Ever wondered where and when does Ateneo and La Salle's grudge to one another started?

"Rivalry" (Ateneo-La Salle The Musical) - a brilliant portrayal of the competitive spirit between archrivals La Salle and Ateneo!

The decades-old feud between Ateneo and La Salle has always ignited lengthy discussions and passionate debate among those of the blue and green persuasion. While the rivalry has considerably mellowed over the years, it gets renewed every time the UAAP season begins.

What I found most entertaining is that these blue-bloods and green-bloods would always delve into a pissing contest on who can piss higher. Pride and bragging rights will always be there for the taking as college basketball’s most compelling rivalry in Ateneo and La Salle and also

These schools are both are private, Catholic academic centers within the Metropolitan Manila area. One is from Taft and the other one is from Katipunan.

In the story, “Rivalry” revolves around two families in 1968: the Valencias with their star Atenean basketball star, Paco (O.J. Mariano); and the Basilios, with the La Salle court heartthrob Tommy. Incidentally, the two boys are actually cousins. Set in 1968, the musical produced by Ed Gatchalian, is the story of two families: the Valencias and the Basilios. Paco and Tommy are cousins, both seniors and star basketball players of Ateneo and La Salle, respectively. The competition between these two schools is as classic as the Montagues versus the Capulets, the Jets versus the Sharks, Magic Johnson versus Larry Bird, Federer versus Nadal, UP versus others. As a subplot, there’s Paco’s younger brother Quito (Felix Rivera), who asks Tommy to introduce him to a girl he fancies from Maryknoll (now Miriam College), Rina. Tommy gives his word as a La Sallite to his cousin but nonetheless finds himself falling for the girl. The stories are set against the backdrop of the NCAA championships. “Rivalry” is, at best, a work in progress. Both schools play to type in "Rivalry." Ateneo values the arts and humanities, its students speak Latin and quote the classics; La Salle, meanwhile, is all about business and numbers. While the show gets the boys right, it does Miriam College no favors by depicting Maryknollers as a gaggle of vacuous, giggling girls. “Give me a boy from La Salle, please,” they plead again and again and again. In a smart move, Mr. Trinidad throws UP a bone through a cameo by his father Noel Trinidad.

Now on stage, their decades-long rivalry in basketball could extend their protracted war on the hard court to the diamond-shaped field and, by bringing fans back, effect a truly renaissance of the sport that, many years ago, was the Filipinos’ favorite. People who do not root for either team probably think this rivalry is too overrated, over-publicized and given too much attention but sad to say and we just have to admit that the Ateneo – La Salle rivalry is here to stay!

Produced by The 4th Wall Theatre Company and directed by well-known theater writer/director Jaime del Mundo, "Rivalry" runs until March 11 at the Meralco Theater with 8 p.m. shows Wednesday to Saturday and 3 p.m. matinees on weekends. For some people, especially during basketball season, Ateneo-La Salle becomes a matter of life and death, but that’s why the rivalry is iconic — because students blow it so out of proportion that it becomes hilarious.

This is the video of the making of "Rivalry"



Feel the serenity of your body, Sense the breeze in your face and Experience cool rejuvenation in Spa de Soleil (Baguio City)

The relaxing aromatheraphy massage at Eurotel’s fantastic Spa de Soleil. It was an hour of rhythmic massage that combines the techniques of Swedish, Shiatsu, and Thai. Spa and body massage has become synonymous with peace and serenity, which many believed to be a luxury in this stress-driven world. Body massages and a few hour of relaxation and of emptying the mind is a must to keep me sane. This is a great way to end end the busy and roaming-around-days we had in Baguio.

I am glad that I had the chance enjoying some relaxation and even more, that I’m able to push myself to be comfortable in yet another new experience to relax. Modesty aside, the Spa de Soleil experience certainly made me excited for my next body massage trip. This nostalgic experience at  Spa de Soleil  really gives me a relaxing time without hurting my wallet because it's a treat! That's the best thing happened after the two days of walking around in Baguio. It reordered and cleared my thoughts thus bringing back my sanity.

We had a really deep and comfortable sleep that night. All the fatigue brought about the long trip and our outdoors adventures in Baguio City disappeared as we woke up all refreshed the next day.



