Category Archives: Movies

SHIFT-ing Dynamics – A Not So Mainstream Movie

Filipino movies have always brought to the table a sense of peculiarity and obscurity but the movie Shift directed by Siege Ledesma takes this to a whole different level. Although Shift is packaged like a mainstream movie, the overarching plot was as different as it could get. No pun intended, but Shift really shifted from what a lot of us would expect from a mainstream drama film! Siege Ledesma was really able to combine aspects of a mainstream film with a riveting and eccentric story line that literally leaves you wanting for more.

Shift is definitely one of the better Filipino movies I've seen!!

Shift is definitely one of the better Filipino movies I’ve seen!!

Lead actor and Filipino pop-star Yeng Constantino was also able to perfectly play Estela, a boyish girl whose personality was a central point of the movie. Contrast that boyish personality of Estela to that of her crush and lover Trevor’s feminine personality, also beautifully played by Felix Roco, and you get a movie that is extremely dynamic, engaging, hilarious and deeper than the surface!  From these facts in themselves, you already know that this movie really pushes the boundaries but at the same time, still sticks to very powerful themes that really make it stand out from other movies!

Covering themes from gender and feminism to social structures active in a young professionals life to the importance of friends in work, Shift is a movie that caters to a wide array of audience while still staying true to the message Siege Ledesma wanted to deliver.

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How a City of Bones and a Dystopian World Can Teach Us The Value of Choices and Trust!

Just this past week, I delved into the realm of Young Adult (YA) fiction works. I got to watch the movie adaption of the Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Claire and I was also able to finish reading one of the hottest books in the Young Adult fiction section, “Divergent” by Veronica Roth.

Divergent - One Choice Can Transform You

Divergent – One Choice Can Transform You

These two works of art have gained a strong fan base  and for good reason. From mind boggling plot twists to unbelievable settings, both stories are able to bring you to a world like no other while still keeping the peculiar characters grounded to the limits of reality.

The limits and weaknesses of the characters allows readers to relate to their situations and fully immerse themselves in the story. This is what makes these YA fiction works such a hit among teenagers and young adults.

The tagline of Divergent, “One choice can transform you,” says it all. In life, there will come a point where we will have to make difficult choices. There will come a point where just like the protagonist in Divergent, Beatrice, we will have to make a decision that may not always be in line with that of our loved ones. At the end of the day, it’s about living up to that choice.

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How “How I Met Your Mother” Became “Contagious” “For One More Day”

The long weekend and the several days of suspended class has given me a lot of extra time and has allowed me to really sit back and relax.

I know that there are lots of Filipinos suffering out there because of the heavy rain and I pray for their safety but in a way, I am thankful to God for the suspension of classes the last few days for it has really given me a chance to slow down and take a break from the speedy roller coaster pace of my Senior Year.

During these last few days, I was actually able to find time to do things I enjoy doing that I haven’t really been able to do because of my hectic Senior Year schedule. I was able to watch a few episodes of my favorite television series, “How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM),” and just the other day, I was also able finish two books that I’ve always wanted to finish reading, “Contagious,” by Jonah Berger and “For One More Day,” by Mitch Albom.

Contagious - Why Things Catch On

Contagious – Why Things Catch On

After reading the book Contagious, which basically analyzes several different products and explains why something catch on and why others don’t, I couldn’t help but think about why “How I Met Your Mother,” became such a popular show and has lasted for such a long time (imagine that, HIMYM already has 9 seasons of 24 episodes each). I also used my new found knowledge to analyze why “For One More Day,” and several other books of Mitch Albom (who is quite frankly my favorite author) has become best sellers and has been sold to millions of people.

There are many different factors as to why things spread quickly and become contagious but I’d like to focus on a few factors that are seen in both the HIMYM series and the book, For One More Day. Continue reading

Daily Prompt Silver Screen: “There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”

I honestly have more than a thousand favorite movie quotes because in almost every movie there is that one quote that just sums everything up and has a way of making you think about life and reality. Nevertheless, if there is one quote that has stuck with me all throughout the year ever since I watched the movie it belonged to.

