Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review: Roswell New Mexico

One of the TV shows that I was watching a few months back was Roswell New Mexico. Based on the book series called Roswell High, this is the second incarnation of the books to TV.  

I was familiar with the older show but I never followed it. I decided to give this new version a shot this time around because it was from the same creator who came up with The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, which were shows that I loved. 

Basically, the show is about a group of aliens who were part of the crash in Roswell, New Mexico in the late 1940s and how they are blending in with the people in the town they now live in. One of the aliens is in love with the daughter of an undocumented immigrant, who comes back to town after being away for a long time. This starts a series of events that threaten to reveal their secret and forces them to come to terms with who they are and where they came from.  

The show very aptly tackled issues that came with being “different” and being “aliens,” which is a good fit for the times in the US. I love that they are able to incorporate talking points about these issues in such a show, considering that it is a series marketed to a younger crowd. The issues get pointed out and is given their screen time without it being preachy or boring. It becomes part of the whole storyline. 

My favorite part of the entire series is Nathan Parsons, who plays the alien Max, who is in love with Jeanine Mason’s character Liz. I’ve seen Nathan Parsons in The Originals and I never paid him that much attention but he shines in this show as part of the star-crossed lovers (pun intended) of the series. I love how he played the younger Max who was in love with Liz even back then – the way he looked at her was very pure and innocent compared to the pained and passionate looks that he gave when he became older and is faced with her again. You can just feel how deeply in love Max is with Liz. I swear, every time he comes up with those swoon-worthy lines about how much he loves Liz I find myself almost falling off my seat every time. The guy is good at this! 

Speaking of swoon-worthy lines, I have to give credit to the writers of this show for all the romantic things that have been said on the show (mostly by Max for me). I sometimes forgot that I was watching a science fiction show and not a romantic drama with the words that were said.  

I feel like I’m disappearing until you look at me. 

Somehow you always stand in the part of the room that the sun hits first.

You touched my lips and I stopped breathing. 

Do you understand what I mean? 

Moving on...I’m very happy to see Jeanine Mason in this show. I still remember her from her dancing days on So You Think You Can Dance. I’ve seen her in several other projects since then but if I’m not mistaken, this is her first lead role. While I can’t say that she’s on the same level as Nathan Parsons, she does hold her own in every scene. 

Honestly, I don’t care much for the other characters in the show because I’m more invested on Max and Liz than anyone else...which is why I was disappointed to find out that Max died at the end of the first season. I know they will bring him back for the second season but I have the feeling that he won’t be the same Max...and I really liked the “deeply-in-love-with-Liz” version of him.  

I’m not sure if I will love the second season if Max is different, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see. I hope the writers will not let me down. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

My Fave RomCom: Never Been Kissed

I am a sucker for romantic comedies. I will always love them, no matter how cheesy they get sometimes. A few months ago I was reminded that one of my favorite rom-coms of all time had just celebrated its anniversary: Never Been Kissed (coincidentally the name of my very first blog from way back) is now 20!

I can’t believe that it’s been 20 years since I was introduced to Josie Geller of the Chicago Sun Times. I can still remember loving this character who had a second chance with high school by going undercover to try to get the inside story on the lives of teenagers. This was also the movie where I fell in love with Michael Vartan, whose career I followed up to his most recent TV show, The Arrangement. I also can’t forget to mention that this is one of the earlier movies of Jessica Alba and James Franco. 

Looking back now that I’m older, I do realize that my hopeless romantic side sort of glazed over the fact that the teacher was interested in his supposedly 17 year old student (which in hindsight is a bit of a red flag when you think about it). I know she really wasn’t 17 and just pretending to be one but still, it is a little disturbing how it was a bit ignored here in favor of getting the romance in. Maybe if they didn’t frame the relationship around that, it would be less of a disturbing thing but I really have no idea what other way they could have done it. Oh and there’s also that thing where Josie dated a high school guy, who I am assuming is also underage and 17. Also not OK. 

The age thing aside, this was one of my favorite movies because it was about a woman finding her voice and her identity. It was about connecting with people and about finding the kind of love that you wanted. Josie always wanted to be a successful writer and that article she wrote at the end of the film helped her to be that. She wanted to fall in love in the way that she dreamed of, and in the end she took a risk and got the man she wanted. 

Drew Barrymore was such a sweetheart in this movie, it was hard not to root for her and want her to succeed. I love how even in the end while she did grow as a person, she was still that lovable and charmingly awkward person that she was in the beginning of the film. 

There were so many quotable lines from the movie. I loved the scene where Josie described the kind of kiss that she wanted to have, to which her co-worker (played by now Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer) remarked that she should be a writer. 

Another memorable line (or should I say lines) in the movie was from Josie’s article, where she talks about the people you meet in high school. The girls, the athletes, the smart kids, your teachers and friends. And yes, of course, that one guy that makes you want to go to school in the morning.

I have to agree with her, although for me it could relate to people I have met in college as well. I guess it has something to do with being young — experiencing things and meeting people at that age, people tend to make a big impression on a person.Things are different when you’re young, when all things are new. It just makes everything extra special and memorable in that way.

Of course, I cannot discuss this movie without mentioning that final line where Josie finally gets her man and he tells her he’s sorry he took so long to get there and she replies that she knows what he means…that was just a classic scene for me. Then that Beach Boys song plays and everything just feels so happily ever after…to this day that song from the end reminds me of this movie and brings a smile to my face when I hear it! 

Never Been Kissed is one of those movies that I’d watch again in a heartbeat if given the opportunity. It’s a classic rom-com and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys the genre. This whole pretending to be someone else in the age of the internet and social media would not have worked in the same way today as it did in the 90s, but it’s nice to go back to a time when social media didn’t matter. 

If you haven’t seen it, it’s probably in at least one of the major streaming services out there. It’s worth the watch!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Thank You Boyzone and Good Night!

It finally happened! As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, I managed to get 3rd row VIP seats to Boyzone’s Thank You and Good Night Manila concert AND the opportunity for a Meet and Greet with the band. This was a better opportunity for me compared to last year’s 10th row seat without the chance to meet everyone.

