Monday, November 14, 2016

For The Sake of Beautiful Memories and Wonderful Stories

Whoa! That was fast! Two weeks have passed already and I have never even had my fill of Halloween treats yet.

No really, it's already the 14th of November and I am still hoping for some Halloween feels 'cause I didn't get any. It's like the stuff don't exist anymore - you know that feeling when you first learned that Santa is not the one giving you gifts on Christmas morn? That's how it is this year.

Well anyway, I did get some early Christmas treats. I was able to meet international Broadway star Lea Salonga two Fridays ago.

And then it dawned on me that very same day that I have already met a lot of different famous personalities since I started attending blogging events 6 years ago - June 23, 2010 to be exact. I have also been to a lot of places in and outside Mega Manila, places I have never thought that I'll be able to go to.

The last 6 years have been a whirlwind of events and activities that I have never thought of it as something that is truly an important part of my life. What seems to be like work (kind'a) are awesome memories that needs to be cherished.

So I decided to make a personal catalog of everything (I hope) - and publish it here or on Wattpad, I haven't decided yet. The tricky part is that while most of my activities are chronicled either here on this blog or at rainCHECK (my Lifestyle blog), some are not properly labeled or documented. 

Unlike other online media, I didn't think that taking photos together with people that I meet is a necessary part of a coverage or an interview. The result is that I only have around 20% photos of me with the famous personalities that I've personally talked to in the past 6 years. Bummer!

Now I know why it's important! :)

I love taking pictures but I am however not that comfortable with having my own picture taken. I am also not that fond of taking selfies or groufies - I try but... well okay I'll try.

I remember interviewing Direk Wenn V. Deramas for the film "Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy" three years ago. I remembered him crying during the interview while explaining to the bloggers the beautiful message of the movie. I have a video of that interview posted on YouTube and on my blog - Direk Wenn died this year on February 29. Here is our picture together taken in 2013. 

For the sake of beautiful memories and wonderful stories to tell. I'll try.   

Saturday, November 12, 2016

On Duterte Fans and Hitler's Ghost

"When he's right, he's right and even when he's wrong, he's always right."

The political landscapes all over the world is changing, and people everywhere are fidgety because for the first time after World War II, a looming cloud of uncertainty has covered the entire planet.

That has been the case here in the Philippines too since after the installation of President Rodrigo Duterte, who's "All out War on Drugs" and "Foreign Policy Shifts" has gained some mixed local and international views.

Regardless of his controversial decisions  and questionable style of communication, the new President of the Philippines remains to be one of the most popular person among his people. And maybe in China and Russia as well. :)

With millions of Filipino supporters and FANS here and abroad, he's like the Alden Richards of Philippine politics. I just couldn't find a dimple anywhere. 

The good news is that BIG NUMBERS wins, the bad news is... BIG NUMBERS wins.

Hitler's Ghost

If we go back in history and revisit the events that has transpired prior to the rise of Nazi Germany and World War II, you'll find that it all started with a CHARISMATIC person who bears a GRUDGE. His name was Adolf Hitler.

His rise to power was brought about by his ability to give a demoralized (and oppressed) people a reason to believe that they can be great again. He capitalized on the growing desperation of the people. His persistent campaign to restore German Pride gave rise to millions of worshiping fans that catapulted him to the highest position in the land. Fans who would defend him and even gave their own lives and the lives of their children for him.

Hitler was an excellent, charismatic leader with millions of followers - but he gave the world it's most devastating man-made catastrophe that claimed an immeasurable number of lives.

Now, although President Duterte have been quoted in the past comparing himself to Hitler, let me just make it clear that I AM NOT SAYING THAT DUTERTE IS THE HITLER OF THIS GENERATION - and this post is not even about him. It's about the FANS!

However, one cannot deny certain similarities - both are excellent and charismatic leaders with millions of WORSHIPING followers. Duterte's campaign is also centered on the plight of a desperate nation burdened with a huge drug problem (according to the government) which they linked to criminality, corruption and poverty.     