Chinese Temple and the Bell Church, Baguio's hidden secret

I've been in Baguio for so many times but  that was my first time setting foot in this Pine City’s hidden jewel. It’s not as crowded as Session road., Burnham, and the likes of the famous places to go to in Baguio. Bell Church is a Taoist church, and is open to public at 6am to 5pm. On the way to Bell Church, you can see there a narrow street, and that is the passage to Bell Church’s entrance. In there, the walls of the church are designed with Dragon statues.

Bell Church is located at the boundary of Baguio City and heading to La Trinidad is the Bell Church. This Chinese compound features intricately designed arches and buildings adorned with flags, bells and dragons. It has a pagoda, and beautifully landscapped gardens.

I love the designed arches and architecture. Beautiful landscaped gardens are noticeable. There are  Buddhism artifacts but I don’t have any idea exactly what it symbolizes. Everytime I see Chinese temple, I always think of dragon, lotus, burning of joss sticks. I was never tired of taking photos here. Photography is allowed,except inside the church itself. Since this is a sacred place, proper decorum must be observed at all times.

Look at the photo above. The secret mountains will no longer be a secret. Mountains, now covered with houses.



Tam-Awan Village, a reconstructed native village resembling the traditional village in Cordillera

The rest of the afternoon was spent at Tam-Awan Village, a reconstructed native village resembling the traditional village in Cordillera. It also features an art gallery, a souvenir shop and a café where we had an afternoon drinkie and some deserts. It also showcases local artists and their works of art and an Ifugao village with Kalinga huts which you can rent for a day to experience what it feels like to live in one.

This is an another tourist destination in Baguio City which is home for artists. This place houses a collection of various Ifugao and ang Kalinga arts are found. Feel and take a glimpse of Cordillera’s old way of living and lifestyle. This a remarkable place to people who appreciate arts . A place of activities like art exhibits , workshops and alike. Feel at home and enjoy the brighter and colorful side of Baguio only at Tam-awan village. Explore and discover things that people seldom appreciate. The Tam-awan village also not just for people who appreciate art but for those who value nature and life.

This serene garden in the sky is an ideal venue for art and cultural activities. It will make you appreciate life in the Cordillera region, as well as its culture, history and heritage. During the year when Baguio was still a huge grazing land for herds of cattle, Pinsao, the location of Tam-awan, was one vast pastureland.

A spring beside Tam-awan is the source of a body of water that once served as the watering hole for the cattle. Right now, being handled by Chanum Foundation, you will find seven reconstructed Ifugao houses and two Kalinga houses so our generation will have the chance to take a peek at how life once was at Cordillera.

Tam-Awan Village is an interesting tour. Visitors could also stay overnight at the village to fully understand the experience. The cottages for the visitors are the traditional dwellings as well. Tam-awan Village is located at 366-C Pinsao Proper, 2600 Baguio City. Entrance fee is Php50.00 per adult. You may call 074-446-2949 or 074-442-5551 for more information.



Panagbenga Festival 2012

Baguio City is called the Philippines' summer capital because of its cool climate. Tourists flock to the mountain city in the summer to escape the city's heat and during the Christmas season as an excuse to use winter clothing.

One of Baguio's most awaited events is the Baguio City Panagbenga Festival, also known as the Baguio Flower Festival, which is usually set in February. What started as a filler to promote local tourism during the lean months soon blossomed into one of the most anticipated events in the city. The festival is a month-long event, with this year's Festival opening with a program on February 1 and closing with a Grand Fireworks Display on March 6. There are different activities each day, with the Grand Street Parade and the Grand Float Parade drawing the most crowds.

The Grand Float Parade is the most anticipated event of the Panagbenga Festival. It is the Philippines' version of the Pasadena Rose Parade, where motorized "floats" or carriages are decorated with fresh flowers. This year's theme - “Community Convergence for a Sustainable Tourism Growth” - was applied to the design of many floats, most of which displayed slogans preaching care for the environment. The event will run starting February 1 up until the 18th of March. Expect the grand Street dancing parade on the 25th of February, 26th is the Grand Float Parade . The entire Session Road will bloom from the 27 until March 18.

