January 2018 Word: NEW [Blogging Challenge]

It’s 2018 and there is no better way to start the year than with a challenge. This year, I want to push myself to be a better blogger, vlogger, content manager, netizen… whatever it is I do. One way I thought I could push myself is to require myself to post in every online outlet I have at least once every month. And I can achieve this by imposing a theme for every month. Let us begin with the January 2018 Word: NEW.

January 2018 Word: NEW.  Life with Ria.
January 2018 Word: NEW. New clothes. New smile.

January 2018 Word: New

New may mean anything. A new me. A new dish I made or tried, a new habit, a new friend, a new product. Anything new. Whatever new means to me and you, in different ways, that is ok.

For clarity, though… the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines new as follows.

Definition of NEW

  • 1 : having recently come into existence : recent, modern
  • 2 a (1) : having been seen, used, or known for a short time : novel
  • (2) : unfamiliar
  • b : being other than the former or old
  • 3 : having been in a relationship or condition but a short time
  • 4 a : beginning as the resumption or repetition of a previous act or thing
  • b : made or become fresh
  • c : relating to or being a new moon
  • 5 : different from one of the same category that has existed previously
  • 6 : of dissimilar origin and usually of superior quality

I will be posting blog posts, videos, tweets, photos, and anything else online that will have the theme new. I will be using the hashtag #Jan2018New.

At the end of the month, hopefully, I will not have only shared the January 2018 Word: New with you. I hope to know more about me and what new means to me and what other ways can new have meaning for me and my life. You are also invited to share with me what the word means to you.

On February, I will come back to this blog and post a summary of all my posts with the theme “NEW.”

2018 Monthly Word Challenges

Every month, I will post a word here that will guide some (not all) my posts. I will be required to post at least one relevant blog post, one video, one tweet, one IG photo, and one Facebook post about the word. The goal is to encourage me to think and post more consistently. To offer posts and thoughts that are useful and insightful.
Continue reading January 2018 Word: NEW [Blogging Challenge]

Ang Larawan

Ang Larawan

That Ang Larawan is currently trending made me cry. Like real tears at 5 am. Gaiz, don’t just tweet about it. Watch it! It will speak to you on so many different levels. The music is by @ryancayabyab. And hallo! Material by National Artist #NickJoaquin, and #RolandoTinio.” -My tweet at past 5 am today, December 29, 2017

I am no movie critic but every now and then, a film moves me and compels my fingers to type out words. Hard as it may be to express why a film is worthy of your time, let’s try. Shall we?

Contra Mundum Ang Larawan
Contra Mundum Ang Larawan

Ang Larawan is a film based on a musical play based on a play. The play “A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino” is by National Artist Nick Joaquin, best known (and loathed by many students) for May Day Eve, a required reading for high school and college students. “A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino” has been tagged as the most important Filipino play.

The material was translated to Filipino, Ang Larawan, by Bienvenido Lumbera, also a National Artist.

Rolando Tinio wrote the libretto for the musical play “Larawan.” Music was composed by Ryan Cayabyab. The first run of the musical play starred Celeste Legaspi, Zsa Zsa Padilla, and Ricky Davao.

Boring set of facts, you say? I share these to make you realize the amount of artistry and talent that has been immortalized in 2 hours worth of drama, laughter, and music.

The film Ang Larawan showcases and represents the best of the Philippines’ literature, theatre, music, and film. And, ironically, one of the things it talks about is how artists are much too often made to choose to suffer for their passion or abandon their passion for loftier economic and social gains.

There is so much I can talk about regarding the film’s story, themes, and all the issues it tackles. Most important of which that people should know of… is articulated by the film’s millenial actor, Paulo Avelino. On why he wanted to be part of the film, “we have been making mistakes then that are still happening now.”

The Metro Manila Film Festival and all the hoopla that accompanies it every year: the debates between economic viability and artisty, on whether the festival should value artistic films versus more commercial ones, the elevation of art and preservation of culture vs commercial viability… all-too familiar questions that we all have heard of but have not really resolved or tried to resolve. Ang Larawan takes these issues and tackles them head on. Artistics pieces might not always be profitable but it will continue to outlive us all.

