Thursday, October 25, 2012

Step Up Revolution: Flash Mobs at its Finest



I am always been a fan of dance themed movies. As a dancer, I see myself as part of what I am watching; grooving with the beat, relating to the character's story plot since most of these movies depict the struggles a dancer encounters to deliver a message he/she wants to tell the world, that dancing has always been a burning passion for them.


As I seldom do reviews on movies, I did not make this pass.  I was a little bit frustrated that the film had a late screening here in Tacloban City (my hometown Bacolod had it on the big screen on the premiere date, here it was roughly 3 weeks after).  But as they say, good things come to those who wait.. And the film did not disappoint me.


Step Up Revolution is the fourth installment of the Step Up series, produced by Jon Chu.  It stars Ryan Guzman (Sean) and SYTYCD Season 6 runner-up Kathryn McCormick (Emily).  The film is set on a steamy beach side Miami where THE MOB, a group of dancers that performs flash mobs in public, turned performance to a form of protest after Emily's dad a wealthy real estate owner, will try to build a five star resort, forcing a community, including Sean's neighborhood to be demolished.

Favorite line of the movie:



"Enough with performance art; It is time for protest art" - Emily

Contrary to other reviews online, I do not see the plot of the story as common as the previous Step Up Series.  Except for the first installment, all other Step Up films were about crews vying for the public's respect, having showdowns if whose team is the best.  This film, however, delivers a strong message that if we stand ipfor what is right, we can make things happen, and that's achieving our goals.  Emily, with the help of THE MOB, made her dad (played by Peter Gallagher) realized the community he is about to destroy if he continues his ambitious project.

The film also did not fail in delivering the best of choreography there had been in any dance movies.  The mixture of hiphop, ballet and contemporary dance was very fascinating to watch.  It was also nice to see some SYTYCD and ABDC alumni share the big screen to deliver great flash mob performances. I love all the performances but my favorites were the flash mobs at  the museum, fine dining, and the protest mob.


The Flash Mob in the Museum


The fine dining flash mob


The MOB on Protest

Overall, I give the film 8.5/10.  I honestly enjoyed the film (and this is a personal review).  As a dance, it gabe me a feeling of excitement to be able to dance again with a group and practice some hard hitting hiphop choreography after watching the film.  Not now but maybe in some days to come.



Photos courtesy of Yahoo! Movies and Google
All rights reserved. Copyright © 2012 Summit Entertainment.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dakak: The Forgotten but Still Amazin' Resort



I remember when I was a kid while watching television during noontime, I usually come across the commercial of Dakak during breaks from Eat Bulaga.  It was stunning to see even on tv that I told myself I will have to visit it someday.  And yes, I made that dream come true.  I was able to set foot on the said paradise.


May 5, 2012.  Four days following my successful final interview in the new company I am working with right now, me and my girlfriend, together with our friends Charisma and Charlotte decided to take a land trip from Bacolod to Dumaguete (a 6-hour nonstop drive) and hop aboard a fast craft going to Dapitan City.  From the port, a service van from fetched us and took another 30 minutes drive to Dakak Park & Beach Resort.  You can also hire a single motorcycle (or locals call it habal habal) to get you to the resort.

The place is still the same as what is seen in the commercial.  Beautiful sights, peaceful ambiance, a perfect place if you want to get away from the city's busy lifestyle.  So as I described it - a hidden paradise.  Other than the beach itself, we also enjoyed the city tour as part of our group package (roughly 7k for four persons).  Yes, Dakak offers group packages which includes your overnight stay, visits to Rizal Shrine in Dapitan, Gloria's Fantasyland (an amusement park based on Enchanted Kingdom, less the roller coasters) as well as a quick city tour to a nearby city, Dipolog.  


One of three pools offered for your relaxation


A Chinese temple with the scenic mountain background

The resort also offers three swimming pools, one of them is about 12 ft deep that it is very good for those who wants to practice diving (as long as you know how to swim); bowling, billiards, videoke, snorkeling, jet skiing, and kayaking.  Charlotte brought her skim board so I practiced skimboarding by the shoreline early morning (and was not good at it haha)


Rizal's Shrine in Dapitan


Charlotte, Edz, Me and Charisma enjoying the clear beach waters


At Gloria's Fantasyland


The Magestic sunset in Dakak

Amidst the popularity of "party" beaches, to name Boracay and Puerto Gallera, Dakak is something beach lovers should visit.  If you are a peace-loving person, you will be amazed of the tranquility the place has to offer.


