Archive | May, 2006

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Da Vinci with the Jesuits

Posted on 20 May 2006 by Flisha

Thursday night the Jesuit priests of the Ateneo de Zamboanga, dressed in simple white shirts and pajamas, determinedly marched up the aisle in Mindpro Theater to watch the Da Vinci Code.

As they entered, the packed moviehouse stared in pleasant surprise and grinned. In an instant, the crowd got livelier and more animated – perhaps discussing the Jesuits, perhaps anticipating the movie.

None relinquished their expensive seat up to a priest but many were a friendly greeting, and many pointed out the vacant slots. The priests settled themselves in the center of the theaterhouse, and gradually we all quieted down as the movie began.

As Gim and I observed from time to time from our vantage point, Fr. Kreutz gestured and discussed animatedly with his fellow priests throughout the whole movie.

(Many questions burned in my mind: Was watching movies in a public theater a regular thing for Jesuit priests? Why was Fr. Bill so interested in watching this movie? Were they rooting for a negative portrayal of the Opus Dei, their archnemesis, or not? Had they all read the book already? What were their opinions on the relationship of Jesus and Mary Magdalene?)

We noticed, too, a lot of familiar people in the audience. I saw Brian and the SACSI people, Ma’am Ivy (the Asst. Senior Dean) and the CSIT bunch, my former highschool classmates turned new Nursing graduates, businesswomen in power suits, college kids and their friends / partners, whole families and all. I’m sure the lower moviehouse housed a host of Ateneans as well.

But enough about the crowd. What about the movie? All I have to say is: Good movie. I recommend everyone to watch it. But read the book first.

Usually whenever a book is made into a movie (or vice versa), the first question always is: Which is better? For the Da Vinci Code, the answer is: neither is better, both are terrific, for their own aims anyways.

Read the book to appreciate the plot in detail (which the movie couldn’t possibly capture in only an hour), watch the movie to appreciate the setting (which the book ably described, but still, a picture paints a thousand words).

If you are, however, going to watch this movie with high expectations, don’t bother. It won’t move you, it won’t discuss Jesus’ divinity in-depth, it won’t stir up discussion about Christianity or the Crusade, it won’t address everything that made the Da Vinci Code book controversial.

But it’s a good movie – the perfect visual supplement to the novel.

Just remember – don’t believe everything you read. :-)

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Dakak Resort Experience

Posted on 16 May 2006 by Flisha

It’s not everyday one goes to a beautiful white sand beach. We were thrilled the week we got to go twice.

Dakak Resort is beautiful. The beach is small but often deserted during the day. The sand is a sparkling beige; the water clear green up close, crystal blue from far away.

Barangay Dakak is filled with, on the right, towering, glittering limestone cliffs, crowded vegetation and pebbled rivers; on the left, blue green sea and white surf.

For all its natural beauty, however, the help are quite unhelpful – and even downright rude.

At the gate of the resort, a queue of luxury cars hum in waiting. A little off to the side, a beachwear-clad crowd stand arms akimbo, half-empty mineral water bottles nearby. A guard busily caters to the vehicled un-VIPs and blatantly ignores us walk-ins. We walk up to him and ask for the rates. He says to wait.

We wait. And wait and wait. Passes an era, and again we inquire how much for a day tour. Instead of answering, the guard tersely informs us that the resort is fully booked, that no food is available (save for juice) nor can be ordered and that none can be brought in. Without waiting for a reply, he turns his back to us and greets a Toyota Revo, then a Mitsubishi Adventure, then an Isuzu Fuego.

We look at one another. Were we to starve if this useless beast of a guard were to have his way? Would we even be able to see the beach at all?

Soon it is clear the porter intends to serve every vehicle and not one walk-in. It is hot. We are annoyed. We are starving. Irately now, we raise our voices and insist to be served. Without a word but with many a withering sigh, the guard charges us the entrance rate and shooes us off.

Utterly disgusted with the help but relieved we are finally past that hurdle (when it should have been a breeze if Dakak really cares about its customers!), we march in. For a warm (and not in a good way), worn-out, wearying suprise.

Dakak Park and Beach Resort is 15 hectares woodland (of course no welcoming guard has bothered to inform us of this pertinent fact beforehand). We walk, nay trek, all 15 hectares to the beach. Road is paved yet uphill most of the way. Backs are weighed down by beachwear and smuggled chicken and chips. Not even halfway to the beach, mineral water bottles are empty. Heads are aching, legs sweating, chests heaving, knees quaking, breaths and tempers short.

We reach reception in for.ty.five.fucking.minutes. Our throats are parched, tongues stretched all the way to the ground.

Then we see the beach. Guard be damned. The view is breathtaking. (And this time in a positive way.)

We find a restaurant and are pleased to see lots of food and lots of free tables. (That lying bastard.) We order scrumptious pork pata and stomach-filling rice. We sit back and enjoy the white sand, bright sun and sparkling blue sea from a cool shade.

And the rest of the day is wonderful. See the pictures for yourself.

Here is a sandbar in the middle of the beach. Dapitan is famous for patches of land that surface above water when the tide ebbs down.

Being exploration-hungry, Gim and I wander to the coves at the edge of Dakak Resort.

We find a myriad of sealife – schools of fish, brittle stars (starfish), jellyfish eggs, water striders, crabs, corals, seagrass, shellfishes, hermit crabs, sea urchins. We don’t take too many pics, a bit afraid our camera would fall on the water.

At 5 PM, we trek back towards the gate. On our way, a shuttle van picks us up along with a few other passengers. Greggy meets us on the other end and takes us back to our boarding house. We rest awhile and afterwards go out to eat – roasted squid (one of the most scrumptious fares in the entire world) and puso – boiled rice wrapped in nipa leaves.

A wonderful experience.

More pictures here.

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Swinging High and Low

Posted on 05 May 2006 by Flisha

Admit it. This font makes you want to grab the itsy bitsy little biscuits off the screen and munch-munch-munch them one by one!!! The more I look at them, the more I get hungry! :P

Been a while since I last updated. :( I’m really really busy right now. And it’s supposed to be summer. Guess I should be thankful I was passed over for that animation seminar I so badly wanted to attend. (They wanted full-time attendees but I had already signed up to teach a summer class.)

*Sigh* There are days when even I can’t pretend to be chipper for this blog. Reality check – I’m a sullen world weary woman who never gives a big bright smile (as opposed to a pinched half-smile-half-grimace) unless it’s for real. Gah. I am depressing myself. Hope this means I’m getting my period. It was due last week! :x

*Initiate Brute-Force Mood Swing* :D

I may be busy but I need to write. Unloads stress. I wanna avoid what’s happening to that hunny of mine who’s already pre-hypertensive! 130/90 mmHg! My bad eating habits (meat, meat, bit of veg, meat and more meat) conquered him and made him its slave! He wasn’t ready! He wasn’t prepared! Now I’m weaning him off. Nothing but fish and veg for the rest of his days. Hee! :D

My summer class is fun! :) I was teaching my HS juniors poetry appreciation the other day and I gave them E.E.Cummings’ she being Brand to interpret through their new blogs (I didn’t want to suffer the indignity of decrypting their paper diaries; now I suffer the indignity of manually magnifying the smallest font sizes possible) . I got a range of responses – blanks (“It’s about a car. I need to read it again.”), far-out ones (“It’s about suicide.”) and two gingerly written accurate answers (“Um I think it’s about a couple doing ‘their thing’ but um I’m not being malicious here!!!”). I thought my kids were on the more mature side of 15. We stepped on the gas, drove hastily past Cummings and picked up Robert Frost instead. B)

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