As excited as I was about the show, I was also a tad disappointed that the Meet and Greet was not what I hoped it would be. I felt like we were in a factory assembly line: shuffled in 20 at a time, rushed to pose with the guys so that someone could take our picture and then shooed off so that the next set of 20 could go in and do the same. We were also repeatedly told not to give them anything or hand them anything to sign. I understand that there was very little time and the band did just come in from a flight from Taiwan, but I felt that it could have been handled differently. I was just lucky that I managed to stand near Ronan Keating where I could tap him on the arm to tell him that I loved their music (and the radio show he does with Harriet Scott that I follow online). I also managed a hug from Keith Duffy as I was being rushed out of the room, with Mikey Graham stifling a laugh at the situation.

Photo Credit: Wilson Chua (Sorry had to blur out the other people since I didn't have their permission to share their photo in public!)

In spite of the state of the Meet and Greet, I still had a good time at the concert itself. Former Westlife member Brian McFadden entertained the fans with a bunch of Westlife songs. My sister and I agreed that he had a really good voice which, I admit, I never noticed when he was on Westlife. He was also very good on stage and knew how to handle a crowd. He was very entertaining. I’d watch him if he ever came back to the country to perform because based on how he was as a front act, I know he’d be good to watch again.

The set list for Boyzone was, as they promised, full of the older hits, as it was their good bye to the fans who have followed them through the years. I loved going back in time to the songs that made me love this Irish boy band in the first place, and I enjoyed seeing the old videos that they shared on the big screen as they performed their hits.

As they did last year, they also had a special tribute to Stephen Gately who passed away in 2009. It was good to see the video where they all talked about their relationship with him and equally touching to hear them perform with his voice still included in the track so that he could be there with them.

It was a long show (and based on how they looked at the Meet and Greet the guys all looked like they were very tired from the very long and hectic tour schedule) but they still gave us fans a performance that we won’t soon forget. The energy was very high, with all the guys making the effort to get closer to the fans from the stage. Keith even went straight to the audience area to perform in the crowd!

After the last song it was sad to see it all end, but I am happy that I got those two hours to relive my youth and the good memories that it had for me. It was great to meet people like me who, for those couple of hours, got to be kids again watching our favorite band before we go back to living as adults with careers, families and responsibilities (something that I think Keith also said in an interview about the tour). It was nice to exchange stories with other fans like me who were big fans since the beginning. I was surprised to find out how many of us were unable to go and see them when we were younger and were now watching them from the VIP seats. It's good that we got to see them before they disbanded!

I’m really glad that the band came back for one final show. I actually got a few ideas for my book ( a historical novel that was partly inspired by some of their songs and some actual events in Philippine history) during the concert and from meeting them in person. I can’t wait to start writing it again! Just looking at Ronan made me think of the character I had based on him. It was hard to write before when he looked much younger but now that he's in his 40s, the character just came alive for me when I saw him up close!

On that note, this is me temporarily signing off to write this dream novel of mine. I won't be able to post as often as I used to, but I've written some advance posts that I've scheduled to pop up every now and then in the meantime. I'll be posting updates on my writing when I have something significant to share so please keep stopping by this blog whenever you can.

Thank you again Boyzone for coming back. Thank you for the music and for letting us say goodbye.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Twin Lakes Hotel Experience

Last year my family and I had such a good experience “staycationing” (if there is such a word) that we decided to do it again this year. For my birthday I decided to take the family out to stay overnight at a hotel again. I had originally wanted to do it at Taal Vista Hotel, which was where we stayed last year to celebrate my niece’s birthday, but the suite we used wasn’t available. I looked for other hotels in the area and ended up booking the suite at Twin Lakes Hotel along Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway in Batangas (although most people tend to think that this is in Tagaytay, I know I did).

I was planning to review the hotel for my blog when I first booked our stay. What I didn’t know at the time was that Twin Lakes was being managed by a friend of the family. If anyone feels that I’m being a little biased with my review, feel free to call me out on it.  

It is worth noting that the hotel opened in December 2018 and it is fairly new. At the time we first stayed there, some areas of the hotel were still under construction and their facilities were not yet complete. I’ve read reviews of people complaining about the construction, but personally I wasn’t bothered by it. We didn’t hear or see the parts that were still under construction so it was not a big deal. Maybe the hotel could post a note on their website about it or inform people booking when they call or email so that they would at least know what to expect. I knew beforehand from the reviews that there was still some work being done so our group was not that bothered by it. 

Checking in was a breeze and we were ushered to our suite after we were done with our welcome drinks. The suite was a combination of two bedrooms and one middle/living area. It was not as huge as the one in Taal Vista but I think for the family this was a better option because we were all closer together. Like Taal Vista they had a welcome fruit basket in our room when we got there.

The rooms were clean, the bathroom in the bedrooms had a tub and a shower and there was a toilet in by the living room area as well. Each room had a balcony, with sliding doors that automatically shut off the AC when it is open to save electricity (that’s just me guessing) since the weather can be a bit cold outside anyway. The bedrooms included bathrobes and slippers for the guests as well as the requisite toiletries. There were mini fridges in both rooms with sodas. The usual bottled water, coffee and tea with a small electric kettle was also part of each room. 

The balconies have a good view of their vineyard, although at the time we were there they were newly planted so there wasn’t much to see. I was told that it would look better by the last quarter of the year. I’m looking forward to seeing that. 

For guests who want to go out of the hotel, there is a van service that goes up to the commercial area every hour. We made use of that service a lot when we were there and even got to chat with a very friendly driver, who happily offered us discounts to their family-owned Halo-halo business in Bacoor, Cavite.

Later that evening I decided to join the kids for a swim in the heated infinity pool. I LOVED it! It felt so relaxing taking a dip in the warm water as I looked out at the sky and the stars. There was a lifeguard looking out for us who was ready with towels when we needed it. The kids enjoyed the swim so much that they went back in the following day after breakfast. It helped that water was not too deep and that there was a pool for kids. 

The breakfast buffet was good. My mother commented that although the selection was not as wide as Taal Vista’s, it definitely tasted good. We also enjoyed taking in the view at the balcony of the restaurant, something I’m sure a lot of other people would enjoy. 