How to get there:
Dakak is in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte.  It is accessible via air (Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines) from Manila and Cebu to Dipolog Airport; via fastcraft from Dumaguete, Cebu and Tagbilaran to Dapitan Port.  If you have a tour package with the resort, a service van will be available for you.  If not, or if you just simply looking for adventure, you can hire a habal habal, but always remember to negotiate first.  For more information, you can get in touch with them at (+63) 65 213 6813.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's Boracay, not Bora Please!


Like last year, I, together with my girlfriend and one of our close friends at work, decided to get a travel package to Boracay for another Holy Week getaway.  This time it was a four days-three nights package so we decided to make the most out of it.  Compared to our 2011 getaway trip, this was by far the most exciting trip I had in Boracay.


One of the things I've noticed this year were promotional flyers and posters "Boracay Please, Not Bora" all over the island simply reminding tourists about how the Island should be addressed by its name.  We are used to call the island as "Bora"for convenience sake.  Even I myself was reprimanded by one of the locales to use "Boracay" when I loudly said "Bora" in one of the pasalubong stalls.  Although I must admit that I was a little pissed off, I tried to control myself not to react at all. Still baffled by the fact why this promotion is being implemented, my geeky side told me to somehow check on the net the rationale behind all of this, and this is what I have found out..."Boracay" should be used so as not to confuse it with Bora-Bora, an island of French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean, also a popular tourist destination.


There were lots of things I tried the first time during this trip to Boracay, to name ATV and Reef Walking among the few.  And since it was Holy Week, the beachfront is jammed pack and the party never stops till dawn.

 Getting my henna tattoo for the trip

 Partying for the first night in Guilly's Island

What do you expect to see on one of the famous beaches in the world?

 Snorkeling during the island tour

 @ Puka Beach

Strolling by the beachfront during sunset with friends from Bacolod 

The magnificient Boracay sunset 

 Of course the seafoods shouldn't be missed in Talipapa

 It's banana boat time!

The Teleperformance crew in Boracay 

First time to do reef walking in Boracay 

ATV for the win :)

 On Top of mount Luho which gives you a 360 degrees view of Boracay

Friday, June 1, 2012

Meeting Mr Pusangkalye and new blogger friends :)


It has been a few months (again) that i haven't updated my blog.. a major shift in my career came in and I really need time to concentrate on our training (or else I won't get the job) and the fact that my previous hotel does not have WiFi so it hindered me to write any blogs online at all.  Luckily I passed the training so I had time to write a new blog today.


coffee @ A Gan Tea, Greenbelt 2

Last week during my days-off from training, I had a chance to meet Anton of http://www.pusangkalye.net/  whom I've been subscribing since last year.  Other than that I also met his wife, their friend Marvin, and bloggers Ryno of http://vulkanmagnum.blogspot.com/ and Bernard of http://bernardumali.wordpress.com/. We initially met in Glorietta and ate at McDonalds then decided to have small talks over coffee at A Gan Tea at Greenbelt 2.  



 snacktime @ Mcdonald's Glorietta

And as what Mr. Pusangkalye said on his blog entry (http://www.pusangkalye.net/2012/05/social-rewards-of-being-blogger.html), it is very rewarding to share ideas with people online as well as not limiting ourselves in meeting new people to foster new friendship. And yes, inuman naman sa susunod hehe

* Photos courtesy of Antonio Carranza, Jr

Monday, April 2, 2012

Celebrating Earth Hour 2012 with a shot !


Earth Hour, one of the largest environmental events in the world which originated in Sydney Australia in 2007, took off last March 31, 2012 between 8:30 to 9:20 PM MNL time. I have also been a participant on this event for 2 years now and I took a chance to try something else this year.

