Saturday, November 25, 2006

Greta Ma-Garbo

Gretchen Barreto is having a word-war with another actress over Miss Barreto’s bringing an entourage of bodyguards and yayas wherever she goes. The other actress admittedly called the mistress of Tony Boy a prima donna, obviously distressed over the inconvenience of at least five bodyguards and a battery of alalays who are at Gretchen’s beck and call during the shoot of a movie where the two actresses are co-starring.

Realizing I haven’t got the slightest clue what the world had turned to the last 48-hours, this is the “important” banner story I got when I turned-on the TV hoping to hear the latest, most earth-shaking and deeply life-changing news the whole of humanity currently had to offer. Trying to beat deadlines and facing no one but my PC the last two days, this is the world I shut-out and was now returning to: one filthy rich kabit fighting for her right to choose how to spend the sustento her billionaire live-in partner spends on her.

Miss Barreto sighs how anyone could complain about the number of aides she brings when she herself couldn’t say for sure how many of them she has.

How tasteful and so socially-relevant of her. This is fast-becoming the most important pre-occupation of social-climbers: how to show-off and how to unabashedly comment on their showing-off like they don’t care.

Bitter, bitter, bitter me! I am again at bashing the haves with my have-nots angst. But please read on. (Gosh you should really see how Gretchen feigns subtlety like she was born to aristocracy and so boredly used to it!)

My wife, Gem, had been witness to how quite a commotion Gretchen’s party causes wherever she chooses to impose her grandiose presence. In one pictorial of Piolo Pascual where Gem was the brand manager, the ex-ST queen whose friend Boy Abunda fondly calls Greta, turned upside-down the studio of photographer Xander Angeles with so many burly strangers (feeling Kevin Costner) on the look-out for any suspicious-looking members of the pictorial staff. Picture the uniformed maids (with one even holding a microwave oven for Greta’s designer diet meal) invariably giggling “Ang pogi talaga ni Piolo!” and you can imagine what imposition Miss Barreto is pretending to be clueless about as obviously suggested by her keeping such entourage to this day.

Of course, the bodyguards & yayas, are all but a minor indication of what the likes of Gretchen Barreto have achieved or fights to achieve in a society that used to shun kabits and queridas. I can hear Greta protesting: “Oh, but I have long ceased to be a kabit ; the original Mrs. Cojuangco—may she rest in peace—has long died of a broken heart.”

There is a nice ring to the pet name Greta. It sounds so kontrabida. Not the Greta Garbo that Gretchen may fancy herself to be but the witches that eat children in fairytales. Such witches can never completely see the sin of sleeping with a married man, contributing to the demise of the original wife and flaunting long after she died the victory of their forbidden love against the repudiation of the holier-than-Thou moralists.

I have nothing personal against Miss Barreto. In fact, the many anecdotes about her rich-and-famous exploits amuse me no end; a favorite of mine was the RCBC incident. Be them exaggerated or not, the fact that they are easy to be believed reflects the reputation Gretchen has and pretends not to worry about. What I am anxious now is how paid publicists & bootlickers have learned to benefit from her and her kind.

So why should I care? It’s not MY money she’s spending. Yeah, and it’s neither hers—it’s the Cojuancos’. What a way to exact vengeance at the ruling class! At least Gretchen is helping distribute wealth away from the landed high society. By keeping her battalion of chuwariwaps, she is creating jobs and inadvertently boosting the Philippine economy.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

How Did You Know? II

I write this rather belatedly to assure my wife what I meant by soulmate in my very first posting in this blogsite.

Though my beautiful and ever understanding spouse swears she has searched the net for the meaning of the word and all she kept finding was the romantic meaning of “soulmate,” let me assure her and you guys that by soulmate, I simply meant that invisible thread which Hindus of ancient times believed to connect individuals. You know, like two souls were created from the same material.

