the IT list #5: Reflections on 2011

“the IT list” A series of posts that highlight the various stuff, old or new, that I’ve been doing… reading, watching, eating or simply obsessing over recently. It’s my personal countdown.

the IT list #5
Here we are yet again… the end of another year. I can’t help but think this one came by quicker than ever before. In some ways, I’m glad and can’t wait to kick start a brand new year.

The year 2011 was a pretty difficult year for me. I encountered some challenges personally as well as career-wise; and the year didn’t exactly end with a bang as compared to 2010. Still, it brought up lessons that I can’t help but reflect upon, however cliched some of them may be. Some may seem shallow. Some may seem (pa-)deep. However, all these sum up my thoughts on the year that was.

This year, I had the good fortune of being able to watch three concerts: Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars and The Script. There were a lot more acts that came and went; but I’m thankful to have witnessed these shows. All three artists are very different; but I enjoyed them all. I live for music. I love it. For me, spending a couple thousand bucks to enjoy a show and the crowd was well worth it.

Live shows make you appreciate your favorite artists more. You as a fan get to know them a little bit better as entertainers rather than just voices heard on the radio. In 2012, I’m hoping there’ll be more foreign acts coming that are worth my time and hard-earned money.

This year, I had the chance to participate in projects other than local television commercials. When I was lucky enough to be given an opportunity to try my hand in other formats, all I could think of was, “Why not?” Anything is worth a go.

Let’s see… a short film, an out-of-town shoot in El Nido, a television show, an MTV… I am proud to have taken part in these kinds of shoots even though they weren’t exactly a walk in the park to put together. Honestly, I didn’t exactly love doing all of them either, as with most jobs. Some were great. Some were… Eh. But I learned A LOT from doing them. There were a number of challenges; but at the end of the day, knowing that I have gone through projects of varying requirements and difficulty makes me feel as if I’m ready for anything come 2012.

I wanted to watch The Lion King in Singapore, so I did. Not even a lost passport stopped me from reapplying and rebooking my ticket. And you know what? I had the time of my life. It’s impossible not to.

This year, I was also able to take a trip to Zambales & Olongapo, get on a road trip to Camarines Sur (for the Ad Congress) and bask in the beauty of El Nido, Palawan (for a shoot). I rode The Mummy and Battlestar Galactica rides (human and cylon, mind you). I got to zip line over the sea. I swam in crystal clear waters. Say what you want about traveling: exhausting, draining, expensive… Still, it’s always fun being in an unfamiliar place. I already have one trip planned for next year; and I can’t wait to add some more to that. Biyahe lang!

Most of the time, I drown in television shows that unread books just pile up in my room. In 2011, I pushed myself to read more books compared to previous years. When I got back into it, I couldn’t stop. I was reminded of how engaging and rewarding reading is. Graphic novels, chick lit, fiction, non-fiction… I read a lot of them this year. And I vow to read more of them in the coming year.

I’m a person who tends to lose things; and this was a banner year for me. I’d rather not get into the stuff I lost. That’s all in the past. However, with every loss, there’s a lesson; and with all the strength I could muster, I will avoid the mistakes of the past year. I’ve had my share of hard lessons; but hopefully, with luck on my side, things will be better next year.

To sum up, 2011 has taught me to just go for it. As the Globe ads say, “Go lang nang go.” Think before you do; but just do it. Whatever “it” is, no matter how hard “it” may be, with strength and will, things will probably be fine. And hey, if things don’t turn out perfectly, you could always try again.


Snap Happy with iPhone 4S

I recently gave myself a Christmas present:

What can I say… I’ve been lured by the temptation of a Php5,000 cash out plus a postpaid plan upgrade for a brand new iPhone 4S 16gb delivered to my doorstep. All it took was a phone conversation plus a three-day wait. Simple and quick. Thanks Globe!

It’s been with me for almost a week; and I’ve been tinkering with it a lot. It’s fast and responsive. Siri is absolutely brilliant (save for some times when it’s down). The 8mp camera is simply awesome. I’m in love.

Out of all the features, the camera is getting most of the abuse from me. I’ve never used a cellphone camera this  much before. The quality is really great. I can’t stop taking pictures. Plus, with the help of some amazing apps, I’m able to take even better pictures with some editing and effects.

I know that I’m hardly a photographer; but I’ve been taking so many photos, I’ve decided to start a blog for it. I call it iSnap Happy: Photographic Exploits with Me & My iPhone. It’s a showcase of snapshots I took with my iPhone, using applications such as Camera+, Multi-lens and Snapseed. I also post some of my conversations with Siri. It’s a fun photoblog and I hope you stop by.

25 Shows: Full House

Show 12 of 25: FULL HOUSE

it’s about:
Full House is a sitcom about Danny Tanner who, after the death of his wife, asks help from his friend Joey Gladstone and brother-in-law Jesse Katsopolis to live with him and take care of his three daughters DJ, Stephanie and Michelle. This show centers on their family life and the subsequent circumstances that make their family bigger and bigger as the seasons progress.

my earliest history with the show:
This is another old show that ran on RPN 9. I was probably in grade school then. I couldn’t get enough of the Tanner family, Stephanie’s catchphrases and Michelle’s cuteness!

why it sticks:
This show is an old-fashioned, traditional family sitcom. The comedy is light; but the stories could go from simple to a bit more serious. Still, it’s one of those series that just stuck with me because it reminds me of my childhood. I could picture myself eagerly awaiting new episodes every night and slowly developing a love for the characters.

