Archive for the ‘Kagay-anon’s Voice’ Category
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
by Francis Calub
(Note: The original idea was to take tidbits of details from this article and incorporate them into the write up I made about the 55K Ultra Marathon. After reading this, however, I decided to post it as a separate article and leave it as it is – unedited – because it’s simply so honest. It was written for his father, who recently died. In this very raw narration, Francis tells us how running has helped him change the way he treats and looks at life. Read on, fellow Kagay-anons…and be inspired. – MFPoblete)
Unedited Draft. I left the draft alone since the death of my father and his brother in May and June respectively. This page is dedicated to the life we lead and our struggles against adversity and pain. It is dedicated to those who have gone before us, never knowing, or knowing, of our admiration and the impact they have had in our lives.
I originally started running 11 months ago with the sole intention of gaining control of my body. I had gained 35 lbs while in an industry that demanded I abandon my long held beliefs in integrity, truth, and honor. Three years of battling my conscience has taken its’ toll on me and my spirit. Running was something I could do to gain control over my body and a personal time to reflect upon things away from all distractions. That is the bedrock of this ultra-marathon journey. But that is not why I am running.
You see, this year has been a pain riddled year for me, my family, and many friends. It is the year that our Faith and Beliefs are, and have been, stretched to its utmost. My beautiful niece of 24 years passed away. Seeing my dear brother’s and his wife’s grief at losing their daughter was so heartbreaking. My dad, and my hero, is battling time (No longer. Rest in Peace my father and my hero. You will always be part of my story for in me, you will live on) . My dearest mom, a beacon of strength and courage, and one of the unsung heroes of the EDSA Revolution in the Philippines, can only stay on the sideline as my dad struggles against time by himself. My friend lost her beautiful sister in a tragic car accident. My childhood friends lost their fathers as well. My many friends struggle to provide for their families at the cost of only seeing them for a month in a year, if they are lucky. I have a cousin who lost her family many years ago and yet she lives on and plows through this thing called life.
There are so many struggles, challenges, and adversity that come with life. It would be nice not to be faced with adversity, but a life without struggle, is a life without meaning. It is the struggles that define who and what we are.
I don’t really consider myself as a “real” runner. I only started running in June of 2010 with the intent of losing weight. However, as I continued running, I found running to have a therapeutic effect on me.
So, I run for my dearest brother and his wife, my brothers, my sisters, my heroes who happen to be my dad and mom, my relatives, my friends, and you, for in all of us lives something of the Divine, our Indomitable Spirit, the spirit that inspires, the spirit that lives on in others even after we have moved on. I run for Life.
The 55K Dahilayan marathon represents the obstacles and struggles we have to go through in life. It is nothing more than something that we must overcome. The journey to the finish line represents the beauty and blessing we receive in life, it is to be appreciated and cherished. The muscle and joint pain are the tears of pain we shed during our life’s journey. And reaching the finish-line is a testament to our Indomitable Spirit that allows us to persevere through the pains of life while celebrating the beauty of life. It also brings the sense of accomplishment after winning a hard fought battle.
Join me in celebrating life and our Indomitable Spirit.
Friday, April 1st, 2011
The need for technological progress is inevitable. This is a universal fact that is evident in the way our normal daily routines have changed over the decades. Urban landscapes have grown more prominent in numerous regions all over the world, and much of the world’s population is concentrated on the cities. To be more specific, there are about 3.3 billion people who are crammed in metropolitan areas. Although that number seems alarming enough, everyday mobility suggests that the numbers continue to grow. Researchers have found that about 38% of the growth is represented by the ever growing slum areas. These data only imply one thing, the modern day city’s capacity to develop suitable infrastructure is not enough to catch up with the rapid growth in urban population.
And what does this issue have to do with water or world water day in general, you may ask? Well, the objective for this year’s World Water Day was to focus on bringing in more attention towards the devastating impact of industrialization, as well as the rapid population growth in urban areas on the world’s urban water systems.
Basically, the World Water Day is held every 22nd of May. The event was initiated in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro by the UNCED, otherwise known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Each year, the organization focuses on a different theme in order to raise more awareness and potentially help solve major crises. The UN member states are mainly responsible for preparing and promoting various concrete events and activities that help spread the message across.
As for this year, the organization’s attention was the increasing urban population and its possible damaging effects; thus, the UN chose to go by the theme “Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge”. The main goal for this year, apart from increasing awareness, was to encourage other organizations (both government and non-government), as well as more communities and individuals, to take action and help improve the current state of the global water management.
