Tara! Simula ulit!

Posted: 02/07/2018 in Uncategorized

Bigla na lang sumagi sa isip ko.

Gusto kong magbigay ng inspirasyon. Gusto kong magmulat ng isipan. Gusto kong makapagturo mula sa aking karanasan.

Hindi ko alam kung may magbabasa. Hindi ko alam kung may makakapansin. Pero sa totoo lang, wala akong pakialam. Kung may magbasa, salamat. Kung may matuto, mas maraming salamat. Kung may mamulat na isipan, aba, eh dagdag-pogi points sa akin yun. At kung may mapulot na inspirasyon, isang magandang impluwensya ang aking naibahagi at magkakaroon na tayo ng common experience, ng common ground na maaari nating pag-usapan kung sakaling magkita tayo at magkahuntahan.

Araw-araw, meron akong DYreklines sa Instagram, Twitter at Facebook. Kinukuha ko ito sa araw-araw na pagbabasa at pagmamasid. Mga mensaheng sumasagi sa isip at puso ko na gusto kong ibahagi sa lahat ng aking pamilya at kaibigan.

Salamat kung makukuha ko ang munti nyong panahon.

Salamat kung bibigyan nyo ng pansin ang mga aral na gusto ko lang namang ibahagi.

Salamat kung papayagan nyo ako ulit na pumasok sa inyong kamalayan.


Sana, subukan nating pakinggan ang isa’t isa.


Getting MAD over again

Posted: 31/05/2013 in Television


Writing is never easy.

It may be easy (for some) to think of brilliant ideas, but putting it on paper is a different thing.

It may be easy (for some) to put it on paper, but making it interesting is likewise difficult.

It may be easy (for some) to make it interesting, but translating everything to television, making the host say your written work out loud, and making it appeal to the television viewer is not an easy task.

I started my career on television in 1991 as a television writer. It was for Martin After Dark (on GMA 7) hosted by Martin Nievera. It was not easy for a fresh-from-school newcomer to write for such a seasoned host. He has a million wild ideas which can come out before a take, during the take and sometimes, yes it happens, after the take.

It was also not easy dealing with Martin who can talk fast and loud.  Sometimes, it pains me to follow what he was saying, but years of working together made it easy.  Not only is Martin fast and loud, he is also straight-forward, making me cringe every time he says something “not so good” about my scripts.  But through the years, we have become friends and we have learned to understand each other’s body language while he is on stage and me, on my knees (literally), writing cue points and bullet questions on the floor behind the camera.

In 2008, I decided to take a spin on my television career, from being in production, to a more challenging management position.  I was tasked to oversee local productions for some cable channels, which I did for more than a year, before I joined the Content Management and Development Group of ABS CBN in 2010.  During all those years (roughly 5 years), I was missing writing a lot… Dreaming of making it back, but time was not on my hands.

Early this year, the plan of ressurecting Martin’s talk show on air came on.  And I was asked to write for the show.  I was excited, really excited to do at least one script for the program.  And it happened.  Early April of this year, I was asked to write an episode for Lea Salonga’s guesting.

Whoa and double whoa!

Not only am I being asked to write for my favorite host, but to write about one of the celebrities I looked up to since I was in school.  Inspired, it was a breeze researching about her, reading her blogs, looking up news and magazine articles on my own, while waiting for the show’s researchers to submit what they have found out.  But before that research came, I was well on my way to finishing the episode script.

It was easy, because it was a good subject and I basically know how Martin talks and thinks (I think…).  It was also a very smooth taping, with very minor setbacks.  I was on my knees again, and I was surprised that it is not the usual practice now.  Writers have it easy on the floor. And it was finished, just like that.

It was on May 17 when the episode was aired and I was excited to watch it.  I was smiling from ear-to-ear during the entire airing.  Though I was not credited, it was nice hearing words that you wrote out of Martin’s mouth.

And that’s how I got MAD again.  Tonight will be the final episode of the program’s season. It was nice seeing it back on air.  It was nice to write again. It was a new experience to see my work on air again.  Kudos to Martin Late@Night.  It was a short stint, but it was memorable, for me, and hopefully, for the viewers and the host as well.

So when can I write again?