What makes “Ang Larawan” remarkable is how good all the actors are. Yes, even Paulo Avelino excels as the douchebag Tony Javier. I watched the rehearsal video and it seems like his voice wasn’t even autotuned. Hah! Avelino trained for months and worked with his co-actors to be able to deliver a credible Tony Javier. That’s dedication. Looking forward to Goyo.

Candida and Paula

This film, however, belongs to its women, Joanna Ampil as Candida and Rachel Alejandro as Paula.

Paul and Candida Marasigan
Rachel Alejandro and Joanna Ampil as Paula and Candida Marasigan in Ang Larawan

Joanna Ampil won Best Actress in the MMFF. A lot of those who didn’t even watch the film question her win. But dammit, she deserves not just one trophy for this film. Her powerful voice may be her best asset but when she acts, it’s as if her whole body is being possessed by Candida. Ampil’s eyes, her furrowed brows, her lips, her hands… everything about her speaks even when she’s not singing or speaking. Her performances during the blackout song “Walang Ilaw” and in her confession “Ako’ng Nagkamali,” were so moving. It was as if I could feel her sadness jump from the screen, infecting me with melancholy. Every word she uttered had so much conviction that you cannot help but take her side.

And yes, Rachel Alejandro as the quiet and conflicted Paula also deserves an award. We all know Alejandro is a superb singer but in this film, she shows us she’s also an excellent actress. When she declared “Malaya na ako.” I was like “Yas, gurl!”

Even better than Joanna Ampil and Rachel Alejandro are Ampil and Alejandro together. They played off each other well. “Kay Sarap ng Buhay Nu’ng Araw” is my favorite duet of the two.

“Kagandahan, katotohanan ang panlaban ko sa mundo. Wala akong takot. Walang panlulumo. Bumaha man o bumagyo.”

The lyrics were so simple yet so meaningful and they delivered each line of that song so sincerely.

Both powerful performers, you never got the feeling that they were trying to upstage each other. They worked together beautifully. Mabuhay Candida! Mabuhay Paula!

The Ensemble

My favorite moment is Robert Arevalo as Don Perico delivering the film’s most thought-provoking lines:

“Hindi simple ang buhay, katulad ng sining. May pwersang humuhubog sa ating landasin. Hindi tayo’ng may hawak sa kinabukasan. Nagmimiron ka lamang sa’yong kapalaran.”

Don Perico
Robert Arevalo as Don Perico in Ang Larawan

The sorrow and conflict in his eyes and in every line on his face… it was all-consuming and perhaps the part of the movie that really captured my heart and mind.
Continue reading Ang Larawan

Today’s Lessons

On the day I honor my father and the marytyrs and heroes who fought against Martial Law, a callous and ignorant person had the gall to throw sh*t all over my post. Instead of empathy and compassion, he chose to be rude and condescending. He chose to victimize me. I do not even know this person. We do not have any mutual friends.

I was angry. But my anger has turned into profound sadness and pity.

Sad to say, he represents just one of many Filipinos who continue to choose ignorance, who continue to be prisoners of propaganda and lies. It is emotionally exhausting and intellectually taxing to deal with these people. But we must. Otherwise, we fail to honor those who sacrificed their lives.

Open your eyes. Free your mind. Do not allow yourself to be limited by your own experiences. The world does not revolve around you but it is yours to explore and learn more about. Do not be enslaved by what is in front of you. Listen to people. Converse. Read. Be educated. Develop a critical mind. 

Most of all, use your heart. Be compassionate. Choose kindness even when faced with callousness and hatred.

And to that person who challenged me today, thank you for the opportunity to be better. Today you taught me that I can always go beyond my anger. That when people are rude the best thing to do is to be better, not to be condescending but to practice patience and exercise temperance.

Faced with overwhelming callousness and disrespect, overcome with anger, I learned that I can be compassionate and can be empathetic, something I have to practice and do more of.

Madali maging tao, mahirap magpakatao.

Live. Love. Learn. ❤️

Birdshot capture provided by TBA Films.

Birdshot | Film by Mikhail Red and TBA Studios

Truth be told, I was super distracted while watching BIRDSHOT. Refer to my previous social media post about my iPhone problems, among other things. Nonetheless, I tried my best to immerse myself in the film.

If you have no idea what Birshot is about, check out this trailer.

As Maki of Pinoy Movie Blog put it, this film as almost perfect.

