Monthly Archives: April, 2013

journey to the centre of the earth (Jules Verne)

In times of crisis, reading and writing keep me afloat.  I wrote this book review in my now-defunct website, theuntouchableone.multiply.com, on 25 November 2011, a time when I was unemployed, demoralized, and got no source of income.

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‘Now,’ said my uncle, after completing these preparations, ‘let us see about the Journey to the Centre of the Earthbaggage; we’re going to divide it into three packages, and each of us will strap one on to his back. I’m talking about the fragile objects only.’

The Professor obviously did not include us under that heading.

‘Hans,’ he went on, ‘will take charge of the tools and some of the provisions. You, Axel, will take another third of the provisions, together with the arms; and I will take the rest of the provisions, and the delicate instruments.’

‘But,’ I said, ‘who’s going to take the clothes down, and this pile of ropes and ladders?’
‘They will go down by themselves.’
‘What do you mean?’ I asked.
‘You’ll see.’

My uncle was fond of resorting to drastic measures, and never hesitated. On his instructions, Hans tied all the non-fragile articles in a single bundle, roped them together securely, and threw them bodily down the chimney. I heard the loud rushing sound produced by the displacement of the lavers of air. My uncle, leaning over the abyss, followed the descent of his baggage with a satisfied air, and only stood up when it had disappeared from sight.

‘Good,’ he said. ‘Our turn now.’

Now I ask any honest man if it was possible to hear these words without a shudder!

— Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Jules Verne)

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How did it come about that three men – Prof. Lidenbrock, his nephew Axel, and their guide Hans – decided to descend to the centre of the Earth to make the most important expedition of their lives? Well not without strong objections from the young man Axel for no one had done it, no one had attempted it even by the most brave scientists in the world. So whatever it is that can be found down there, Axel is so damn scared to know. His feelings are valid because I believe any journey to the unknown never fails to elicit fear and stupefaction from any person, no matter how prayerful or faithful we think we are to our own God, for it forces us to leave our comfort zone, to leave what is familiar to us and move on to a place that is strange and quite foreign to us which can either harm us or improve our lives, where there is no guarantee of ever coming out alive or still sane. So it is only logical that people afraid of the terrible things that might happen to them when they leave a familiar place or position stay where they are. For life itself is already hard to bear.

For his uncle, Prof. Lidenbrock, this is not how he looks at things. As a scientist and as a person that he is, he only feels jubilation, optimism knowing that there is a new place to discover, a new experience waiting for them, new memories to remember by after. To him, life is ours for the taking. If they are successful in their expedition, it would benefit not only himself but mankind also and this must be done right away and has to be kept as a secret among themselves to prevent trouble. If the alchemist Arne Saknussemm reached the centre of the Earth and made it a point to leave the living “a proof” by means of a now ancient parchment bearing a mysterious cryptogram which Prof. Lidenbrock accidentally found between the pages of a very old book, he believes they can do it also. You see, it is obvious that Prof. Lidenbrock got inspired by Arne Saknussemm by his successful feat to the centre of the Earth who was persecuted for heresy during his time. This mysterious cryptogram will lead them to where they should go, to go to the crater of an extinct volcano called Sneffels found in Iceland, and one of the three chimneys found inside the mouth of the volcano will bring them to the centre of the Earth.

In Iceland, this is where they met Hans who became their guide and who is impetuously quiet all throughout their journey, effortlessly loyal to the professor’s orders to get things over and done with – an example that Axel will use as a motivation to follow his uncle’s orders for the sake of achieving his goal, a goal that he finds impossible and insane! Though he desires to go back home, back in the arms of his fiancee Grauben, godchild of Prof. Lidenbrock, and believes that Arne Saknussemm is a fake, the cryptogram is a fake that he hates his uncle for believing a scrap of paper, he knows that it is his responsibility to help and watch over his uncle, a man who has this outrageous enthusiasm and so stubbornly passionate with his endeavors. For Axel, he got nothing else to do but be with his uncle in all of his journeys. For Axel is an orphan and Prof. Lidenbrock is the only family he got.