1989 – “Another good year. This year, my show M. A. D. (Martin After Dark), on GMA 7, is born. My show with Pops, Martin & Pops Twogether, lasts for only a year on Channel 2. It sort of replaces Penthouse Live which folded up the year before.”
“Our family was having a wonderful time in Hawaii when I get a call from GMA 7 which is asking me to do another TV show. ‘What kind?’ I ask. We think of doing a Johnny Carson type of show. And M. A. D. comes up. The acronym M. A. D. is the idea of my sister Gina — you know, M. A. D. like the magazine. My pool of writers includes the likes of Deo Endrinal, Enrico Santos and Jillmer Dy who, only a few years later, will become big names at ABS-CBN. “
-Martin Nievera
Martin Nievera, my most favorite host of all time said this in an interview which I found on the net (http://telebisyon.net/balita/Martin-Nievera-The-highs–the-lows/artikulo/124486/).  It could have been an article for one of his anniversaries in entertainment.   This article could have been a decade old actually but when someone sent me the link, my spine shivered. To be remembered by who the entire country (and all the Filipinos in the world) recognize as the only Concert King, is something that is flattering me no end.  And to be lined-up with such big names in the industry as Deo Endrinal and Enrico Santos humbles me.

I remember the days of MAD actually, where I first started as a writer.  I vividly remember my first day at work, November 8, 1991.  I went to the Broadway Centrum where the show went on live every Saturday night.  I asked for Enrico Santos, the name which was posted on the bulletin board of UPCMC that time.  I was asked to wait… for a very long time… but waiting proved to be the start of my career on television.  One of the writers, Mark Yanga, asked me to do cue cards for his interview.  I was in a corner, doing the cue cards when someone walked to my corner.  I just saw a pair of very very nice shoes. I didn’t look up until the voice of the owner of the shoes said, “Hi! I’m Martin Nievera, I’m the host of this show.  And you must be one of our new writers?”  I was dumbfounded.  The real reason why I wanted to apply was because I have been a fan of the program and this host.  And here he is, introducing himself to me?
“Of course, who wouldn’t know who you are? You are Martin Nievera!” I exclaimed, and introduced myself.
It would flatter me no end everytime he tells me that I was his favorite writer.  He would sign his CD’s that way everytime he would give out copies to the staff.  He even misspelled it one time “To my favorate writer”.  I would always show the signed CD to my family and friends and be so proud about it.  And even now, when we pass by each other on the corridor, he will always say the same.
It’s as if he never forgets about me, so how will I ever  forget THE Martin Nievera?

Leaving Cannes.

Posted: 26/05/2010 in Event, Film, Television

It was still dark at 5am when I walked out the door of the apartment, which was my home for the past two weeks.  Lugging my suitcase, which I felt weighed a ton, a backpack and a shoulder-slung bag, my new friend Tigran (the journalist from Armenia) walked me to where the taxi service will pick me up.

I didn’t have a wink of a sleep.  I edited our final report on the winners of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and had a final dinner with the CFI staff.  They are all talking about doing the same project next year.  I thought that would be swell, and more people will learn the same things that I learned in less than a month.

“You are one of the best directors I have ever worked with,  and I am so proud to have met you,” said our editor-in-chief Yvan.  I was flattered, of course, since I have yet to bag a dream project, one which will people will remember.  Don’t we all feel that way?  Don’t we all fear leaving this world, without anything to remember one by?

“Thanks,” I said.  But it did not end there.  Max, our technical director; and Sonia, one of the team leaders pitched in their thoughts about it too.  And when Yvan said that they actually need someone like me in their television station, I was literally dumbfounded.  But of course, I could not leave my present job that easily.  But hearing those words made me feel very important.  They think that the way I did the reports technically, were at par with international standards.

“So we will see you next year?” was dropped on the table.  I could not say anything but “let’s see”.

“I think we should do this an annual thing.  And we can make the team bigger, with live reports for your television station.  Maybe we can plan a little earlier unlike how we planned it now.”  I just nodded.

I went back to the apartment with a very light feeling.  I felt really proud of myself.  I had to pack my things with barely 5 hours before the taxi service would pick me up.  Arman (the cameraman from Armenia) stayed up with me through the time that I was packing my things.  After two stressful hours of picking things to throw away and packing my things, I went out of the bedroom.  Arman popped open a bottle of red wine, a gift from the Filipinos in Nice, France.  We sipped wine as we exchanged more stories and plans.  I can see that Arman is really trying his best to stay up, and I told him that he had to sleep.

An hour before I left, Tigran woke up and Arman went to bed.  They switched places because they said they did not like the idea that I will be going without anyone seeing me go.  I fell asleep on the couch while waiting for the 5am taxi.  It was almost 5am when Tigran woke me up.  We promised to keep in touch.

Sitting in the airport lounge, I see the sun rising, shining brightly on all the passengers flying out of France to Amsterdam.  And it brought me thinking, as everyone of us here moves out of Nice, everyone is looking for a new day, a new adventure… maybe back to the lives we used to live, but still, something new. And the sun is telling me just that.

Blue Valentine.

Posted: 20/05/2010 in Event, Film

Got the chance to watch a movie in Cannes today.  It’s “Blue Valentine” starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling and directed by Derek Cianfrance, a story of a couple on the verge of separation.  It’s disturbing, but don’t take it negatively.  It’s disturbing, in a positive way, if there was ever such a thing.

