The weekend that was (6-19-17)

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Ghostbusters-themed horror house: one of Enchanted Kingdom’s latest attractions

Wasn’t able to blog for a week — the longest stretch, I think, ever since I started this one, back in the saner days of March. What can I say? Last week had been brutal. Super heavy workload choked with legalese, and the start of the school year for the kiddo, which means it’s back to the daily 5 a.m. wake-up time for me and the wifey, no matter how late we got home from work the previous night (we both work mid-shift, and commute long distance, in a country with shitty transport system). Indeed, what my body needs now is 10 hours of quality sleep. Either that, or gallons of strong coffee.

Meanwhile, the weekend:

Saturday

  • Went to Enchanted Kingdom with the girls for our office’s annual “family day.” Heat, humidity, crowd, overpriced grub, rides, shrieks, pricey souvenir items, late-afternoon rain, ankle-deep floods — and yet, strangely, it was fun.

Sunday

  • Answered Father’s Day greetings on Facebook and in person
  • Dentist appointment + sidetrip to a furniture store looking for a cabinet for my toys and graphic novels
  • Hooked up with a friend who told me this freaky story about a community of cultists he and a friend stumbled upon while hiking in the remote boundaries of Tanay and Antipolo
  • Nap vs. Outcast marathon (nap won)
  • Grocery with the wifey
  • Late-night viewing: latest episodes of Fargo and American Gods

And now it’s Monday, and I really need that strong coffee…

My two cents: Wonder Woman

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Essentially, it’s a chick flick. Only the protagonist is a swashbuckling Amazon warrior.

In Wonder Woman, DC Extended Universe’s latest caper, it’s obvious how proud the producers are with their star, Gal Gadot. There’s hardly a scene here where Gal — whether she’s in evening gown or in full Wonder Woman regalia — is not given the best shot, the best angle, the best light. Whether in a ball or in the trenches of war-torn Europe, she is effortlessly ravishing. I guess that’s how you parade your star.

And it works! Social media raves about Wonder Woman — and even some formal movie reviews — are practically Gal Gadot worship. Justly so: Gal now owns the Wonder Woman character the same way Robert Downey Jr. owns Tony Stark/Iron Mark. DCEU really hit a jackpot in her. And it’s nice to know that we’ll see her again in November in Justice League.

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Gal Gadot may have made the movie’s flaws (too much slo-mo, a last-minute dip to cheese territory) seem insignificant, if not tolerable, but to say that the movie would’ve crashed without her would be unjust. Aside from casting Gal as Wonder Woman, another brilliant move was picking a female filmmaker in the person of Patty Jenkins to direct the film. She brings modesty and clarity to a genre where protagonists are often plagued with inner darkness or messianic complex, but without holding back on the action which — let’s face it — we expect loads of in a superhero movie like this.

Here’s to hoping Justice League will keep the DCEU momentum…

DC kind of weekend

Barring threats from terrorists and nut jobs with a proclivity for self-immolation, this weekend is going to be an awesome one for superhero and comic book freaks. The fun will be all centered on two DC characters: Batman and Wonder Woman.

For fans of the Caped Crusader, there will be a BatCon at ETON Centris Complex in Quezon City. Organizers describe it as the “inaugural Batman fan gathering event in the country” that will feature “a lot of local comic book artists, sellers, and people from the geek community” (cosplayers and fans of other characters are welcome as well). Items that will be on sale include comics, stickers and collectible toys.

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Since I’m currently under the weather (flu), my attendance in BatCon is 50/50. However, what I won’t miss for the world this weekend is the Wonder Woman film now showing in theaters. Early reviews say it’s good, with some saying it’s the best DC flick since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight in 2008So, wow. Also, the nearest cinema from my place will be showing it on 3D, so screw this flu, I’m gonna watch it come hell or ISIS!