Starting a new venture or making a new beginning to achieve something is comforting to think about. Once you’re in there, it suddenly becomes a totally different experience, different from how beautifully you thought about it when it has not happened yet. Because you see, it is so easy to be optimistic of things to come, when you are not there yet. But once you are already in the middle of all the comings-and-goings of your achieved goal, or on your way to meet your goal, you will realize that it is not without struggles and discomfort even if your goal is filled with good intentions. This is exactly what Prof. Lidenbrock, Axel, and Hans experienced when they attempted to pass through tunnels, abysses, caves, and holes to get to the centre of the Earth.

As a reader, being acquainted with the three main characters was interesting enough. Their difficult journey to be able to reach the centre of the Earth was all the more interesting and had a profound effect on me. I saw symbolisms in the story and was able to relate it with what I’m going through right now. For example, when Axel got lost and got separated from his companions, he had to endure walking and feeling his way through total darkness when his lamp got destroyed while trekking back to those previous paths he had taken hoping his uncle and their guide were still somewhere near. In that unfamiliar place, he was screaming and shouting for help but no response was heard for his companions were already on the far side of the maze, obstructed by numerous walls of the labyrinth. It was a hopeless case, though he could walk and shout with all his remaining strength, he felt so helpless that the next best thing to do was to despair. He got petrified with the thought to die there alone below the surface of the Earth that he thought of going back from where they came from but it was impossible for he was being surrounded by darkness and a million miles away from up above. Not knowing what to do, he prayed. He deeply prayed. He prayed, despite the impossibility, that his companions would be able to find him. He surrendered it all up to Him. Miraculously, Prof. Lidenbrock and Hans were able to find Axel looking dirty and miserable and most important of all, alive, after three days of being isolated from them. (Truly, when you’re feeling helpless and losing hope, despite of the strenuous efforts you’ve done to make things all right, despite the good deeds you’ve done to have good karma but nothings happens, despite all the hard work and sincerity you put into what you do, despite all the kicking and screaming for mercy and kindness but still you’re left alone, and no matter how painfully hard you try to help yourself independently and yet nothing improves, out of desperation, you just have to look up and believe that there is Someone up there watching over you, a God of love and compassion, just waiting for you to reach out to Him. And pray that one day, with His blessing, everything is gonna be alright.)

Aside from this incident, since it was their first time to be underground, the three guys also lost their direction (granting there is really a path to the centre of the Earth), exposed themselves to danger and chaos that tested their patience and endurance and sanity, marvelled at things that they thought they were not supposed to see in a subterranean world, and got to face the biggest obstacle of their lives that they thought they have no means of escaping. Axel, weakened by their series of turmoil was already thinking of giving up and just die and never again see Grauben. But to Prof. Lidenbrock, “As long as the heart goes on beating, I can’t admit that any creature endowed with will-power should ever despair!”

This book was first published in 1864, a time when mankind has not yet discovered the interiors of this planet. You know, the inner core, the mantel, the outer core, and we all know by now that it is hot in there that no man could live there. And that is the good thing about reading novels such as “Journey to the Centre of the Earth.” Jules Verne made the impossible possible which has, in one way or another, inspired me.

not just for entertainment

To me, it’s a magical journey that allows me to meet inspiring, selfless people that I know are so hard to find in this world that is uncaring and selfish.  It allows me to experience things that I know I’d never get to experience in this lifetime, like meeting fantasy creatures and strange beings, both good and bad.  For two hours or more, I get to time travel back in time or into the future, or travel into a different dimension where ghosts, fairies, superheroes, creatures from the underworld, talking animals and toys co-exist.  It’s also a mirror of what happens in real life.  Where stories do not end in happy endings.  Where impossible things become possible.

I’ve seen a lot of wonderful, great movies.  And I only say that a movie is great when it is able to inspire me.  It doesn’t have to win an award to be great. As long as that movie had a profound effect on me, whether it’s a horror movie, a comedy, or a kung-fu, and I couldn’t get it over with, then that’s the time I say that the movie is great.

I know there are still a lot of movies that I have yet to see that could possibly be more fantastic or captivating than these ones in my list (and I hope to discover them soon) but the movies I share here touched my heart in such a very personal way that it is only right that I get to pay tribute to each one of them by compiling them here and calling them here as “My list of favorite movies.”