While the hotel did not have a spa yet, we were able to book a massage from an affiliate spa for my mom with the help of the hotel front desk. The masseuse came to our room and worked on my mom there. She said that it was very relaxing even if it was done in our room.  

My family and I had such a good time that we ended up booking two rooms again recently. We would have loved to have the suite again but since we booked last minute, we could only get two rooms which were, thankfully, right next to each other. 

After we checked in, we roamed around and found (with the help of a security personnel who showed us the way) that they already had a gym, which my sister made use of the following day. They were also in the finishing touches of a kid's playroom and a game room (for the older kids like us). We will probably be able to use those facilities next time. 

Sadly, there still wasn’t any spa but we did avail of the massage that my mom got the last time. I have to agree that it was really good. I was so relaxed by the end of it all that I couldn’t keep my eyes open that night even when I promised my sisters that we’d stay up late! The masseuse told my mom that they will also be the same staff at the spa in the hotel once it opens. I’m definitely looking forward to that! Spas are my happy place! 

During our second stay we decided to try the restaurant for our other meals since we went up to the commercial area the last time. We were happy with our dinner (grilled was the theme of the night) but we were a little disappointed that it was the same selection all over again for lunch. I guess we were hoping for slightly different fare the following day. Still, we had good meals while we were there. We were a little too full every time!

My sisters and I also decided to try their room service. There weren’t any menus in our room so we ended up going out to the hotel bar to ask around. The person assigned there was very friendly and gave us a menu and several options for drinks since we were looking to have a little alcohol that night. There wasn’t much offered in terms of meals on the menu (with some items that were on the menu that ended up being unavailable), and the ones that were offered weren’t good for sharing like what we had intended. But since the guy assisting us was very friendly and helpful, we still ordered some food and drinks for our room.  

Both times while the experience was not perfect, I have to say that I had a good time at Twin Lakes Hotel. Being a new hotel, it still has a lot to improve on (or should I say, complete) before it can serve its guests to the best of its ability but I think they’re off to a good start. The friendly staff who are always willing to help (I suddenly remembered one of their staff seeing me checking out the hallway in case there were people who could help us with our TV and rushing over to see how he can help) is a big plus. The person to person experience/service is always a big factor on whether or not we come back to a place and this has the kind of people that would make us come back. 

That last morning I had when I sat by the balcony, looked out at the sunrise while I read a book made me feel like I was in a happy place. It was quiet and peaceful and just beautiful. I would definitely come back again. 

You know what? I'd probably be back before the year ends. 

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Toy Adventures

My nephew is the love of my life. He is my person. He says goodbye to me when I go off to work and is often the first to welcome me home after a long day at the office. He kisses me goodnight practically every evening and hangs out with me a lot when I’m home. We watch TV, play Jenga and other games and draw together. So, when this little one asks me a favor, you can bet that I will say yes as long as it is something that is possible. 

A few months ago, he gave me one of his toys, a turtle. He asked me to bring it with me to work and to let it join me all day. I decided to take photos of that little turtle as I went about my day: I took a photo on the way to work, while at was at the office, while I was at a meeting and when I went on the road for some work errands. The little one had such a good time watching what his turtle was up to during the day. I loved that it made him happy to see that I made an effort to give his turtle a good time. It also gave him an idea of what I did when I was not at home too. 

I think the turtle a big success because a few weeks later, he asked me to bring along another toy, this time it was a stegosaurus (he is very into dinosaurs right now). Again, I brought it with me everywhere. Good thing that I had a lot of work errands to attend to that day so I was able to take photos with the toy (the little one calls him “Stegy”) at all sorts of places. Even my co-workers were enjoying what I was doing because they eventually ended up suggesting places where I could take my photos while I was out and about with them. They even became the ones to remind me to take a photo of Stegy at a couple of stops.

Again, my nephew loved the photos that I took and enjoyed finding out what Stegy was up to while he was away. I have to be honest, at one point I think I forgot the toy somewhere and I ended up stopping and retracing my steps to figure out where it was. I almost lost the little thing! I was in such a panic! Good thing I found it again and that no one picked it up for themselves.  

I ended up looking silly a couple of times when I took the photos for my nephew but I didn’t mind. I really just love the kid and I’m more than happy to do something to put a smile on his face whenever I can. After all, time flies by so quickly and he’ll grow up and I won’t have the kind of time that I have with him right now. I want to enjoy every moment with him when I can.  

I don’t have children of my own so the kids of my siblings are the closest that I can get to having kids of my own. When my other nephew and niece were little, I also made sure that I did things to bond with them the way I’m doing now. I feel that it is important at this stage in their lives to be able to give them the good memories and quality time that I share with them. I want to be able to give them moments that they will remember fondly when they grow up. I hope the little things like this will matter to them in the long run. I know that it all matters to me. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Kolours Signature Series Review

My hair has been a big issue for me these past few years because of the gray hair that keeps popping up. I wouldn’t mind it much if I didn’t look so stressed all the time and having that hair color seems to make it worse. I’ve taken to experimenting with box hair colors and after several rounds of using L’Oreal, I decided to give Kolours Signature Series a try.

Kolours is a local brand and their Signature Series is a collaboration with actress/model/painter/TV and Social Media personality Solenn Heussaff. There are three shades in the series: Ash Brown, Honey Amber and Raspberry Red. I recently saw a photo of Kim Chiu with Strawberry Brown hair so I chose Raspberry Red.

First thing I noticed was that when my sister and I opened the boxes (I used two because my hair is long) was that the two bottles of developer had different shades. One was considerably lighter than the other. We did a double take and looked at the shade name on the boxes thinking that we got one wrong but apparently, we didn’t because both were labeled the same color. We found that weird but we still went on with it.

After applying the color as instructed and rinsing it off, I was surprised that my color ended up looking bright and orangey. I was disappointed because the Raspberry Red color of Solenn’s hair on the box was a darker shade and was very red. My sister said that the color might fade a little after a couple of shampoos but that wasn’t much of a comfort for me. It was obviously not going to be any darker than what I currently had.

