Category: not-so-normal life

Toycon 2014

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Late post! Been busy, the usual. Even on the day of Toycon itself, I was too busy to prepare an actual cosplay. Donned a Spyro kigurumi instead!

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Ber in her 2nd ever cosplay; a perfect Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service!

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Star Wars Rebels promo booth. Got extra free posters because the dude manning the booth appreciated my fangirling. Haha!

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The moving, beeping Artoo (which I believe was made locally by a Philippine droid builders’ club) taking a break.

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I know jack squat about cars and racing, but in another life I could be down with being a podracer! …Provided that I also get to be a Jedi.

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Spyro cosplaying as super kawaii Peter Dinklage.

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HANDS DOWN THE BEST COSPLAY I SAW THAT DAY. HOW AMAZING IS THAT OOGIE BOOGIE?

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 A wild Bym appeared; this was his first convention too! And soon thereafter we headed back home to get some work done.

Kinda Freakin’ Awesome

So life’s actually been pretty damn cool for such an uncool little hermit girl like me. I’m kind of fangirling over the things that have been happening, which’ve been, as the title says, kinda freakin’ awesome. I’ve been busy dealing and working with the said awesomeness, but I have a bit of downtime today, so here are some of my favorite April/May moments:

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Last April, the unthinkable happened: two of my usually very distant worlds collided! My good theatre friends attended a cosplay convention with me! Two of them even cosplayed for the very first time. My young padawans did very, very well. That’s Dar and Ber, two of my greatest friends from blueREP, cosplaying Luffy and Nami One Piece. Ejay, on my left, tagged along at the last minute and bought tons of awesome geeky trinkets. He’s also a friend from blueREP, but he and I are active in the professional theatre scene now (wohoo!) The Ryoga to my Ranma is Billie, one of my high school best friends and one of the last people from my high-school-best-friend-cosplay-group who still goes to conventions and cosplays with me to this day.

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It was a great first convention for my theatre friends, because together we witnessed a Deadpool cosplayer performing Let It Go from Frozen, complete with Elsa gown costume change! I found the performance on youtube, too. It was hilarious, and the best part is, it would totally make sense for Deadpool to do something like this.

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Later on, a little Anna cosplayer joined him on stage and they re-enacted the For The First Time in Forever reprise!! This is going to be one of my favorite convention memories in a long time.

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The 1st of May was met with my 2nd cosplay competition judging stint ever at Best of Anime Summer Edition. I’ve declined a few previous requests to judge and/or host at various cosplay events due to theatre-related schedule conflicts, so it feels good to have finally made room for this! Plus I got to watch a legit JPop act called Starmarie. They had Japanese fans that flew to the Philippines just to watch them perform. That was pretty intriguing.

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My new phone case is one of those little things you own that make you happy just by looking at them. It was made by Dar’s sister (Dar is the Luffy cosplayer in the first photo!) and is painted entirely with nail polish! In case you can’t recognize the character, that’s Princess Anna from Disney’s Frozen– who is my ultimate Disney princess soulmate– in her “For The First Time In Forever” dress.

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I may be unworthy young but I’m ready! Look ma, my huge crush on Tom Hiddleston was published on local news! I was recently given the honor of being included in Young Star’s 2014 Fresh Produce, an annual list that features the latest of Manila’s emerging young talents. Hold up, uhh, damn what? Me? An “emerging young talent”? Since freaking when? You can’t even begin to fathom my overwhelmed-ness and disbelief, but I’m totally grateful and I promise I won’t let Young Star down. You can read the full article and check out the full list of uber talented kids here.

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I just finished my first week of Rollerblades training for Tanghalang Pilipino’s Sandosenang Sapatos, too! It’s my 2nd professional show after Cinderella. Sometimes I catch myself thinking: I’m doing it! I can’t believe I’m really doing pro theatre! (And then it starts to feel like I’ve been displaced into an alternate universe..)

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I have a terrible sense of balance, so Rollerblading’s been tough but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with my learning curve thus far. I mean, it isn’t the best but it’s still way better than what I expected from myself. Maybe it’s ’cause I learned how to skateboard beforehand…? But anyway, the fact that this is my first foray into Filipino material is something I’m dang psyched about, and I’m happy to be working with actors from a wide variety of backgrounds/companies. So many new things are happening, and it’s all because of theatre! Actually, theatre makes me do/try new things every single time. That’s one of the reasons why I love it so dearly.

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I also attended the Young Star Prom (though I’ll always feel way too uncool for these media parties) with THE Ejay Yatco. He’s technically my first prom date ever– I’m a little late in the game, but when your first prom date is a musical genius informally hailed as the Ryan Cayabyab of our generation, I still feel like a winner!

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The theme was prom Kla$$Y which actually meant go in something ratchet. I didn’t wanna wear a “trashy/revealing” outfit, so Ejay and I opted for a wannabe prince/princess-of-Bel-Air look. I think we look pretty convincing as tasteless, spoiled kids.