Grease (1978)

Starring: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-Johngrease

Directed by Randal Kleiser

Trivia:  For a time, it was the third highest-grossing movie of all time behind only Jaws and Star Wars.

Ice Castles (1978) Ice Castles

Starring:  Robby Benson, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Colleen Dewhurst, Tom Skerritt

Directed by Donald Wrye

Trivia:  Lynn-Holly Johnson says she was repeatedly pressured to do a nude scene in this film, which she refused to do. She says this incident makes her laugh and say “if you only knew!” whenever someone tells her what a great family film this movie was.


Aliens (1986) aliens

Starring:  Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton

Directed by James Cameron

Trivia:  Sigourney Weaver had initially been very hesitant to reprise her role as Ripley, and had rejected numerous offers from Fox Studios to do any sequels, fearing that her character would be poorly written, and a sub-par sequel could hurt the legacy of Alien. However, she was so impressed by the high quality of James Cameron’s script – specifically, the strong focus on Ripley, the mother-daughter bond between her character and Newt, and the incredible precision with which Cameron wrote her character, that she finally agreed to do the film.

Dead Poets Society (1989) dead poets society

Starring:  Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles

Directed by Peter Weir

Trivia:  The movie’s line “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” was voted as the #95 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

American Beauty (1999) american beauty

Starring:  Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari, Chris Cooper

Directed by Sam Mendes

Trivia: The title of the film refers to a breed of roses that while pretty and appealing in appearance, is often prone to rot underneath at the roots and branches of the plant. Thus, the tagline “…look closer” tells the viewer that when they look beyond the “perfect suburban life” they will find something rancid at the root.

Unforgiven (1992) unforgiven

Starring:  Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman

Directed by Clint Eastwood

Trivia:  It took Clint Eastwood several years to actually get round to reading the script as his script reader had initially told him that it wasn’t very good.

Legally Blonde (2001) legally blonde

Starring:  Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair

Directed by Robert Luketic

Trivia:  To prepare for her role as Elle, Reese Witherspoon spent two weeks studying the behavior of sorority girls, as she did not wish to portray a stereotypical airhead sorority image. She states on the DVD commentary that they were all very kind and polite, and she enjoyed her time with them. She also observed women shopping from the café at Neiman Marcus, and attended law school for a day.

Bruce Almighty (2003) bruce almighty

Starring:  Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston, Morgan Freeman

Directed by Tom Shadyac

Trivia:  This film has been officially banned in Egypt for “sacrilegious content”.

Just Like Heaven (2005) Just Like Heaven (2005)

Directed by Mark Waters

Starring:  Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo

Trivia:  When Elizabeth asks David who about the girl that Daryl told him he had to let go of, David responds that her name was Laura. Reese Witherspoon’s full name is Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon.
Shawshank Redemption (1994) the_shawshank_redemption

Directed by Frank Darabont

Starring:  Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman

Trivia:  Stephen King sold the rights to the movie very cheaply out of his friendship with Frank Darabont. They had originally become friends when Darabont adapted a short story of King’s called “The Woman in the Room” (King has a policy stating that any aspiring filmmaker can adapt his short stories for a buck) and King was thoroughly impressed. They maintained a pen pal relationship and didn’t actually meet until Darabont optioned Shawshank.

Back to the Future (1985-Part I, 1989-Part II, 1990-Part III) back to the future

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Starring:  Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd

Trivia:  Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Sci-Fi” in June 2008.

Heart and Souls (1993) heart and souls

Directed by Ron Underwood

Starring:  Robert Downey Jr., Charles Grodin, Alfre Woodard, Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Sizemore

Trivia:  Julia’s letter to John reads as follows: “John, There was so much I wanted to say to you tonight, but everything I said somehow came out all wrong. I am coming home because I want to be with you. I hope you’ll give me another chance. Whatever happens, please know I will love you always. Julia”

Ordinary People (1980) ordinary people

Directed by Robert Redford

Starring:  Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch, Timothy Hutton

Trivia:  Timothy Hutton’s father, actor Jim Hutton, passed away prior to filming. Hutton has said that he did not use his mourning as a basis for Conrad’s depression. Also, actress Mary Tyler Moore’s son Richie Moore committed suicide in the same year of the film’s production whilst Moore herself separated from her husband producer Grant Tinker during filming.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) it's a wonderful life

Directed by Frank Capra

Starring:  James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

Trivia:  Frank Capra often said that this was his favorite of all his films.