Duterte's Fans  

In one of his most recent statement, the President said that "he believes in God but not in organized religion," - which to me is kinda like one of those hypocritical statements, because his idea of God was formed in the religion that he was raised in. To say that you believe in God and not believe in religion is like getting a fruit from a tree that never existed.

Whether he admits it or not, his idea of God came from a religious belief. 

It's more acceptable if he just told us that he's an agnostic. But he didn't say that - he clearly said that he believes in God.          

Unfortunately, that statement has introduced me to two types of Duterte supporters (or Fans):

Fan #1 is a lot like Duterte (Believes in God, No to Religion) but worships Duterte like a deity along with other followers.

Fan #2 is a member of an organized religion but agrees and even defends Duterte's statement. Well, actually all of his statements. So whatever happened to your religious faith? In the order of priorities, was it Duterte first and God second?

I don't know which of the two types of fans is worse.

In one of the talks that I gave to young students I said,
"Don't let augmented reality games take you away from the real thing - you don't know what you're missing-out when you're always glued on virtual spaces.. see with your own eyes, experience with your own senses, catch more friends and collect lots of awesome memories."
Just the same, I now tell all fans of political figures (not just Duterte) to not let your love and admiration or hate and abhor for one person cloud your ability to think and to be blinded to the truth and what matters most. You got your own minds - use it. 

The Propaganda

I am not a fan but I don't hate him either. I don't know him that much to admire or loathe him as a person.

As a political figure, yes there have been some areas in his character and personality that seems to be a little off for me. I even expressed my disappointments on some areas of his policies because it goes against the basic principles that I hold dear.

But I did however saw some things that I do like about the new President and I have openly expressed and complimented him a couple of times for both his humor and leadership capabilities.

The sad part is that many Duterte supporters have embraced the FANDOM MENTALITY excessively and are unable to objectively see through all the events that are transpiring. They have an answer to every criticisms even before weighing the merits of the criticism presented. A meme to every negative issues and a way to divert blames on other people, events or things. The same way the Nazis are with Adolf Hitler. And our grand parents have witnessed the dangers of this kind of behavior.

The main symptom of these bug is that these people can't say anything bad about their idol.

Which is totally insane! Because no one is that perfect - Only God is perfect!

I can even tell you 2 or 3 things about my mother that I don't like.

An organized version of that are the various websites and social media pages on the internet that features biased news and opinions in favor of the President - back in Hitler's time they call these publications as a propaganda. I can name you several websites that has 'biased' reporting written all over it.

And if you're a die-hard fan, you'll ONLY read and believe these sites and its articles.

The thing about propaganda is that they're also known as a very effective BRAINWASHING tool. That's why most political groups resort to these activities to forward their agenda.

The Challenge  

Now there are several ways to prove to yourself that you are not one of the people that got brainwashed.

First is that if you can still find 2 or 3 things about your idol that you are not fond of and openly expressed it without defending it from yourself. Can you? Can I hear a challenge accepted?

I am not much of a fan-type of person - I wear no colors, and that keeps me impartial, objective.. and sane. I was one of those people who have criticized the past administration for its flaws and I am doing it again in this new administration.

I praise the good stuff and you can be sure that my eyes are wide open and will never let the bad stuff slip pass by me. 

Second is if you can still differentiate what's factual news and opinion-based articles.

For example, I have read from one of a propaganda news website an article with this title: Duterte Lectures Inquirer Reporter Who Put Malice on His Comments About Leni Robredo - now based on the title, it may appear to be like a news article and the site does not distinguishes a news article from an opinion-based article, so to an unsuspecting supporter (FAN) all of it are factual news!

But when you read the opening paragraph, it starts like this:

"The mainstream media is really getting desperate. After a series of “mistranslations” of the President’s statements by the Lopez-owned ANS-CBN network, it is now the turn of the Philippine Daily Inquirer to try and create a mountain out of a molehill."

The first line already tells you that the post is not news and that the writer presented his bias already. It's an opinion article and should be taken for what it is - just a point of view.