“There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”

Yup, for those of you who don’t know or don’t remember where this quote came from, well, it’s from, in my opinion, one of the top movies from 2012, “Wreck-it Ralph.” If you haven’t watched this awe-inspiring, touching and at the same time vibrant movie, you better watch it now!

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In life, there will really be moments where in you question yourself and become envious of what others have or who they are or who you aren’t.  We ask questions like, “why can’t I be like *insert name of person here*?”; “why can’t I do this or why I can’t do that when my peers can?”;  “why am I not as tall or as handsome as him?”;  “why can’t I jump as high as he can?”; “why can’t I be as slim as him?”; “why can’t I be just as good in singing as him?” and a thousand more different questions that almost every person sub-consciously ponders upon each and everyday.

These are questions that pop up in our heads especially when we see people who are better at something than us and are getting more attention because of that something they can do that we can’t.

This quote truly touched my heart and made me realize that I should be proud of who I am for I am just as unique and special as every other person out there. We are all human beings who have our own set of strengths, talents and gifts. God created us equally, it’s just that we should discover and find our niche and what we are good at.

One should not be envious of what others have or else, you never will be happy for there will always be someone out there better than you. What we must realize is that all we can control is the effort that we give and our outlook in life. We only truly live once and there is no use trying to be someone else, or someone you aren’t. You can’t change who you are, but you can work hard and make the most out of what you have for like I’ve always said, “Life is what you make it.”

Instead of looking at what you don’t have and what others have, why not try looking at what you have and what makes you special. When you do this, you’ll come to realize how lucky you are and how blessed you are. We humans can become really one sided and have a boxed out view but once we are able to open up and learn how to look at things from a different perspective, that is when we are truly able to enjoy life and be happy with our respective lives.

Up to today, whenever I start to doubt or question myself or whenever I start getting frustrated with my life, I just remember this quote from Wreck-it Ralph for “There’s no one I’d rather be than me!” This quote never fails to change my mood into a more positive one. It has a way of making you appreciate who you are for we all deserve love and appreciation, and this love and appreciation starts from within!

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Count your blessings, appreciate what you have, think positive, smile, be proud of who you are and live life to the fullest!

-DOitChoco

My Filipino Movie Making Experience – Something I’d Like To Call FUN!

My Filipino Movie Making Experience and The Many Things I Learned From This

As we reach the midway point of this week, it is very satisfying to be finished with all the assessments and only have the Quarterly Tests to worry about. It was especially fulfilling to close the book to two of the more memorable assessments that I had in this year, my English Research Paper and our Filipino Movie.

Although Filipino isn’t considered part of the Big 3 Subjects (English, Math and Science), it has always been one of my favorite subjects and my forte ever since high school started. This year was no different and my Filipino Class experience this year was the most memorable one so far. From the start of the year when we tackled Noli Me Tangere, a must read classical, to the very last assessment, our Filipino Movie.

Poster of our movie, "Anong Gagawin Mo"

Poster of our movie, “Anong Gagawin Mo”

Making this Filipino Movie was such a surreal experience and was truly one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in Junior Year. In the process of creating this movie, I learned so many different things and at the same time, I also got to know some of my classmates better. I am really thankful that the Filipino Department decided to give this project to us instead of having the mundane and routinely Quarterly Test that happens every year. They probably understood the fact that making a Filipino Movie would teach us so much more and would be a whole different learning experience compared to a test where we sit down for one hour and answer lackluster questions. If we had our Quarterly Tests, we would have probably taken the test then forget about everything we reviewed and what we just took, but with this Filipino Movie, we will most probably forever remember the experience of making this movie and everything we learned from it.

When I first heard about this project of ours from our Filipino Teacher, I was really excited and filled with exuberance especially since just recently I’ve become an avid fan of movies, and at the same time, I’ve always loved projects, especially major projects, where we need to apply several different skills and really put time and effort into it.