Ikiru (1952) ikiru

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Starring:  Takashi Shimura, Shin’ichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka

Trivia:  The literal translation of Ikiru is “To Live”.

Pride and Prejudice (2005) pride and prejudice

Directed by Joe Wright

Starring:  Keira Knightly, Matthew Macfadyen

Trivia:  Joe Wright was not initially keen on Keira Knightly playing Elizabeth, believing her to be too attractive. He changed his mind upon meeting her, deciding her tomboyish attitude would be perfect for the part.

Schindler’s List (1993) schindler's list

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring:  Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes

Trivia:  Steven Spielberg was not paid for this film. He refused to accept a salary citing that it would be “blood money”.

Girl, Interrupted (1999) girl interrupted

Directed by James Mangold

Starring:  Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Whoopi Goldberg

Trivia:  This is one of many roles in which Winona Ryder’s character writes in a diary.

The Sixth Sense (1999) the sixth sense2

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

Starring:  Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette

Trivia:  Toni Collette has said that she was so moved by the emotional resonance of the story whilst filming, she didn’t even realize it was a horror film until after its release.

Pleasantville (1998) pleasantville

Directed by Gary Ross

Starring:  Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, Joan Allen, William H. Macy

Trivia:  The two books that Bud (David) narrates to the teenagers of Pleasantville, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “Catcher in the Rye,” are the two most widely banned books in the United States.

Kung Fu Hustle (2004) stephen-chow

Directed by Stephen Chow

Starring:  Stephen Chow, Xiaogang Feng, Wah Yuen, Chi Chung Lam, Qiu Yuen

Trivia:  As of 2005, this film had the widest cinematic release in the USA of a foreign language film.

Magnolia (1999) magnolia

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring:  Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly, Tom Cruise

Trivia:  Aimee Mann’s music inspired Paul Thomas Anderson to write the script and at least one lyric (and possibly more) from an Aimee Mann song was lifted and used as dialogue. In the song “Deathly” the lyric goes: “Now that I’ve met you / Would you object to / Never seeing / Each other again”. In the film, Melora Walter’s character says “Now that I’ve met you, would you object to never seeing me again?”

Toy Story (1995-Part I, 1999-Part II, 2010-Part III) toy story

Directed by John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich

Starring:  Tom Hanks, Tim Allen

Trivia:  Toy Story 3 is the only Toy Story film not to receive a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It still however received a relatively high score of 99%.

The Joy Luck Club (1993) amy-tan-the-joy-luck-club

Directed by Wayne Wang

Starring:  Ming-Na Wen, Tamlyn Tomita, Lauren Tom, Rosalind Chao

Trivia:  Based on the novel by Amy Tan.

50 First Dates (2004) 50_first_dates

Directed by Peter Segal

Starring:  Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler

Trivia:  Originally entitled “50 First Kisses” but changed to avoid confusion with Drew Barrymore’s vehicle Never Been Kissed.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) bridget-jones-1

Directed by Sharon Maguire

Starring:  Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant

Trivia:  To prepare for the role, Renee Zellweger gained 25 pounds, and then actually worked at a British publishing company for a month in preparation for the role. She adopted an alias as well as her posh accent and was apparently not recognized. On her desk in this office she kept a framed picture of then boyfriend Jim Carrey. Workers who did not recognize her found this to be odd, but never mentioned it to her for fear of embarrassing her.

Office Space (1999) office space

Directed by Mike Judge

Starring:  Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, David Herman, Ajay Naidu, Gary Cole

Trivia:  Jennifer Aniston’s character is named Joanna, which is Aniston’s own middle name.

He’s Just Not That Into You (2009) He's Just Not That Into You

Directed by Ken Kwapis

Starring:  Ginnifer Goodwin, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly

Trivia:  Jennifer Aniston has 20 minutes screen time in this film, Jennifer Connelly has 25 minutes.

