My sort of “Perry” Tale

This one’s for “Perry: The Musical,” the play that reminded me of my childhood dream – that is to become a priest (believe it, or not!).

“Perry” is a modern take on how seminarians, priests, and lay people can be perceived nowadays. It is funny, real and definitely Kapampangan; I’m happy I didn’t miss the chance to watch this new production of Andy Alviz last night.

Since high school, I am already accustomed in watching theatrical presentations of seminarians from the Mother of Good Counsel Seminary. And when I heard of their collaboration with Teatru Ima and Arti (MaArti), I looked forward to seeing a splendid play – and I did!

Starting off with powerful renditions from Fr. Ted Valencia (Among Billy) and Reinon Tolentino (Perry himself), the play continues to wow the crowd with the interplay of lights and effects which is definitely an ArtiSta.Rita signature. Together with them and the seminarian-protagonists are the golden girls of MaArti who all gave life and color to the musical.

In a nutshell, the story is about Perry, who’s “called” to enter priesthood, but is tangled with harsh realities of love and life. The scenes are filled with courageous storytelling on what’s inside the mind of a soon-to-be priest. Confused about what his family and friends would say, he then faces the fact that he has to leave his girlfriend, and also confront all the “good vs. evil” stuff.

The two-hour Kapampangan play may have some scenes which needs a bit of tweaking because of microphone problems and dry-ice overload but the music is great. The lyrics are straightforward and the melody sounds truly original. No wonder the play has been shown in various local universities, and I know it will conquer other places for we Kapampangans (and Filipinos in general) are (as one funny line in the play goes) maka-pari more than maka-Diyos. Anyone who watches this would see someone (or maybe himself or herself) similar with the characters portrayed – the CWL manangs, the schoolboys, the super-moms, the strict (but kind-hearted) dads, or the wannabe-priest himself.

While enjoying the musical, one of my friends who loves Perry (and watched it twice) texted me and shared this beautiful line from the play: “Subukan mung manahimik king kainge ning kekang paligid ban meng damdaman ing aus ning Ginu.” [Try to remain silent and stay away from noise of your surroundings so you can hear the call of the Lord.]

I will.

In the name of Love… and Other Drugs

Love and Other Drugs reminds me of my childhood days when my mom used to tag me along during her clinic hours while the “powder blue” Pfizer guys and girls would swarm around and present samples to her. I love those cool giveaway pens, of course!

This movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway is a good one; it’s more than a typical romantic dramedy about the life of med-reps. It’s about life.

Spin Doctors’ Two Princes song jumpstarts the film featuring Jamie (Gyllenhaal) embodying the traits of a perfect salesman – gets along well with all sorts of clients, sells more, and hooks up with any girl he likes. The tipping point is when Jamie decides to be a medrep for Pfizer. And so the story goes, and he meets Maggie (Hathaway) by accident. And the rest is told in a movie full of good music and a bunch of steamy scenes.

L&OD is brave enough to tackle the daily struggles of a pharmaceutical slave promoting Zoloft and, later on, Viagra. Some of my friends from the same industry (and the same company as well) would disagree on the values and actions portrayed by Jamie and his colleagues. But beyond the posh, adventure-filled and interesting life of a medrep, reality sets in – it’s one hell of a job!

I never wanted to become a medrep, maybe because I am aware of how difficult it is to be one. The movie shows us the patience and hardwork any employee must possess in order to succeed in a very competitive company. Another story revolves around that of a girl with Parkinson’s disease (Hathaway) whose story with the protagonist has proven that love conquers all.

After seeing the movie, my respect for medreps elevated to a higher degree. And for the hopeless romantic in me, here’s a good line from the movie: “Sometimes the things you want the most don’t happen and what you least expect happens. I don’t know – you meet thousands of people and none of them really touch you. And then you meet that one person and your life is changed.”

By the way, I still keep the “Viagra” paper holder which I had since 2004. It’s useful!

Seven out of ten stars for this movie that teaches us to do anything in the name of love… and other drugs.

The signs say so

Here’s an addition to those funny signs posted on the web. For the past six months, I have encountered these four signs which will surely make you smile – a good ending for a stressful day!

But it’s open.

GSIS Pampanga, Sindalan, City of San Fernando, Pampanga








OK, this will scare THEIR customers.

JUN-JUN’S BBQ AND BIBINGKA Parking Area, City of San Fernando, Pampanga






Now that’s a nice flower from Cauli!

One of the restaurants (I can’t remember the name) at the Food Court of Gateway Mall, Araneta Center, Quezon City



Jejemon guard shouts.

Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission, 3rd Floor, Mandaluyong City

Will the real Alex Pearce please stand up?

A thriller with a romantic twist – that’s the best description for “The Tourist” starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. This 103-minute movie set in Venice is for those who want to try a serious version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Aside from Jolie’s attractive aura throughout the movie (not to mention her pouty lips), it is packed with exciting mystery scenes tangled with lines which are perfect for hopeless romantics.

The problem with Academy Award-winning directors such as von Donnersmarck is that they tend to overdo the movie. In this case, I admire the intricate cinematography (specifically when Depp was in dream-like state) and the flawless slow-motion scenes, but I am surprised when the cat-and-mouse chase becomes [a bit] slapstick; with Jolie banging a doughnut-shaped rubber boat on a gangster’s head, and Depp driving a speedboat to purposely hit an antagonist.