I have had the chance to watch some early episodes; and for me, the humor is still there. Plus, it’s a testament to the timelessness of a comedy if my young nieces pay attention to the show and like it.

best memory:
It has got to be “You got it dude.” by Michelle and “How rude.” by Stephanie. And so here’s a compilation:

25 Shows: Hey Arnold!

Show 11 of 25: HEY ARNOLD!

it’s about:
Arnold, a fourth grader who lives with his grandparents in a boarding house. The animated series focuses on Arnold navigating big city life as he selflessly helps out his classmates, neighbors and housemates.

my earliest history with the show:
It was in sixth grade when we finally had cable in our house. One of the shows that I got into was Hey Arnold! on Nickelodeon. I liked the series, the characters and the subtle wit and sincere goodness that it had.

why it sticks:
The show, to me, is a classic from my generation. It’s an animated series that isn’t too young; but isn’t too adult either. There is an underlying smartness in the dialogue, which I love. As a bonus, the title character is a good role model… one who helps other people out and sticks to his convictions, despite being so young. The cast of characters around him are likable and entertaining. In addition, the stories are simple; but I never get tired of watching them over and over.

What stuck with me most is the relationship between Arnold and Helga Pataki, a female classmate who treats him like dirt in order to cover up her undying love for him. Helga’s efforts to cover up her feelings bring us into some pretty hilarious situations; and it never gets old.

The show simply resonates in my head as one of those cartoons from my teens that will always stay with me.

best memory:

I couldn’t find a video of it online; but the Romeo and Juliet episode is the most memorable for me. When Helga hears that Arnold is Romeo in the school’s production of the famous Shakespeare play, she schemes to get the part of Juliet, mainly because of the highly-anticipated kissing scene. It’s a great episode that showed the conflict between Helga’s two personas: the one that hates Arnold and the one that LOVES Arnold. It is, from start to finish, hilarious and entertaining.

Shopping Diary #7: Amazon Love

For many years now, I’ve been buying from That’s my go-to online store for books, toys and TV shows on DVD that I wouldn’t find anywhere in the Philippines. I recently received my latest set of purchases and I’d like to share them here.

Minions 3-Piece Set
$21.99 — now $37.99

I just loved the animated film Despicable Me. What’s especially cute about the movie are one, Agnes; and two, the minions! It just baffles me how everywhere in Manila I see Angry Birds toys when all I want are some cute minions plushies! I bought this 3-piece set, two were given to my nieces and one is all for me! That’s a whole lot of cute in a small package!

Friday Night Lights: The Complete Series
$84.99 — now $74.99

I absolutely loves this show from the moment I watched the pilot until the series took a bow in 2011. I could never stop gushing about it (and I still sing praises until today); because it is without a doubt, one of the most outstanding shows ever made on television. This boxed set is the ultimate Friday Night Lights collection. All 76 episodes in a neat little compilation filled with amazing photos from the show. One of these days, I’ll start watching this amazing show from the beginning… just so I could once again remind myself of how good this show is.

Daria: The Complete Animated Series
$27.99 — now $37.49

One of the smartest, wittiest comedies of my generation. Daria introduced me to dry humor and uncompromising sarcasm in the face of ridiculous circumstances. It’s another one of my all-time favorites; and I’m just so happy to have the complete collection of episodes in my hands. will always be one of the best sources for anything and everything you wish to purchase online. I’ve been trusting it for a while and I probably continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

25 Shows: Amazing Race Asia

Show 10 of 25: AMAZING RACE ASIA

it’s about:
A bunch of teams from Asia go around the world facing different challenges. Whoever finishes first by the end of the final leg, wins.

my earliest history with the show:
I watched The Amazing Race (USA) during its early seasons and liked it. Upon hearing news that an Asian version was being produced, I knew that I just had to catch it. I awaited the series premiere… rooting for the Philippine teams, of course. Unfortunately, the two teams that represented the country got eliminated so early in the competition that I stopped watching right after. I tuned in to the subsequent seasons where we had more luck; and I’ve been watching ever since.

why it sticks:
The idea of franchising a popular reality show is in itself interesting; but executing it is a whole other thing. This could have gone a number of ways; but the production team behind it is faithful to the format. They were successful in translating the show into Asian territories, making it interesting, exciting and fun

The contestants were also diverse and never boring. There were the usual fights and screaming matches during the different challenges, which made everything all the more fun to watch. It is just a wonderfully produced show, which I became really invested in because of the competition between the representatives from different countries. One couldn’t help but root for one’s own country every single time. The added “friendly rivalry” kept me on the edge of my seat every time.

best memory:
For the second and third seasons of The Amazing Race Asia, the Philippines excelled in the game, coming so close to winning but never did. However, it was finally the country’s time to prevail during the fourth season when Rich Hardin and Rich Herrera won it all. It was a great moment. Go Philippines!