Ghost (1990) ghost

Directed by Jerry Zucker

Starring:  Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg

Trivia:  When it came time to cast the film, writer Bruce Joel Rubin suggested Patrick Swayze for the role of Sam Wheat. Director Jerry Zucker felt that Swayze was completely wrong for the part. Many actors that included Paul Hogan (who instead made Almost an Angel), Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Mel Gibson, Dennis Quaid, Bruce Willis (Demi Moore’s husband at the time, who didn’t think the film would work), John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Mickey Rourke, David Duchovny, Johnny Depp, Kevin Costner and Alex Baldwin were all offered the part but all turned it down feeling that playing a ghost would be cheesy. Zucker then decided to audition Swayze though he thought he would blow the audition. To Zucker’s surprise, Swayze did a great audition and he was cast immediately in the part.

Les Miserables (2012) les mis

Directed by Tom Hooper

Starring:  Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway

Trivia:  Typically, the soundtrack for a movie musical is recorded several months in advance and the actors mime to playback during filming. However, on this film, every single song was recorded live on set to capture the spontaneity of the performances. Everyone involved, from Hugh Jackman to Russell Crowe to producer Cameron Mackintosh, have praised this approach as it allowed them to concentrate on their acting as opposed to lip-syncing properly. They have also praised director Tom Hooper for attempting this on such a scale; something no director has ever done before.

Note:  Thanks to IMDb.com for all the movie info.

a wall or a bridge?

a wall or a bridge

Source:  simpletombornhigh.com

why do good things happen to bad people? why do bad things happen to good people? (Ed Lapiz)

cover_Why_Do_Bad_ThingsI often asked these questions when I was younger.  I didn’t understand before why despite doing good, bad things still happen to me.  And I still do, at times.  I’d complain out loud hoping God can hear it.  After all that I’ve done, of trying so hard to be so damn good, why do I still suffer?  Why do I get what I don’t deserved?!  Then I would curse, shout, or scream when I found myself in dire straits.

You know, it really helps that I read.  If not for reading, I would have easily give up and committed suicide a long, long time ago.  Or I would have been a juvenile, a drug addict, or a murderer, killing one by one those I thought who’ve wronged me.

But I read instead.  I read a lot when I am down.  When I found myself unemployed years ago, I avoided social contact from the outside world.  I chose to stay at home and books, movies, and music kept me company.  And I just went out when I got a job application to do or when I needed to buy something.  And when I got a new job last year, the suffering seems never ending.  On my second month I got the biggest scare of my life when I became a victim of a lawyer’s arrogance and immaturity when he threatened to file a lawsuit against me (over the phone, while I was away and on leave) because of a gossip he’d heard that he believed right away without getting into the bottom of things first before threatening.  I was new, a rank-and-file, and in my world, no one has ever threatened me like that before.  I thought lawsuits only happen to criminals, to government officials.  At the beginning of this year, an oldtime female colleague, again, because of a gossip she’s heard, turned scandalous and verbally violent, threatening to kill me, accusing me and/or this other colleague of spreading malicious rumor about her.  If that wasn’t enough, a man whom I’ve loved so much more than I loved myself confessed about his being unfaithful.  I discovered he wasn’t in love with me like I thought.  And all these happened during my first year of tenure in my job.  So yes, these were the times that I asked myself why do bad things happen to me?  And when bad events happen, it can be disappointing.  And I would wonder what other hardships and battles, more worse than the ones I mentioned above, do I have to face in the coming days ahead.

So reading to understand any of my existential dilemmas helps.  Getting to know real people, through reading or through contact, who’ve gone through hell and back helps more.  And at times, reading a thin book written by someone I do not know can be an enlightening experience.  And I am talking about this book by pastor Ed Lapiz, a back-to-back series book entitled “Why do good things happen to bad people?/ Why do bad things happen to good people?”

In my world, I’ve often been an easy target of devout Born-Agains, devout Jehova’s Witness, devout Catholics, devout whatever attempting to teach me about the “accurate” interpretation of the Word of God.  Like as if I am a person they needed to save asap.  But never a day gone by where they didn’t lambast the beliefs and practices of other religions.  And this only make things confusing.  I’d like to think they only teach you to be close-minded.  So I have to admit that I am allergic to religious fanatics who’d ostracize you later if you don’t follow their path, if you don’t listen to them, if you decide to stick to your own beliefs.  As a result, hearing the word “pastor” or “evangelist” makes me cringe because of such experience.  I also shy away from books that appear “holy than thou” where the word “God” or “Lord” is mentioned in every page.  They sort of scares me, overwhelms me.