The Before and After

Don’t get me wrong, the color was not awful. In fact, I’ve received compliments about my hair color, with people saying that the shade suited me. It’s just that it wasn’t the color that I was going for. I had a specific look in mind and I didn’t get it. I know I could change it now but I’m worried about damaging my hair so I am going to wait a while before I do it again. 

I think that I can color my hair again in about three months once the roots start showing. I’m going to have to choose another shade, hopefully this time I can get the color that I want. I’m not sure if I want to use Kolours again though. The shade I prefer in the Signature Series is just Raspberry Red, because the other two are already too light for my taste. I just might go back to L’Oreal because they also have great gray hair coverage and I always get the color that I’m expecting when I use it. 

I wonder if there was something wrong in the packaging process and the wrong shade was in that one other box, the one with the lighter shade of developer? Maybe that’s why I got a different color than what I had expected? 

Part of me is wondering how long I can maintain all this coloring. Maybe I should color my hair gray and just let it go after that. Maybe I should just embrace the gray and get this all over with! I mean, it is all going to be that way eventually. My mother stopped coloring her hair and now she her hair is a salt and pepper color and it’s not so bad. I have a cousin who doesn’t color her hair and she looks good with all the streaks showing too. Am I too young to let it go that way or should I give it a shot? 

What do you think? 

Friday, June 7, 2019


If mermaids existed in the real world and if they live among us, what would life be like? The Netflix show called Tidelands seemed to answer that question for me.  

The TV show is an Australian 8-part series that tackles the world involving the Tidelanders, who are the offspring of sirens and humans. In the show, ex-convict Cal McTeer is released from prison and goes home to a town called Orphelin Bay, where she finds out about the real reason why the town is still being kept alive in spite of the poor economy. Clue: it has something to do with the Tidelanders. 

Without giving much away, the series presents a story of how the Tidelanders came to be, how they survived and what kind of community they have apart from the humans. They are also presented as different from the typical mermaid that we are familiar with. No tails, for one thing. They look like humans with the difference being that they have powers/abilities: they can control water (and blood, since it is part water), they can control a person with their voice (they are part siren, after all) and they have superhuman strength and speed. They can crush you in more ways than one (there is a particular scene featuring Elsa Pataky and the guy who plays Augie McTeer that would explain this for me but you have to watch it to know what I mean). 

Elsa Pataky, aka Mrs. Chris Hemsworth, stars in this show as the lead villain Adrielle, the self-proclaimed Queen of the Tidelanders. She is the Tidelander with the most mystery to her character. If you decide to watch the show, you’d find out that her motives are kept hidden until the very end. I loved her role in this because she plays the power-hungry and obsessed Tidelander well.  

Just like the other Australian series that I recently watched, this show is not afraid of nudity and sex scenes. I mean, this is something that I’m just not used to watching on a TV show. I guess it’s just not that big a deal in Australia. If I see another Australian show with this much nudity, I’d say this is normal fare down under. 

The story is not just about the supernatural, but also has some drama and action (and bit of romance) in it. There’s even a crime theme to it. There’s a lot tackled in the show, maybe a little too much because I felt that some characters ended up being under-used...but then again it could be because there were just too few episodes for them to do something about it. 

I’m not sure if this one will have a second season but given that there have been a lot of negative reviews on it, probably not. Too bad, because I was interested in the story and how it could possibly play out for a season 2, especially with the Kim Kardashian-looking characters that showed up at the last episode (you have to watch to see what I mean).  I’d also love to know what happens to Cal and the other characters from the last scene of the season onward. I just feel like there is way too much that still needed to be said and shared, it was too short to end on that note. 

On second thought, with all the good-looking guys seemingly dead or dying in that last episode, maybe it won’t be worth it to have a season 2 unless they all made it out alive? I mean, where else can I watch Aaron Jubenko, Mattias Inwood and Marco Pigossi after this? 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Favorite Film Alert: Centerstage

I’ve always loved dance. I love to dance and I have such an appreciation for it. When the movie Centerstage came out in 2000, I knew I had to go and see it. I can still remember dragging a co-worker to watch the movie at the nearest cinema near the office. It was the rattiest movie house I have ever been in but I did not care. I was watching a movie about dance and was loving every minute of it! To this day this is one of those films that I can watch over and over again!

The movie did not have any big movie stars, but it was still a good movie for me. Zoe Saldana, who played rebel dancer Eva later on became a big movie star, with her recent work being Gamora from the Avengers movies. Amanda Schull, who played the lead character Jody, starred in the TV version of 12 Monkeys and is currently part of the TV show Suits. Eion Bailey, who played Maureen’s boyfriend, later on starred in the TV series Once Upon a Time as Pinocchio. I also can’t forget to mention that professional ballet dancers Ethan Stiefel, Julie Kent and Sascha Radetsky were also a part of this movie, with Sascha co-starring with Mandy Moore in the music video used to promote the movie.

Centerstage was about a group of dancers enrolled at the American Ballet Academy, studying and hoping to qualify to be a professional dancer at the end of the year via a workshop where dancers will be handpicked for various ballet companies. While it did focus a lot on the dancing, it also showed the life of dancers and how competitive the world of dance can be. Dancers are shown struggling to lose weight, having difficulty balancing technique with emotion while they dance and trying to have a life and relationships outside of the dance world. 

There are a lot of dance scenes in the movie (obviously) but there is one scene at a dance studio that I liked a lot, it featured the song Higher Ground by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I remember dancing along to the song in my room and trying to copy the choreography when I first saw this movie!

One particular aspect of the movie that I liked was how they repeatedly mention that Jody does not have the right technique or form but that when you look at her, you see a star. I love that in the end, it was not the right technique that won people over, but the star quality that she had in her. To me, it was the movie telling aspiring dancers to never give up on their dreams and just like Jody, if you work hard and if it is your passion, you can find your place in the dance world. 

Of course, like any other movie targeted to the younger crowd, this movie has its share of love stories, although I am happy to report that it did not take away from the real focus of the film.

Centerstage was successful enough to have had two spinoff movies: Centerstage: Turn in Up and Centerstage: On Pointe. Ethan Stiefel was in the first one and Sascha joined him in the second. Both dancers were also part of the limited TV series Flesh and Bone, which is a dramatic and darker take on the ballet world. Stiefel was choreographer for the show while Sascha was one of the lead actors for it.

