4 Long Days
3 Beautiful Cities
2 Crazy Tours
1 Chaotic Adventure
Last weekend, the imperial family toured around Southern China. For four days and three nights, your empress had collected quite a number of memorable random lives which I shared with my family.
Because there are so many stories to tell, I decided to segregate these random lives into a special section called Misadventures Of The Imperial Family (aka MOTIF), a multi-part series of what my family had got ourselves into as we stepped into Macau, Hong Kong, and its next-door neighbor Shenzhen.
First, let me introduce to you the cast of the imperial family:
and yours truly, His Royal Highness The Empress.
The flight to Macau was my siblings’ first time to ride an airplane, while King Daddy and I have ridden airplanes several times before, so it’s not that scary actually.
Except for those occasional turbulence.
My younger brother had a hard time adjusting to the cabin pressure, especially that air pushing in his eardrums. I told him to yawn, but that didn’t work. So, the next possible cure was to pinch his nose and blow from it. That seemed to work.
Once we stepped into the airport, all of the passengers were holed up like sardines in a shuttle that transfers us to the gate. And unlike certain reports, I didn’t see any “Filipinos Only” line at the Immigration.
As we exit towards the arrival lobby, the imperial family decided to go camwhore mode while breezing through the “walkalator”.
I anticipated Macau to have cold weather, but the knitted scarf only gave me the sweats. But I had to pretend like nothing is wrong. Tiis-ganda (pretend like it’s beautiful), as my fellow fags would say.
We were met by our Macau tour guide named Vivian in the airport. After herding (that doesn’t sound right) all the members of the tour group, she would take us to the ferry terminal straight to Hong Kong. Much to my dismay, it was then I realized that our tour itinerary did not include a tour around The Vegas of Asia. I had to content myself staring at the Stratosphere (I mean the Macau Tower) and those casino-hotels like Sands and Wynn sprouted far away from the bus view.
As we transfer to the ferry, Vivian decided to give away maps of Macau for free, just in case we wanted to go back. She then started to display refrigerator magnets that look like the Ruins of St. Paul and tired to sell them for US$3, with a special offer of “buy two for US$5.”
I didn’t realize that it was the sign of things to come.
(to be continued)
“A titi is a titi. No matter how you twist the letters, it’s still a titi.” — Ramon Obusan, National Artist for Dance
I watched a documentary at GMA about the Filipino’s degrading value for tradition. One case study the host Howie Severino pointed out was the celebration in nearby Laguna Province called “Lukayo” (derived from the Spanish term for “clown” (lucayo) or a compressed term for “luka-luka kayo” (you’re all crazy).
True enough, it is a crazy tradition in far-flung Kalayaan town. During a wedding procession, the bride and the groom are being escorted by a band of clown-like grandmothers holding wooden phalluses. It is meant to promote fertility among the couple.
I did not know that our 500-year-old Catholic country still holds its pagan roots up to this day, and it was only then I realized that our ancestors were crazy for the almighty phallus. Mr. Severino, through his interview with National Artist Ramon Obusan, even pointed out several groups that use wooden penises in different occassions. It was being worn by women on boats to fool Mother Nature in lowering the tides in Cebu Island. It was also worn by men completely covered with banana leaves in Cagayan Province during Holy Week.
And while the couple’s wedding is being celebrated in the church, the lukayos are camping outside, singing nursery rhymes with twisted, naughty lyrics. Everyone is laughing. Everyone is happy.
Except for the parish priest.
A native of Iloilo, it is the first time the parish priest see a band of elderly women proudly wielding their wooden penises for everyone to see. He does not like the “savage” practice and has since barred the lukayos to step outside the church during weddings.
But that does not mean the grannies could not join the newlyweds as they parade home for a lively reception.
Being an anthropology junkie, I was laughing at those lolas as they dance joyfully on the street. I thought it was a fun celebration.
That priest was a kill-joy.
INTERMISSION NUMBER: RIVERMAYA ON MTV ASIA AWARDS 2006
2005 was a great year for Filipino music and what better way to cap it was Rivermaya’s highlight performance at the recently-concluded MTV Asia Awards at Bangkok. Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child introduced the group backed-up by Thailand’s Royal Symphony Orchestra. Wow.