Several events were prepared this year, and each drew in quite a big number of participants. The celebration started as early as the 21st of March, and continued all the way to the very last week of the month. Various global events took place around the world, and among them were the 1st Semana Internacional del Agua in Zaragoza, Spain; the Opoticaigua 2011, which was held in Palma de Mallorca; the Sembrando Vida, which took place in Mexico, and a whole bunch of other events.
This year’s main World Water Day events were held in Cape Town, as well as in the UN headquarters in New York last March 22. Events like musical performances, a conference and some exhibits, drew in a huge crowd from various parts of the United States and the world.
In the Philippines, the World Water Day celebration was led by Greenpeace Philippines, along with several local government units of Quezon City and Marikina. Their main activity was the Greenpeace Water Patrol along Marikina River’s shoreline. They also asked for support for the removal of toxic discharges from the country’s fresh water bodies.
President Benigno “NoyNoy” Aquino also disclosed, in a speech he delivered during the celebration of the 2011 World Water Day at the Mall of Asia last March 22, that the government is seriously pursuing its goal of enhancing the country’s water services in line with the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.
-Mara Jayne Tismo-
-with additional inputs by Maia Fortich-Poblete-
Sunday, February 27th, 2011
We’ve already done two pre-Oscar specials; the first one a list of Roger Ebert’s top 10 2010 movies and the second one, the New York Times’ critics’ list. Our third pre-Oscar special will highlight the top 10 best movies of 2010 according to viewmag.com.
10: The Disappearance of Alice Creed
This thriller features just three characters; two kidnappers and their victim. Helmed by J Blakeson, the story takes place in just one location: an apartment. All throughout the movie, you will find yourself blown away by the never-ending thrill and suspense, as well as the surprises woven into the story.
9: 127 Hours
Please see our second pre-Oscar special for the details of this Danny Boyle helmed story of hiker Aaron Ralston’s incredible experience of survival.
8: Paper Man
Starring Jeff Daniels, Paper Man is the story of a writer whose wife leaves him in a small town and the friendship that he develops with a teenager. An interesting side story is the writer’s “friend”, Captain Excellent. Also starring Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds, this is one movie for film buffs who want a fantastic, extra-ordinary experience.
7: Black Swan
Certainly one of Natalie Portman’s best films. Please check out a previous pre-Oscar post for the details regarding this psychological thriller that also stars Mila Kunis.
6. Four Lions
This is a comedy that features Muslim terrorists in Great Britain. It paints a different, albeit very real, portrait of terrorism in a witty, hilarious way. Film lovers who adore black comedy will be happy with this movie. The characters and the situations they get entangled in are some of the reasons why this movie is in the top 10 list.
5. Toy Story 3
Pixar’s best take on the story of Woody and Buzz was featured in a previous pre-Oscar post.
4. Let Me In
The original version was a Swedish film and was based on the novel Let the Right One In. Let Me In is a different and more subtle (yet creepy) take on vampires and the relationships that they form. It is a “dark” movie that spills a lot of blood in a manner that doesn’t make you cringe, but it will still leave a stain in your mind, like tar on teeth. Cloverfield Director Matt Reeves successfully blends bloodsucking with growing pains and a vampire’s struggle to have a soul.
3. True Grit
Bringing together Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin and a magnificent Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit is the Coen Brothers’ newest western masterpiece. The film chronicles the relationship of Marshal Cogburn and Mattie, his employer who is all of 14 years. Together, they set out to look for the man who killed Mattie’s father. This movie remake and novel adaptation paints a stunning visual portrait of the Western life.
2. The Social Network
The story of how the world’s most popular was created (or so the movie claims). With superb performances by Jessie Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, The Social Network is also in Roger Ebert’s list of the top 10 best movies of 2010.
1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Bryan Lee O’Malley’s popular comic came to life in 2010 with Michael Cera (of Juno and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist) playing the title role. The movie tells of Scott Pilgrim’s quest to win the heart of the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers. To achieve this, however , he had to face Ramona’s exes – all seven of them, all evil. This movie has a lot of heart, if you only care to see behind all those kick ass and pumped up action scenes. As the main star of the movie, Cera delivers more than you can imagine. Kieran Culkin (one of the movie’s best loved characters), Anna Kendrick and Allison Pill also deliver unforgettable performances.
In a world that has become too pre-occupied with financial losses and gains, with winning elections and making it big in business, Scott Pilgrim’s story brings us back to the basics that truly matter in life: love, friendship and well-meaning dreams.