The movie will be celebrating its 20th year anniversary next year. I am hoping that someone can get the cast together for a reunion – maybe to be interviewed for a magazine or something. Or maybe they can do a reunion music video with Mandy Moore, who is just as much a part of this movie as everyone because of the theme song. I’d love to see that happen.


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Book Review: Moonshot by Alessandra Torre

If I could turn a book into a movie (even just a made for TV movie will do), I’d love to make this one. Moonshot, written by Alessandra Torre, has the right mix of romance, drama, sports, murder-mystery and suspense that would make for a good movie. Plus, I fell in love with the characters and the story so there’s that too.

Moonshot is about Ty, the seventeen-year-old daughter of a baseball player who travels with her father during their games on the road. She meets and falls in love with the new star player Chase, who also happens to be older than she is and has a reputation with women. The love does not last, but they meet again years later, when Ty is already a married woman.  

There’s something to be said about love stories that start when the characters are young. I feel like the intentions are pure at that point so when they are given the chance to start over, you find yourself rooting for them to work it out even if you know there are significant obstacles that needed to be overcome. That being said, I did have my hesitations with the age difference, particularly with Ty being underage at the time that they first got together. I kind of wished she was of consenting age when this all went down but I guess that’s the point that made them a forbidden love at this stage of the story. I’m just not comfortable with it especially since Chase, at this point, is already in his 20s. Still, I felt that the whole “man whore” aspect was enough to make this a hands-off situation to begin with. 

I think the theme of second-chance love, especially when it’s a bit of a forbidden love is always interesting to read to see how things will play out. The fact that the intensity of the characters and their feelings are well-presented in the book made me really root for these characters and hope that they can find a way to be together in the end. It’s a bit conflicting to root for them though, knowing that it was wrong since she is married but you could see they were just meant for each other so it was hard not to! 

With everything that these characters had to overcome to be together, it was all very intense and high-stakes for both of them, which mades the book a really good read for me.  

I’ve said this once before and I will keep saying it until I’m blue in the face: when I can picture the lead characters as certain actors, that means to me that it’s a good book. For this one, I was picturing Matt Bomer as Chase. I couldn’t help it. Brie Larson was Ty for me. Again, I couldn’t help it! 

The whole twist about the murder-mystery aspect of the book caught me off guard at the end. I didn’t see it coming! It was so in-your-face from the start but I didn’t realize it until the big reveal! This was so well written that I found myself doing the whole “OMG face” when I found out who it was and why that person did what he did! That part was so good! 

I know it’s a long shot, but given that another book that I had envisioned as a movie is actually happening, I’m hoping that this book can be brought to life too. Hopefully with actors as close to who I was envisioning for it to play the leads. This could all get bad with the wrong actors so please, if you make it happen, get the right people for it! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

New Amsterdam

One of the shows that I have been watching on the Fox TV app is the medical drama New Amsterdam, starring former 90210 and Blacklist actor Ryan Eggold. It is based on a book called Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital. It is about a young medical director named Max who is trying to make changes in one of the oldest public hospitals in the US, aiming to give the best care to his patients. His methods are out of the box and it sometimes rubs people the wrong way, but he has been able to make things work. 

What I found interesting about the show is the lead character. Max is trying to change the status quo to find better ways to serve their patients, even if it means ruffling a few feathers in the process. I also love that instead of pointing out what’s wrong, he is often found saying his favorite line: “How can I help?” I’d love to work for someone like that. 

I have to admit that when I first started watching this, I was mostly just playing this in the background while I did other things. I still caught on to the gist of things, but I never really paid attention until this one scene where Max is on the rooftop of the hospital talking to his friend and oncologist Helen caught me off guard. 

Having followed the show mostly by listening to dialogue, I knew that Max and Helen were more than just colleagues and had more than a doctor-patient relationship. There was an unspoken off connection, a spark/chemistry that was undeniable between them. 

Max and Helen were good friends, to the point where they were so close that even the man Helen was dating thought there was something between them. Based on that one rooftop scene, it was obvious that they were finally acknowledging it (in their own way) and I had to stop what I was doing to watch it.  

That scene was SO GOOD. I loved how they were talking about their relationship without directly talking about it. The subtext of it all and the phenomenal acting on the part of Ryan Eggold and Freema Agyeman made it such a powerful and moving scene!  

The lines were so well-written: how they were talking about the recent events in the hospital where Max didn’t want to choose one option but wanted to take every option instead — then it was flipped to compare it to how Max was also doing the same with his role as medical director while undergoing cancer treatment AND his relationship with Helen as both her patient and her colleague. He wanted it all, even I he had to choose just one.  

In reality, the issue was Max not wanting to choose between the obvious relationship he has with Helen and the fact that he has a wife and a baby on the way. You could really tell that when Max says he wants Helen, it’s not just as his doctor. And when Helen replies that it’s not an option because they all want him, it’s obvious she means the same thing. I love, love, loved that scene! I cannot get over it! It made me feel so bad to be rooting for them when I knew that Max had a wife and (soon to arrive) child. I feel like the writers are either going to fix this with the recent season finale and kill off either Helen or the wife. That or they are just going to take things next level with the conflict next season by keeping both of them on the show. 

One thing’s for sure, I’ll be watching the next season when it comes out later this year. 

Monday, June 3, 2019


I recently learned that some people have betrayed my trust. People are actively stabbing me in the back for their own personal gain. People who I have never wronged in any way except for the fact that apparently, I am in their way.  

My first reaction was shock, followed by disappointment and anger. I have been nothing but supportive of these people. I have gone above and beyond for them. It made me wonder what kind of relationship to have with the people concerned knowing what I do now. At this point though I don’t know what I should do moving forward. 

So far, I have not done anything with what I’ve learned, but I have been very conflicted about how I feel about it. Part of me wants to confront the people concerned but what is the point in that? They would most likely deny it anyway. It would only make me feel more disappointed, even angry. I don’t want to approach the situation in anger because nothing good ever comes of that (uh, Daenerys Targaryen anyone?). 