In creating a movie, one must first start with the formulation of a story and the writing of the script and sequence treatment. To be honest with you, this seems like an easy task, but it was actually very difficult and challenging to write an original story that would also fit all the guidelines that were given to us for this project. At the start, I really had no idea what my story was going to be, but as I dug deeper and looked around me, I came up with the basis of my story. I chose to base my story on a recent and unconventional experience of my friend.

Once I had the basis of my story, I had to add something that would make the story deeper and even more unique. As the days passed, different twists and ideas quickly came pouring into my head that I was able to put together my story and script. Looking back though, I think that I overdid it and my story turned out to be too complicated for a short film which ended up biting us in the back later on not only in creating the movie but also in the Film Festival, where we weren’t able to achieve our goal of first place, but then again, nobody’s perfect and life is about making mistakes and learning from them

The creation and filming of the movie was a whole different experience, where I was truly able to bond with classmates who I never really talked to throughout the school year. This is what I love about group works, where the you chose your group mates randomly. You’re forced to work with them and most of the time, you end up with at least one group mate who you never really talked to, but since you’re group mates, you are able to get to know each other better.

I’ll be frank with you, filming the movie was no cakewalk. We literally had to pour our blood, sweat, and tears during the four or five days we filmed. We offered two of our saturdays, one of our school holidays and several other breaks and hours in filming and editing this movie and trying to make it the best possible movie not for the grade but for what a Junior Year it has been and how we want to end the year with a bang. Because of this, we were sort of perfectionists and had to re-take different scenes several times, but seeing what we were able to accomplish in such a short period of time was truly awe-inspiring.

The only dismal and melancholic part was that we actually had to cut our film short because it was way above the time limit and our teacher told us that we would be disqualified if we didn’t. This was really painful because of the fact that we really worked hard in filming the parts and I really place a lot of thought in writing the story and making the script. To add insult to injury, during awarding ceremonies we didn’t place in the best movie category probably because the flow of our movie was not so smooth because first of all, we had to shorten it and cut some parts, and second, because of the already rigid time limit, we had no choice but make our ending an open ended one. Nonetheless, I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter if the judges didn’t choose our work, because deep down, I honestly know that if we were given a chance to show our full movie, it would have been the best, hands down.

Best Actor Award - I didn't win it, my GROUP did!

Best Actor Award – I didn’t win it, my GROUP did!

As a consolation, I was awarded best actor but it didn’t really feel so fulfilling, I actually felt quite dejected and apathetic especially after I found out our movie didn’t place in the top 3. I would have honestly preferred that our movie placed than me receiving an individual award. Nonetheless, I’m still grateful for this award and I’d really like to offer my award to all my group mates who made this Filipino Project a crazy, fun-filled, surreal and memorable experience like no other.

Group picture during one of many tiring but at the same time fun-filled filming days.

Group picture during one of many tiring but at the same time fun-filled filming days.

No matter what the results were, this movie making project will always be part of my favorite memories in my stay in Xavier. It ranks right up there with all the other memorable projects and experiences I’ve had. All the saturdays spent filming, all the sabaw moments, all the laugh trips in filming, all the lunches together with my group mates, all the retakes and bloopers, all the days staying after dismissal to work on this movie made this project something more than the grade, something bigger than school, something I’d like to call FUN!

To sum up everything I’ve learned from this experience and to sort of sum up this last academic week of Junior year, I’d like to quote a statement that I said during my English Oral Defense speech, “School is not just about the grades and the numbers; it’s a whole lot more than that! School is about learning. Learning not just facts, terms, names, equations, formulas, but learning VALUES and SKILLS that you can use in the future.” Projects like these really do give us students a chance to bring out our creativity and talents in ways that we could never fulfill inside a classroom.

To add to that statement, school is most importantly about the people we are able to meet and the FRIENDS we are able to make. This is something that I truly realized in making this project, the importance of working with others, getting to know people and building FRIENDSHIPS that lasts forever. I truly couldn’t have asked for a better way (assessment) to end my Filipino Junior Year experience.