Rather than staying home to turn off the lights for an hour, I decided to go to one of our malls here in Bacolod to celebrate the event. In line with my workplace's initiative to have a photography contest for Earth Hour 2012, I decided to join and grabbed my girlfriend's camera (yes, I still haven't bought mine..haha) and captured some shots from the Earth Hour activity that was held there and then. After a sumptuous dinner at Bob's, me and my girlfriend were lucky to see an ongoing lighting event which featured candles in shape of the Philippine Islands. I asked a SM personnel to allow me to climb a podium and on several clicks, I have found my entry for Teleperformance's Earth Hour 2012 contest.

The results just came in last night and I was lucky enough to grab the top prize. The Facebook likes were only 30% of the total judging and I garnered a total of 94.81% from the judges, out of 23 contenders from all over Teleperformance sites in the Philippines. I thank everyone for the support, especially in Facebook since I had the top photo via likes, which really helped a lot in the overall score. I'm wondering what would be the next contest at work, I might join again if time would permit.



Monday, March 26, 2012

Discovering the Island of Camotes


Little have I known of the islands of Camotes not until I have read it being featured in one of Cebu Pacific's in-flight magazine, Smile.
It is a group of islands (part of Cebu province) located east of Cebu Island, southwest of Leyte Island, and north of Bohol Island. So me together with two friends (Vinz from Cebu and Efren from The Land Down Under, who had his vacation in Bacolod) set March 17 and 18 for our trip to Camotes. It was only an overnight stay but we made the most out of it. Me and Efren left Bacolod via plane to Cebu City 8:40AM and arrived approximately 30 minutes after in Cebu, where we met Vinz in SM City. We rode a V-hire (fare 50Php) to Danao City, approximately an hour and a half. We almost didn't make it to our boat to Camotes which leaves at 12nn since we arrive 15 minutes before departure time. Good thing Vinz was there to negotiate. We had a two hour RoRo boat ride to Camotes thereafter. The fare is Php180. We arrive past 2 in the afternoon and went straight to our reserve place to stay for the night.

Our place to stay for the night

The Santiago Bay overlooking our room in the resort

SANTIAGO BAY GARDEN AND RESORT


The place was awesome, for our room's exterior provides a scenic view of the ocean. We also have easy access with the pool, but decided to do night swimming instead since we decided to go to the town of San Francisco. We also met three backpackers (Rein, Marx and Layla from Manila) who joined us in our tour, thus cutting our budget to half :) After a sumptuous lunch/dinner (we ate around 5pm), we decided to rent a jeep going to the town of San Francisco.


Santiago White Beach from left: Vinz, Rein, Efren, me, Marx

San Francisco Baywalk

TOWN OF SAN FRANCISCO

It took us abou
t 45 mins to arrive in the town proper. We visited the municipal hall, then San Francisco Baywalk and their plaza. We actually arrived just in time for their Soli Soli Festival, the town fiesta in honor of St. Joseph, their patron saint (Soli Soli is a local term for weaving). After we return to our resort, we decided to have a night swim and had one bottle of beer each. We planned for the next days activity which will be an island tour.

The next day started with a br
eakfast at Santiago Resort's bar overlooking the magnificent Santiago Bay. Manang Merlyn, our tour guide, fetched us from the resort at around 7AM for us to start our travel. We checked out of the resort and carried our things since we decided to go straight to the port and return to Cebu City on the afternoon. Our first stop was Mangodlong Rock Resort.


MANGODLONG ROCK RESORT

The very first resort we went to is the one closes to where we stayed in for the night. It is one of the most famous resorts in the island as what Manang Merlyn said. And it indeed the place is beautiful. They have cottages on top of rocks. We went to inside the resorts building and found a scribble wall. I'm not exactly sure of the term but this is a wall where you sign and leave comments. After a short picture taking session, we proceeded to the port to reserve our tickets for the 2PM Roro ride back to Danao City. We passed by the town of San Francisco and continued our travel to the island of Poro, to visit another resort and a cave (the one featured in Smile Magazine).