But this book by pastor Ed Lapiz is different.  He talks candidly here, straightforward, at times sharing things bluntly straight from his heart, sharing his own enlightenment to others who’d care to listen, and speaking in Taglish (a mixed of Tagalog and English) making this book easy to read which is good when you’re discussing a very complicated topic such as faith and religion.  Ed Lapiz doesn’t come off as self-righteous, or all-knowing that is common to those devout Born-Again Christians, devout Catholics, devout Jehova’s Witness, devout Scientologists, devout Filipino or devout whatever.  He did quote a few verses from the Bible in the book to support his statements but instead of scaring me, making me feel allergic to it, those Bible quotes made all the things that he said make sense.  Usually, in my experience attending a Bible study before, a verse from the Bible is the one being explained, broken down into pieces to be able to understand.  Here, the sharings of the author are the broken pieces and the verses from the Bible that I found here made it whole.

I can’t help but praise its cover.  At the front, in “Why do good things happen to bad people?” the words “bad people” were written in black colored text over a white canvass.  At the back, in “Why do bad things happen to good people?” the words “good people” were written in white colored text over a black canvass. A simple cover design but got powerful symbolism to it.

So, WHY DO GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO BAD PEOPLE?  AND WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?

Through my own limited experience and faith, I came up with my own set of explanations to these questions.  To me, good things happen to bad people because they cheated and they stole something that’s not theirs, that’s why they prosper.  Or maybe, they must be hardworking and graduated from a top reputable school so they got lucky.  Or maybe they’re blessed with superior intelligence or were born with a silver spoon or know a lot of rich people, got good connections.  Or maybe, they are just good in kissing somebody’s ass that’s why they are reaping the fruit of their own labor.  People got these different tactics to be successful and famous, you know.  Bad things happen to good people, on the other hand, because that’s just the way life is.  Life is unfair!  And shit happens.  And we just gotta move on, keep going no matter what and just carry with us the lessons from that bad experience to improve our lot the next time.

In his book, Why do good things happen to bad people?, this one-line made me feel guilty:

“To label some people as ‘bad’ is almost self-righteous!”

Then he went on to say:  “All people are given chances to turn to God.  Lahat ng tao ay binibigyan ng Panginoong Dios ng pagkakataon na magbalik-loob.  God is good to all people, “good” or “bad.”  Hindi lang sa mga born-again.  ‘Bakit yung kapitbahay kong hindi born-again mas maunlad ang negosyo kaysa sa aking anak ng Dios?’ Eh siguro mas masipag siya kaysa sa iyo.  At sa akala ba ninyo, komo born-again kayo automatic na pupunta sa inyo ang lahat ng mga pagpapala?  God is good to all people.

“Ang mga masasama ay yung mga nasa sarili pa nilang kasalanan at yung mabubuti naman ay mga makasalanan ding tumanggap na ng pagpapatawad dahil kumilala na sa Panginoon.  Yun lang pinagkaiba ng righteous at ng unrighteous.”

Matthew 5:44-45 But I tell you:  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

In Why do bad things happen to good people?, I was taken aback with what he shared.  People I know who are known to be religious never said these to me, they just keep telling me to love God, to praise the Lord, etc. but Lapiz was the one who took that step to expose the dark truth about ourselves:

“Unang-una, i-establish natin ang mga dapat i-establish.  There are really no “good” people.  Huwag tayong magkaroon ng ilusyon tungkol sa ating sarili.

“There is no such thing as good people.  Some may be just less bad than the others, but everyone is a sinner.  Nakatindig tayong lahat dahil lang sa awa at biyaya ng Dios.  Walang deserving. Walang sinless.  Walang good.  Only God is good.”