Just an advise to those who'll be going to see the Grand Float Parade, if you can make it earlier than 7am, the better. Anticipate that lots of people will be out early to scout and take the most convenient spots. Good places to watch the parade are Postal Park, entrance of Melvin Jones Grand Stand and the Athletic Bowl. 

Panagbenga Festival 2012 Schedule of Activities.
  • February 1-March 4  - Market Encounter at Burnham Park
  • February 12 8:00 am - Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom at  Melvin Jones
  • February 12 - Handog ng Panagbenga sa Pamilya Baguio at Burnham Park
  • February 12  10:00 am - Fluvial Float Parade  at Burnham Lake
  • February 25 8:00 am  Grand Street Dancing Parade at Panagbenga Park to Athletic Bowl
  • February 26 Grand Float Parade  at Panagbenga Park to Athletic Bowl
  • February 27-March 4  Session Road in Bloom  at the Session Road
  • March 2-3  Pony Boys’ Day  Athletic Bowl
  • March 3-4 Panagbenga Shootfest 2012 , West Pt. Firing Range, Tuba
  • March 4  Panagbenga Closing Ceremonies at Athletic Bowl 
  • March 4 Grand Fireworks Display at Athletic Bowl
  • March 17-18 10th Panagbenga Open Scrabble Tournament , Golden Pine Hotel
The event on the 25th and 26th from 4am to 1pm South Drive Teacher’s Camp gate to the Military Rotonda to the Session Road and Harrison will be closed for the Panagbenga parade. Both grand street and float parade.

The best thing to do this month is to enjoy and celebrate the ‘love month’ in Baguio for The Panagbenga festival or known as Baguio Flower Festival and stay in one of the best hotels with a European experience, Eurotel Hotel (click the link here).



Experience European lifestyle in the Philippines' summer capital in Eurotel Hotel

Eurotel Hotel is a modern European-inspired hotel situated in the heart of the commercial district in Baguio City Abanao Extension, Brgy Rizal Monument just minutes away from Burnham Park. Guests are treated upon arrival to the quaint and elegant hotel lobby. They have the friendly, courteous and efficient front desk staff are ready to assist guests round the clock. Their location is perfect! A minutes-walk to Burnham Park, Baguio Orchidarium if your a green thumb, and pretty much at the center of everything. What makes this Eurotel great is the location is a walking distance to one of the best restaurant in Baguio and famous, Cafe by the Ruins. Its also near Legarda road and to the market.

Pipe-in music started to play as we entered our cozy suite and true to its European theme, their room has the Leaning Tower of Pisa on its wall. It has a 21”inch LCD TV mounted on the wall.

Eurotel accommodations offers the following hotel amenities: Wi-Fi Equipped Lobby and Rooms, 24 Hour Room Service, Therapeutic Massage, Central Fire Protection System, 22″ LCD TV with 24 Hour Cable & in-House Movie Channel, Safety Deposit Box Inside the Rooms and Air-conditioned Rooms w/ hot & cold water.

Eurotel Hotel also has function rooms (good for 30-300 pax) that are perfect for kiddie parties, debut, weddings, baptismal, seminars, company team buildings, event venues, training and more. Aside from Baguio Eurotel has branches at the following locations: Araneta Cubao, Las Pinas, Pedro Gil, North EDSA, and Makati. Eurotel Baguio is the newest branch of Eurotel which is situated few minutes away from the famous Burnham Park.

Eurotel Baguio is no doubt a unique hotel of budgeted travelers, businessmen and family service in the country today and the best hotel in Baguio I have ever stayed in so far. They also offer very affordable rate for their clean rooms. All rooms are with split-type aircon. sometime Baguio get hot during the year and its wise to stay in this kind of hotel.