Regardless of the merit of the article, we must first learn to distinguish that this is only an opinion and not NEWS.

A blog, like my blog is not news - and this post you're reading now is an opinion-based article.

To conclude: Let me just say that being a fan is not a bad thing, but just make sure that you don't turn into mindless zombies in the process.

We don't want another charismatic leader causing havoc in the world because the fans allowed it to happen.

Fr. Aelred Nilo, OSB said in a homily:
Earthly life is so good that it can sometimes distract us from God. Ironically life itself suppresses our desire to think about any life beyond this world or about God. Because of our attachment to worldly life MAN HIMSELF BECOMES A SUBSTITUTE FOR GOD. This is perhaps the reason why Mark Helprin said, "The human race is intoxicated with narrow victories, for life is a string of them like pearls that hit the floor when the rope breaks, and roll away in perfection and anarchy.”
I am not a fan. I give my adoration and worship only to God and God alone. I praise men for their actions and convictions.

GOD first, COUNTRY second, FAMILY third, SELF fourth ... showbiz personalities last.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

NeoSKY | Perfect Two

Finally caught this two on video during one of their jamming sessions last night.

Here's NEO and SKY and their rendition of PERFECT TWO by Auburn.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Now You See Me 2 Vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 #5SecReview

So I just recently watched two, months-old sequel films here in Manila - Now You See Me 2 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadow.

To give you a little background, I am a big fan of the first "Now You See Me" film which was shown in 2013 but I didn't like the 2014 Michael Bay produced reboot of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

After watching the sequels, I guess the tide has changed - I am now impressed with TMNT Out of the Shadows and a little bit disappointed with Now You See Me 2.

Most of the cast of the two films have reprise their roles in the sequels, they also have the same set of writers. And so I am assuming that the most critical changes were brought by their new directors.
  • Now You See Me 1 - Louis Leterrier (hence the French environment)
  • Now You See Me 2 - John M. Chu (hence the Chinese environment)
  • TMNT 1 - Jonathan Liebesman (Battle Los Angeles/Wrath of Titans)
  • TMNT 2 - Dave Green (Earth to Echo)
For a show about magic and the best magicians in the world, Now You See Me 2 lost some of the first film's 'magic'. It lacks the thrill and awe that we have experienced during the first one. I guess I was expecting to see more spectacular and mind boggling illusions instead of hearing about conspiracies and other boring revelations.

I was actually dreaming of a Now You See Me wizards' showdown. A Jesse Eisenberg-Daniel Radcliffe magic battle would be nice! But instead we got a lousy version of Oceans 11.

Now "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows" actually redeemed the first movie. I love that they didn't focused much on 'origin' stories again just like what they did on the first one which totally messed-up the 90s version.

The new film has more turtle action, less drama and even more humor. "Turtle Power" was born and so is the character of the vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell).

The evil alien Krang and mutants BeBop and RockSteady was portrayed awesomely. I think transforming a human Bebop and Rocksteady to animal mutant villains are more believable, so deviating from their origin story was really a necessary act.

The Now You See Me plot has a lot of potentials to turn it into an epic movie, I hope the writers will be able to see that and make it right.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has already made its marked in cinematic history, making it more entertainingly appealing to today's audiences will be the producer's greatest challenge.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

STRANGER THINGS | More of That Strange 80s Stuff #5SecReview

I just finished watching all the 8 episodes of Netflix's latest hit series STRANGER THINGS!

Of course this show deserves a second season but first here's what I think about the first one.

Stranger Things got a lot of awesome reviews everywhere and for good reasons too, but it is still incomparable to HBO's cinematic masterpiece Game of Thrones.

