Sakaling Maging Tayo (2019)

Sakaling Maging Tayo

A friend told me that there is a new interesting movie by JP Habac, Sakaling Maging Tayo, the director of I’m Drunk, I love you, for which we both love.

Sakaling Maging Tayo is organic, but sparks a lovely breath of juvenile attraction. Adults may find it awkward, shallow, and reckless, but that is precisely what young love is.

I did not have definite plans of watching the movie because I do not know anything about the lead actors. It shows much of my ignorance for local artists and shows.

The chance to watch the movie to fulfil a default duty as a volunteer movie assessor came this week. I obliged with no expectations. I only hoped that the kryptonite that most local movies succumb, that is, plot development, can take off like Kita Kita, Sakaling Hindi Makarating, etc. Most indie films have been able to develop their plot beautifully as compared with mainstream in recent years.

There is not much hype on Sakaling Maging Tayo as far as my social media feed is concerned. It must be too teenybopper that my peers are not interested. Maybe. But while the movie does not astound and I do not think it is intended to be so, it gives us a glimpse at the heart of today’s youth. It is carefree, fun, and pleasant but also hounded by the struggles of young love and the expectations of life that adults may ignore and perceive as frivolous.

For me, the plot was able to take flight. Feel good, creative, and down to earth.
Nice one, Habac. Take a bow.


© rooks 2019

2018 Read Log

2018 Read Log

In earlier reading years, I prefer to read novels. And as I discovered and read the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey in my first year of college, I began to expand my reading preference to the media, psychology, motivation, biography, history, economics, science, leadership, fashion, politics, women empowerment, or anything that creates a stir or disruption from a local and global standpoint. The book was a turning point. I realized that there is more to the novel genre. I began to take interest. My mini library diversified. I am greatly drawn to the satisfaction of completing a read where learnings abound, silence is essential for reflection, a pen and paper to write, and the urgent desire to have a conversation with like-minded friends over coffee to share something impactful – life-changing.

In 2018, I discovered a number of brilliant storytellers. I am awed by the genius of Kutsukake, Bardugo, and Cleeton. As I was reading their work, my other side of consciousness was creating and hoping for a motion picture to be made. All three novels are page-turners.

As the new year walks through, the reading journey continues and the goal to read 50 from a variety of genres remains. Below is my 2018 list. I would be happy to have a glimpse of yours.

22 – [Dec 29] Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
21 – [Dec 27] Becoming by Michelle Obama
20 – [Dec 06] Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
19 – [Nov 25] Why I Love Being Catholic (How I Found Jesus In My 2,000-Year-Old Church) by Bo Sanchez
18 – [Nov 07] Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
17 – [Oct 28] Moonwalking with Einstein (The Art and Science of Remembering Everything) by Joshua Foer
16 – [Oct 19] Fight or Flight by Samantha Young
15 – [Oct 13] Unfu*k Yourself (Get out of your head and into your life) by Gary John Bishop
14 – [Oct 07] Leadership that Matters by Francis J. Kong
13 – [Oct 03] The Revenge of Geography by Robert D. Kaplan
12 – [Aug 26] The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting
11 – [Aug 05] The Inevitable (Understanding The 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future) by Kevin Kelly
10 – [Jun 30] How My Maid Became A Millionaire by Bo Sanchez
09 – [Jun 23] The Nordic Theory of Everything (In Search of a Better Life) by Anu Partanen
08 – [Jun 03] Irresistible (The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked) by Adam Alter
07 – [Apr 28] Side Hustle (From Idea to Income in 27 Days) by Chris Guillebeau
06 – [Apr 01] Leader Eat Last (Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t) by Simon Sinek
05 – [Mar 10] Heart Berries: A Memoir by Therese Marie Mailhot
04 – [Feb 11] The Translation of Love (A Novel) by Lynne Kutsukake
03 – [Jan 28] Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni-Eddo Lodge
02 – [Jan 13] Seeing What Others Cannot See (The Hidden Advantages of Visual Thinkers and Differently Wired Brains) by Thomas G. West
01 – [Jan 01] ISIS (Inside the Army of Terror) by Michael Weiss & Hassan Hassan

*** Indicated dates are completion dates.

© rooks 2019

(2018) Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming, an autobiography by Michelle Obama will most probably be my last completed reading for 2018. And it is an honor to end my 2018 reading journey with an abundance of inspiration from the former FLOTUS. Published only last November 13, it became the best selling book in the US for 2018.