Wonder Woman (2017)
Gal Gadot

And for those who can’t have enough of Wonder Woman or those who have nothing else to do on Sunday, Comic Odyssey will have a Wonder Woman Day in its Bonifacio Global City branch. Treats include freebies, discounts, raffles, artist meet-and-greets, costume and trivia contests. Though it looks like oodles of fun, I’ll have to take a pass on this on considering the distance of the venue and my current health condition. Yeah, bummer.

Unless, of course, Gal Gadot will be present. In that case, what flu? What distance?

A night at Canyon Cove

Trying my hand at a little travel blogging here. Why not?

See, the past weekend had been epic. Me and the girls finally had our little end-of-summer vacation, a one-night stay at Canyon Cove Hotel & Spa, a beachfront resort in Nasugbu, Batangas. It was memorable because it was the kiddo’s first experience with the ocean, and mine as well, admittedly, after over a decade of daydreaming about it. Yes, in the day and age of “piso fares” and cheap travel packages, it took me that long to drag myself to the beach. Sue me!

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Anyway, we arrived at Canyon Cove on a cloudy Sunday afternoon after a hassle-free commute by bus from Pasay City. There was a small crowd at the lobby — families checking in and checking out. We fell in line. We had pre-booked the whole thing so it was just a matter of confirming it at the admission desk. While waiting for our key card we decided to have our late lunch at Island Cafe, the place’s in-house resto. There are online reviews out there complaining about how overpriced the food in Canyon Cove is. Bullcrap, I thought. At least at Island Cafe, the price was reasonable, not very different from what you’ll pay at Savory or Max’s or Gerry’s Grill. Food was not bad, also. The only overpriced thing there was the mineral water: P40 for a bottle that was worth less than P20 outside. But that’s from the popcorn stall near the pool.

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We stayed at a Superior Room, which was ideal for two adults and up to two kids aged 12 years and below. Priced at P5,800 a night, it was a fine room, with two beds, AC system, cable TV, a functioning refrigerator, and a balcony overlooking the beach where you can sit at night listening to the waves and crickets and staring at the lights of faraway towns.

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After a couple of minutes of resting and soaking up our room, we were off running to the pool, and then later on, the beach. It was unfortunate that low-lying rain clouds robbed us of a sunset view, but at least it didn’t rain like in the past few days. That’d certainly kill the magic. Also, we’d look stupid enjoying the pool and the ocean under a downpour.

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We enjoyed the water so much that crickets were already singing in their clandestine hideaways when we emerged from it. Dinner, a little bonding time at the balcony with the lights out to heighten the mood, and then, finally, bed.

Morning: complimentary breakfast, then back to the water. We only had until noon to enjoy the place, so we didn’t waste time. For some reason, the waves were bigger this time. My seven-year-old daughter enjoyed getting whipped by it. Seeing her having the time of her life as she rolled and tumbled with the surf filled me with so much joy that I wished our vacation would never end. Or at least not yet.

But then noon came and so was the inevitable: time go home.

Changing seasons blues

Slept past 3 a.m. last night monitoring the ugly goings-on in Marawi City, a southern Philippine city besieged by armed supporters of ISIS, and now I’m feeling it. I’m drinking Cobra Energy Drink with hopes that it will sustain me for the day’s nine-hour grind. Now that martial law has been declared in Mindanao, I see a long, busy shift. It doesn’t help that it was raining when I left the house this morning. Can’t help but feel dead.

With June around the corner, so is the rainy season, and with it, the blues.

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I’ve never been fond of June. It’s the month when school opens here in the Philippines. And since my student life had been anything but happy (generally speaking), June was naturally a difficult month to deal with. I remember every time May rolled in, I’d start to have this sick feeling in my gut like everything was about to come to a tragic end. As June approached, friends and family would note my long bouts of silence, and would question why I seem to sigh a lot. For some reason, more than a decade after finishing school, rains in May still have that power to bring back that kind of weird despondency in me, and I’m helpless to shake it off. To nurse it, I listen to Owen’s At Home with Owen or Tom Waits’ Closing Time. I figure if you can’t beat it, at least give it a nice soundtrack.

Okay. Back to the grind…