But here are some of the good points that made it one of the most watched series of 2016:
  • The story written by the Duffer Brothers pays homage to 80s most famous story-tellers like Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King. The over-all environment of the series takes you back to some of the masters' early works.
  • Aside from the settings, the music also captured that 80s feel especially "Episode 2: The Weirdo on Maple Street" which features some of my favorite 80s music and the score was absolutely perfect.
  • Winona Ryder! Need I say more?
  • Actually I have to commend Winona with her performance here as Joyce Byers, the mother of Will who mysteriously went missing on Episode 1. This is by far her best performance as an actress yet (in my opinion). Although appearing first as an actress in the late 80s, Winona achieved showbiz fame in the 90s.
The series bears a lot of similarities with films of the same genre made during the 80s and has "Steven Spielberg" written on the plot from the start. Even saw some parts of "Super 8" somewhere in there. Super 8 is a 2011 Spielberg film.

But the similarities are not an accident. And the show didn't appear as a rip-off! In a way, it honored the masters. Telling the millennials that these are the stuff of great imagination back in the 80s and that's how stories are supposed to be told.

So it's not original nor visually spectacular, but it is an awesome story worth telling over and over again.

Stranger Things also stars Milly Bobby Brown (as the weirdo 11), Natalie Dyer (as nancy), Finn Wolfhard (as Mike), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas), Noah Schnapp (Will), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan), David Harbour (Chief Jim Hopper) and Matthew Modine (as Dr. Martin Brenner).

Season 2 is scheduled to come out next year (2017).

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Evolving Team Rain

I would just like to say that I am the extremely proud parent of two very wonderful kids, and seeing them grow to become responsible and kindhearted young adults makes me so happy... and old.

I would suggest for them to 'not grow old so fast' but we all know that's not up to them, or us.

It's the law of the universe - people and all living things grow and change. And CHANGE is the only constant thing in this world - that's why I'd like to inform those people who used the slogan "Change Is Coming" in the last election that it's wrong because "Change is Always Happening" whether you shout that from the top of your lungs or not.

Now, the kind of change that happens is determined by the events or situations from which it was created. We can will for the change that we want but sometimes it just take its own course.

Anyway, I'd just like to share that my 12 year old daughter just got her period the other day.

I was actually worried because she was absent for two days in school and kept on complaining about a persistent headache and abdominal pains. We were going to bring her to the clinic but our family doctor was out on a seminar. So bummer.

And then it happened.

So I called her mom and asked her what to do because 'haleer' I have never experienced that and don't actually know the ABCs on that subject.

What this all means is that, as a father, I am gonna do a little bit more 'hawk-eyeing' on her friends! Boys will need to go over the Hulk first before they can talk to my daughter! It's gonna be a Hulk Smash moment for the poor kid that tries!

Now my 17 year old son is very remarkable!

He was a victim of bullying in school which really affected his self-esteem. He actually skipped a school year because of that incident.

That's one of the reason why I am really advocating for various anti-bullying campaigns.  But it's a complex matter since there are many forms of bullying and a lot of factors why it is happening. Reasons may be rooted to clinical, psychological or experiential but whatever the case may be, it must be stopped and the correct way of dealing with the problem is not to eliminate the bullies (the DU30 way of doing things - I suppose) but to address the issues on a case-to-case basis - find out what the cause is and treat the root of the problem.

When you see bullying as a sickness and the bully as a victim of this disease - you can always find a win-win solution to it. Treat the problem and not the person. (and that goes with other social issues like drugs, alcoholism, etc.)

Getting rid of a complex problem takes more than just simply getting rid of the symptoms. It's always going to grow back because the root of the problem is still there - just like a fungus. So there.    

But going back to my son, growing-up was very difficult for him (and for us) because he was somewhat emotionally incapacitated because of that, but seeing him right now makes me want to cry tears of joy.

During his last year in Junior High, we were able to actually see him on stage performing long lines confidently for a school stage play. A side of him that we thought we'd never ever see.

And then just last week he's on the stage again together with his classmates for a school presentation - he's in Grade 11 now studying at St. Paul University Manila.

In Pokemon Go lingo, I think I have already earned enough Sky Candies and Neo Candies to bring them to their second stage of evolution. I wonder who will they become in their next stage - and I hope that I will still be here to see it when that happens. :)

Go Team Rain!