In her memoir, Michelle Obama does not mince with her words. It is funny, compassionate, enraged (for a good reason), and all the time heartfelt. It brings intimate scenes of her personal life before, during, and after the presidency of her husband, Barack Obama.

Amidst strict protocols, reasonable and sometimes absurd, she knew how to be human rather than be mechanical.

Intelligent and classy, the ugly blows brought forth by politics were met with a good combination of steadfastness, composure, and inner strength. As Michelle and Barack would try to live by and put it, “When they go low, we go high.” It instantly became my favorite adage amongst the deluge of wisdom the book could offer.


© rooks 2018

Waitress (Manila)

Waitress Manila

From being content to only listen to the songs from Waitress on Spotify to being able to actually hear and enjoy them live is a big check on my musical bucket list. There were days when the playlist is on repeat all day long and some days, the song, When He Sees Me, as a personal favourite, is the anthem of the day. It plays on my speakers as I write this article. Having the Waitress in Manila is a year-end delight.

My highlights of the show… Joanna Ampil as Jenna dazzles with a clear and clean voice that makes singing with emotions look easy. The Sound of Music, Bridges of Madison County, Ang Larawan, and now, Waitress… I am looking forward to Ampil’s next show. Bituin Escalante as Becky deserves a standing ovation with her Southern accent that sounds natural and of course, her singing voice gave her character the attention it warrants. Escalante should have more theatre shows. Niño Alejandro’s portrayal of Ogie diverts the audience’s focus to him every time he steps on stage with his comedic antics.

The musical is completed by a brilliant supporting cast in Maronne Cruz, Bibo Reyes, George Schulze, Dean Rosen, Steven Conde, Luigi Quesada, Gerhard Krysstopher, Luis Marcelo, Emeline Celis Guinid, Teetin Villanueva, Sarah Facuri, and Jillian Ita-as.

Waitress is an ordinary story that can possibly be anybody’s life situation, but it is made special with the right ingredients of talented actors, good music, a sprinkle of comedy, a splash of laughter, colourful drama, and an after show opportunity to reflect that “even doubt can be delicious” (and more). However, there is no tinge of doubt that the musical is worth the time.


© rooks 2018

Taiwan: Whose Books Bookstore

Taiwan_Whose Books

Though landmarks, tourist spots, and great food are always on the list to visit, I include local bookstores and Catholic Churches (if possible).

In an unexpected circumstance, I found this charming shop near a metro train station that is filled with books where the characters are familiar and at the same time, still foreign. For 12 years of my early education, reading and doing Math in these characters have in one way or another shaped me of who I am today. It was always easy to do Math when it was our Chinese teachers who taught us. I still remember Siensi Wisdy teaching us Trigonometry effortlessly and I understood the essence of it more from her. Indeed, the things we learn during our early years is fundamental and crucial as they remain and become us. And even after all those years seemed to be like centuries ago, I still remember how to write my name in Mandarin, pronounce it, count, pray, and speak some basic phrases (including the naughty ones, of course). It brings a sense of nostalgia. I will always be grateful.

Nota Bene
There is a story behind this photo shoot, but it will be for another time, perhaps.


© rooks 2018

Leadership that Matters by Francis J. Kong

Leadership that Matters by Francis J Kong

Earlier this year, I was asked to share my experience with young people in the workplace through an article that will be published in a local news magazine of a congregation. I obliged.

Writing the article was a combination of self-retrospection, discovery, affirmation, and a plethora of emotions that cannot be expressed in words but simply inhaled as an act of gratitude. I am glad to be chosen to share that part of my life. I am grateful.