One other thing I’m considering is walking away from the people who betrayed me and the situation that has brought us all together. But in doing so I would also be letting down other people who trust and depend on me. Should I walk away from people who betrayed me and let go of the other people who have done nothing wrong and have put their trust in me as well? 

I remember this one friend who once told me that I need to learn to “look out for number one.” I know that I can do that. It’s just that I know that if I walk away, the healthiest thing to do will be for me to walk away completely. I could look out for myself, leave other people to fend for themselves and call it self-care. It’s just that I feel that doing that makes me feel selfish and bitter about the recent turn of events. I don’t want to be selfish or bitter. Life it too short to have and live with those feelings. 

Still, I wonder if this is a sign that it is time for me to expand my horizons beyond the people I have surrounded myself with and what I have been used to all these years. Maybe this is my opportunity to take some of the time and effort I give to go above and beyond for others to do the things I have always wanted to do for myself. 

It’s been a challenge acting like nothing has happened since I found out what I did. Some might say or think that I’m being fake or plastic by doing this, but I feel that acting like nothing has happened while I haven’t decided my next steps is the mature and smart thing to do. My heart feels heavy though. It’s hard to relate to someone and know you can’t trust them even if they act like you can. Even if for a time you thought you could. 

My life feels like I’m on Survivor right now. I don’t know who to talk to, I don’t know who to trust. Do I stay on the island or quit while I’m ahead? Or do I wait until I’m voted out and can do nothing about it? Should I go make my own island?

I’m so confused right now. I need someone to tell me what to do or at least give enough insight for me to be able to decide. I just know that I can’t stay undecided for too long because emotionally I know it will take a toll on me. All I know for sure right now is that I deserve better than to be treated this way. 

What would you do? My inner dragon (I am a Year of the Dragon girl, FYI) is steaming a bit on this one.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Cool Citrus Basil Memories

Life has been very stressful for me lately. The weather has been unbearable. I have work responsibilities and problems to take care of. I have family responsibilities that need to be addressed. I have personal goals that I would like to accomplish. I have people in my life who have greatly disappointed me. I have health issues that are making all of the above difficult to concentrate on. Remember Jennifer Love Hewitt in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer where she’s screaming and asking what more the killer wants from her? That is my level of stress right now. I’m in desperate need of a good break. 

More than a decade ago, I took a vacation in Cebu (with a few nights in Makati on the side, if I’m not mistaken). It was probably the last time I took a real vacation — one where the trip was not work related with some personal travel on the side, not a trip where I had to take charge of the itinerary or a trip where the office called or emailed me every day to do something even when I was on leave. This was a REAL vacation that I took with my cousin and a few of her friends. I loved every minute of it.  

It was a trip where we didn’t plan anything but just randomly chose what to do for the day. We lounged by the pool, hung out by the beach. Walked around random tourist spots and took meals at places suggested to us by the locals. Stress was so far from my mind at the time that it was nonexistent. 

It’s sad that a trip more than ten years ago is the last real vacation I’ve had. I wish I had the luxury of time and money to be able to do that again. Shangrila Mactan will always hold a special place in my heart because of it. Because of that trip I am forever grateful to my cousin who took it upon herself to give me a break by letting me join her and her friends on that trip, to the point of paying for my expenses as well. I will always be appreciate how I was treated by her friends. They never let me feel like I was an outsider joining their group when I was with them.  

One thing that will always remind me of that trip is the scent of citrus and basil. I remember having a cologne from Bath & Body Works called Cool Citrus Basil that I used during that trip. It’s too bad that the scent has been discontinued because I really loved that one because of all the memories that it brings to mind. 

These days I’d be lucky if I can have one day away from the office where no one will contact me for something they need. It seems far-fetched right now for me to go on a week-long vacation and be incommunicado with the responsibilities I have at home. 

I’d love to go on that kind of vacation again someday. It would be good for my sanity to go on a trip away with a friend or two, no communication from work and no plans except to relax, have fun and enjoy the company. Hopefully it won’t take another decade more before I do. I know I need (and deserve) one right about now.   

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Boyzone's Coming Back!

They are coming back! They said they would and now it’s confirmed that they will! 

If any of you have read my post on the Boyzone concert that I attended August last year, you’d remember that I was hoping that they boys would come back for one last show. For a moment there my hopes were dashed when they announced a series of shows that did not include Manila. It was such a pleasant surprise that after that round of concerts they teased that there would be a few more shows back in Asia before they finally, truly, disband. 

Last year I was able to purchase tickets on the day they were released but I was not able to get good seats. It was crazy considering that I was purchasing my tickets the morning of the first day of release! I was determined to do better this time around and, as luck would have it, I was able to get in touch with the production company that would be bringing them over. Going directly to them not only got me third row, center seats (compared to last year’s far behind and to the right), but the chance to be part of the Meet & Greet with Boyzone themselves, which I had wanted since last year! Note to self: next time you want good tickets, go straight to the producers! 

The concert, which will be held on June 23rd at the Mall of Asia Arena, feels so close and so real now that I’ve received my tickets from All Access Productions. I’ve been told that they are still waiting for all the qualified ticket holders to reach a certain number before they contact us about the details of the Meet & Greet. If it’s anything like what I’ve seen from recent shows on their Instagram, that would be a chance to watch their sound check and get to ask questions and all that. I do hope that there is a chance to meet and speak to them up close and take photos with them. It’s my last chance to do this with one of my favorite bands from my college days and I’d love for it to be something truly memorable. 

With all this excitement over the upcoming concert, I’ve started writing my “dream novel” again. A historical fiction drama inspired by real-life events in Manila during the Japanese Occupation. Why am I inspired because of the concert? It’s mostly because I’ve had the idea for the book from some Boyzone songs (Paradise, She Moves Through the Fair, among others). I’ve also written these guys into the book as pegs for some of the characters in the story, with Ronan Keating being my inspiration for the male lead. I hope I get to finish the book this time around. Maybe this concert and Meet & Greet will be the inspiration that I need to finally get it done.