Thursday, August 11, 2016


written May 2010

Here is a typical local job wanted advertisement box that you'll find on leading newspapers today and specially on Sundays:


Female Only

not more than 28 years old

with at least 1 year experience

What's my interpretation?

Female Only

Well, if you're a male you got no chance of getting a job there and believe me, majority of the ads that you'll find on newspapers these days prefers female workers than male for reasons that aren't so clear to me.

I'm going to generalize that this would mean that there are more job opportunities for female workers than for male these days. So probably, there will be even more 'tambays' in the Philippines.

Some people are quick to judge men of being just lazy but look at the present social structure that they are living in right now. I will bet my new pants that if you count and categorize workers today, a lot of companies will have more female office workers than males, and majority of the men are either drivers, maintenance people, messengers or security guards.

It's ironic though that MOST of the top management positions in many companies are still mostly given to male executives. And why is that? 

Not more than 28 years old

This could be the new standard age limit for most non-technical and semi-technical job opportunities which qualifies majority of the able workers here in the Philippines.

However, what about those who are 29 years and older? What opportunities do they have if after their 28th birthday and they aren't still successful of establishing a career or getting a stable job?

Majority of those in the bracket of 30 something are already settled down and with kids. How are they to support their families if there are no job opportunities available for them?

With at least 1 year experience

Now this is truly ridiculous, well if you're in the bracket of below 28 years old, most probably you'll still be looking for work experiences but majority of the ads I see requires job seekers to have at least a year's work experience.

A friend of mine commented saying:
"Langya' kaya ka nga nag-aaply ng trabaho para magkaroon ng experience tapos hahanapan ka ng experience."
What does this mean - well, if you've just graduated, this job is not for you and maybe majority of the jobs being advertised are not for you. What a bummer, finish four years of college and you still need an experience to get a job, but how are you gonna get an experience if no one will hire you in the first place.

What a dumb society we live in.

The Philippines has one of the most unfair employment requirements in the world. In other places it is illegal to indicate age or gender as a requirement for work, not unless it is DEEMED necessary.

My OFW friends once told me, that in the countries where they've work - and they have worked in many different places already - most establishments don't have any age or gender requirement. As long as you are fit and able and passed all the interviews you'll most likely to get the job.

The stupidest thing is that here in the Philippines, agencies who handle recruitment of workers for the same establishments abroad still adds the age and gender requirements.

Apparently, if you wanted to get that job and you didn't pass the age and gender requirement, you'll have to go to that country and apply personally because the agencies here are making it impossible for a lot of people to get in.

It's hard to get ahead in this life when there are a lot of systems of injustices and unfair practices prevailing in our society. Life is already hard as it is but other people tend to make it even harder for others.


written May 2010
"Eto na ang break mo... KAGATIN MO NA!"

I wonder how Robin Padilla got his big break in show business?

Actually, I really don't understand the concept of a "Big Break" maybe it's because I don't feel like anything like that has ever happened to me before.

Someone told me that "Luck is the event of being ready for an opportunity when it happens."

So, luck may also be called as a "Big Break"

And when you missed out on that "Big Break" that may be attributed to being "Unlucky" or having a "Bad Luck" or any other extreme phrases you can think of to express disappointments.

Well, if that's the case then I think I've had my share of "Big Breaks" as well in the past.
Sadly, 'Big Breaks' are not meant to last. They're one shot deals that disappears when taken for granted or when not fully realized (understood or accepted).

So maybe, it was really entirely my fault that my "Big Breaks" didn't last that long.

Let me cite some instances.

Two years of investing and putting into trial a lot of systems to find out what works and what didn't.. and after finally setting up a good system and was about to reap the rewards of all my hard work somebody shows up, inexperienced and incompetent and with all the wrong motives, snatches up your two years work and networks.

This person was the anointed one.. the one baptized in a river and to whom the boss' finds favor (if you get my drift).

