Pantay Pantay at Panalo Pa Rin: My #UAAPCDC2014 Reaction Blog Post

Today, one of the most important events in the life of a UP student took place: the UAAP Cheerdance Competition!  Of course, there is only one team to root for:

I’ve been watching the UP Pep Squad’s routines since 2006 when I became a student of the university.  While I am no expert on the art of cheerdancing, I strongly believe that this year’s performance is their best yet.  The choreography was amazing.  The run was nothing short of flawless.  The members of the team performed with strength, vigor and a certain level of calmness and calculation that is somewhat freaky.

That’s why when the results came in… well, to say that I overreacted would have been an understatement.

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And of course, I have had a few choice words for the judges.

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But, after the initial anger had ebbed, I realized that UP still emerges as the real winner here.  True, that other school may have been crowned the champion, but the UP Pep Squad is still the gold standard when it comes to cheerleading in the Philippines.  And that’s a title that takes ruthless determination and dedication to earn.

Besides, the UP Pep Squad is the only team that delivered a powerful message today: EQUALITY FOR ALL.  UP did not just dance for a title; they danced for a cause.  To quote the UAAP Twitter page:

My sister told me, “Wala namang points yung ‘message’ eh.”  Yes, that is true.  But what’s important is that this message was heard loud and clear.  UP Pep Squad proved that cheerdancing is not just a sport performed by ‘dumb blondes’ or by mindless, synchronized robots; they used cheerdancing as a means for advocacy.  They proudly took a stand in an issue that otherwise would have been ignored in this gender-sensitive and religiously conservative country of ours.  That alone is truly admirable.

So, now and forever, I’m proud of you, UP Pep Squad!  Humayo’t itanghal giting at tapang! Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan! #TeamUPForEquality

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Another reason why I really like the UAAP CDC season is that it brings out the wittiest among Twitter users, especially those who are students of UAAP schools.  Yours truly made a slightly significant contribution to this “cause” that has so far gained a total of 208 RTs and 276 stars.  I don’t normally count the number of likes that my posts get, but this is something worth noting since I have never reached this number before.  So, I’m posting this tweet here for posterity (Kasalanan mo ito, ateng courtside reporter ng Adamson. Bakit ka ba kasi nagdala ng flute dyan??).

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Congratulations to all the winners!  Hope to see you, UP Pep Squad, back on top next year!

Samurai X-citement: The Long Wait for ‘Kyoto Inferno’ and ‘The Legend Ends’

Aside from my birth month, another exciting thing that August has in store for me is the Philippine screening of Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno (るろうに剣心 京都大火編), the sequel to the successful 2012 Rurouni Kenshin live action film.

I’ve always been a HUGE fan of this Nobuhiro Watsuki creation, which is also known in some countries as Samurai X, since my childhood years.  While I haven’t even read the manga, I’ve made up for this shameful shortcoming by watching each and every episode of the anime.  I even own an original cassette tape of the soundtracks (and I have the digital ones loaded on my iPod, of course) and don’t be surprised that I’ve memorized the Japanese lyrics of each song by heart.  You get the point.  True, the show is not without its flaws, but I can say with complete confidence that Rurouni Kenshin is the best anime ever.

I mean, can you really contain yourself when you see Kenshin doing this while Sobakasu plays in the background, knowing full well what happens next?

And doesn’t this scene just make you want to burst out and sing the opening verses of 1/2?

And don’t you just fear Kenshin a tiny bit when shit gets real and his usually large doe-eyes are replaced by these menacing-looking, slanted ones?

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And did you ever really move on from this scene, where Kenshin embraces Kaoru-dono and says a tearful goodbye before he leaves for Kyoto to face Shishio?

And please. Don’t get me started with the OVAs.

Watching the first live action film in 2012 didn’t disappoint.  Anime-turned-live-action films are known to be notoriously corny, suffering from low budget, poor directing, unenthusiastic cast, and shallow plot holes, but Rurouni Kenshin was different.  In fact, it was brilliantly made.  It was funny and exciting, the effects were amazing, the casting was perfect — it’s every RK fan’s dream come true.  And of course, when our Kenshin defeated Jin in the first movie, fans only thirsted for more.  They knew what was coming: the cold-blooded Shishio Makoto and his band of goons, the Juppon Gatana.