-DOitChoco

PS. In writing this post, I’ve pondered upon what I would answer to our movie teaser, “Kapag lahat na lang ay nawawala sa iyo…..Anong Gagawin Mo?” or in English, “When you’re losing everything already……what will you do?” As I end this blog post, I think I’ve finally found the answer to that question, but then again, maybe I haven’t, but that’s why I live LIFE…….the DOitChoco way! 🙂

The One PROMblem, Where Imperfect Can Be Perfect…..

PROM – The Surreal Moment That Brings Imperfect People Together

When I first entered high school, prom was a topic that was always out there that seemed so much like a fantasy, something unreal, an event that comes out of fairy tales. All the different stories about promposals and all the hype that the event is able to bring in really made me look forward to the time I’d be in Junior Year. Fast forward 3 years later, and here I am, prom season at its peak, just a month away, without a date.

From being the highlight of Junior Year, prom has quickly made it into the blacklist of many students out there, including me. It’s difficult not to think about it each and everyday for Prom is inching closer and closer and everyday not asking is another crucial day loss. Aside from that, everyday without a date is another day, where one has to face the constant question, “Who do you plan to ask/who are you taking to prom?” from not just friends, but also from family members.

Thousands of questions pop up in my head whenever prom is mentioned, which in the past few months, has been happening almost everyday. Questions like: What is the true meaning of Prom? What is it truly all about? Is it about dressing up with princess like gowns for girls, and suiting up for guys? Is it a passing of rights or ritual that one must go through before ending high school? and most especially, “WHO SHOULD I BRING TO PROM?”

For me, Prom is about bringing that one special friend from the opposite sex and making that person feel appreciated and loved for one magical night. The problem is, for many, this special person doesn’t exist as of yet. Most are still either still starting to opening up and getting to know people from the opposite sex or not entirely sure who they are closest with. Because of all the factors one has to take into account when choosing the perfect promdate, a lot of drama, headaches, and controversies are mixed into the equation. For instances, a not so uncommon occurrence these days is two people wanting to bring the same person, so a lot of drama happens. There’s also the fear of being rejected and turned down. Because of this, some students end up not promposing at all, and just end up being set-up by either their more popular friends or by their relatives.

In my case, I fall into category of students just starting to broaden their horizons and getting to know people from the opposite sex. For those who don’t know, it’s probably just this year that I’ve really tried to establish friendships with girls. To be frank and sincere with you guys, I’m quite a shy person when it comes to girls and it was just this year that I’ve tried to undergo a transformation, put in more effort and break out of my shell. Due to the circumstances, I’m really really confused to death as to who I should take to prom. As you know, I am quite a sentimental person, and I want this prom night to be as breath taking for me and my date as it can be.

Just recently, my friend offered to set-up me up with this girl, but I’m not truly sure whether I should take up his offer or not. I know that it’s crunch time right now for prom is only a month a way, but I really want to be able to find the right person for prom. No matter how drop-dead gorgeous the set-up may be, I just don’t think I’d enjoy prom as much compared to if I asked a friend I’ve known beforehand. I really don’t know; maybe I’m putting too much meaning into Prom, but then again, I just want to have a memorable prom.

A lot of people are agonized by the fact that their prom only happens once/twice in their lives, but that is also why according to many, prom is something that is able to transcend time and space, and bring out emotions and feelings that were always locked up inside us. Feelings of joy, happiness, a sense of achievement, appreciation and a whole lot more that we will only truly understand when we experience for ourself. This is why, no matter how much promblems, headaches and heartaches prom brings, I am no doubt, looking forward to that very special night, which for our school, falls on the 9th of March.

There are many ephemeral things in life, things that only last for a very short time. In my opinion, the amazing JOURNEY full of learning experiences, trying moments, ups and downs, simple joys, known more conventionally as high school, is one of the more consequential and ephemeral things in life. We may hate and curse everyday that we have to drag ourselves into class each and every morning, but no doubt, when it’s all said and done, we will miss going to school and all those unbelievable and mind-blowing experiences.