The story is gripping. I was constantly questioning the characters and even myself throughout the film. Every detail, every plot point was carefully revealed and every moment is nothing short of breathtaking. This is no horror or suspense film but it kept me awake, in attention, and in a state of tension and anticipation. (At least every moment I wasn’t distracted.)

The acting is flawless. Probably, my favorite performance by John Arcilla. Yes, more than his portrayal as Heneral Luna. But my favorite is that guy you often see in teleseryes and movies in a supporting role aka Arnold Reyes. You can read his thoughts and feel his emotions in his eyes, in his every action. And you can feel his presence in every scene he’s in. Hindi siya nilamon ni John Arcilla.

Maya, beautiful Maya played by Mary Joy Apostol is a sight to behold. I sometimes forgot that she is just an actress. And that everything is not actually happening in real life.

The thing that really made me appreciate this film most is the masterful ending. I won’t say too much coz I’m still hoping it wil be shown in the cinemas soon and the film’s conclusion is best experienced firsthand.

And yes, I am still hoping I will get another chance to watch Birdshot in the cinema again soon.

This film gives me so much to look forward to from the Filipino indie film industry. And I would like to express my thanks and commendation to the filmmaker Mikhail Red, TBA Studios, and everyone involved in making the film.

Birdshot is definitely a must-watch film. Thought-provoking, timely, and excellently crafted.

For better, more insightful movie reviews, check out Maki’s Pinoy Movie Blog at http://www.pinoymovie.blog.

For more information about Birdshot, follow them on Facebook at https://www..facebook.com/BirdshotMovie.

And for updates and latest news about films and projects by TBA Studios, visit their website at http://www.tba.ph and follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TBAStudiosPH.

Screen capture of Birdshot from TBA Studios PR.

MFGM Pro: Pediatric Nutrition Breakthough

MFGM: A Breakthrough in Pediatric Nutrition

Not everyone may know that the first five years of a child’s development is crucial. This is, however, an important thing that all must take note of. Milestones achieved during this stage is important in determining the potential of a person.

It is said and scientifically proven that breastmilk is best for babies during these crucial development years. There are, mothers, however, who cannot breastfeed. But we all now that breastmilk is still best for babies.

The good news is there’s a breakthrough in pediatric nutrition. Milk fat globule membrane or MFGM has been successfully extracted and reintroduced into supplemental milk formula for babies and children. MFGM is a tri-layer complex rich in bioactive components. It is proven in studies to support the cognitive development of infants.
Continue reading MFGM: A Breakthrough in Pediatric Nutrition

Cool Hacks For Your Air Conditioner Maintenance

With summer just around the corner, your air conditioners need to be cleaned and ready for use. If you are a DIY fanatic, you might want to try it out yourself before you bring in an HVAC expert. However, you would need to have some basic knowledge about AC functioning. Here are some cool tips to help you revive your AC.


#1: Check Condensing Unit

The outdoor condensing unit is the most important part of your air conditioner this summer. Why? Because it will help you to beat the heat. So, make sure that it is not covered in weed or grass. You might cover the condenser during the winter, but remove it once you start using it.

#2: Change Air Filter

Even if you haven’t used the air conditioner in winter, you need to change the air filters. Dirt might have accumulated in the filters, and a dirty air filter will hinder the efficiency of your system. If you are looking for a good deal on your air filters, you can try out Groupon coupons before summer.

#3: Check Panels and Air Duct

In addition to changing the air filters, you need to check out the air ducts and panels for obstruction. Especially so, if you have not used it for a month or two. Also, make sure that there are no obstructions in the outdoor units.

#4: Set The Thermostat

Before you step into summer and user your air conditioner for cooling, you need to set the thermostat in cooling mode. Also, make sure that you get the temperature correct. If your AC contains a programmable thermostat, you can customize the cooling process for various periods.

#5: Condenser & Water Pan

Once you are ready for using the air conditioner, make sure you run regular checks for condenser and water pan. The water which is accumulated can encourage mold and leave a rusty smell in the air. So, you need to clean both the condenser and water pan at least once a month to avoid this.

Now that you know these effective hacks to restore your air conditioner for the summer, it is time to get started. Spend some time in the outdoors while the temperature is cool, and you can spend the rest indoors.