I experienced a Euro Suite with a cool and modern european design and style . The room is totally clean and had a very elegant taste towards the entire room. I was not really sure what I totally enjoyed extra for but I guess sleeping in a very comfortable bed, watching tv shows with an LCD TV or probably enjoying the bubble bath before going to bed are one of those. Everything else inside the room is elegant. I got used to it that I had no intentions of going back home. I had spent the whole weekend with some friendly bloggers during the "Baguio Bliss 2012 : Bloggers event" at Eurotel Baguio. I genuinely had a European style of accomodation. I was also overwhelmed by the service displayed by the staff. Eurotel Baguio staff, from the front desk to room attendants, they are certainly awesome. Their dedication towards their job and to their customers are way above my expectation. In my experience at Eurotel Baguio would be the remarkable and ideal hotel for couples, tourists, business people and other travelers out there seeking comfort in Baguio City . You can rest assured of convenience with a quality room choices, from studio, standard and Euro Suite. If you value money and looking for a traditional Filipino hospitality in Baguio. Then Eurotel Baguio will give you the best lodging experience you will ever have.

Wi-fi ia always a must for me anywhere I go! There you go - free wi-fi inside the hotel premises, including your room. The facilities I truly taken advantage was the free Wifi internet and the hot and cold water, LCD TV with Cable and so much more.

The meal they serve is fairly well presented and the taste is good. I was entirely spoiled by their inhouse restaurants serving various options. The complimentary buffet breakfast was excellent! A good combination of local and Western servings await the guests. It's buffet so guests had to go down the dining area. Other hotel food options are also priced reasonably. I usually do not order in-house meals in a hotel, except during our stay here. The location is very accessible to various public transportation.

Overall, it was the fantastic experience . Feel the European design hotel. Check out the furniture of the lobby of the hotel, the function area , the dining area and specially the bedroom. At any rate, the great quality of the hotel and the service. It’s Worth it! I will definitely comeback because I was really contented with the level of hotel services and amenities.

For more informations, please call: (072)444-EURO or (02)355-0000, or visit their website : www.eurotel-hotel.com



Be ready to "Bare" again!

What do you get when a school's golden boy's
greatest secret is in danger ofunravelling and destroying the
fragile wall of appearances he's kept all this time?

In the mix: his secret love affair with another boy, a smitten and persistent co-ed, and the impositions and expectations of the straight and narrow path on a young man's heart. The classic dilemma of "appearance versus desire" takes on the musical form in Ateneo Blue Repertory's staging of "Bare : A Pop Opera."

"Bare" is a musically-charged and sexuality-questioning 
explosion propelled from the stage and onto the laps of the audience.

"Bare" is a coming-of-age love story that truly resonates to each and everyone of us. It tells the intriguing yet moving love story of roommates Peter and Jason as they are about to graduate from a Catholic, boarding school. Jason, the senior class’ golden boy is hiding a big secret: He is in a romance with the shy Peter. If his secret is found out, Jason fears his entire world will crumble. Popularity, acceptance, sexuality, love, heartbreak all of that plays a major role in this musical. Things get messy. Peter wants to drop the facade. Popular girl Ivy pursues Jason. Problems spiral out of control. The graduating seniors of St. Cecilia’s realize that life is indeed complicated and they find themselves in a world with more questions than answers.

I would be lying if I will say that I was not moved by this stage play. I fell in love with the music a year or so ago, when I first heard a song called “Are you There?” in Youtube. Thanks to Tita Toots who also gave us the soundtrack CD of this stage play. It was a real treat to be able to see this even just the rehearsals. This always brings a whole new dimension to the songs you hear on the soundtrack.

The artistic and creative team includes Onyl Torres (musical director for vocals), Abi Sulit (assistant musical director for Vocals), Joseph Tolentino (musical director for band), Carlon Matobato (choreography), Leeroy New (set design), John Batalla (lights design and technical director), Jethro Joaquin (sound design) and Raven Ong (costume designer). The marketing, sales and publicity of “Bare” is led by Toots Tolentino (PR & publicity) with Gala Sanchez, Aldrich Alcantara and Luis Marcelo (promotions and marketing) and Jojit Lorenzo (photography). "Bare" is directed by Ana Abad Santos, and we will open on February 29, 2012.

For tickets, inquiries and other information, please contact Chiz Jardin at 09165787618 or through email at nicojardin12@yahoo.com. For show buying, please contact Luis Marcelo at 09175025847.