The story, on the other hand, is worth telling. It started with a CSI-type of storyline followed by non-stop mind-boggling episodes of “who is it?” and “will they get him?” adventures. As for the love angle, any love story set in Italy is like a scene pulled out of a dream. Although Depp and Jolie may lack the “umpf” as a silver screen couple, their good acting skills and delivery of lines pulled it off.

After doing a bit of research out of curiosity, I discovered that “Alexander Pearce” (Depp’s character) really is a thief of European descent. It also seems that the book “The Berlin Vendetta by Charles Torbett,” being read by Depp’s character, turns out to be a fake one. Google can really be of big help these days.

6 out of 10 for the first movie I saw this year. Try it.

Network Wars

Whenever I switch on the TV, I do not actually watch certain shows. I simply scan channels as if I am waiting for a jackpot combination on a slot machine until I reach interesting programs ranging from TLC’s Invite Mr. Wright to NatGeo’s Great Migrations. Sometimes, I still watch local news on primetime and some bits of showbiz scoops from DJ-turned-chismoso, Mo Twister. But most of the time I think I’m making the cable company richer every single day I do not watch cable channels.

I must admit, when I was in grade school, one of the biggest debates were those which tackle network wars;  the never-ending comparison between ABS-CBN 2 and GMA 7 that still exists today. During coffee breaks, I still find myself in a raging debate with my officemates on which television network is the best. If only the Lopezes and Atty. Gozun have seen our outpour of emotions defending our side, they would probably laugh.

Endless battles on ratings by AGB Nielsen, TV personalities that come and go, noontime shows wanting to be on top, and primetime slots are still the major topics in the “Kapuso” vs “Kapamilya” war. Personally, I have my “heart” on GMA 7.

I lot of my childhood friends would probably remember that I am for Channel 7, and that never changed. Of course, anything I say would spark a lot of remarks. In my point of view, GMA is more credible when it comes to delivering news. I find ABS-CBN anchors a bit loud and biased. Also, I’m not a fan of drama series and I believe the Kapuso network is on the right track when it comes to producing shows which portray fantasy, opulence and high standard of living instead of intense drama and lives of the less privileged.

In the book of Ateneo Graduate School of Business entitled “The Blue Way: Case Studies on Leadership, Strategy and Ethics,” the case study “GMA Network Incorporated, Winning the Network Wars” further convinced me that the said network is close to their vision of becoming the ‘most respected, undisputed leader in Philippine broadcast industry and the recognized media innovator and pacesetter in Asia.’  B-H-A-G!

I stumbled upon a funny link while writing this blog:

Whether Kapuso or Kapamilya, people should look out for MVP’s revamped TV 5. Remember, great competitors won’t stop ‘til they reach number one.

When your nick is longer than your name

Ponkie, Pongky, Pongkee, Pongkie. It’s actually Ponky.

I noticed that my friends’ Christmas and New Year greetings sent through SMS included my nickname, “Ponky.” During this holiday season, I came across several versions of my name (which I found cute). Anyway, this instance has led me to make a quick research on the etymology of the epic “Ponky” nickname my dad gave me. The only thing I know is that he was one of my dad’s favorite local basketball players – Alejo “Ponky” Alolor.

Of course, the first thing I did was type his name on the search box of Facebook (and I found this very stalker-like). Voila! I found his account. Next stop, Wikipedia, and I found a list of Philippine Basketball Association players with his name and stats included in it. Alolor played for Mariwasa, Great Taste, Alaska, Pure Foods, 7Up and Ginebra. A few results came out when I searched for his name in Google and Flickr. A discussion board topic was even dedicated to him and many were interested in what has become of him after his PBA stint.

Dad isn’t disappointed when I didn’t become a basketball star. He himself isn’t that into the game and the craziest thing he did for PBA is to religiously watch the games on TV, but still, he managed to give his first born son a nickname of a basketball star (I wonder why he didn’t pick an NBA star.)

I have a lot of “Ponky” stories to tell. When I was in pre-school, I thought my middle initial (which is, incidentally, letter P) meant Ponky. In school (from grade school to college), I only use my real name and only a few of my friends know my nickname. Since only a few people know my nickname, it became a ‘term of endearment’ for those who are close to me.

Even though it’s one letter longer than my real name, I love it.

Public work, private life

The challenge of being in public service is that it can go as “public” as it can get. After the elections, I have decided not to write so much so as not to take sides in issues. I can’t help but take hold of my feelings whenever I have a personal opinion on matters which are controversial. For more than a year now, I have learned to discern and be critical in distinguishing what really matters.

Government service helped me become a more disciplined man. I learned how to face all sorts of people and take the blame for things which you have little or no control at all – from the cutting of trees along the MacArthur Highway to the yellow ribbon lanterns around the city – and a lot more issues sparked a debate between my friends and family.

As a private individual, it is very unusual not to open topics related to one’s work. In one of the gatherings of government officials in Naga last year, I shared my thought on how it is to be this young and become involved in governance. Yes, I still go to bars and hangout for coffee with my yuppie friends and during those moments, I always tell something about work. Sharing what I do will turn any conversation serious, gloomy and heartbreaking.  Funny thing is, just imagine me in a bar and shouting so loud for my friend to hear the latest scoop on corruption issues and government interventions! But this is the road I have chosen.

For 2011, and probably for the succeeding years, I will still be with the government. This is my contribution for my country. I may sound very nationalistic but I suppose this is the simplest way I can express my reason for staying in such a field. For as long as I can see passionate people willing to take on the challenge, I’m willing to stay. The upcoming months will be challenging, but the advocacy as imparted by the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) remains – to make governance a “shared responsibility.” And I am proud to be doing my role.