Trust me on this one, 10 years from now, we surely won’t remember all the equations in math, all the elements in the periodic table or all the names in history class, but what we will remember are those mystical moments that are etched to our hearts because of the mere fact that the magic in these moments is the one thing that teachers will never be able to explain to us, and without a doubt, Prom is one of these moments.

One shouldn’t expect prom to be a perfect night, but one can surely make it a moment that brings together two highly imperfect people in a perfectly surreal way that you will no doubt remember for the rest of your life. In the grand scheme of things, I’ve realized that what truly matters is what we make of the night. Like I always say, “Life is what you make it,” in other words, “PROM IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT.”

No matter what other’s say, Prom itself is Junior Year, and I want to be able to take that one person who truly defines what a Junior Year it has been. No matter how imperfect this person may be, I’ll take her, as long as she’s perfect for me.

-DOitChoco

The Peaceful Shore We’ve All Been Looking For

The school week has finally ended and it’s friday again, and I’d like to share two quotes that I came across this past week that really caught my attention. These two quotes come from two very different books written in completely different languages.

The first quote is from the classical book “Julius Caesar” by Shakespeare (a book we are currently tackling in English Class):

"Julius Caesar" by Shakespeare

“Julius Caesar” by Shakespeare

“Men at some time are masters of their fate. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Given the timing of me starting my own blog and making a resolution to stop passing on opportunities, this quote was something I could really relate to. We are who we want to be. We can become who we want to become as long as we do what it takes. We are given thousands and thousands and opportunities and choices, and the decision always falls into our hands. Based on what we choose, our life changes accordingly. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as destiny, for we are responsible for our future.

We are who we are today because of everything we’ve done in the past. I remember what my Filipino Teacher told us when we were tackling the different problems in society, “It doesn’t mean you were born poor, you’ll die poor.” Too many people these days are wallflowers who are afraid to do something about their lives. People complain left and right, blame different people, not knowing that ranting and feeling sorry won’t help them. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not saying that everyone will be the next rags-to-riches story, but one must never lose hope. It’s about fighting your hardest and enduring the pain even during the hardest of times.

Hand in hand with the previous quote above from Julius Caesar, another remarkable quote that really caught my eye during this week was from, “Dekada 70” by Lualhati Bautista, another must read book that we tackled just recently in our Filipino class.

"Dekada 70" by Lualhati Bautista

“Dekada 70” by Lualhati Bautista

This particular quote reinforces the previous quote about getting what you deserve and how life just gives us what we work for.

“Ang payapang pampang ay para lang sa mga pangahas na sasalnga sa alimpuyo ng mga alon sa panahon ng unos.” (in english, “The peaceful shores are only for those daring enough to put up with the whirlpool by the waves during times of storms/typhoons.”)

This quote is so true and really shoves into our faces the reality of life; the fact that life is harsh, and only the strong will survive. Those who are willing to go the extra mile; those who are willing to fight for what they believe in no matter the odds or circumstance; those who are willing to stick it out even the most difficult of times; those who won’t quit just because they don’t get what they want; They’re the only ones, who’ll be able to make it to the peaceful shores. They’ll be the ones standing on top and achieving their goals and dreams. And when they’re standing on top of the mountain they just conquered, ask them if it was worth it. Without a doubt, I’m sure they’ll look you straight into the eye and tell you that every blood, sweat and tear it took them to get to the peak were all worth it.

How far are you willing to go to reach the Peaceful Shore?

How far are you willing to go to reach the Peaceful Shore?

Life is the hardest battle one has to face for it is a showdown between you and yourself. Who’ll come up victorious can only be decided by one person, and that person is YOU! When the going gets tough, don’t be afraid; don’t fret for it’s just another storm you’ll have to put up if you want to see the peaceful shore!

-DOitChoco