Category Archives: Popular Culture

Music, literature, art, movies, television, crappy reality shows — take your pick!

Aladdin: I may have gotten older — but it’s still a whole new world


It was 1992, and I was at the brink of adolescent rage – the neighborhood cutie must have thought me as a freak; I have just begun freshman year at an all-girls high school filled with nuns and kids with trapper-keepers and Benetton shirts; and yet, my only cause of worry was saving enough money so I could buy this:

aladdin soundtrack
The soundtrack of Aladdin the animated film, released November 1992 (CTTO)

For a kid subsisting on a 20 peso lunch money – saving up for a 120-tape is a real-life problem. In the case of the prepubescent me, I was convinced that I had to get it. After all, having just seen Aladdin — I was convinced that it was “my Disney movie” and “A Whole New World” is my life’s jam. Plus, Lea Salonga, the theater wunderkind from the Philippines was the singing voice for Princess Jasmine — so by that alone, the album has quickly become a “must-buy.”

I remember being 12–barely 13–sitting on the hood of my neighbor’s dented car, listening to the strains of “One Jump Ahead,” “Arabian Nights,” “A Whole New World,” “Friend in Me” as the tape (finally acquired after a lot of wheeling and dealing) got it nth replay and rewind on the trusty old radio. I remember teenage-hood and being convinced, that for a cartoon, Aladdin is definitely the cutest guy I’ve laid my eyes on.

I remember the blur of high school and slum books and listing “Aladdin” as a favorite movie, of watching constant reruns on the old, wonky television.  I remember trying (and failing) to draw the characters from scratch; on a mission to perfect Princess Jasmine’s almost eyes and humungous golden earrings.

I remember childhood and the beginnings of teenage angst when I think about Aladdin. Or maybe many years after, right in the midst of my 20s, trying not to shed tears as the first strains of “A Whole New World” played in time for the fireworks show of Disneyland Hong Kong. (TRUE STORY: Crying during the Disney fireworks show is me and my sister’s thing, especially if it’s playing “A Whole New World”)


That’s why I was so excited when I heard last year that Disney was working on a live-action version of the movie 27 years after the original animated movie came out. I wanted to see how it would look like — with actors inhabiting the role of Aladdin and Jasmine; of the Genie and Jafar. The limitations of technology were too pronounced more than three decades ago, yet the colors and animation — the look of the clouds swirling like ice cream or a carpet weaving to and fro in the sky — it was still magical.

So, when people started complaining about the casting and started bashing the movie due to the liberties done to the original story – I was pissed. One, because I can’t imagine my movie sucking or being ruined by bad writing, bad acting or badly miscast actors; and second, because the early whiners made me more anxious about the movie which ruins the experience for me.

Thank God I didn’t listen.


I am not a movie critic, but I do know a good movie when I see one.

Here’s what I love: Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine and Will Smith as the Genie. They are perfect for the role and they made it their own. Will Smith’s Genie did not — in any way — competed with the iconic take of the late Robin Williams. Instead, he made it distinctly his own while giving subtle nods to the original.

Brad Kane and Lea Salonga (the singing voices of the 1992 animated version) was my childhood’s Aladdin and Jasmine – the same way that the kids of today will always think of Aladdin and Jasmine as Massoud and Scott. And Will Smith as their Genie.

I loved how the story unfolded – yes, even the additional elements of the story where Jasmine was given more depth; more reason for being. The fact that she now has her own song “Speechless,” is one of the best parts of the remake.

However, I think the live-action Jafar is less evil than the cartoon one; this one is less menacing and not as scary as the cartoon version of the vizier to the Sultan. While giving Jafar as back story as to why he was so drunk on the notion of power, I still think that the new iteration has less the bite, less the venom.

The bottom line — and speaking as a life-long fan of the animated Aladdin — the 2019 retelling is something that’s still magical, regardless of the years that passed. And while I have indeed grown up and grown old, and became cynical; for one enchanted night, I was able to see the world again as it should be: Shining, Shimmering, Splendid. 




Paper Junkie, Journal Love

People can be addicted to a lot of things: money, good make-up, nice clothes, living the high life, travel, smokes, drugs and sex. Me — my addiction is pinnacle geek girl — I am hopelessly, addicted to paper.


