Sunday, November 30, 2008

Movie Review: Twilight

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Twilight is Hollywood’s interpretation of the book authored by Stephenie Meyer. It is a highly romantic love story between a vampire and a human. The story revolves around the two lovers, Bella and Edward. Their tale starts off with a boring beginning, girl moves in and meets boy. As the story unfolds, the conflicts that develop make the story evolve into a romantic one with an added spice of suspense and thriller.

Twilight is ideal for teenagers for they can relate with the protagonist’s budding love story. With a lot of romantic pick up lines, you’re sure to get a shiver down your spine. It teaches some lessons about love. It tells the audience to love beyond differences, to deny one’s instincts, and to ultimately protect the other half. The love that the movie presents is an obsessive one.

The movie has awesome visual effects. The vampires’ features and powers are shown in great detail. But ultimately, the highlights of the effects were shown in the climax of the movie.

The sounds were superior. In suspense scenes, the sounds could thump your heart. On the negative, the movie’s romantic scenes have sounds and songs that lacked chemistry.

The actors of Twilight portrayed their roles well. What Robert Pattinson (who played Edward Cullen) lacks in looks, he makes up for his superb and persuasive vampire acting. Through him, you could easily know Edward’s character. However, Kristen Stewart (who played Bella Swan) still falls short in internalizing her character. But nevertheless, her performance was good. Other actors that played supporting roles were also convincing. The other vampires had a stir in their eyes and brought out an aura of fear.

Finally, the movie’s ending is nice. It sure will make the audience watch out for Hollywood’s next installation of Meyer’s Twilight saga.

Ratings:

Story: 4 stars

Visual Effects: 5 stars

Sound Effects: 5 stars

Actors: 4 stars

Promotional Poster Creativity: 5 stars

OVERALL: 4.5 stars

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mama Mary and Me

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Chemist Board Exam Blog Series Part Six

Mama Mary and Me

September 6, 2008 was one of the most memorable days of my life. For it is in this day that I successfully completed my first pilgrimage. I am finally about to reach my destination: Simala. It is a very popular place in Cebu. Furthermore, Simala is known as a place where Mama Mary presented a series of miracles through her sacred statue.

However, Mama Mary’s miracles were unknown to me. So, part of my journey was discovering the wonderful things that she has done. And of course! I planned to get at least six pieces of stampita for my loved ones. My cousin told me that a stampita is given to those who would sponsor a Holy Mass.

I was really worried of going to Simala alone. Oh! Where exactly in Cebu is it located? All I know was that it is in the mountains somewhere in Sibonga. And that is very far from where I live. Luckily, my mother decided to come to Cebu and accompany me. Surprisingly, my grandmother decided to tag along. So that solved the problem. At last! There was no need to worry about getting lost alone.

“There will be lots of people in there since the feast in Simala is nearing.”, my grandmother said. Mama Mary’s birthday is on 8th of September and they celebrate it annually. Despite that, I hoped that we could have a chance to pray in front of the Holy Image of Mary.

At six o’clock in the morning September 6, 2008, we were already riding a bus going to Sibonga. Amazingly, a lot of people in the bus were heading to Simala, as well. That was a relief!

We expected the trip to take along time. Then, about an hour later, many passengers were leaving the bus. “Myka, we’re already here!” , my grandmother called me.

“Whoa! That was fast! Looks like the bus really sped up! Finally! We’re here”, I thought.

Well, looks like I got excited too soon. When I saw the tricycles there with some people lining up for a ride, I inferred that the journey is not yet over. Not far from there, I saw a small billboard: “Mama Mary’s Sanctuary. This Way. Five Kilometers.” Oh no! It was another long ride down the road!

After what seemed to be an eternity, we finally arrived at the Church. It was still closed. We were there at around 7:00 AM but it opens at 8:00 AM. But the exterior of the church was already a busy place! Lots of people were crowding the restaurants, some were buying local fruits, and others were already lining up by the Church’s gate.