In another page, these statements that he shared got so much meaning to me:

“When you love God, and when you think may nangyayari pa rin sa iyong “bad,” hindi bad yun, good yon.  If you were called by God for a mission, at may nangyari na sa tingin mo ay bad, hindi bad yun, good yon.  Iyon ang sinasabi ng Word of God, ‘Pero, parang tingin ko, bad eh.’  Tingin lang natin yon.  All things that happen to those who love God, to those who are called by God, are blessings.

“May natatanggal.  Nawawalan ka ng relasyon, minsan nawawalan ka ng tagumpay at nawawalan tayo ng mga bagay-bagay.  Minsan merong gumagapang sa mga ilalim ng silya dahil nawawala ang isang hikaw.  Kung mahulog man ang hikaw, salamat.  Naging free ka na diyan.  Pinahahalagahan natin ang mga gamit natin.  Isinusuot natin.  Nagagandahan tayo.  Pero kung nawala, eh di nawala.  Hinahanap mo nang konti, pero hindi ka naman yung parang nagiging slave ng mga bagay.  Na kaya pala tinatanggal sa atin ay para maging free tayo.

“Hindi lahat ng nawawala ay talagang kawalan lalo na kung mahal natin ang Dios at sumusunod tayo sa Kanya.  Dapat lamang na makita natin kung paano nagiging blessing.

“Sometimes tumatanggap tayo ng discipline and correction in the form of pain and sorrow.  Kung minsan napapahiya tayo.  Pero yun pala ang mabuti dahil nagiging humble tayo.  Kasi kung laging matagumpay tayo, baka naman sobrang kayabangan ang mangyari sa atin.”

Ecclesiastes 9:11  I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

To the verse above, he explained:  “There is no perfection in this planet.  Kahit pa nga may bad things, titigil din yon.  Magkakaroon din ng good.  Kasi even terrible things cannot be perfect.  May kulang pa rin yon.  Makakasingit pa rin yung good.  Kaya pag nandoon yung good, enjoy it.  Pag dumating yung difficult times, have faith in God.  When bad things happen dapat nating sabihin, tama lang.  We deserve it.  When we do that, hindi tayo nagkakaroon ng sama ng loob sa Dios.  Hindi tayo nagagalit.   We work for the betterment and for the improvement of our situation at matapos nating pagsumikapang maunawaan ang lahat ng mga bagay, rely on God.  Depend on God.  Trust in God.  Travel on as best as you can because you know that God is with you every step of the way.

“Pasanin ang dapat pasanin, lakarin ang dapat lakarin, languyin ang dapat languyin dahil alam ng Dios ang ating katayuan. Hindi Niya tayo kalilimutan at pababayaan.”

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

So what does it take to be sincerely good, when can I say that I am being a good person like those stories of saints I read in the Bible?

Lapiz shared:  “When you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, His blood cleanses you from all your sins.  Nagkakaroon ng exchange.  Kinukuha ng Panginoon ang kasalanan natin at pinapalitan Niya ng kanyang kabanalan.  Tayo ang nagiging banal at Siya ang nagiging makasalanan.  At ang parusa ng lahat ng kasalanan nating napunta sa Kanya ay kamatayan.  Kaya ang pagpaparusa sa Kanya at ang Kanyang kamatayan ay para sa atin.

“Doon sa mga hindi tatanggap kay Hesus, walang kukuha ng kasalanan nila.  Wala rin silang pagkukunan ng kalinisan.  Dala-dala nila ang kanilang karumihan kaya sila ay mapapahamak.  That is why without Christ, there is no salvation.”

By the way, regarding that “arrogant” lawyer who threatened me several months back, he never filed a case against me.  He resigned a few months later to pursue his other dream, which is to become a politician.  And about that oldtime female colleague who threatened to kill me, screaming my name and this other person for quickly believing a gossip delivered by her friend over the phone, she apologized to me after.  After I told her what had actually happened during a bull session in front of our boss and other people involved.  We are okay now and my boss granted my request to be transferred to another unit.  And regarding that boyfriend who broke my heart,  it gave me a relief for he just confirmed all those doubts that I felt when we were still in a relationship.  I was hoping he was the one but like what my father said regarding our breakup, “Maybe he’s not your soulmate.”

it takes a man and a woman

It_Takes_a_Man_and_a_WomanThis movie is the Part III of the Laida Magtalas-Miggy Montenegro love story.