So, without further ado, here’s an encore presentation of Rivermaya’s “You’ll Be Safe Here.” Please give them a rousing, proud applause.
From high school to college, I had a huge crush on Tom Cruise. While I was taking up my communication arts degree, we were asked to list down our ambitions. What I wrote on the whiteboard made some of my classmates say, “What the?”
I didn’t wish to be a writer (that would be easy).
I didn’t dream to become a TV practitioner (I had Dad to back me up).
I thought of an ambition that may seem hard to attain, but what seemd to me life-satisfying.
I wrote: “To become Tom Cruise’s personal assistant”
I guess I was destined to be someone else’s slave then. I thought being an assistant is easier than being the boss. That making other lives better is less stressful than fixing your own life. But then I realized that my loyalties would get me nowhere and decided to step up and try my best to lead.
Besides, this happened.
So, while watching a late-night talk show on cable, I was smitten by a new Hollywood hunk.
You would never guess who he is.
It’s comedian Will Arnett. You would probably have seen him in “Arrested Development,” but in Hollywood he is more famous as that husky voice behind a lot of movie trailers as well as teasers for CBS shows. He attributed that unique voice of his to a lot of smoking.
Now I know why a lot of girls find funny men sexy (he is, isn’t he?). Too bad he’s married.
Besides, this isn’t funny.
SHOWBIZ LIFE: PHILIPPINE IDOL JUDGES COMPLETE!
And then there are three!
After weeks of specualtion, ABC-5 has released the identities of two remaining judges who will join Ryan Cayabyab in the upcoming Philippine Idol this July.
The lone lady in the roster is Pilita Corrales. Dubbed as Asia’s Queen Of Songs, she had 15 years of experience in the singing contest circuit as co-host “Tanghalan Ng Kampeon” (Champion’s Theater) and “Bagong Kampeon” (The New Champion). She was also the only Filipino performer to front a Beatles’ concert.
The third judge, the youngest among the three, is rapper and producer Francis Magalona. A breakdancer back in the 1980’s, his career has branched out considerably into acting and music production. Francis M has been constantly promoting the local hip-hop scene and continues to scout for new talents in the field. He is expected to give out the edgy comments, hopefully not cloning Simon Cowell.
So, with the Philippine Idol Triad complete, I wonder how their chemistry works on TV?
Might as well watch.
RANDOM HOT MEN: ALFRED VARGAS
If his stint in X-Ray Magazine isn’t enough, Alfred Vargas just released his very own coffeetable book oozing with hotness. Everytime I see him on TV, the first I notice about him is his seemingly perfect…nose.
And you know what they say about guys with nice noses.
BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP MY FOOTNOTES
1) Here’s an update on Da Maruja Code.
I MQIAH DY DNI GAY GYTM DNAD TIRRIM DHICCY IM TIWIRIDICY RYD GAY. PIYCY IM.
I’ll give out another clue to this secret message.
D = T
The first to post the secret message on the comments section will be humbly rewarded with a four-week recommendation of his or her blog. Can you crack the code?
2) QUOTES TO DIE FOR: “I have had a lot of key chains like this one!” — my co-worker after giving Dad’s and my pasalubong from Hong Kong. What an ingrate, she didn’t even bother to say “Thank you.” I should have given it to someone who’s more appreciative.
3) Do you like what you hear on Maruja Radio? Would you like to imitate Sharon Cuneta and say, “Mr. DJ, can I make a request?” Send your requests trhough my e-mail, empressmaruja [at] gmail [dot] com with the header “request.” Original Pilipino Music is much appreciated, although foreign songs are welcome too (as long as I can find it on the Net).
3) I have noticed that the readership of this blog has increased incredibly for the month of May. I would like to thank my loyal readers and lurkers, friends and frenemies, lovers and haters, as well as those web searchers who stumbled at my site by accident. Thank you for keeping me within the Top 150 of Pinoy Top Blogs.
Here’s for the quest for Top 100.
5) Don’t forget to check out my latest Recommendation. Pond Perspective is filled with a lot of fun stuff for work and play. Wanna be recommended? Just feel free to comment or leave an e-mail.
6) I didn’t know that Hong Kong is also fond of phalluses!