still swap them with sneakers and DM’s. Will be updating soon!
Pink H&M dress, blue Gap denim jacket, Mario D’boro nude pumps
Forever21 sheath dress, Nike Airmax 90 in triple black
Powder blue vintage dress, tweed military jacket, Mario D’boro nude pumps
Powder blue vintage dress, Penshoppe military jacket, brown Hush Puppies pumps
Powder blue vintage dress, tweed military jacket, white Chuck Taylor’s
H&M Military shift dress, classic black 1460 Dr. Martens, red bonnet, red Superdry Jpn scuba bag