Since we had a lot of time to spare, we decided to look around and buy souvenirs and other items. By 7:45 AM, we lined up by the entrance. Everything went fine, except for the burning heat of the sun! But we were saved by our umbrellas.

At 8:15 AM, the church gates were opened. The people quickly rushed inside. Even my grandmother ran off, leaving me and my mother behind. They were running to the Church that they missed the great view that the whole place offered. It was still another long road going to the Church inside the gate.

However, while others were dashing, my mother and I took our time and observed the great view of the mountains that surround the Church! The images of the seven Archangels by the entrance greeted everyone as they come in. The route to the church was full of green plants, cottages, and fountains. The place was perfect for camping!

When we finally reached the Church, we followed the very long queue that stretched outside. We waited under the heat of the sun that we lost track of time. When we were nearing the sacred image, we were asked to take off our shoes as a sign that we were in a Holy Place. The Holy Image was located at the second floor, at the back of the Church Altar.

A beautiful Lady was shining like the sun in her shimmering golden vest. Her skin resembled rosy porcelain. She looked gentle and her charisma was welcoming! A burst of Holiness surrounded the place. As Mama Mary’s presence was felt, we were all conquered by the spirit of prayer.

I was very happy that I finally reached the pinnacle of my pilgrimage! I was very proud of myself because I was able to be successful in this endeavor. My mother and I decided to join the others by praying in the Adoration Chapel. It was a wonderful experience! I could feel a rush of emotions in my heart: of love, happiness, and excitement.

After that, I slowly got up and went down. Then, I ended up in the mini museum where I learned the miracles of Mama Mary in Simala. The Holy Image of Mary cried true tears a lot of times. The first miracle happened when Simala was plagued by dengue fever. The monks decided to help the people by conducting a prayer procession to Mary every morning in order to drive the mosquitoes away and for the healing of sick persons. Then one early morning, while the monks were having their prayers, the Statue of Mama Mary glowed and the whole place diffused a sweet smell of flowers. Furthermore, the monks saw that the Statue shed tears. They were so touched that they were also moved to tears. From that moment on, pilgrims came from all over the Philippines.

The mini museum also showed some Thank-you Letters written by persons who had their prayers answered. And a whole lot gave thanks to Mama Mary when they passed their respective board exams. There were nurses, lawyers, pharmacists, and many more. That place gave me hope that my friends and I could also pass the coming Chemist Licensure Examination.

After that, I was reunited with my mother and grandmother. Together, we attended the Holy Mass. Before going home, we strolled around the park-like exterior of the Church and made a wish in the wishing well.

It was a very busy Saturday for us. It was weird though. A setting of queuing, heat and a crowd would usually irritate and tire me. But on that special day, I felt different. I was energized and arrived home happy. As I packed my things ready for my flight to Manila the following day, a flicker of hope grew in my heart as I get ready to face the Chemist Licensure Examination!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Words from Audrey Hepburn

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For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.


Taken from: “An Elegant Spirit: An Autobiography” by Audrey Hepburn

Egg Tarts in Lord Stow’s Bakery

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When my friend told me about egg tarts at Lord Stow’s Bakery to be “very delicious and highly addictive”, I didn’t quite believe it.

“Yes, Kandace! Lord Stow’s Bakery makes the best egg tarts that I have ever tasted! In fact, that store is very popular in China Town.”, he said further.

I love good food. And when a person recommends me a restaurant, I get skeptic and try to taste it myself. Until then would I be convinced. So, I headed to SM Mall of Asia, looked for the said store, and bought a box of six at PhP 210.00.

True enough, the egg tarts in Lord Stow’s Bakery looked so well. Furthermore, the tarts are so warm, soft, and exude a fragrance of milky caramel. They looked like mini pies.

My first bite of the soft and chewy tart gave me instant satisfaction. I tasted a range of flavors: milk, cream, and eggs. All three merged into a unique and sweet pastry! I loved it!