BUHO ROCK GARDEN

A garden resort found on top of a rock formation, this is the place for daredevils especially on cliff jumping and diving. I never ceased the moment and had my share of jumps (thrice) from one of the cliffs around 15-20 ft high. The sea was very calm so I was not afraid to try jumping off the cliff. There was also a cliff jump of around 30ft but I decide not to jump from there. It was too high for me. There was also a water slide to the sea but unfortunately it was not available at that moment. There is also a staircase going down at sea level where you can wade on the sea waters and walk your way into a mini cave formation under the cliff.

The 15 (or 20 ft) jump off the cliff in Buho Rock Resort

Bukilat Cave used to be the shelter for the people living in the island from the Japanese invaders during World War II

BUKILAT CAVE

This is the cave that I am pertaining to, the one I saw in an in-flight magazine. As expected, the cave has a magnificent view. The cave, although it has a man made stairway going to the spring, preserves its natural beauty, with chalk-white stalactites and stalagmites. The water is cool and very clean. Manang Merlyn told us it was low tide by the time we arrived so that's the reason why we are not able to bath on the shallow spring waters. We stayed there for about 20 minutes and decided to leave for our next destination. The entrance was 20Php only.

Enjoying the clear and cold spring water inside the cave

TIMUBO CAVE

We had a small argument while on our way to Lake Danao if we are going to visit this cave since we might not make it for our afternoon boat back to Danao City. But Manang Merlyn encouraged us that this is a place which we should not get rid of our list, and assured us we still have ample time before we go back to the port before our boat leaves. And she was right. We could have regretted not going there. By the exterior look, the cave looks simple, with a small entrance underground (where you need to duck in order to enter), but what's beneath it is a magnificent spring. The water is very clean, clear and cool. There were lots of tourists swimming (especially Koreans, we thought we are in Korea hahaha) but that did not stop us to have a plunge in the clear waters. If time would permit we could have stayed there longer but eventually went out of the cave and decided to go to Lake Danao.

Lake Danao of Pacijan Island is considered the largest lake of Visayas

LAKE DANAO

The serene lake was our last stop before going to the port. The water was so calm, and the place was so peaceful. We opt not to ride the boat to tour the lake since it was high noon and it was hot so we only had a few picture-taking sessions and decided to go back to the port for our trip back to Danao. The whole island tour costs us Php2000 (divided by 6, you do the math.. hehe) which I believe is a reasonable price. Manang Merlyn even showed us much hospitality by giving us food (suman!) to eat on our trip back to mainland Cebu.


Although the beaches are awesome as well as the peaceful ambiance of the island, one thing bothers me the most. The limited access to telecommunication signals especially in remote areas is one issue. Since we are in a remote resort, we cannot call, text or even connect to 3G to update our Facebook and Twitter status. Nonetheless, these are things we can live without (just in a day!) I definitely would like to go back to the place. The island is so laid back that I want to stay there for some more quality time. There are still two places we haven't went to (Tulang Diot Island and Kalbaryo). Although we only had an overnight stay in Camotes, we made the most out of it. It's definitely one place I wanna go back someday, in the near future.

Soli-soli kid dancers had a pose with us during their practice at the plaza

Efren, me and Vinz decided to get a the same design for our henna tattoo

Manang Merlyn (our tour guide) and Vinz, on our way to Bukilat Cave
A bottle of beer to end the night from left: Marx, Leyla, Rein, Me, Efren, and Vinz

Jammin 2gether: The Adobe 2nd Year Anniversary


It's quite amazing how time flies really fast. I remember it was only then when we started as customer service representatives to technical support on the said account and boom! it's two years already. Last March 24, 2012, my beloved account at work celebrated two years of excellence. It was a great night of fun, music and dance as we cheered for another new year to come. Me? I danced with my crew for two numbers, one from my colleagues at the same account and another with Teleperformance Dance Crew. I believe photos speaks louder than words so here are some shots from the event.


Photobooth with friends before the party

Solemn prayer lead by Jacklord

1st Dance of the night with Adobe Dance Crew

Christine and Mamra serenading love songs during dinner

The band composed of fellow employees

2nd dance number for the night with TP Dance Crew

Charisma and Marky's first time to do stand up comedy/hosting

Cheers for two years!

Me with my team, Team Proto