Today, as I finished reading the book, Leadership that Matters by Francis J. Kong, I am brought back to the experience and lessons I have learned as a young aspiring leader. In this age where enthusiasm quickly subsides and creativity is hounded by skepticism, the last few pages of the book reminded me to carry on despite the dreariness of being a leader may bring. In the hope of all hopes, and in spite of personal lapses, I wish that in one way or another I have affected the lives of others even through casual conversations. My learning journey continues.

Indeed, as the last words of the book says, “Leadership is not a title, and neither is it an entitlement. Leadership is not a right; it is a responsibility. We all need to handle it well.”

© rooks 2018

Il Mio Amorevolezza

amorevolezza tattoo

Having a tattoo forever etched is not a childhood dream of mine as it was not always associated with something of value. As I grew up and perspectives begin to change, I entertained the idea that I will get inked one day, maybe.

But, thinking about how to get one can be overwhelming. What will be the design? Who will ink it? Am I sure? Is it safe? Will it hurt? Well, obviously. But how painful? What if, what if, what if, and more what ifs…

In one of our table topics, getting a tattoo became a conversation. A close friend of mine wanted to have one for her birthday. But as days, months, and years go by, the opportunity to get one is nowhere in actuality.

Finally, after some research, discovering 55 Tinta, and a lot of mental preparation, getting inked secured a schedule.

The design. It took me a while to decide on what could it possibly be as I do not want to hastily choose a design that I am not entirely convinced and most importantly, does not personally have meaning. I wanted it to symbolize a great part of what I truly believe in. After much reflection, I decided on amorevolezza for which I incorporated 2 stars and a heart.

Amorevolezza. Loosely translated to “loving kindness” from Italian. It is one of the triad in the educational system of Don Bosco. The 2 stars represent the other two of the triad – ragione (reason) and religione (religion), while the heart represents amorevolezza. Like the inadequate translation of amorevolezza to the English language, some things cannot be expressed in words and perfected in action. But, though impossible, a few great men and women have lived up to its history and definition. And it is my desire to live in/with amorevolezza. My journey with amorevolezza has shaped me to who I am now. Nowhere near perfect but it is my daily reminder as I go through the complexities of human interaction and relationships. It is my life guide. I often fail than succeed, but it keeps me grounded, going, grateful and hopeful.

Thank you, 55 Tinta for making this inked art fantasy a reality. Your extra care and accommodating presence made us feel at home in your shop that truly made this journey a memorable one. Special thanks to the concierge, Andoy, and to my artist, Kelvin “Kelogs” Magno.

Nota Bene
Signing the waiver in every paragraph before the session reminded me of my Skydiving waiver signing too. It made me smile as both experiences are milestones in my life.

55 Tinta
Address: 2/F Luisa Building 2, 107 Maginhawa St., UP Village, Quezon City
Instagram: 55tinta
Operating hours: Tue – Sat 1PM to 10PM, Sun 1PM to 8PM
Price: Starts at 1,000 php
Inks: All artists have their own set of ink, but the shop has plenty of inks with a wide range of colors such as Kuro Sumi, Dynamic, Mom’s, Starbite, and Intenze Colors.
Sanitation: disposable needles, autoclave sterilization, UV sterilizer, disposable gloves, and tongue depressors
Accreditation: DOH certified

55 Tinta’s appeal is its artistic authenticity. It is the brainchild of Jay Contreras, Led Zeppelin Tuyay and Puto Astete and Paolo Bernaldo. If those names seem familiar, that’s because all four are icons in the Pinoy music scene. Contreras, Tuyay, and Astete are members of the band Kamikazee, while Bernardo (also the owner of nearby hotspot Tomato Kick) plays bass for Moonstar 88. Keeping 55 Tinta, spic and span, meanwhile, are Ron Riofrio and Emboy Falcon. Collectively, these artists envisioned a tattoo shop where customers can simply hang out and keep the vibe of Maginhawa Street alive. The tattoo artists at 55 Tinta are as illustrious as its celebrated owners, exuding a sense of creativity that seems to pulsate in the area. With seven artists under its roster, 55 Tinta boasts a wide range of style wherein every artist is given the chance to showcase their respective specialty. Despite the star power, 55 Tinta still holds the distinction of being one of the most affordable places to get inked.

55 Tinta’s information source above came from


© rooks 2018