From the first time I heard it, I have always felt the word meant more like brothers and sisters or twins, having developed from the same egg or womb. In this romance-obsessed age of loveteams & telenovelas, I can’t blame people assigning more marketable meanings to it. I read somewhere that, as much as it can encompass space (like you live in Manila & the other in Bostwana), soulmate bonds may encompass time & gender. That means your mate could be from another era (like you have always felt this special connection to Cleopatra?) or somebody of the same sex (caveat: this doesn’t explain same-sex attraction; that’s another story.)

So there. Besides, I expounded on the topic based on how my “soulmate” felt towards me. And I was pretty sure she didn’t mean it romantically too because at the same time she was telling me that’s how it felt, she was also bragging about his fiance and future husband (congratulations to them if it pushed through.)

So the next time you find your mate, exert effort to stay connected—unlike what I did. Oh well, you guys haven’t written any lead yet how I could find her. So much for yanking at that invisible thread.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Independent digital films are very much celebrated these days for having been produced at very low costs.

After watching a few indie short films last night, I have come to the conclusion that to stay within budget, the first that their producers have to rid themselves off is the camera tripod.

After watching 16 shorts in one sitting, I found myself sitting some more outside the cinema waiting to regain my balance as I got really dizzy watching too many hand-held shots.

But it’s a dizzying kind of joy living in this age when one actually bears witness to how this new way of filmmaking is stealing the thunder from mainstream cinema. I’ll be beaming with pride telling my children someday how their dad actually made it to the days when Mother Lily & friends used to oligopolize the business and then later, witnessed how indie filmmakers soon gave them a run for their money. More joy still that many of my friends are actors, writers and producers of indie films. Oh, and I got to act in one of them too! (Wait for the day when MTRCB lets the ax fall this time entirely because of bad acting.)

I must admit that some of the shorts I saw that night were not many of the finest this cinema movement can offer. Oops… hold your horses! Before you ban me from future screenings, let me reaffirm that I am an advocate of the indie phenomenon. But I must acknowledge that the relative ease of shooting in digital video has open the floodgates for those who are still on denial that they’re just not meant for this kind of art. But if practice makes perfect, I must at least say that the less finer shorts that night were “praktis lang po.” Since much of the support group (emotionally & financially) of indie-makers are naturally their close friends and relatives, I blame these groups when they don’t honestly give constructive feedbacks to people in the production. Please don’t patronize them; if it sucks, give it to them as it is and then support them to do more but better films next time.

I am sincerely calling on more and more people to get into indie film-making as did many who excelled in photography when consumerism & technology permitted more snap-shooters who eventually became masters in the craft. And to people like my friend who said she avoids indie films because she too gets dizzy from the hand-held shots, just try to bear with it some more (you’re the same girl who enjoys roller-coasters, ahah!)

Yeah, there are really some lousy shots (add to that: plots, scripts, acting, etc.) which the cinematographer &/or director would simply pass-off as a matter of taste and self-expression but it is in supporting all these indies, be them good or bad, can the ultimately best come out of the rest. Let’s watch as many of them as we can, better still if we can dabble at least once in the actual production. Hey, we are actually democratizing cinema here, don’t let it just pass you by 24 frames per second.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

How Did You Know?

I found my soulmate--no, she found me. But then I was too lazy, I must have turned her off (or turned her away?)

By writing this, I'm hoping she'd found out how regretful I am. If you know where she is, can you tell her how I'm dying to be in touch with her again?

There was this girl (can we call her Chiqui?) Chiqui wrote me the sweetest letters. She said she is sure as hell she has found her soulmate--me. Nobody has ever told me that. It was the sweetest thing. I have been writing in my mind my similarly sweetest reply. `Been writing it for weeks, for months... until it's been five years. Now, I still haven't sent her any reply. And she hasn't written me anything anymore since then. She must be thinking how some lazy snob I must be.

As I write this, I'm listening to her song.

Five years ago, I didn't know how a big shot singer she was. Good thing I didn't or I would have freaked-out reading the letters she sent.

I miss her. `Hope she's doing progress with her ambition to become a writer.