Here are the cast in action.  This trailer is EVERYTHING.

The best thing about the second movie (and the third, probably?) is that it focuses on the Kyoto/Shishio Arc, which is the best and most exciting part of the anime.   What’s in store for us fans?  These:

Kenshin Himura donning his popular red samurai garb.

Kenshin Himura donning his popular red samurai garb.

The tall and brooding Aoshi Shinomori -- he appears!

The tall and brooding Aoshi Shinomori (Yusuki Iseya) — he appears!

The hot-headed and feisty Misao Makimachi meets our Battousai.

The hot-headed and feisty Misao Makimachi  (Tao Tsuchiya) meets our Battousai.

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We’ll finally get to see how this iconic scene plays out using real talented actors Takeru Satoh (Kenshin Himura) and Emi Takei (Kamiya Kaoru).

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An incoming showdown between Kenshin and the ever so charming Seta Soujiro (Ryunosuke Kamiki).

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And of course, the most awaited battle between Kenshin and Shishio Makoto (Tatsuya Fujiwara)

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (るろうに剣心 伝説の最期編) opens in Manila on August 20 and September 24, respectively.  Might seem like eons away for us fans, but I’m sure we all know that those two films will be totally worth the wait.

I really miss this gang.

I really miss this gang.

*Post-script:  A huge thanks (どうもありがと!) to the creators and owners of the images and gifs used in this post.  You guys are awesome.

Book Bliss: The Books For Less Warehouse Sale

Edge chose a very unique way of waking me up today, and that is by telling me that Books For Less is having a Warehouse Sale.  Normally, I’d shrug and go back to sleep, refusing to sacrifice my Saturday for something as ordinary as a book sale.  But when he told me that all books are being sold at Php 10 each…well, things turned out differently.

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So off we went to this unfamiliar patch of land called Pasig, just to find this elusive warehouse.  What greeted us when we arrived was a big and dark building housing a handful of shoppers and heaps upon heaps of books.

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Unlike those sold in bookstores, which are arranged alphabetically and according to genre, the books in the Books For Less Warehouse Sale were strewn all over the place.  The sale had started a day earlier, so it’s possible that the good ones were already gone by the time we had arrived.  However, with a great deal of patience, I still managed to find some classics, New York Times Bestsellers, and even a couple of encyclopedias.  There are also lots of hardbounds and children’s books — each one available for Php 10 each like everything else.

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In the end, Edge and I managed to hoard a total of 35 books.  The best part is that we only paid Php 350 for all of these, saving us more than Php 12,000 in the process.  Hands down, this is the biggest book bargain I’ve ever gotten.

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Today’s haul!

Again, a huge THANK YOU to Books For Less for replenishing my book stock.  I’m so happy, I don’t even mind the pain in my shoulders for carrying all those books.

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For bookworms and book collectors looking to get your reading fix, you may visit # 643 Mercedes Ave. Brgy. San Miguel, Pasig City.  The warehouse is located directly across La Consolacion College – Pasig.  The Warehouse Sale will go until August 31, but they are closed on Sundays and holidays (and we have two more holidays this month).  For more information, you may always visit their Facebook site.

The Books for Less Warehouse Sale will run until August 31, 2014.

The Books for Less Warehouse Sale will run until August 31, 2014.

Fourth in Boracay

For our fourth (!!!) anniversary as a couple, Edge and I packed our bags for Boracay.  It would be his first time there while it was my second.  I’ve been to the famous island in 2005 when I was in Kalibo competing in the National Secondary Schools Press Conference (I lost).  Still, it was exciting for us to visit Bora together.

Ilig Iligan Beach, Boracay

Ilig Iligan Beach, Boracay

Unlike our many other backpacking trips, we decided to let our hair down for this one and spend a little more lavishly.  It was our anniversary after all, and we needed the time for total R&R.

Nothing beats a nice stroll at a beach if you want to do some soul-searching.

Nothing beats a nice stroll at the beach if you want to do some soul-searching.

And of course, swimming. Or just playing with the waves.