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Another thing that’s been making me happy: a (finally restocked) set of makeup basics that’s been unlocking my inner makeup geek! I think I’ve found some makeup products I’m going to be sticking with for life– err, until I find better products. No absolute commitment guaranteed. Haha! I don’t like wearing makeup everyday, and I don’t like looking “made-up,” so these are the products I’ve been using when I feel obliged to decorate my face but don’t want it to look like fondant cake, and don’t want the hassles of retouching. In short, heavy duty, natural-looking war paint! Clockwise from the top right: 1) Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in 415 Pink In The Afternoon (the prettiest nude pink. Like the pink you think of when you think of ballerinas!), 2) 3CE Lip Lacquer in Pink Boom, 3) Canmake Smooth Skin Primer, 4) Milani Liquid Eye, 5) Kate Mineral Liquid Foundation (my personal holy grail foundation! Does a great job and doesn’t break me out!), 6) Milani Baked Blush in 05 Luminoso (a Nars Orgasm dupe!), 7) Revlon in Super Lustrous Lipstick in 535 Rum Raisin (a brown-red for days you want a stronger lip without having to plunge into a bright red), 8) 3CE Eye Brightener in Ivory Beige.

Whew, that’s it so far. I remember February to March being an anxiety-filled set of months for me. I was going through all sorts of auditions and interviews at the time, putting on my best possible brave face amidst all the uncertainty and insecurity and trying very hard to make the coming months something I would be proud of… It feels surreal to admit, but I think I’ve succeeded. (Which means my brave face has been getting braver. Awwwyeah) But I actually may have kiiind of overloaded my schedule… Even better! Ain’t no rest for the awkweird wicked though, I’ve gotta keep up the persistence and consistence. Aight, downtime over. Back to work play now!

Cinderella Manila (Tradeshow Backstage Snapshots)

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Yesterday’s Cinderella Manila trade show marked the first day I stepped into my dressing room as a cast member of Resorts World Manila’s 2013 staging of Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. The show & press conference was slated to begin at 11am, so we were called in at 8am for hair, makeup, sound checks and a final run through to make sure things were to go on swimmingly. Everything was a rush that morning, so I only managed to steal a few snapshots.

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The first shot I took of my look for that day: the obligatory dressing room selfie.. Okay; I dislike “obligatory selfies” since really, nothing and nobody has contracted you to indulge in vanity. It’s really more like something that kind of always just happens to me. When you’re standing in front of the classic dressing room mirror decked out with lights in all its backstage-show-business pseudo-glamour, fully costumed and made up, especially when it’s the first time you’ve slipped into the costume and stood in front of that mirror.. Taking dressing room selfies almost seems like it is nature’s order. Haha!

This wig is the most gargantuan thing that has ever been placed on my head. I named it Beevus, as suggested by our co-director Rem Zamora because it looks like a beehive, and because I wanted to give it a manly name. It was begging for a manly name.

By the by, you can only imagine just how many bobby pins are holding Beevus in place.

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I adore this shot of my stepfamily getting prepped for the show by the M.A.C team! For some reason they really look in-character here, and the hair and makeup helps plenty, but it’s really because of their facial expressions and body language. In the foreground is Sweet Plantado of The Company, who alternates with theatre veteran Pinky Marquez Cancio as the stepmother. In the background is Giannina Ocampo, a Repertory Philippines talent, who plays my fellow stepsister. My darling dysfunctional family is made up of some really talented women who are just as funny off-stage as they are in their roles.

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Speaking of makeup, look at how marvelous a stage face the M.A.C artists paint on! My character, Joy, is a grumpy, sullen girl, so they chose to use dark neutrals and gave me a gaunt-looking face with heavy-looking eyes.

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Most of my castmates are celebrated local theatre veterans, and it’s a huge honor to be surrounded by such awe-inspiring and seasoned performing artists! This is Caisa Borromeo, who is a part of the ensemble and plays one of the eligible young maidens!

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This is Red Concepcion, who plays Lionel, the royal steward.

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Celebrities Christian Bautista and Karylle Tatlonghari play Prince Christopher and Cinderella, respectively. A few minutes before we were called onstage, I managed to sneak in a dressing room selfie while they were getting ready! Alternating the roles of the prince and Cinderella are Fred Lo and Julia Abueva, pictured below. A dear old friend, Justine Pena, is also another one of the Cinderellas, but I wasn’t able to see her before the show started.

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Stepfamily assemble! Welcome to the Jersey Shore of Fairytale Land.

The dress I’ve got on actually isn’t my costume for the show at all. The designers were pressed for time and were unable to finish my costume, so I used a Resorts World entertainment costume they already had on-hand just for the trade show. (What I’m wearing is a can can dress! Haha!) Can’t wait to see what my real costume’s going to look like.

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These two gorgeous women are Sheila Fransisco and Pinky Marquez. Tita Sheila plays the queen and Tita Pinky plays the stepmother. She also alternates with Tita Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as the fairy godmother.

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The press con ended and we morphed back into regular human beings. It took me a little bit beyond forever to get Beevus off and I couldn’t do it alone! I was starving and getting frantic because everyone was going ahead to the lunch with the press and I still hadn’t gotten the wig off. Hahaha!

