[ Movie Review ] Beyond The Block

Of all the Sinag Maynila entries this year, Beyond The Block is special on its own right. It is a full length documentary film which tackles about the Hip Hop dance in the Philippines and how drastically it evolves over the time. For someone like me who never paid any attention and interest to hip hop, I thought this movie will be extremely boring. I thought I will never appreciate such theme but surprisingly, I found it very interesting and I love how things got compiled from the humble origin of Hip hop in the Philippines and how it changes from one generation to another. When it comes to hip hop, I guess nothing can be more knowledgeable than Ricky “Boy” Carranza of the popular 1970s dance group Funk System. In fact, this is an auto biographical documentary directed by him that features his untold story , his humble beginnings, his struggles and how he keep his passion in dancing alive.
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Interestingly, the movie is divided into five chapters. The chapters were chronologically arranged. The Chapter One is about the “Foundation”. It features how the hip hop started in our country. They feature those groups who are merely considered as the pioneers of hip hop in the Philippines which includes the A & W Computers, A & W Funky Friends and even the more established “Penthouse 7” (a 70s Dance show). What I really appreciate more about this docu film is how Ricky managed to compile those old clips which are so nostalgic.
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The second chapter is about the “Pillars”, the groups who put hip hop and street dancing on the lime light. It seems like the Golden era of hip hop where there are so many dance group emerged. Each of them got their own moves to showcase. The chapter two covers the 1980s. Popular groups like Funk System, Knapsacks, Octomechanics, Bad Bananas, The Tigers (Jojo Alehar) were the highlights of this era. Dance shows like Dance 10 and Loveliness were also mentioned in the documentary. Several moves were also introduced such as Rommel Canlas’ “Popping” , Darwin Tuazon’s “Strutting” and Monty Flores’ “Breakdancing”. This chapter also pay homage to notable influencers such as Francis M (Eclipse) , Bboy Legends, Gary V and the Manoeuvers!

Chapter 3 emphasized on what so-called “New Stylers” which covered the years 90s to early 2000s. At this point, Ricky Boy Carranza struggled whether to continue his passion in dancing or pursue a much more stable career. In this generation (the one I belong with) goes to Universal Motion Dancers and Streetboys. Carranza described the styles in this generation as relatively simpler and merely influenced by western countries yet the Filipino Street Dance was raised to an all new level. Carranza, however, took a different path but like what he said “The more I ran away from myself, the more I fail” (talking about his passion in dancing). So he went back to his roots and give this career another shot.
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Chapter 4 is about the “New Flag bearers” where different dance groups started to gain recognition in different international competition. Names like JMasta and the Philippine All Stars have become relevant. The final chapter is about the New Heroes of Filipino Street Dancing who continuously making our county proud in this field. Here, we got the Jabawokeez, The Crew and more. Overall, it was a cleverly compiled documentary which makes you realized that Pinoy is great in almost every field. We’re not just great singers but also amazing dancers and performers in general. I thought the film will be boring but it surprisingly caught my interest and felt so amazed on how the dancing evolved throughout the generations.

My rating for this movie is 3.5 out of 5

You can also check my other Sinag Maynila Film reviews below
►Tu Pug Imatuy (The Right To Kill)
►Bhoy Intsik
►Beyond The Block
►Ladyfish
►Kristo