Movie Review : Safe House

“Safe House” is lightning-fast, and full of shootouts, brutal fistfights, and chase scenes

About the Story:

For those of you who’ve seen the previews and have questions about Ryan Reynolds playing a badass covert operative, don’t worry, he’s not. Matt Weston (Reynolds) is the low man on the CIA totem pole. His duties consist exclusively of babysitting an agency safe house in Cape Town, South Africa, a safe house that hasn’t been used, by anyone, in the 12 months Weston has been there. He spends most of his day checking in with his superiors at HQ and bouncing a tennis ball off the bare walls. Weston yearns for action, for an opportunity to prove himself, and boy howdy does he ever get his chance.

When ex-CIA spook, and notorious turncoat, Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington)—Tobin Frost is a solid spy name, I must say—pops up and turns himself in, he is interrogated at Weston’s safe house. That’s the plan anyway. Turns out a gang of anonymous thugs has a different idea, and before anyone learns anything from Frost all hell breaks loose. The rest of the movie is a twisted series of Weston and Frost running, fighting, eluding their pursuers, and Weston lying to his girlfriend (Nora Arnezeder) and coping with Frost’s constant escape attempts. This is a CIA movie, and if CIA movies have taught us one thing it is that there is always, always a leak in the CIA. So there’s that to deal with, which only throws Weston and Frost from one hot-button situation to another to another.

My take:

Safe House”, despite the well-trod international espionage trajectory, this is a movie worth checking out. If nothing else, you get to watch Denzel be a straight-up badass, both in fight scenes as well as moments of quiet menace.

This is the trailer



Stage Play Review : Leading Ladies

"Leading Ladies," a highly combustible and continuously hilarious new comedy!

If men posing as lovely ladies aren't enough, one of the men, Leo, falls for Meg, one of the old lady's nieces. Romance with Meg is complicated by an engagement to the local minister. Romantic encounters also unfold, especially when Leo falls in love with one of the nieces, who happens to be engaged to the local minister. With scenes of cross-dressing men running around slamming doors, this new play by Ken Ludwig is sure to have you laughing.

James Stacey, Giannina Ocampo, Topper Fabregas, Cris Villonco

"Leading Ladies" is about “two English Shakespearean actors, Jack (Topper) and Leo (James), who find themselves so down on their luck that they are performing ‘Scenes from Shakespeare’ on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When they hear that an old lady in York is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long lost English nephews, they resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and get the cash. The trouble is, when they get to York, they find out that the relatives aren't nephews, but nieces! Romantic entanglements abound, especially when Leo falls head-over-petticoat in love with the old lady’s vivacious niece, Meg, who’s engaged to the local minister. Meg knows that there’s a wide world out there, but it’s not until she meets ‘Maxine and Stephanie’ that she finally gets a taste of it.”

"Leading Ladies," provided for a very pleasant evening of laughs, combining old-fashioned comedic hijinks with a few modern twists a 1950’s audience would likely not laugh at. Part of the fun, though, is recognizing characters and plot points from old movies. And of course, lots of butchered Shakespeare. The best part of this performance is the natural “playing” feel the actors give to the show, along with details they couldn’t possibly have planned and so much the better.

 Topper Fabregas and James Stacey

Cris Villonco and Giannina Ocampo

The leading men taking the stage, and most of the laughs are James Stacey as Leo and Topper Fabregas as Jack. James and Topper are joined by Cris Villonco as Meg, Giannina Ocampo, who will play Audrey, is a fresh addition to Rep’s roster of talents, Jamie Wilson as Duncan, Juno Henares as Florence, Hans Eckstein as Butch, and Oliver Usison as Doc.

Theater stalwart Michael Williams, takes directing reigns on Ludwig’s comedy. Baby Barredo (artistic director), Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (associate artistic director), John Batalla (lighting designer), Denis Lagdameo (set designer), Gidget Tolentino (production manager), Ayam Barredo (company manager), Dingdong Rosales (stage manager), Pol Roxas (sound technician), Pablito Salvador (lighting technician), and Adul Lasin (set execution and scenic artist) make up "Leading Ladies"’ artistic and production teams.