And of course, swimming. Or just playing with the waves.

Being mid-July, the weather was far from sunny, but upon arriving on Friday, we were lucky enough to catch a few hours of the summer heat.  We managed to work around the occasional rainfall to do some of the water activities that Boracay is famous for.

Snorkeling and fish feeding off Bolabog Beach.

Snorkeling and fish feeding off Bolabog Beach.

All set for our first parasailing experience!

All set for our first parasailing experience!

Fifteen-minute high!

Fifteen-minute high!

Some realizations!  Edge had always thought of Boracay as an overrated island and our trip didn’t change this particular opinion of his.  While we both think that it is indeed a beautiful place, we concluded that there are other places in the Philippines that could rival Boracay’s beauty.  For one, the same white sand that makes Boracay world-famous can be found in Panglao Island in Bohol.  Plus points for Panglao since it isn’t as crowded and noisy, which makes it ideal for vacationers looking for peace and quiet.  BUT more on this later on, since I’m writing a piece about this on our travel blog, The Backpack Couple. #shamelessplugging

If you don't like the strong waves in Stations 1-3, try the calm Ilig Iligan Beach.

If you don’t like the strong waves in Stations 1-3, try the calm Ilig Iligan Beach.

Looking back, we have no regrets for choosing Boracay as our fourth anniversary venue since the place still took our breath away.  Boracay marks a new chapter for us towards more adventures in more places in the country and beyond.

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Stay classy, Boracay.

Stay classy, Boracay.

Four years!

Four years!

Travel Truly, Madly, Deeply

Last Sunday, Edge and had the chance to attend the Travel Madness Expo 2014 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.  Already on its third year, the expo showcases exhibitors ranging from famous local and international airlines to leading travel agencies, as well as tourism offices of different governments all over the world.

While most aim to sell ticket deals and tour packages, there were some exhibitors who pulled a few cool gimmicks.  At the Sabah Tourism Board booth, for example, we had the chance to talk to a couple of tourism officers who gladly gave us some advice and the contacts for our ambitious Mt. Kinabalu climb next year.

On the other hand, the carnival-inspired Qatar Airways featured a gaming booth where guests can shoot balls and win soccer jerseys (Qatar made a bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup).

My favorite, the Japan Pavilion, even put on different shows at different times throughout the day.  We were treated to a spectacle of traditional Japanese painting, koto-playing, and authentic sushi-making.  They even have a booth where guests can write their names in hiragana and katakana, two of Japan’s writing systems.

One of my favorite moments in the expo was stumbling upon this travel deal for North Korea — the hermit kingdom, the land of the Kims, the sworn enemy and poor little brother of South Korea.  I’ve always been fascinated with this country and I never had the slightest expectation that travel tours to NoKor would be available in the Philippines, so imagine my delight when I found this deal.  The tour is expensive — minimum of around Php 75,000 — but the possibility of setting foot in NoKor someday keeps my hope alive!

The highlight of this expo, my day, my year, and probably of my life was when we scored some Basco, Batanes tickets from Philippine Airlines!  Edge and I have always planned to reach this elusive province, but with exorbitant plane fares, I’ve always treated Batanes as a dream.  On a regular day, Basco round-trip ticket prices from SkyJet and PAL would range from Php 15,000 to Php 20,000.  However, we managed to buy our tickets from the expo for the sweet, sweet price of only Php 3,200+ (round-trip) per pax.  Thank you, PAL!

See you soon, Batanes!

See you soon, Batanes!

In summary, the Travel Madness Expo 2014 can be described in a few words: freebies, deals, and savings, savings, SAVINGS!  A huge thank you and kudos to the organizers.  Can you please hurry with next year’s expo? 🙂

First

The second half of 2014 is here and along with it came the realization that I want to write again.

I then spent a good hour day re-reading, laughing, and cringing at my posts on my first blog, Don’t Rain on My Tirade.  Afterwards, I finally made the decision to take it down.  Starting over is different from picking up from where I left off, and there is no better way to signal a new beginning for me than a brand new cyber niche in which to dump my thoughts.

Welcome to Inscrived!  Feel free to tag along.