The opportunity here is to kiss the buts of the bosses and you get to stay in your place. BUT I am never that good at kissing buts - I am however good at kicking them.

To make the story short - I kicked buts and I got sacked. :)

Not very good playing with incompetent people, it usually makes my stomach sick.

If I did, I might still be there reaping. So... it was really my fault.

This incident happened to me twice.. my reaction was the same and I got the same result.

There must be something wrong with me! hehehe.

That's why I will never be able to make it inside politics. It's a very messy place and I don't like messy places. I can never condition myself to see a messy place and not do anything about it.

I will never understand the concept of a "Big Break" entirely but maybe I'll just have to hope that I will still get mine, someday. 

What's Your Greatest Achievement?

written on January, 2010

I was thinking about this routine job interview question in the internet that I found the other day.

"What was your greatest achievement so far?"

It caught my attention because:

1). It's like a question that would likely be addressed to Homer Simpson and then I laughed at some of his possible answers.

2). Because frankly, it's a question I haven't thought about yet.

So I paused and then contemplate on my answer. I imagined myself writing a lot of figures and references on the space provided but instead my answer came out like this:


I was able to accomplish all the projects and programs that I've handled with flying colors even if it is out of my league.

I was fortunate to have been a part and be transformed as an instrument for developing programs that helped a lot of people most specially the poor.

I was able to meet a lot of people and somehow made an impact in their lives no matter how little or how big.

These things did not make me rich.. but I am blessed with friends abundantly.

I may not have made a career out of the things that I do.. but the experiences and memories are worth more than any treasures in the world.


My Family.

I have been blessed with two wonderful and loving kids and a very understanding and exceptional wife.

I wouldn't ask for anything more.

(except for a house on a lot, a family car, trust fund for the kids, pocket cash for our family vacation around the world... hehehe) - of course I edited this part out.

The Out of the Ordinary Juan

written in December, 2009 

There are people that you meet in ordinary places and circumstances that seems to make your life a bit easier, more livable and more enjoyable – these people comes in different shapes and sizes but they are a bit extraordinary.

For example, this morning, there was this person who rode on the same Jeepney that Sky and I took going to her school.

He took the seat up front near the driver and was carrying two sling bags. We were seated at the opposite side and right in the middle of the bench.

He was about to pay for his fare when all of a sudden the passengers on his side of the car and almost all at the same time brought out their money to pay for their fares too. This person then reach out for the fares of all the other passengers one by one and with a smile each time. Not a single soul said ‘thank you’ – what would you expect, this is the City of Manila – but he just smiled anyway. When at last every single fare and change was delivered, he took out his money and pay the driver his own fare.

He alighted the at the Pureza LRT station along with most of the passengers and then a new set of passengers entered the passenger jeep.

The last of the new batch was a middle-aged woman carrying a small bag and she was trying to get a seat in the middle but the Jeepney was already full so she has no other choice but to get the seat up front nearest to the driver, the same place where the kind man was seated earlier.

She took out her cellfone and texted away. Then, the passengers from the back and almost all at the same time brought out their money to pay for their fares. There were people trying to pass the fares to her because she was nearer the driver’s seat but the woman just texted and texted not minding the other passengers.

The person next to her was forced to make long stretches just to bring the fares to the driver’s hand.

One by one the passengers went down and seeing that her side of the bench was already free the woman moved to the back. The only one left in the Jeepney was her, me and sky.

She then brought out her fare and then reach out to me and said “pakisuyo po” - of course I reached for her fare and then inched my way to bring her fare to the driver.

After seeing that her fare was safely delivered she then went back to texting again.

Realizing the irony of this trip, I suddenly missed the person who was kind enough to reach for the passengers fare earlier and began to wonder why everyone can’t be like that.

Maybe this small realization could become a guide for us in selecting the people that we want in our lives - whether a friend, a lover or even our next President.

We should select people that makes life easier.  People who are kind. People who goes out of their way to reach out and help and people you’ll miss when they’re not around.

Leaders, servants or just the plain out of the ordinary JUAN.