The movie started very slow, it actually dragged.  But since it’s the first film that I ever watched during the festival, I gave it a chance.  And I got the surprise of my life when the intention of making it drag at the start of the movie became apparent.  The movie wanted the audience to feel how boring and how dry the relationship of the couple was, and even how hard the husband tried to make the marriage work, it just won’t.

The movie’s form was commendable, as it intercut the present time (the route that the couple had to go through to try to solve their marital problem) and the past (the route that the couple had to go through during courtship till the time they got married).  It was nicely pieced together that the audience won’t find it jarring to shift from the present to the past.  In Michelle, the only obvious difference is the shortened hair (for the present) and long hair (for the past).

The movie is an emotional journey and one who has gone through failed relationships can easily relate to the story of how one wants to hold on and fight, the decision to let go, the pain of actually letting go, realizing that love has faded.  It actually pains more when you are on the ride to the break-up interwoven through how the love story actually began.  The memories of how beautiful love can be and the pain when it is about to end, is cleverly intercut that the viewer can actually feel why the couple is still holding on, no matter how painful it can be.

The actors were great and the editing was done smoothly.  Though there are parts where you just want to hit Ryan Gosling.  In Filipino movies, it is always the woman who is seen as a martyr, but the tables are turned in this movie, as the man is portrayed as a martyr.  He gave a name to a child that isn’t his, took the physical pain from the real father of the child, became a good and well-loved father, a serious provider (even if does not earn well and is out-of-job most of the time), whew!

The movie is good, but the theme is disturbing.  But I am happy that I tried to hold on to my seat even if I almost fell asleep during the first part of the movie.  And if ever this is shown in Manila, I can assure you that 30% of the movie will be edited out.

Hope I can watch more films here at Cannes.  I know I may never get the chance to see some of the movies here in Manila.

Here in Cannes, a lot of people are surprised when I say that I am forty-one.  I don’t get it.  I always bring out my driver’s license to prove that I was born in 1969.  Well, I guess it’s because of the Asian race.  We really look young.  Aside from that, okay, it’s my height.  Am not that tall and they treat me like a kid! Why write about old age?  Because today, I saw Woody Allen in the flesh!  The great director Woody Allen, who is now 74, has a new film called “You Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”.

Though I was not able to watch the film, I got pretty interested, since it talks about death.  It was brave for a 74-year-old director to deal with death in his film. So it was inevitable that he was asked “how’s your relationship with death now that you’re 74?”  What?!!! That’s a question that you will never ask our senior stars like Dolphy or Eddie Garcia.  It’s unspeakable!  But how can one ask that to THE Woody Allen?

But Woody answered it quite well, “My relationship with death has remained the same. I am strongly against it.”  And everyone just laughed. “I find it a lousy deal,.  There is no advantage in getting older.  You don’t get smarter, you don’t grow wiser, you don’t get more mellow, nothing good happens.  Your back hurts more, you get more indigestion, your eyesight isn’t so good, you need a hearing aid.  It’s a bad business and I advise you not to deal with it.”

It’s such an eye-opener.  And coming from Woody Allen, who would contest?  The press con went good and everyone was happy.

After the presscon, we went to a small pavilion by the beach side to attend another presscon.  But this time, it was with Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard.  They are about to film a new project called Winnie, which is based on the life of the wife of Nelson Mandela.  I was literally awed by Jennifer who was aglow.  There is this celebrity aura which I have never seen before.  And she’s not as fat as I thought she was.

Then the rain poured.  Wow!  Each drop had an icy feel on my skin.  It was different.  But I still walked through the rain, camera in a plastic trash bag and tripod in another hand.  It was nice, even if my back ached from carrying the heavy equipment.  I think I am developing my biceps again, as my arms are sore! Hahahaha! Free workout in Cannes – why not?

The night ended with a call from Yvan asking if we wanted to join him for dinner.  We said yes, another night at the Sushi Restaurant downstairs is not bad at all.  I had all the sushi that I can eat, with sake.  And it was a nice night, as I got to sleep well… intoxicated.  Hope I don’t get used to this feeling of having alcohol before going to sleep.  It’s not nice when you’re 41.  Ask Woody Allen!

The next day proved to be very relaxing.  I had the chance to skip carrying the tripod, though I still had to carry the camera around, just in case something pops up.  I went around the flea market area and saw a Filipina, Amy Ceda.  I walked up to her and asked if she has been living in Cannes for a long time, and she said, she’s been here for the past 15 years.  I asked if I can interview her, and voila!  She was the host of some of the Filipinos who were here at the Cannes Film Festival last year.  She entertained Arleen Cuevas, Adolf Alix, Raya Martin, even Sid Lucero and Piolo Pascual.  She showed me around in her apartment, and she was very hospitable.  But I still can’t imagine Piolo sleeping on a mattress on the floor for two nights in Cannes.  He eventually moved to a hotel, but it proved to me that Piolo has not changed.  He is still down-to-earth.