As I’ve done last year, I will be sharing this experience with my youngest sister. She grew up listening to me play Boyzone songs and videos over and over and their songs have been as much a part of her life as a child as it was for me as a college student. It would be a great bonding moment for us since she will be getting married at the end of this year. 

I am, as they say in their side of the globe, over the moon that I will have this opportunity to enjoy one last Boyzone show before they split up. Hopefully one day when I finish my book, I can send it to all of them to thank them for inspiring me to write it. It would be incredible to know what they would think about it! 

Friday, May 31, 2019

Mental Health Awareness

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness month. It is the time where people raise awareness about mental health and mental health issues. It’s the time where several groups try to help erase the stigma of having mental health problems so that help can be given to the people who need it the most.  

I’m glad that there is such a month for raising awareness for mental health, because there are so many people who can benefit from the knowledge that could help others and, more often than not, themselves. 

While there are already several existing groups who advocate for this issue, I think that worldwide there is still a long way to go when it comes to how we view mental health problems. The stereotype that people who suffer from mental illness are of the straight jacket-wearing, institutionalized and to-be-sedated variety because they are “crazy” is still alive and well. The amount of those aware are still widely outnumbered by the ones who are uneducated about this. 

There are so many who suffer from mental health problems who suffer alone and in silence because of these stereotypes. People think that people with these problems are weak or broken but in reality, so many of them are stronger than what we think. Can you imagine being able to do the things like going to work or school and taking care of various responsibilities in spite of issues that weigh them down emotionally and mentally? All this they do without showing others that they have problems. They put on a brave face because there are still so many who don’t understand what mental health issues are about/ There is still a problem with acceptance and support from others which is why many people tend to deal with their problems on their own, without going to the doctor and getting the help they need. 

Full disclosure, I have had (or still have, actually) my own share of issues. There was a time when I was cutting myself, and there were one or two times when I attempted to take my life (but was, obviously, not successful). It came to the point where my doctor had prescribed anti-depressants, although I made the choice to stop taking them and to try alternative methods to feel better. Meditation helps. Talking to people willing to listen and provide support, which I have been blessed enough to have, makes a big difference. I don't think I would still be alive without the people who were there for me during my lowest and darkest moments.

Things are not always perfect: there are still days when I feel like I cannot go on, days when even one simple task feels difficult because of how I feel, moments when everything feels impossible and nothing will ever go right. Moments when even the most light-hearted or well-intentioned comment can make me question myself and my worth. Sometimes the anxiety I feel can be too much that I don't want to leave the comfort of my room because it can cause me to panic and become too dizzy to even stand.

People might misinterpret people with mental health issues as being over dramatic or someone making excuses to get away from responsibility, which has happened to me at work. It's so hard to explain that there are days when what I feel can be too much for me to properly function. There are days when dealing with it on a daily basis can be so exhausting that I find myself envying people who have passed away because they are finally able to rest. Don't get me wrong, I love life and I love being alive and being surrounded with the people I love. I have my good days too. It's just that some days, what I feel can go beyond my control and things can be difficult.

For the most part, I power through what I feel, but it is so challenging that most of the time I feel exhausted at the end of the day. Some days are easier than others and for that I am grateful. I don't know if what I feel will ever go away. But with the help of friends and family who are there for me, I am doing fairly well. Being honest about what I have been going through with my family has also made a big difference and has resulted in me getting the support I need. I know some would say that people with issues like me probably lack enough faith in God. It's not about that. Mental health issues are types of illness... just like the various types of physical illness we experience. It's something that needs to be addressed and treated. Yes, prayer helps, but just like any physical disease, it needs the right approach and treatment. 

It’s a good thing that the country now has a Mental Health Law which can provide affordable mental health services to Filipinos. I think this is a step in the right direction in providing people who need the help and the opportunity to heal. I hope that people can be made aware of this and can be encouraged to take advantage of this law to get the help they need. It’s hard enough to find doctors to help, it is also expensive to get help and pay for the medicine and/or therapy needed. I really hope that this law can help a lot of people and can make others aware of how we can help those who need our support. It may seem as simple as talking to someone and telling them that it'll be OK, but it's not always that way. Knowing how to approach a person to help, knowing and being aware that there is a right approach, would mean a lot to those who need it the most. 

I hope that the step in the right direction with the Mental Health Law and the awareness that is being promoted by occasions such as this can be the way that many who suffer from mental health problems will be able find solutions to help them to feel better.  

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Keeping Cool

It has been raining a lot lately. According to the weather reports, the rainy season will follow soon after. That is such a relief! I have been having a difficult time dealing with the warm weather and it will be a huge blessing to have more cooler days ahead! 

Blogging has not been as regular as I would like for it to be these days because of the heat. I have nothing going on because I’d rather hide from the sun when I’m not at work. The heat has also made me feel weak lately so sleep has been my default mode when I’m home. Hopefully, my blogging life will resume on a more consistent basis once the weather improves. 

I know that I’ve blogged about this before but I can’t help but do it again because the warm weather has been even more unbearable since my last entry on it. I was telling my sister that if the weather keeps getting hot as the years go then life in the Philippines in the decades to come would be next to impossible during the summer. The government and the private sector need to work together to ensure that measures are taken from both sides to combat Climate Change and to come up with methods to help cool down this side of the planet. 

The sun has been very cruel these past few months. I didn’t realize how cruel it was until I saw sunburn marks on my arms from where the sleeves of my uniform (and my T shirts, for that matter) end. To think that I am not even outdoors that much! I can’t imagine how bad it is for people who work outside on a regular basis! 

Temperatures have been soaring to the point that I prefer to stay inside my room, protected by blackout curtains and with the air conditioner on. I keep suffering from headaches and dizzy spells whenever I’m in an area without air conditioning so I prefer to stay safe in my room whenever I can. Even with a fan on, the heat is hard to tolerate because you can feel the hot air pressing on your skin! 

I hope everyone else is doing what they can to stay safe and healthy in this weather. I’ve heard of colleagues who have suffered from heart attacks and high blood pressure problems because of this heat. The local funeral parlor, as per the owner, said that at one point there were 14 cadavers waiting to be embalmed, which just shows how many people have suffered and died from the alarming weather we’ve been having.  