And now, it’s my turn to recommend it to you!

Lord Stow’s Bakery stores in the Philippines are located in SM Mall of Asia, The Fort, and Glorietta among others.

Ratings:

Flavor of egg tarts: 5 stars

Staff accommodation: 5 stars

Store presentation: 4 stars

Price: 4 stars

OVERALL: 5 stars

Lyka and Myka

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Pets could mean a problem to me. Furthermore, it becomes a really big problem if the pet happens to be a dog! Oh! No matter how they’re tagged as “man’s bestfriend”, or how adorable they look, dogs still have those fox-like nose, jaw, and teeth that really give me Goosebumps.

Clearly, I have a phobia of dogs and I don’t know or how it started. My heart begins to fear whenever I hear their howls or barks. Moreover, I don’t like it when they approach me.


My stay in Manila has brought me to my aunt’s house. And yes! She has pets! Worse, she has, not one, but two dogs! Named Lyka and Macoi, both of them guard the first and second floors of the house, respectively. Lyka is a female of the Japanese Pits breed. Macoi, on the other hand, is a male of the half-labrador-half askal breed.

However, after about one week of stay, I grew fond of Lyka. On the first days in the house, she would gladly approach me but I would ignore her and put her away. Despite my doing, she kept on persisting to get my attention. Lyka was a very hyperactive dog. “That’s just normal”, as my aunt used to say. It is the nature of the Japanese Pits to be playful.


“We named her ‘Lyka’ because she resembles the white fox in ‘Lobo’”, my aunt said. ‘Lobo’ (Filipino for “fox”) was the title of the local TV series which starred Angel Locsin, who played the half-human-half-fox named “Lyka”.

Lyka was a very beautiful and cute dog. Her little body was covered by white fur. In fact, she really looked like a fox with her protruding nose, standing triangular ears, and curvy tail. Foxes give out an image of savagery, but Lyka’s eyes gave everything away. Unlike a fierce fox, she was very friendly and gentle.

Lyka always coaxed me to play with her. She would always put her two front paws on my knees, as if begging me to give her attention. As she did so, I felt the pulse in her paws which were throbbing so fast that I could feel her excitement. Furthermore, she liked to lick my hands and feet, but I couldn’t help but pull away. My phobia stopped me from getting close to her.

One of my most favorite cuddles that Lyka gave me was whenever she rubbed her whole body on my legs and feet. I loved the way Lyka’s fur tickled my skin!

Now that I am here in Negros for a break, I miss Lyka. I never thought that I would like a dog despite my cynophobia. Owning a pet isn’t such a bad idea after all. Well, maybe having almost the same name helped. Calling her “Lyka” sounded like my name “Myka”.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Long Journey

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Chemist Board Exam Blog Series Part 5

The Long Journey

When the quest approaches its completion, the pilgrim cannot help but feel a rush of adrenalin. Finally! After a long time, my journey is about to end. I only needed to visit three more churches.

Unexpectedly, my seventh church was St. Joseph the Worker Parish of Tabunok. I just got to a jeepney which happened to pass by it. The doors were open. So, without any second thoughts, I gave the driver a signal to stop.

It turned out the the church is celebrating its founding anniversary. The Holy Mass was being celebrated and I decided to stay for a while. And after the Mass, the priest invited everyone to go down to the basement for a banquet! Yummy! However, I didn't go there. Praying was my priority. I was also shy to mingle with new friends.

When the week's Saturday came, I was very eager to visit the last two churches. Beforehand, I have chosen the next church to be the Basilica del Sto. Nino. The last church remained unknown to me.

However, there was one problem. How do I get to Sto. Nino Church? What should I ride going there?

Taking my chances, I stood by the jeepney stop and listened to those jeep conductors' drills. Then, I finally heard, "Sto. Nino, Colon, Metro!". I hopped on that jeepney right away. After some time, I spotted a church.