So, there you have it, fellow Kagay-anons; 2010’s best all laid out for you. Have you made your choices already? Will Natalie Portman her first Oscar? Who among Colin Firth and Jeff Bridges will bring home the Oscar? What’s your bet for the Best Film? Your choice is as good as mine!
Happy Oscar viewing, CDO!
Friday, February 25th, 2011
In today’s setting, it isn’t unusual to have a woman run an entire place, a certain organization, a certain business and even her own household. In fact, at a very young age, small girls are taught and encouraged to excel as much as much as their male counterparts. Seeing a girl excel in sports, academics, politics, as well as in various other arenas, would no longer shock the world or most societies as it has become a normal feat.
However, women as well as their skills and capabilities weren’t always regarded this way. Way back in the early 1900s, even the simple right to suffrage was such a huge political issue. However, driven to promote equality in both sexes, various groups of women’s right advocates started to orchestrate one of the most unique and historical movements in world history. After years of fighting to eradicate oppression and biases against women, these groups of women actually came to establish a number of things. Apart from finally getting women all over the world to take part in the elections, they have also established the Official International Women’s Day.
The idea to celebrate such an event was initially spawned by Clara Zetkin, the former leader of the German Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party back in 1910. A year after, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in various European countries including Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Austria.
Eventually, the celebration grew to become one of the most highly anticipated annual celebrations worldwide. Nowadays, numerous cities and organizations are starting to come up with their own way of celebrating women’s month. In fact, it seems that the movement that sparked the creation of the event continues today.
In line with the celebration of women’s month, as well as the continuous advocacy to completely get rid of all issues concerning the violation of women’s rights, the International V-Day was also initiated. The V-day celebration actually runs for about three months, from February to April, sandwiching the original designated month for the International Women’s month celebration, which is March.
V actually stands for three things, and these are Victory, Valentine and Vagina. Basically, this global activist movement only aims for one thing; to put a stop to the horrible violence done to women and girls in various regions of the globe. V-day attacks such issues by promoting creative events in order to raise money to initiate and support programs that helps to eradicate such violence, as well as to increase awareness and to inspire other anti-violence organizations.
V-Day mainly focuses in bringing the world’s attention to prevent various issues such as incest, female genital mutilation, sex slavery, battery and rape. The movement, which was initiated by Eve Ensler, mainly produces uplifting and eye-opening dialogues and shatter taboos that centers on the aforementioned issues. Apart from this, the V-Day movement also supports and inspires activists who are working towards protecting the rights of women. The organization does this by engaging in public education activities, grassroots activism, as well as in offering supports services to victims or survivors of such abuse.
These V-Day campaigns have also attracted a number of volunteers, including college students all over the world. Having developed an interest to take part in this cause, these volunteers have gone as far producing each of their own benefit performances. And V-Day has supplemented them with the most appropriate mediums. These benefit shows would range from performances of the “Vagina Monologues”, “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer” and “Any One of Us: Words from Prison”, as well as screenings of the moving documentaries, “Until the Violence Stops” and “What I Want My Words to do to You”.
This year’s V-Day celebration includes up to 1,500 different events in over 50 countries, as well as in all 50 American states. The highlight for this year’s celebration goes to the opening of the small village dubbed as the City of Joy, which served as the opening event for this year’s series of V-Day celebrations.
All of these dialogues and manuscripts are produced by Eve Ensler, V-Day’s founder. Eve Ensler herself is a performer, a playwright and an activist. One of her most popular works, The Vagina Monologues, has been translated in more than 48 languages and has already been performed in more than 140 countries.
-Mara Jayne Tismo-
Thursday, February 17th, 2011
It’s been weeks since we posted our first top 10 2010 movies list. We decided to postpone publishing the second list for several weeks as we deemed it would be better to do so when the Oscar awards is just days away. So, here we are with the second part of our 3-part series on the best movies of 2010.
If you read our first post, you’ll notice that we mentioned our second list would be from viewmag.com. However, we decided to go first with the New York Times critics’ list.
10 – EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
A documentary about underground art, this film tells the story of Banksy, a street artist. It gives viewers a glimpse of the world’s most “notorious” graffiti artists while they do the thing that they love best.
9 – SECRET SUNSHINE
A South Korean drama directed by Chang-dong Lee, Secret Sunshine tells the story of a widow and single mother Shin-ae. She goes about life with her son, Jun, after moving to a small town called Miryang. She teaches piano lessons, having been a concert pianist before getting married. Everything changes when an unimaginable tragedy happens – something that forces Shin-ae to re-examine her life.