My love affair with paper (notebooks, journals, drawing pad) began as a snot-nosed six year old. Usually depleting a month’s worth of pad paper in a matter of days because I can’t stop writing or drawing in them. Since I write quite heavily and forcefully on paper, my notebooks all bear the marks of previous day’s note like a forgotten fossil unearthed embedded in stone.

By the time I was twelve years old, I was already keeping journals. Back in the day, they come heavily-scented, with lock and key and usually in color pink. I would usually write my teenage angst and wrote laborious love letters to whoever was my object of affection at that time. I would detail perceived injustices, parental woes, dreams and wishes and pinings and drew whatever tickled my fancy back then. When I was in my 20s, I made the mistake of reading all of them (diary entries from the time I was in my early teens to right after college) and I immediately barfed on how clueless and how woefully romantic I was. I wanted to burn them lest I get famous and they come back to haunt me.


Now in my 30s, I am happy to say that I have a really good collection of notebooks/journals – they range from Harry Potter journals from Universal Studios in Japan; a stitched-up notebook made from an old book by a street-side gypsy in Paris; to Calligraphy worksheets bought from a Paperia in Barcelona; to the ubiquitous Starbucks and Coffee Bean Christmas journals.

In between that are the many notebooks I collect, now gathering dust in my bed side table because it takes me a great effort to use them. In my paper-junkie mind, I wanted to use them for something great (like a travel notebook or bullet journaling) and not just as a mere notebook for mundane stuff like Comm Campaigns or work notes (for that purpose, I often use a Jordi Labanda/Milquerius wide-bodied, graph lined hard covered notebook).


In between the notebook hoarding, of course there’s the extensive pen collection: ball point pens, nib-point, calligraphy pens, brush pens, etc.

Some women love the smell of a newly-bought leather bag, me -I get a kick out of the smell of a newly-opened notebook and the sound of a pen scratching on paper.


Hopefully, one day, when I am already blessed with kids — I hope to have a little tyke who will share her mother’s love for paper and ink. Sure, everything is online now – but, tell me what can be more romantic than a wonderfully-written poem, it’s ink barely dry, on parchment? Or a great journal entry, detailing an adventurous travel, concealed in a leather-bound, well-worn, dog-eared journal?


Art Attack: Century City presents a Century of Art

They often times say that Filipinos view art as something intended only for the rich. To me, this is unfortunate as I believe that art is something that everyone should have a chance to enjoy. That’s why I find the street art in BGC cool, because it brings art closer to the younger generation and it has made art accessible to everyone. 

Century City Mall and Galeria Delas Islas’ “A Century of Philippine Art!” exhibit, which gives tribute to great Filipino talent for eternalizing centuries of Filipino tradition and culture into timeless masterpieces, is another welcome development in bringing art and culture closer into the masses. 

A hundred masterpieces by world-renowned Filipino artists who have painted and sculpted their names into our country’s history is currently on display at the 4th level of Century City Mall in Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City. The exhibit will run until Oct 6. 

The exhibit will allow individuals and even parents to expose their kids on the beauty and depth of Philippine art. Imagine seeing a hundred art pieces curated for over a centur by one of the oldest art galleries in Manila. Galeria de las Islas or Gallery of the Islands is the art gallery located at the Silahis Center in Intramuros has been exhibiting paintings, sculptures and other works of art since 1967. It has become noted for its collection of Philippine genre art.

The exhibit is open for everyone during mall hours. Free admission as long as you register at the door. 

Geek out with me at Asia Pop Comic Con from August 26 to 28

It’s a wonderful time to be a geek as Asia Pop Comic Con (APCC)—touted to be the biggest three-day pop-culture extravaganza-is back in Manila from August 26 to 28 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, Manila. 

My heart is already bursting at the seams with too much excitement as APCC brings two of my favorite tv/film actors for this year’s con along with other celebrities, comic book artists, vinyl artists and entertainers. This along with the many exhibitors and the full program line up ensures that this year’s comic con will be an event to remember. 

Celebrity appearances 

Nicholas Hoult 

Credit : from the APCC Facebook page

I’ve always been in love with Nicholas Hoult starting from his days as the genius yet utterly sardonic Tony Stonem in Skins The First Generation and then as the lovable zombie turned human “R” in Warm Bodies. The fact that he is also this generation’s  Hank McCoy also known as the mutant Beast of the X-Men ensemble, along with other role in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Sand Castles,” among others. 
Joe Dempsie

The first time I laid my eyes on Joe Dempsie was during his time as the hopeless junkie Chris Miles for Skins First Generation. This dude made me cry, no thanks to his performance and the unfortunate turn of events for his lovable character Chris. Then, I saw him again in “Game of Thrones” when he was cast as Gendry where he was last seen rowing that God-forsaken boat. 