[ Movie Review ] Bhoy Intsik

If Tu Pug Imatuy emphasized the Lumad Killings, Bhoy Intsik is another interesting movie directed by Joel Lamangan that will focus to another social issue our country is facing today ~ the extra judicial killings. The movie took us in an environment where people will do everything for their own financial survival even if it means that they will get involved in felon or some illegal drug trades. The story of Bhoy Intsik is about an unusual friendship between two felons, a 48 year old gay who goes by the code name “Bhoy Intsik (played by Raymond “RS” Francisco) and a young rebel (played by Ronwaldo Martin) who was involved in an illegal drug trade.
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The film started with random scenes which are seemingly irrelevant. We were welcomed by the non-stop quarrel and swearing of Bhoy Intsik and Marlon which I think good enough for us to understand that their personalities were not really match for each other. I cannot bear the too much swearing though. Despite of their huge differences, the two managed to find ways on how they can work together as a team. Both were involved in numerous crimes (mostly robbery and holdapping) but Marlon unfortunately got involved in an illegal drug trade. He was caught up in a seemingly inescapable situation between his boss (played by Mon Confiado) and his client (Mike Lloren) who refused to pay the Php250,000 debt.
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Marlon’s life was threatened but Bhoy Intsik wouldn’t allow anyone to harm him. From their contrasting personalities, it eventually grew in an unexpected deeper relationship. It was not a romantic relationship but more of a “father and son.” Bhoy Intsik has become a father figure to Marlon who aims nothing but to provide a good future to his kid by putting him back on the right path. Interestingly, Bhoy Intsik has a deeper backstory. He has a wife and a kid who he accidentally killed out of negligence. Marlon , on the other hand, was abandoned by his parents and it was too late for him to discover that his long lost mother was already dead. This made Bhoy Intsik more eager to help Marlon. photo IMG_3543_zpsmhnmrxxn.jpg
He cared for the boy too much that he is willing to sacrifice everything just to keep Marlon out of the danger. In order to do so, Bhoy Intsik decided to negotiate with Marlon’s boss to keep the boy out of the complicated situation but in exchange he must gather that Php250,000 within a month. Bhoy Intsik has become a father figure to Marlon and in order to gather such amount, he sold one of his eyes just to give Marlon a brighter future. I love the lines “Kaya kong mabulag kung ikaw naman ang mabibigyan ko ng liwanag at magandang kinabukasan” (I don’t mind being blind as long as I can give you the light and brighter future).
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Things went according to the plan but just in time that we are expecting a good conclusion, something else happened which breaks our heart completely. Marlon’s client had his revenge and killed Marlon tragically, leaving him drowning in his own blood. They put the infamous sign “Pusher ako Wag Tularan” on top of his dead body. What makes it more heartbreaking is that Marlon just went out to wrap his Christmas gift for Bhoy Intsik but little did he know, it’s going to be his last day. Bhoy Intsik, on the other hand had no idea that Marlon will never go back. The movie concluded in such heartbreaking irony.
My Rating for this movie is 3 out of 5

You can also check my other Sinag Maynila Film reviews below
►Tu Pug Imatuy (The Right To Kill)
►Bhoy Intsik
►Beyond The Block
►Ladyfish
►Kristo

[ Movie Review ] Tu Pug Imatuy (The Right To Kill)

Tu Pug Imatuy (The Right To Kill) is one of the most interesting entries in the recently concluded Sinag Maynila 2017. It is based on true events which took us all in the devastating fate of Lumad communities and how much they struggle as they caught up in the seemingly endless conflict between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the NPA. Lumad killings are no longer a new issue to us and it has been one of the terrifying social problems that our country is facing today. Tu Pug Imatuy is not just a movie made to give us awareness but more of a strong reminder on how much these indigenous and innocent people suffers in this war in a land which was supposed to be their own. photo tupugimatuy_zpsi7tyztb3.png
The movie generally follows the story of a Manobo Family who got separated from each other after their encounter with the military forces where Dawin (the father) and Ubonay (the mother) were forcibly taken by the soldiers as they thought that these two can lead them to the nesting site of NPA. The abuse and merciless actions from the soldiers are just too painful to watch. Ubonay, however, proved that despite of the lack of education she got, she is a woman not to be underestimated and her eagerness to be reunited with her family has become her tool and advantage to win over the abusive military forces.
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Malona Sulatan, who portrayed the heroine in this movie, was such an interesting revelation in this Arbi Barbarona’s masterpiece. The film showed us that you do not need an epic dialogues or that remarkable one liner just to make your acting memorable. The emotions are very raw and I can barely remember Sulatan throwing any memorable lines at all but the portrayal was very convincing and you can feel all the anger, the sadness and her struggles to survive such nightmare from the hands of these merciless soldiers.
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Despite of all the tortures and brutality in this movie, you will also be treated with a cinematography that is simply beyond expectations. There was this interesting irony of these beautifully captured landscapes and the unbearable torture sequences that occurred in the entire course of the film. Don’t get me wrong, I am not an expert when it comes to this kind of film technicality but I can tell which is good and which is bad. Tu Pug Imatuy (The Right To Kill) is a very special film in so many ways. It interestingly concludes with footage of the real-life Ubonay sharing her stories on how she was kidnapped, raped and abused by the military. photo poster-tu-pug-iomatuy_zps1j6elzm7.jpg
The film bagged not just one but six different awards including the Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Music and Best Cinematography. With such impressive quality, Tu Pug Imatuy has huge potential to bag more awards and to be recognized internationally.
My rating for this movie is 4 Out of 5

You can also check my other Sinag Maynila Film reviews below
►Tu Pug Imatuy (The Right To Kill)
►Bhoy Intsik
►Beyond The Block
►Ladyfish
►Kristo