Leading Ladies” shall run from February 10 – March 4,  with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and matinee shows on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30 p.m. All performances are at Onstage, Greenbelt 1, Makati City. For tickets, inquiries and other information, call Repertory Philippines at 571-6926 or 571-4941 or email info@repertory.ph. Tickets are also available thru Ticketworld at 891-9999 or www.ticketworld.com.ph. Visit www.repertory.ph, subscribe to youtube.com/repertoryphils, and add “Rep Phils” in Facebook.



Stage Play Review : Haring Lear

I went to see this "Haring Lear" because I have been fascinated by the books of Shakespeare and I wanted to see this on stage. This is my first time to watch a stage play at Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA).

This "Haring Lear" is, in many ways, a highly traditional Lear, no radical retelling here, just a strong focus on character and verse. "Haring Lear" here passionately delivered the emotional scenes, such as Lear on the heath, or the death of Cordelia, he looks silly and I can also feel the tragic or even pitiful moments at the end.

The Story:

"King Lear" which is considered by many as Shakespeare’s best work, is translated by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera. A story of a king whose rash judgment, firm faith in filial piety, violence and blindness caused so much destruction and finally his own undoing. PETA’s version of "King Lear" is directed by Nonon Padilla.

The Characters:

The decision to use an all-male cast is Padilla’s nod to Shakespeare’s text and the way roles were cast and played during the Bard’s time. (In 2001, director Anton Juan cast Repertory Philippines founder Zenaida Amador as King Lear in his staging of the play.)

The two characters in the play that were traditionally played by only one actor. We can see it in the scenes of Cordelia, the Fool is never there. When the Fool is onstage, Cordelia is gone. I think that’s crucial, and since Shakespeare designed it that way, I thought it was important to play around with that, to give it some focus or emphasis.

Nor Doming, Gary Lim and Abner Delima Jr. as sisters are all standouts, all giving very strong performances without descending into camp territory. Teroy Guzman on the other hand was able to clearly track Lear’s misfortunes, including a tour de force moment when he is drenched onstage with two showers, as he rants about his current situation.

Teroy Guzman plays the role of the aging monarch, Haring Lear. Lear’s daughters will be played by Gary Lim (Regan), Nor Domingo (Goneril) and Abner Delina (Cordelia).

Despite its traditional approach this is no minimalist or staid production. Staged with an almost operatic feel, a combination of classical costume with a bit of futuristic, stark setting and lighting combine to provide a sumptuous yet subtle setting. It is initially simple set also slowly transforms, mirroring the pieces revelations.

If, indeed one is already a fan of such classical productions, then this is a challenging and ultimately rewarding addition to theatrical interpretations of Lear’s struggles, told in a way which allows the audience to feel the actor’s challenges and thus better understand the character’s profound loneliness. This stage play is visually pleasing and aurally distinct piece which showcases both the brilliance of the actors on stage and also this great Shakespeare's masterful Lear.

The straightforward content, if not the full emotional and dimensions and poetry, comes across.  Seeing this play is a reasonable way to get to know better Shakespeare's masterful Lear. One would expect more, though, with all that star power. Exciting and suspenseful, PETA’s Haring Lear retains Shakespeare’s beautiful and devastating themes of love, madness, death and sacrifice.

"Haring Lear" is presented by PETA and British Council. It will run every Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m./3 p.m.) from Jan. 27 until March 4 at The PETA Theater Center. For ticket reservations, call 725-6244, 410-0821 to 22, 0917-5765400, or buy tickets online at petatheater@gmail.com, www.petatheater.com.



Movie Review : The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo

The film is definitely not for everyone especially with its storyline and intensity of the subject matter. Be warned that the sexual violence scenes are graphic and not suitable for most viewers. I even noticed a few adults in the theater who looked a little uncomfortable during some scenes. If you have not read the book, you might not be prepared to see how dark the film can get.

The Story:

The movie tells the story of Blomkvist and his experiences in Sweeden during the investigation of a 40-year-old murder. Hired by the wealthy Vanger family to uncover clues to the murder, Blomkvist ends up using the assistance of an accomplished but socially awkward investigator Salander. Without giving too much away, we see Salander's struggle to fit in and the sexual abuse she suffers in the process. Beneath all her awkward and quiet manerisms is an accomplished set of technical and investigative skills. The bulk of the 2.5 hour film consists of following Blomkvist and Salander as they uncover a string of clues and evidence. By building both characters up front, we as the audience are completely on board and feel like we're part of the investigation ourselves.

