Man Of Mars (August 8, 2003 – December 31, 2007)

December 1, 2006

December 2006

Filed under: music,personal,photography — drei @ 12:00 am

December Updates
Thu, 14 Dec 2006 02:20:00 GMT

intramuros at night courtship during Rizal's time
a walk back in time skyzx as inang bayan

When I brought my mom and sister during the opening night of A Walk Back In Time in Intramuros last month, I told myself I should watch the semi-interactive theatre performance again, and definitely bring my camera.  Last Friday several college friends and I were able to experience yet another crash course on Philippine History in the perspective of Manila (specifically Intramuros), and as always Tanghalang Pilipino never fails to amaze audience with great production and world class talent.  Friend Skyzx was perfect as Sisa (who actually had fans around her after the play!), who later transformed into Inang Bayan during the closing sequence.  It’s always interesting to know that this country is so rich in culture and talent, but then disheartening that not everyone has the access, or is interested in the first place.  I believe A Walk Back In Time still has one or two more weekend runs in Intramuros, and it’s highly recommended to all (including non Filipinos).  And it’s shown for free!  (Next year I plan to catch their rerun of the very funny Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Musical, and the theatre version of Sionil Jose’s The Pretenders)

johnoy, formerly from the bridge mytee, peewee, lye, skeeter, novs

Last week I was able to catch the gig of brilliant friend Johnoy, the Dave Matthews of the country, in Fresca Bar (which during our long gone college days was still known as Tapika Bar).  It’s always great reminiscing to good old times with the music of Oasis, Hootie and the Blowfish, Goo Goo Dolls, Dave Matthews Band (of course!), and the more recent ones from Coldplay and Jeff Buckley.  Plugging: Catch Johnoy and some of the talented artists in the Pinoy rock scene in the once in a blue moon Beatles Night on December 18 in 70s Bistro.  It’s a night every audiophile in the metro shouldn’t miss.

the financial systems team ang payaso
le carnivale walter and alvin

Last Tuesday Hewlett-Packard had its Carnival-themed company Christmas party in Le Pavillon.  The hall was filled with booths of dirty ice cream, buffet food, and Nachos, all for free; and of course there’s the overflowing faucets of beer in one corner.  (French practice: Nous allons au Pavillon a Mardi, et nous maungons la glace et Nachos.  Haha!)  Some of my teammates and I chose to avoid the crowd and the expected long program and stayed in the lobby, where we got to enjoy our booze and smoke.  I wasn’t really planning on attending the party because it was a weeknight, but then the major prizes in the Christmas raffle really caught my attention (plasma TV, 80gig ipod, etc).  Sadly I didn’t get to bring home any of the major prizes, and instead got myself a new non-stick frying pan.  Not bad, hehe.

with shelwin, sherbee, julie, and abi swimming gear

Last night I had my Christmas dinner with my circle from my previous company in Sherbee’s new Ortigas condo.  It’s always fun hanging out with great friends, and I’m glad we still keep in touch even after I left my old company.  And for our kris kringle, another item is scratched off in my Christmas wish list: a new pair of swimming goggles!  Thanks Julie!  (I got Abi the new Incubus CD and a spa gift certificate)

Next week I’ll be flying home with my sister for the holidays.  I’m planning to visit my father’s hometown alone in South Cotabato, which sadly may not push through since my Titas think I may not be able to return to Iligan for Christmas on time; they say bus rides could be really terrible.  Tsk.  I’m still hoping I can go though, since I miss my Aunt Shirley so much, and I’ve never traveled to my father’s place by myself.After Christmas, I’m going whiteriver rafting with high school friends in Cagayan de Oro!  I’m so excited for this, especially that my college friend and dormate Dianne will join us (all the way from Baguio!), and will stay with my family for a few days before the New Year.  The itinerary of her first visit to Iligan City includes visit to the famous waterfalls and spring pools, and I just love touring people in my home city.  I can’t wait!It’s just few days before Christmas.  Happy Holidays everyone!!
Best Music of 2006

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 15:59:00 GMT

In 2004 I made a list of my favorite albums and singles of the year and for 2005 I made a quick list of my favorite albums.  This year, there are six albums that became personal favorites.  If you haven’t bought gifts for friends or for yourselves this Christmas, I highly recommend any of these.

continuum by john mayer
Continuum by John Mayer
A definite first in the list is John Mayer’s new studio album since 2003’s Heavier Things.  Many may argue that Mayer’s first album Room For Squares is still his best work, but I personally think Continuum is just as great, or even better.  Room For Squares was the perfect shower companion which makes me sing my lungs out line after line of any track on the album; Continuum on the other hand is a less sing-able and more mature and personal take on Mayer’s music, and much more endearing.  Of course we still hear the signature upbeat sound of his guitars, but the theme is the selling point of the record.  Mayer sings “when you’re dreaming with a broken heart, the waking up is the hardest part”, which could probably be the saddest line in the history of breakup songs.  Continuum is also my bet for Album of the Year in the Grammy’s this year.  Favorites in the album are Heart of Life, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, Waiting on the World to Change, In Repair, and I Don’t Trust Myself (In Loving You).  Catch the two part season 7 opening of CSI Vegas, where John Mayer guested as himself and performed two tracks from the album.  (Digression: because of too many good TV shows right now – with Gregory House leading the pack – I wasn’t able to catch up with CSI and forgot how great the show is.  It definitely still is noir TV at its finest.  Thank you Shelley for the updated episodes!)