I went to the Marche du Film (Film Market) to look for the Philippine booth.  And I interviewed Ms. Lali Suzara of the Film Development Council of the Philippines.  She was nice and I introduced her to Yvan, who was with me the whole time, while Cesca remained in the office to write our scripts.

The facade of the Marche du Film where people from all over the world gather to sell their films.

The interview went fine.  And off to the office I went to start editing.  It was quiet, everyone was out, and we edited smoothly and sent the material to the Philippines.  I just hope they air the materials soon.

Interviewing FDCP's Ms. Lali Suzara

Oh, by the way, I heard that the article on me and Cesca came out today.  Hope I can grab a copy of the Inquirer so I can read it myself.  The online version didn’t have any pictures! Hahahaha!

Day 6 started really early today.  At 9am, we had to go to the Palais de Festival to secure a space in the press conference of “Wall Street”, and to get accreditation to the red carpet premiere of the movie.  When we went to the third floor of the building, we saw that the venue for the press con was already open.  So we went inside and saw that some cameramen have already set up their equipment.  So I set-up my own.  I was happy because the last time I went to a press conference, I couldn’t make a shot.  But now, I’m off center in the balcony and I have a clear shot of everyone on stage.

I had a good position already for the press con when they announced that everyone had to go out again.

But after a while, someone from the Cannes security announced that we had to go out again and fall in line.  What?!!! Yes, it’s the rule, that we have to fall in line so we can all be registered upon entering.  So with heavy hearts and feet, we dismantled our equipment and lined up.  While I was in the midst of all the people from all over the world wanting to cover the event, Cesca tried to get accreditation for the red carpet premiere of “Wall Street”.  Soon after, the gates were reopened, and one by one, our identification cards were checked and we were ushered into the venue.  I still had a good position, because I had to elbow myself through the crowd of cameramen so that I can go in early.  I think I was 6th or 7th to get inside.

When everyone was ready, the stars came in.  Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Oliver Stone, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin and a few more, sat down on the presidential table.  The presscon started.  It was fun and Cesca had the chance to ask a question for Michael Douglas.

After the presscon, Cesca and I had to to an event for CFI.  It was cocktails and I was asked to shoot an interview for the Eqyptian channel.  After which, we went to the office to ingest the tapes of the presscon.  Cesca went to the apartment.  I was supposed to go to the Palais to get our red carpet accreditation at 3pm but the other teams needed my help in ingesting their materials.  So I was around 5 minutes late.  Still bringing the camera and the tripod, I was so exhausted when I arrived at the Palais.  I flipped open the cellphone, only to find out that Cesca got the accreditation already and was back at the apartment.  So I walked back to the apartment.  Whew!

We were supposed to be at the red carpet at 530 pm in order to set-up our camera.  Then I got the call.  I can not wear a black shirt under my tux!  What?!!!  I had to go around Cannes to find myself a white shirt for my tux.  I found one for an amount I wouldn’t pay for, if I am in Manila.  But I had no choice.  I dressed up for the red carpet, and found myself putting in mic cords, extra DV tapes, extra batteries, a handheld mic in my pockets.  We had to walk back to the Palais, with camera and tripod.  It was not glamorous at all! Hahahahaha!

When we got to the red carpet, we were disappointed to find out that our place is at the top of the stairs, and not along the red carpet.  But it was fine.  I had the time of my life being starstruck.  I saw some stars, Diego Luna (Y Tu Mama Tambien), Salma Hayek, Martin Scorsese, Naomi Campbell and a lot more.  Of course the stars of the movie, Michael Douglas, Shia LaBouef, Carry Mulligan, Josh Brolin and the director Oliver Stone were there.  It was short but fun.  I had a photo taken at the red carpet, but it was with Cesca.  It was tiring, but was worth it.  All of these memories in my mind now.

We had an invitation to an African concert at the CFI Pavilion at 1030pm.  I decided to wear my tux, but with the complete Avel Bacudio ensemble (black shirt and pink bowtie).  They were having dinner at the Japanese restaurant just in front of our apartment.  We joined them and I got a round of applause as I walked out the door.  They liked the outfit.  We went to the CFI Pavilion again to party.  Cesca had to bow out because she was so tired after wearing heels for a very long time, and walking along the sidewalks of Cannes in her gown.

It was a nice night of African music and I had a few glasses of rose wine (again!) and we went home with smiles on our faces.

Woody Allen is next on our agenda.  I wonder what’s in store for us?