"Maybe that's Sto. Nino Church!", I thought. I got down from the jeepney and observed the new environment I was in. Then, second thoughts came to mind. Sto. Nino Church is a very busy place with lots of people coming in and out. The church I was heading on at that moment had little people. In fact, only a gardener was outside and greeted me, "Good morning!"

"Good morning, too!", I replied. Then, as I looked around, I saw a billboard and the church's name was on it: Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Obviously, it wasn't the church that I intended to go to. But it was still a church afterall. With much happiness, I went in to that eighth visited church and prayed.

So, God has decided for my ninth church to be Basilica del Sto. Nino. But going there was still a challenge for me.

The answer was very simple.

A jeep passed by outside Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. "Sto. Nino" was written on its signboard. I occupied the front seat as I said, "To Sto. Nino Cathedral, please."

"Huh? Sto. Nino? But it's near here, all you have to do is walk to the corner over there.", he replied as he pointed the way.

Oh! But I have a poor sense of direction. "Nah! I'll just ride!", I told the driver.

True enough, the jeep just made a right turn and stopped at the first corner. Oh my! That was so NEAR!

"That is Sto. Nino Cathedral. Just walk straight.", the driver said as he pointed on the church's visible entrance gate. Then, I gave thanks to that wonderful driver for leading me to my destination.

As I expected, the Basilica del Sto. Nino proved to be a busy place, full of kiosks outside and full of devotees inside.

While in the church and praying, one of the most amazing things happened to me. On one of my prayed Hail Marys, a sweet fragrance suggestive of roses filled the air. It seemed that I was the only one who smelled it. Other devotees were still praying on their own. Roses are a good sign, a miracle in essence. Roses are symbolic of Mama Mary, who seemed to congratulate me on successfully visiting my ninth church, the last stop before reaching the peak. But there were no roses in the altar...

After praying, I took a tour in the church. I also paid respect on the oldest image of Sto. Nino. Surprisingly, on one corner, I saw an oil painting of the church's old altar, which housed 15 images of Saints with Jesus. What's more amazing is the fact that almost all the Saints had their tabernacles pasted on that painting. The people weren't able to notice it. It was a blessing to me as I said a spontaneous prayer.

But of course, as my pilgrimage slowly ends, the memories of my visited churches put me in nostalgia. Life is a cycle, there are goodbyes and hellos. At that moment, my sadness was replaced by excitement as I was about to go to the ultimate destination of my pilgrimage: Mama Mary's Sanctuary in Simala.



Saturday, November 8, 2008

Happy 21st Birthday to ME!

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It's finally my 21st birthday! And I say goodbye to the sweet and innocent days and hello to the naughty world of adulthood! Ahahahaha!

Oh well, I wasn't so adventurous before I reached this age. My life was, well, boring. But despite my ordinary experiences, there were major events that made me the way that I am today.

The most memorable one was the Chemist Licensure Examination. Yup! I promised myself to write a blog about it. However, I have only finished part four out of twelve episodes. Hopefully, inspiration would hit me soon as I try to pick myself up.

The second most memorable one is the time that I entered the blog era! Hahaha! I wonder where I as before that! Blogging introduced me to the hearts of other people. It also gave me an opportunity to hone my writing skills.

The third most amazing experience for me is finishing my thesis in just ONE month! Phew! Last February 2008, Bubut and I went turbo speed in working on my thesis. Hahaha!

I would like to thank all the people who greeted me today: Aldwin, Ian, Ime, Joysh, Venus, Arlene, Ate Kaydee, Tita Dixie, and my family of course! And to all the who will greet me tonight, thanks in advance!

And finally, I thank God for giving me a year of experiences and love. I grew closer to him during the board exam days, through Mama Mary. Hopefully, this three month vacation will bring my lost passion back to my heart. That is the only way that I can serve Him who did me a lot of favors.

Thank you, Father!

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