In “A very special love” (Part I), I saw its wonderful beginnings.  An ordinary girl having special feelings of love to a complete stranger, a boy who belongs to a family well-known in the business world.  Then the girl finally meets the man of her dreams when the former applied for an editorial assistant position in the latter’s men’s magazine and got accepted.  Then this is where the interesting and heartfelt story of a poor girl and a rich boy falling in love with each other unfolds.

In “You changed my life” (Part II), the story becomes more interesting when Laida and Miggy are now a couple who are still hopelessly in love with each other.  And it was exciting to witness here how their relationship goes, a poor girl and a rich boy, and how they will surpass the challenges and conflicts that are expected in a relationship.  Here, they will learn that being in a relationship doesn’t just involved two people.  Friends, family, work, career, and other factors will penetrate that relationship to test it.  And this series of test will either strengthen or weaken their relationship.

Now in “It takes a man and a woman” (Part III), Laida and Miggy are now ex-lovers.  Miggy has a new girlfriend while Laida is a balikbayan from New York, single but an accomplished woman in her own right.  Again, it is exciting to witness how the two deal with each other after two years of being apart.  Thanks to the Board of Directors, which included his half brothers and sister, when they decide to rehire Laida for Miggy’s publishing firm this time not as Miggy’s editorial assistant but as Miggy’s consultant.  This is where conflict will occur between the two, conflicts that are funny moments to us, the moviegoers.

It was music to my ear to hear other moviegoers roared with laughter and cheer just seeing the characters be themselves, acting out their different personas and weirdness and flaws making the story unforgettable and truly heartfelt.  And I’m not just talking about Laida (Sarah Geronimo) and Miggy (John Lloyd Cruz) here.  I’m also talking about the friends and colleagues of Laida and Miggy, the girlfriend of Miggy, and their families who all have small amount of exposure in the movie but gave impact and more meaning to the Laida Magtalas-Miggy Montenegro love story.  Of course it was a happy ending!

People are now debating which part is their favorite.  My older sister said she likes this one more.  I said I like all of the three parts.  First of all, though the first part was something that I often see in so many Filipino and Hollywood movies, you know, a boy-meets-girl type of story, nothing different, same old formula of a love story because of the usual happy ending but the amazing thing was, the director and her team brought it with a certain freshness because of the actors who played the two leading characters.  Of course I am talking about Sarah Geronimo and John Lloyd Cruz.  I wouldn’t have loved Laida and Miggy if they were played by different actors.  Part I is certified kilig-to-the-bones movie!

In Part II, it was something that I would highly recommend to people in power who might have forgotten the true meaning of love.  For this movie will remind them that life is not just gaining more money or fame or recognition.  There is something more, always, there is something more than you can ever imagine.  Part II is again a certified kilig-to-the-bones movie but an improved version of the first in terms of screenplay.  There’s more depth to the story.

In Part III, this is where the story finally makes sense.  And becomes realistic, true.  Because come on, I don’t think a son of a business scion will marry someone who is just a lowly editorial assistant.  Though I’ve heard stories where a rich man marries a poor girl, most of the time the wife who comes from a poor family is being oppressed by her rich in-laws, or worse, by her rich husband.  This happens, really.  In the movie, however,  Laida transforms into this strong and assertive successful career woman where rich guy Miggy will fall head over heels in love with all over again.  And this is where things will fall into its rightful place.

Movie trailer of “It takes a man and a woman”

if I were a superhero

I stumbled upon this while reading someone’s blog.  It’s a fun quiz entitled “Which superhero are you?”  And the result:

You are Hulk

You are a wanderer with
amazing strength.
Hulk
85%
Green Lantern
80%
Superman
65%
Robin
65%
Iron Man
60%
Spider-Man
50%
Supergirl
45%
Wonder Woman
45%
The Flash
35%
Catwoman
30%
Batman
20%
Click here to take the “Which Superhero are you?” quiz…

thought you should know

“Real life’s nasty. It’s cruel. It doesn’t care about heroes and happy endings and the way things should be. In real life, bad things happen. People die. Fights are lost. Evil often wins.”
― Darren Shan