Starring Jeon Do-yeon and Song Kang-ho, Secret Sunshine was first seen at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
8 – LAST TRAIN HOME
A documentary about a Chinese couple and their journey to their home village to visit their children – something that they get to do only once a year. Chen Suquin and Zhang Changhua are one of the 130 million Chinese workers working in industrial cities as factory workers. Their Lunar New Year trip to their home village is their only chance to rekindle ties with their children.
Last Train Home is a moving, heartbreaking humane story helmed by Director Lixin Fan.
7 – 127 HOURS
Directed by Danny Boyle and starring the enigmatic James Franco, 127 Hours is an inspiring, gut-wrenching story about a mountain climber who has no choice but to adopt “desperate measures” in order to survive being trapped under a boulder in Moab, Utah. The movie has been described as “gritty, shocking and exciting”.
Twenty-seven year old Aaron Ralston’s story was described by the New York Times as one that chronicles “accident and determination”. Ralston’s “can-do” attitude was captured by Director Danny Boyle, and this is one of the factors that actually make the film riveting.
Of course, James Franco’s portrayal of Ralston should not be taken for granted. Franco’s performance is one that will leave a lasting impression in your minds (and hearts!).
6 – GREENBERG
Starring Ben Stiller, Jennifer Jason Leigh (who’s also one of the producers), Greta Gerwig and Rhys Ifans, Greenberg is a drama-comedy about a former musician (now a carpenter) who is in the process of picking up the pieces of his life after a mental breakdown. The film’s turning point is when Greenberg babysits for his married brother.
Nominated for Best Film in the Golden Globe, Greenberg is one of Stiller’s best performances. This movie deals with two elements that we can all relate to: heartbreak and humor.
The movie’s most memorable (and famous) line is “Hurt people hurt people”, and this is implicated several times in the movie.
5 – THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
Please see the first part of our top 10 2010 movies feature for a description of this beautifully unpredictable comedy featuring Golden Globe winner Annette Bening and Julianne Moore.
4 – SOMEWHERE
Sofia Coppola’s film talks about loneliness, fame and change. It tells the story of an actor (Stephen Dorff) and how everything turns around when his 11-year old daughter (played by the adorable Elle Fanning) arrives.
It’s a “quiet” movie with no hysterics that’ll destroy the momentum (your eardrums!). It has all the things that Sofia Coppola is known for (think Lost in Translation). Winner of the 2010 Venice International Film Festival’s Golden Lion Award for Best Picture, critics describe Somewhere as “poetry set in a movie”.
3 – CARLOS
A film by Olivier Assaya, Carlos brings to life the exploits of the Jackal, a famous international terrorist. Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez so effectively portrays the Jackal that you’ll have to keep reminding yourself that he’s just acting out.
The movie merited a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has been described as an active, dynamic and brisk movie – despite its long running time. Carlos is an intriguing, interesting and engaging film that uses a lot of music to bring scenes to life.
2 – TOY STORY 3
Buzz Lightyear and Woody return to the big screen in an adventure that is absolutely more humane than most movies that came out in 2010. Although it talks about consumerism and materialism, it also successfully shows the “emotional logic” of children playing creatively. The best thing about this third installment, though, is that it gives us a perfect picture of what the toys (or commodities) feel about some people’s materialistic tendencies.
Toy Story 3 features the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger¸ Emily Hahn, Michael Keaton, Ned Beatty and Jodi Benson.
1 – INSIDE JOB
Inside Job is a timely film in the true sense of the word. This documentary by Charles Ferguson is actually a different kind of crime story. Its main focus is something that most (if not all) of us can relate to: the 2008 financial crisis.
Narrated by multi-talented actor Matt Damon, Inside Job features interviews with experts in the fields of finance and politics. There are also interesting interviews with journalists and academicians. The fruits of extensive research are seen throughout the documentary, and especially as the film reaches its highest peak and emotions explode. New York Times’ film critics describe Inside Job as a story that showcases an unpunished crime. It’s like a problem that was never given a solution.
Most people would probably veer away from the film as they do not want to recall the difficulties they faced at the height of the global financial crisis. However, Inside Job may probably even help us understand, albeit just a little, about what really brought the United States and the rest of the world into the brink of financial distress.
Nominated for Best Documentary at this year’s Academy Awards, Inside Job was screened at the May 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
There you have it, fellow Kagay-anons! Our second best 2010 movies list is done. The final installment will be published this weekend as we brace ourselves for the 83rd Academy Awards (February 28, Philippine time). Our third installment will feature viewmag.com’s top 10 list, along with several films that didn’t make it to any of the list, but deserve to be recognized as well.
Until then, CDO! Happy movie viewing, everyone!