Other celebrity guests include: Claire Holt from the Vampire Diaries and The Originals and Millie Bobby Brown who is currently making waves on the Netflix Original “Stranger Things.” 
Hall M: Exclusively for Asia 

AsiaPOP Comicon Manila 2016 (APCC Manila)will also unveil Hall M, a showcase of Marvel content in the fields of gaming, television, and movies. Universal Events and Entertainment, the organizer of APCC Manila, has tied up with Marvel for this exclusive, first-of-its-kind showcase at any convention in Asia.

Hall M is expected to excite fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as nothing gets geeks’ blood pumping like the word ‘exclusive’ – propelling people to wait long hours, endure snaking lines, and try to secure slots by hook or crook.

Fans will be treated to never-before-seen footage outside of San Diego Comic Con of Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange film at APCC Manila’s Hall M, including content from Marvel’s television and web series. Hall M is limited up to 1,000 attendees.

For C.B. Cebulski, Marvel’s Vice President of International Development & Brand Management, he said, “I’m thrilled to be coming back to APCC Manila this year! Given the overwhelming fan response to last year’s Captain America: Civil War trailer debut, Marvel is letting me bring even more fantastic footage with me, this time from all of our different divisions, to showcase at our extended ‘Hall M’ extravaganza! Some clips being shown for the first time! It’s all still a secret, but just know that Hall M is guaranteed to be a one-of-a-kind Marvel experience in Manila!”. Cebulski is returning to APCC Manila this year to once again scout the best artistic talent in the country.

“As a group we enjoy a global strategic alliance with Marvel on multiple fronts and so we are glad to be able to extend our partnership by offering never seen before Marvel content to die-hard fans and geeks in the Philippines. This will be first-of-its-kind Marvel showcase at a pop culture convention and visitors will be able to witness an epic exhibit of multiple surprises at this year’s AsiaPOP Comicon Manila.” said Abdulla Mahmood, Director – Marketing and Business Development of Al Ahli Holding Group (AAHG). Universal Events & Entertainment is a subsidiary of AAHG.

Comic Book Artists and Vinyl Toy Makers 

Another highlight for me is the possibilit of meeting these comic book artists including the legendary Whilce Portacio. Comic books had a lot of influence on me during my growing up years and I consider it an honor to see these men whose talent has given birth to some of the most iconic moments on print.

APCC Manila 2016 tickets are now available via SM Tickets—made possible by its partner SM Group—with ticket prices PhP550 (one-day pass), PhP850 (two-day pass), and PhP1,050 (three-day pass). All these will give the ticketholder access to stage activities, performances, and the main show floor. The event is free for children aged five and below for all days, but a valid identification is required for verification purposes before entering the show floor.

For more information and event updates, please visit and official Facebook Page

Credit: all images courtesy of the APCC Facebook page. 

#TypeKita: A collective effort for creative souls


As someone who recently rediscovered her creative streak as a means to combat stress, I a more than glad to lend support for initiatives that’s all about the arts. 

One of the events i am most looking forward to is the Type Kita Exhibit happening on December 12 and 13 at the former Bosch Building in Pasong Tamo. If you want to improve your hand lettering or calligraphy game, you can take advantage of the capsule classes and workshops happening on that day.  Classes will be on a first-come, first-served basis and there will be sign up sheets in the venue so if you are interested, don’t forget to have your tools with you. 

 The Card and Notebook Drive meanwhile is for guests who would like to craft their own Christmas cards and notebooks. 

These customized greeting cards, notebooks and journals will be part of gift items for the kids of Project Pearls! Surely, the kids will be glad to see hand-lettered and hand-written notes for the holidays. 

To get to venue, follow these instructions:   

Type Kita is for the benefit of the kids of Project Pearls, which conducts outreach programs for the kids living in slum communities in Tondo, Manila. 

Lighten up your home with creative modular lamps

One of the most cost-efficient and creative way to decorate your home is to pick a good lamp that compliments your interiors. A carefully thought-of lamp, placed on the most strategic places is guaranteed to be a conversation piece and will definitely add much-needed light and vigor to your home.