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We still had rehearsals after the press con as there was one final scene that needed to be choreographed, so during the 2 hour break in between I waited and chatted in the dressing room with one of my castmates Giansy (my stepsister dearest!) and Christian. It was a pretty exhilarating day, and this was the last shot that I captured of it.

I’m gonna get a little sappy here: as I stepped out onto the stage for the trade show, I was so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the realization that “this is really happening; I’m really on this beautiful stage performing for an audience and it has what I have always longed for” and kind of had to fight back tears. Coming back onstage for the cast interviews after the show, I felt them welling up again. This opportunity is such a crazy dream come true. I feel so fortunate that I still can’t believe it! “Because these daft and dewey-eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes, impossible things are happening everyday” indeed. I’m beyond grateful and extremely excited, and I really can’t wait to tell you more stories about this production!! It has been motivating me to become better and filling my heart with overwhelming, true happiness. It sounds overstated but I really mean it.

By the by, the run begins on Oct 9, and you can catch more details about the show through the Cinderella Manila FB page, or the Resorts World Manila FB page.

Bangkok 2013 Diary

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I’ve been to Bangkok countless times. I guess one of the challenges of returning to a foreign country that you already know rather well is finding a balance between discovering new places and revisiting the old haunts you loved, so the place still has that otherworldly new spark while keeping that comforting sense of home-away-from-home nostalgia. That’s sort of why I prefer to stay in youth hostels. It’s definitely a new place in a new country, but the friendly, no-frills environment allows me to settle and become attached to the place easily. Traveling becomes more fun with hostels too– if you end up in a good one you’ll have access to the best ways to get around the country for cheaper rates (if not no rates at all.) There’s that, and then there are also daily social events that are always worth checking out, where you’ll always be around some very interesting and diverse people.

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The next time you head to Bangkok, check in at Lub D. (In case you needed this bit of info: there are two branches. We stayed in the Siam branch.) The staff are immensely friendly and helpful. The rooms and communal bathrooms are very clean, well-equipped and well-designed. The location is great (and so are the rates. ;)) I don’t know if I’m just a  being a helpless carbnivore but their snack night was one of my favorite nights in the trip.

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The street food vendor they hired for free snack night made trays upon trays of these addictive wonton chips stuffed with minced pork. Of course, they were best eaten with the sauce they came with. They tasted like outer space! I asked for the Thai name but I don’t recall it anymore as I dismissed the thought when they said that if I pronounced it wrong I would end up saying “penis” instead.

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The day after our arrival was spent far, far away from the city (it was 3 hour drive on the way back to the hostel!) First up on the itinerary was this floating market.

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We then boarded another boat and were taken around the residential area.

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My real objective this trip around was to meet and greet some big cats. En route to the tiger temple, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a photo-op stopover with this little cutie, who was very sweet.

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After another long drive, we finally arrived at the tiger temple.

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It was the first time I’d ever interacted with this many fully grown tigers. Needless to say, I was beyond myself with glee! (Digressing a little, I really feel strongly about doing something for the first time or trying something new every time I travel. After all, experiencing new things should one of the most basic reasons for anyone to do it!)

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The next night, we watched the Calypso Ladyboy Cabaret. I honestly wasn’t impressed with the execution of the show, but felt proud of these fierce ladies regardless.

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I also tried out a fish spa for the first time! The nibbling really tickles at first, but then it slowly starts to feel like a “look ma, no hands” exfoliation service. My legs felt squeaky clean, light and re-energized afterwards.

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Ah, this lady. I was saving my words for her.

This has got to be the most beautiful thing I saw in this Thailand trip. This lovely woman was sitting quietly  in a corner of the incredibly humid Chatuchak market, selling her handmade palm leaf animals for a humble 10 baht each. They were so well-made that they could’ve been priced for a little more, in my opinion. After I purchased one, I asked for a photo and she gave this smile for the camera, and that moment was so wonderful that I swear I literally felt my heart swell. The legs in blue pants behind her belong to her husband. He sat behind her watching over her the whole time. To see this lovely lady using the best of her skills to earn an honest living despite her age, the heat and the crowds, and to see this couple who must’ve supported each other through so much inspires me in so many ways. I hope that someday I’ll find a love like theirs and live life with the same strength, positivity and solidarity. Absolutely beautiful. 🙂

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That one sight defined my entire Thailand trip by billions of lightyears beyond any tour or show that we paid for, and I’m very lucky to have chanced upon that lovely lady before we headed home. But now I have this souvenir from that memory– easily one of my most favorite now– and more importantly, I also have this story to share with anyone who might be touched or inspired by it.

This trip was a great getaway and a great teacher, as traveling should be.

I hope you enjoyed this post, because I quite obviously enjoyed this trip! If you have any questions about Bangkok, please do feel free to ask me (by whatever means of communication available to you and by that I mean if you’re my friend and you’re planning to go to Bangkok soon, hit me up with a message on Facebook by all means. Otherwise, feel free to comment!) I’ll do my best to help you out!