The Characters:

The character I haven’t yet mentioned, and she is the most interesting thing about the film, is Lisbeth Salander, a young savant computer hacker with a troubled history and the tattooed girl of the title. She is played by Rooney Mara, that sweet girl who breaks up with Mark Zuckerberg at the beginning of "The Social Network," with equal parts introverted quiet reserve and devastating menace. Her background is presented rather dismally. As a ward of the state she has relied on the kindness of an elderly foster parent whose incapacity from the effects of a stroke leave her at the will of a new guardian, Bjurman (Yorick van Wageningen), a sadistic misogynist who is willing to file positive progress reports in return for sexual favors. This leads to an excruciating rape scene that is shot almost as unsparingly as the revenge scene she exacts. What Bjurman underestimated was Lisbeth’s capacity not only for physical violence, but to discover everything about someone using her skills with a computer.

Mara is a revelation as Lisbeth Salander. Both physically and emotionally she goes all-in with her portrayal. From the multiple piercings to the detailed tattoos and the punk/emo wardrobe and hairstyles, it's hard to believe that the same sweet girl who opened "The Social Network" as Mark Zuckerberg's girlfriend is the same actress we see in this film. As the stoic Salander, Mara is able to convey so much emotion without changing the expression on her face.  It's an incredible transformation she pulls off as an actress and yet keeps so much of her performance minimal.

Craig is a great balance to Mara's bold performance. Thankfully the Bond movies were on hiatus over the past few years to give Craig an opportunity to play this role. In addition to the two stellar lead performances, Fincher gets great acting out of Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard and Joley Richardson.

My Say :

The story was shortened of course for the theatrical presentation but that is a given. If you didn’t read the books and are interested in seeing a good movie that is not for the faint of heart this may be for you. Note this is not for the kiddos, as there is violence and rape, so checkout Chipwrecked or something a little lighter if you’re going with littles.

Let's be honest, I don't like to read much. I'd much rather watch a movie or TV series than sit down and try to read a book.  Maybe it's because I have a little add in me but mostly it's because the movie-going experience is much more engaging. I'm sure Larsson's book is incredible but I don't feel like I've missed anything by not reading it. Fincher and screenwriter Steven Zallian have created a brilliant movie that can stand on its own as far as I'm concerned. I also have to mention the great score put together by Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch. Once again, the two have created a supporting soundtrack that is minimal in tone but completely balances the action on screen.

Some of the content I might not have agreed with from a moral point of view, and some of it was offensive, but I cannot fault a movie for daring to show what happens in reality all the time. It was honest, it was harsh, but it was real, and I think that’s what counts.

"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" succeeds in all aspects of film-making and narrowly slides in at the top of my list of best movies of 2012. Great movie to start the year!

Rating: 8/10



February is "Love Month"

February (i/ˈfɛbjuːˌɛri/ or /ˈfɛbruːˌɛri/) is the second month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is the shortest month and the only month with fewer than 30 days. The month has 28 days in common years and 29 days in leap years.

It has been a tradition for us Filipinos to celebrate and show our love to our special someone on this very romantic event which happens every 14th day of this month. Lovers are seeing everywhere in public areas like plazas turned into lovers lane or wherever they choose to have a date. Husband and wives are not exempted celebrating the Valentine’s Day. I think immediate thoughts go to heart related things. Valentine, I must admit, is one of my favorite monthly commemoration because it is a time to express love to that special individual.

For everyone that are falling in love, may your love came true and for everyone who're they love came true, I hope that the love last long still. And for everyone that're don't have any boyfriend or girlfriend anymore, don't be sad okay? Because God must have give you a better way than before, maybe a better partner in life. Just don't forget to pray.

Love month is just around the corner! Love starts in you! Love your self more so you'll be able to extend that great feeling to other people. And it starts by taking care of yourself. Have a blessed and meaningful "love month."