When decorating with lamps, make sure you have a style or a peg in mind on how your home would look like — where do you plan to put it? Are you using just one or many? What’s the general design theme of your home? This is important because your home accessories and design should be according to the over all theme of your home (if any).

credit to owner
credit to owner
Credit to Owner
Credit to Owner

For those looking for a different kind of lamps, Light’emUp Creative Lamps offer its modular lamps. The lamp uses polycarbonate which is durable, heat resistant, color-stable, and 100% recyclable. The best thing about having modular lamps is that you will never run out of ways to redesign and re-shape your lamp. It’s like having something new all the time since shapes can be changed into 22 different configurations.

These lamps would look so good lighted in your patio or front porch
These lamps would look so good lighted in your patio or front porch

For those who are not sure on how to reshape the lamp, LightemUp can reshape it for free. Lamps also come with instructions so those who love to DIY can easily do it.

The lamps are weather and water-proof so they can be used indoors and outdoors–it actually looks good as accents to the garden or lanai, or even accents to your children’s rooms.

To clean, knockdown the shade, and wash with soap and water, or withey can spray the lamp with water, no need to dismantle. We use led bulbs for artisan lamps, and energy saving bulbs for the lantern type.

And now that Christmas is fast-approaching, the lamps serve as a good decoration for the home, the office or even accent pieces during Christmas parties.



The distinctive geometric multi-petaled design comes in range of pop colors that will add a glow to their interiors or exteriors. The lamps costs from PHP650 to PHP1,500 depending on the size and design of the lamp. Light’emUp can customize and play with the colors depending on your preference. 
Light’emUp also offers lamps for rent for weddings, events and corporate parties.
Decorating your home – especially during the Holidays doesn’t have to be expensive.  Try using lamps to highlight a space for a fun, cozy, relaxing vibe. Incorporate your personality on how you want your space to look like.
Light’emUp Creative Lamps can be purchased online. To order, go to their Facebook page: Light’emUp is also on Instagram:

All lamp photos courtesy of Light’emUp Creative Lamps

Markers, pens & watercolor

Reviving my interest in hand-lettering and calligraphy is one of the best things I’ve done. While it does take time away from my writing and blogging, I found that I am more relaxed and happy when playing with my pens and practicing hand letterings. I’ve devoted my Saturday night as hand-lettering days. I am still a long way to go from Pinterest-worthy output but some are really good. 

I am considering making these framed quotes and giving them away to friends this Christmas. I find the gesture more personal and more heartfelt. Here are some of my works: 




Of course, along with the hobby comes the ever-growing marker collection. In just a month: I managed to amass: more than twenty new markers in varying brush size and brand, a calligraphy wooden holder and nib, ink, two acid-free sketch book, tubes of water color, round palette, brushes in varying sizes and six pots of poster paint. 

My favorite brands so far, include ArtLine’s line of calligraphy pen (points 1.0 to 4.0) because it makes for easy calligraphy; ZiG’s scroll and brush line because it’s a convenient tool to make really nice lettering projects and Faber Castell markers for coloring. 

The boom on the interest for calligraphy, hand-lettering and the arts means something good. It means kids and even adults like us, had finally enough of looking into our computer/smart phone screens and wanted something more productive. 

Before it was so hard to look for really nice markers other than the ubiquitous colored pens, but now the availability and array of brushes and pens are so overwhelming. In National Bookstore Glorietta alone, a whole section of the third floor contained art supplies, with a whole table decked out with the latest hand-lettering markers. Yesterday, I managed to buy ZiG’s Wink of Stella line of glittered brush markers and even got acquianted to the Kuretake and Liquitex brand which also includes calligraphy pens and colored brush pens.

Price points are a bit high for specialty pens. While ArtLine’s calligraphy pen costs less than a hundred bucks, speciality markers usually go for 100+ onwards. ZiG’s double ended scroll and brush combo go for Php97, while the Wink of Stella line go for Php200++

When I go on a marker-buying binge I always ask myself if it’s worth spending a few hundred for art supplies — but then I remember that going back to Lettering and appreciating art more has saved me countless shopping hours and spending money as a stress-relieving device. 

As I’ve mentioned in a recent Instagram post, “Happiness is the smell of a newly-opened marker and crisp acid-free paper.”