chariot by gavin degraw
Chariot by Gavin DeGraw
This album was actually released more than a year ago, but I only got to hear the entire album this year, thanks to my college editor Egai.  This album is like Continuum but in Prozac, no wonder Bo Bice and Elliot Yamin used one of his songs in American Idol.  (Another TV related digression: I think 2006 is the worst year for Idol.  When I was expecting a Chris-Elliot finale, we were given a trying hard pretty face and a dancing old guy, hehe!)  This album is definitely going down in the history of alternative music.  Favorite tracks in the album are Belief, Overrated, Meaning, Just Friends, Nice To Meet You, and More Than Anyone.  Last year Degraw performed with John Mayer in a charity concert, with Andre Agassi as a major supporter and guest.  Man, that charity show would have been perfect for me!

fragmented by up dharma down
Fragmented by Up Dharma Down
The first of two OPM artists in this list is Up Dharma Down.  The NU Rock awards Best New Artist is one unique act, whose sound is a creative mix of funky jazz and soulful alternative.  Around midyear I was so into their music, that I watched one of their intimate gigs and watched them perform in the MTV Pilipinas Awards, not to mention that both were during weeknights.  Favorite tracks are June, Pag-agos, Layag, and Oo.

the powder room stories by skarlet
The Powder Room Stories by Skarlet
Who would’ve thought that the reincarnate of Ella Fitzgerald is a Filipina?  Formerly the vocalist of the ska band Put3ska, and the reggae band Brownbeat All Stars, Skarlet is one hell of a terrific artist, whose talent really belongs to the jazz genre.  Her first solo record The Powder Room Stories is a perfect album of Big Band and vocal jazz.  Forget those Bossa artists who keep popping everywhere, this is what real vocal jazz is all about.  The opening track alone can transport you to the set of the Chicago musical, and her rendition of One Way Ticket to the Blues is one of the best I’ve heard.  Notable tracks are Anguish, a ballad she wrote for the guitarist of Color It Red after his 10 year old daughter succumbed to cancer, and Babae Ka, the only Tagalog song in the album.  Favorites are the upbeat Birdy Bop and Call Me, which on a first impression gave a Diana Krall feel.  Official release of Skarlet’s album will be on February 2007.

corinne bailey rae
Corinne Bailey Rae by Corinne Bailey Rae
Corinne is nominated for three of the four major Grammy Awards for this year, and I’m really hoping she’ll get the Best New Artist trophy.  Even the great John Mayer is a big fan, and writes about Rae in his blogCorinne’s first album is one masterpiece of relaxing soul music.  Favorites are Trouble Sleeping, Put Your Records On, Like A Star, and Call Me When You Get This.

in my own words by ne-yo
In My Own Words by Ne-yo
I’ve never loved an entire RnB album since TLC’s Crazysexycool, and Ne-yo’s freshman work is definitely the bomb of 2006.  (Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake would be runners up in the bomb category this year.)  Modern rhythm and blues may always be associated with shallow lyrics, and this one is no exception, but it’s the sound that makes RnB what it is.  Danceable beat, hip mood, and funky melody.  In My Own Words is a prime example in that heap, and a big winner at that.  Favorites are Sexy Love, It Just Ain’t Right, and Get Down Like That.

See the 2006 Grammy Nominees here.

Personally, 2006 was a great year for pop culture, travel, and career.  The general “theme” of my year may that be of nursing a broken heart, but the rollercoaster ride of emotions could just be worth it.  Initially, I forcibly enjoyed music, movies, theatre, and TV this year.  I climbed the peak of Mount Pulag, partied in the beaches of Galera and Boracay, and discovered different islands in Zambales, Batangas, and the Visayas, partially thinking that all these travels will speed up the healing time.  I moved to a new company, which by far is the best company I’ve worked for.  In the end, I realized I still genuinely enjoyed the year, despite the said “theme”.  2006 was a blast, and I can’t wait to conquer 2007.I’m now home in Iligan City for the holidays.  If in Manila I barely have time to watch all the movies I want to watch, meet all the friends I want to meet, or finish all the things at work, my life here is an exact contrast.  I have all the time in the world, and I even have to look for things to do.  Almost everything is also prepared for – a clean house, delicious meals, and laundry I need not pay.  I know this is normal to many people, but not to someone who’s been away from home since college.  This afternoon I played badminton with my dad, brother, and sister, in the gym of my dad’s company and after the game we were enjoying native chicken Tinola at home, which during the morning was still a live chicken that our maid bought.  Earlier at lunch we had fish, shells, and Bulalo.  If there’s one thing I always miss in Iligan, it’s the food, since everything is fresh, and there’s seafood everywhere.  Good thing I still have more than a week to enjoy all these, along with a Sedaris book to finish (this guy is hilarious!) and as always a bunch of DVDs to watch (saw the Japanese film Battle Royale last night – great and gory!).

Hoping everyone is enjoying their holidays as well.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!


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