Holi Festival In Manila 2017

Isn’t fascinating to explore different cultures? Learn our differences and similarities? In order to learn such culture, you have to interact with different people and travel from one place to another. From here, you’ll discover all their usual traditions, rituals and even those colorful festivities they celebrate. Few weeks ago, i was grateful to experience Holi Festival, a Hindu religious festival that is being celebrated annually  in countries like India and Nepal. Of course, I didn’t traveled that far just to celebrate such interesting colorful festivity.
20170312_175345tThis colorful festival has become popular even in Non-Hindus in different part of the world and here in Manila, this color festival has been celebrated since 2013. This year marked its fifth year which offered grander and much more colorful celebration for everyone.
20170312_155141tWhat is Holi Festival?
Holi is known as the festival of colors which marks as the arrival of spring, the season of hope and joy. It is being celebrated in India in the month of Phalgun (March).On top of that, the celebration is also being done to signify the victory of good over evil.It is also being celebrated for fun, play, laugh, forget, forgive and also to repair broken relationships.20170312_164236tOne distinctive feature of this so-called biggest color festival in India is the use of colored powders known as “Gulal”. The throwing of colorful powders is part of the rituals in Holi Festival which symbolizes friendship, unity, and a sense of revelry. The activity is often accompanied by music and dance.20170312_164601tIt was a very festive celebration indeed. This year’s Holi Festival in Manila was held in SM B y the Bay (just beside the Vikings).  The event officially started around 3pm. We were warmly welcomed by the organizers and they even spread those colorful powders on our face by the time we arrived in the venue. Each attendee is entitled for a free bag of gulal power. We can only choose one color so my friends and I picked different ones. The event was supposed to end at 7pm and within such time,  three count downs were held (throwing of powder). The first one at 3:30, the second at 4:15 and the last one at 5:30.20170312_165124tThis is an Indian festival so expect to deal with a huge Indian community in this event. Interestingly, the event is not just about the throwing of gulal powder, singing and dancing. There’s actually many activities that you can participate for free.

20170312_170723tHenna Tattoo
The activities were all related to India. One of them is the free application of Henna Tattoo. Henna Tattoo is actually an ancient body art originated in India. The tattoo has been used for centuries to create beautiful temporary designs on the body.Henna Tattoo or Mehndi, as what the term suggests used the powdered dry leaves of Henna plant. 20170312_171015t20170312_171219tDon’t worry, this is just a temporary tattoo which could only last for a wekk. In addition to that, the ingredients used for the Henna are all natural so you know it is safe to be applied on your skin.
20170312_165308tRangoli
Aside from the free tattoo, another interesting booth in this event is the Rangoli, another notable art originated from India. Rangoli is a folk art practiced throughout India. Designs are often drawn on the ground usually in chalk or colored powder and embellished in sand, rice, candles, or flower petals.In the event, the participant will be asked for their preferred pattern. They will be given with the uncolored pattern, a set of colored sand and a glue. Interestingly, Rangoli is also an expression of the creative self, often viewed as the form of self-portraiture. Designs of Rangoli are often based from nature.

20170312_172049tPhoto Booth
Although not culturally relevant, another interesting activity during the Holi Festival is their free photo booth session. Each group is entitled for four different shots and they can utilize all the props available. The photo can be claimed afterwards in the event’s official web page.

20170312_172319tThe Countdowns and Main Stage events
We actually missed the first two countdowns so before the last count down starts, we decided to hit the main stage and wait for the much awaited throwing of Gulal. It was really an entertaining event and one thing I realized about the Indian community, they are seemingly naturally happy people. You can see nothing but their wonderful smile and graceful movements. You can really tell how much they enjoy this event in a full extent. 20170312_172948t20170312_175017tThere goes the last countdown.20170312_175047t20170312_175208t
20170312_175220t20170312_180559tIMG_0254tIMG_0271tIMG_0278tSam YG and Joyce Pring hosted the event
IMG_0292tIMG_0433tIMG_0441tIMG_0300tIMG_0297tIMG_0339tIMG_0358tIMG_0405tIMG_0423tIMG_0450tIMG_0459tAfter that tiring yet super entertaining dance and music, we ended our day by indulging with Indian Cuisine!

Indian Cuisine
20170312_181513tThe Indian Cuisine is known for their wide range of spices.  Indian food is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices and traditions. They also serve foods that are specially catered every Holi Festival and of course, celebrating such festival will not be completed without trying their specialties. 20170312_181600t20170312_181620tChicken Tikka20170312_181634tAloo Tikki Chollay20170312_182825t20170312_183502tIdli20170312_183831tMasala Dosa20170312_183837t20170312_183602tThandai

It was truly an entertaining festival and I wouldn’t mind attending the same event next year. But on top of all the fun, what really matters most is the essence of this celebration. It will not be considered as one of the most important festivals in India for no reason. To many Hindus, Holi festivities mark the beginning of the new year as well as an occasion to reset and renew ruptured relationships, end conflicts and rid themselves of accumulated emotional impurities from the past.

Feel free to watch my Holi Festival 2017 Video coverage below

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