To my readers who have been feeling the heat in the worst way like me, here are some tips that I’ve tried to cool down in this crazy summer heat: 

Take a Cold Shower – I know we should save water and all that but this is an effective way to cool down if you can’t stay in an air-conditioned room during the day. I shower twice a day, sometimes more. If I feel like saving water, I just dunk my head under the shower so that my head is cooler at least. 

Cooled Water Spray – I keep water in a spray bottle and place it in the refrigerator (or freezer) so that when it’s too hot, I spray it on me or on my bed if I’m in my room because the mattress absorbs so much heat during the day.  

Keep it Light – Try to keep your clothes (and bed sheets) light so that you won’t feel the heat as much. Cotton is your best bet in this weather. 

The Ice in Front of the Fan Trick – Putting a container full of ice in front of a fan will give you cooler air, but it can be a bit messy with the water dripping once all the ice is melted. Another alternative would be to use an air cooler, a device that you put water (or ice) into so that it blows cool air into your room. 

Cool Fever – Yes, it’s for fevers, but it does help cool down your body temperature so why not? Anything that cools you down helps! 

Menthol Shampoo – This is more of a temporary fix since the effect wears off but still a good one to try. I use Head and Shoulders menthol and it does help give a cool feeling to you scalp. I heard there is an extra cool menthol variant, but I haven’t tried that one. It would probably be even better! 

Stay Hydrated – Drink lots of water. Eat fruits like watermelon and veggies like cucumbers to help hydrate you too. 

Lights Off – I find that it’s warmer when there are lights on in my room. Letting the sun and the heat in does the same thing. If you can tolerate it, keep your curtains (blackout, preferably) closed and lights off while you cool down in your room. 

Just a few weeks of heat more (hopefully). Keeping my finger crossed that the rain comes sooner than expected! 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Election Fever

With the elections coming up in less than a month, the campaign period has been in full swing. Every single day I hear a campaign jingle for the candidates and whenever I go out, I cannot avoid the onslaught of campaign posters on vehicles, homes or any blank wall along the road. The news is never without anything on the people campaigning for national-level positions. Same goes for social media. 

I don’t know what to feel with how politics is here in the country. So much of what is going on leaves me conflicted about who to vote for.

Image by Andreas Breitling from Pixabay

Politicians have people who put up posters everywhere and give away flyers left and right. In this time of climate change and problems with solid waste management, these posters and flyers will add to the already big problems we have with trash. 

The fact that politicians are debating not on the issues but are attacking each other on a personal level is also annoying. Even with the elections just weeks away I don’t know who to vote for because I don’t know what exactly these people stand for, what their advocacies are and what they think about vital issues that the government needs to take action on. 

How do people make a choice on who to vote for in a political climate like this? Where politicians sing and dance during their sorties and make dirty jokes against the other party/candidates? Sometimes I wonder if my vote will even make a difference when the majority are people who can be easily manipulated due to their financial condition and lack of education that puts them at a disadvantage. 

It’s depressing to think of where our country might be headed if we don’t make the right choice. I’m not really for or against any particular political party. I’m not the kind of person who will tell you to “vote straight” because I would rather have a healthy mix of both parties so that various sectors can be represented. I would like to (ideally) have people who will actually do their job and not use their positions for their own personal advantage.  

Image from Geralt on Pixabay

I want people who will make the environment a priority. People who will provide solutions to the problems with trash management. People who will think out of the box and come out with policies that will benefit the entire country, not just big business. 

I hope that people will make the right choice, but the way I see it, none of us are given the right information to make those choices. We need more than politicians who can entertain us, shake our hands and tell us that they will work for us. We need people who will actually do what they promise. Are there even politicians/candidates who can say that these days?

Fingers crossed for all of us in the country during the next elections. May the right people win and help to make our country a better place.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Have You Tried Confetti?

Does anyone remember my old post about the trivia app called HQ? It’s an online trivia game where the contestants have to answer 10 straight questions right to win the pot money for the day. It is US based, so I haven’t been able to win because of all the very American trivia questions that are in the set of questions. I’ve always wondered when they can have a local version and now there is one: Confetti Philippines.  

Photo Credit: Confetti Philippines

Confetti Philippines is an online trivia competition via Facebook Watch. Anyone can join the contests, which are held every Thursday to Monday at 9 PM. All you have to do is be online and registered with a Facebook account when the contest is on so you can answer the trivia questions. If you get all 10 correctly, you win the prize money, which can be as high as $6,000.00! Of course, if more than 1 person gets all 10, that means you will all share the money equally.  Take note that you have to get all 10 right, which means that while you can continue playing once you answer one question wrong, you will only be playing for fun and not for the prize money.

The contest is hosted by Baninay, a vlogger and former PBB housemate.  She’s a very lively and funny girl. As much as I enjoy her as a host, I wish that they didn’t have too much for her to say because sometimes her spiels take too long. Sometimes they have guest hosts too like Bogart the Explorer.

What I like about Confetti is that with friends from Facebook playing with you, there is a bigger chance of winning: if you are not sure of what to answer, you are also shown what answer your friends will enter and it gives you a chance to select the right answer that way. A friend of mine actually won and she admitted that she was copying my answers the entire time, except for the final answer (which I got wrong). The questions are of the multiple-choice variety, so the chances of getting it right are high.

One new thing about Confetti is that if you invite friends to play, you can get an extra life, which means that if you get the question wrong, the extra life keeps you in the running for the prize money. Sadly, even with the extra life, I can’t seem to get myself all the way to win this thing.

Another thing interested players need to know is that you need a Paypal account to receive your winnings. If you think that you have a shot at this, it’s best to set up that account before you start playing just in case. 

The contest is still fairly new, there are still issues with technical difficulties like when I was online and answering questions and yet whenever I enter my answers, I’m told that my entries were lost due to the internet connection.  There were also instances when the game is stopped midway due to technical issues. They move the pot money and add it to the next competition. At one point the prize was actually $10,000.00!

The thing with Confetti is that it can get addicting. You just want to finally get that chance to win every time. I hope that I can get it all right one of these days. In the meantime, I’ll continue playing and have fun with it!
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