Back from my ‘summer vacation’

No, my blog isn’t dead yet. And it won’t be even if I wanted to. I rather enjoy backreading my posts and laughing at my thoughts and grammatical errors. Besides, I tend to forget even my best memories so best to make them available online where it’ll stay until the death of the internet for my reference.

Anyway, I haven’t been writing for quite some time mostly because I was lazy and also because I was busy doing a number of other things (I’ll stop explaining myself here since nothing else would justify the results of my laziness).

So to resurrect mythoughtprocesses, I am posting one of the highlights of my summer–that is, my first experience at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila to watch The King & I. We saw it last April 6. Its last show is on Sunday and I highly recommend this as a bonding activity for families.

Hannah, me and Aivi. All set for the show!

Hannah, me and Aivi. All set for the show!

Newport was a very comfortable theater (I had to say that) and the attendants were all very nice and friendly. I went with my friends, Hannah and Aivi who were so willing to get dragged because a) they wanted to see it too b) there were free KitKat chocolates and c) we bought our tickets for P595 only (thanks to iGrab.ph).

We got there early because iGrab said so, had our lunch with my family in Kopi Roti then the three of us went on to see the 2PM show.

Myself and Resorts World

I may be familiar with some musicals already but not much on The King & I. The only reference I have about it is the movie, Anna & The King. The two were so different in presentation but I enjoyed both immensely. The latter is a bit serious with slight melodrama while the former is colorful, lively and comedic. I adore the set design for this musical (one really can’t help but enjoy the elephant and all those shiny things) and the cast members were fantastic. We saw Bo Cerrudo as the King and Shiela Valderrama as Anna. I think they did a wonderful job with their roles and I love their chemistry (just as with the movie, I still had hopes their characters ended up together but oh well).

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

All in all, I loved the musical and would love to watch it again for a discount. =P

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!

And because resurrections should be dramatic, I refuse to end it there.

Ballet Philippines's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Ballet Philippines’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

I just wanted to share more pictures and this time, it’s from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Ballet Philippines. It’s purely ballet (no songs, no spoken words, just dance) but it was still very enjoyable. And this is the first time I actually noticed that Shakespeare actually liked recycling scenes in his plays. ;D Also, watching this ballet got me looking into my Shakespeare copies and upon finding Bernard J. Taylor’s Much Ado musical, I thought, “Hey, now that I have music to listen to, maybe I should try reading a Shakespeare”. And so I did. I grabbed my copy of Much Ado About Nothing, set my iPod with the Much Ado playlist and managed to read the play within two weeks without looking at explanatory notes. Good job, self!😀 I am in love with Benedick and Beatrice! Woohoo! I’ll probably get to Midsummer sometime in the future. We’ll see.

My signed program

To end this post, let’s just say that I am pretty much excited to see two more musicals this year. One is the Manila production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella starring Karylle and Christian Bautista (Resorts World) and the other is a musical which I seriously love. I’m not going to tell yet but I’m really, really excited to see it!😀

Title: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

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Synopsis:

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch–a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next. –goodreads

The Indigo Spell Cover

Publisher: Razorbill

Main Characters:

  • Sydney Sage
  • Adrian Ivashkov
  • Jill Dragomir
  • Eddie Castile
  • Angeline Dawes
  • Ms. Jaclyn Terwilliger
  • Marcus Finch

Genre: Young Adult, Vampire, Paranormal

Pages: 401

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Thoughts:

The book came out in the wake of a very big announcement in the Vampire Academy fandom. Hearing the casting news got us, fangirls, screaming like crazy and fidgeting on the edge of our seats waiting for the movie to come out. So far, we know that Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters will come out on February 14, 2014 and stars Zoey Deutch as Rose Hathaway, Danila Kozlovsky (a reall Russian god, mind you!) as Dimitri Belikov and Lucy Fry as Lissa Dragomir. For more details, do visit the official VA movie fanpage.

Besides that, VA fans are also getting teasers from Richelle Mead, Penguin Australia (teasers starring Daisy Masterman and Nic Wheeler) as well as from early reviewers who are sooooo good at taking out quotes from the book that practically made Adrian (Sydrian) fangirls even crazier than they were after reading The Golden Lily. Goodness knows, I’m one of those having a difficult time waiting for the chance to read the book.

Just as I did with The Golden Lily, I dug up the ebook and read this faster than I thought I would. I seriously can’t wait for the release of the fourth installment, The Fiery Heart because I’m sure that it would only be then that my country would manage to release the paperback of The Indigo Spell. What a sad, sad life. Thank heavens I could always reread!

Plot/Story

Richelle had been dropping hints all over the series and was I glad with the development of the story. This book had so many things going on for Sydney so there really was no reason for anyone to get bored with it. I think the pacing has picked up quite a lot in this book which is why I read it so fast despite the ebook format.

There are two things that made this book an amazing read.

One, and definitely the best thing about The Indigo Spell, is Sydrian. This is still tamer than Romitri but heck, Sydrian is the ship that you desperately want to dock on its destination’s port but is always in danger of sinking. Seriously. Well yeah, we know they like love each other but what the hell, their forbidden romance is just so complicated that I can’t help but pull at my hair. Of course, we all know it’ll work out in the end, that theirs is real love and all that but damn…damn. Intelligent writer that Richelle is, she made every second with Adrian and Sydney together count. Like yeah, you can certainly feel the mush and the lust repressed feelings whenever Sydrian is on the page and I guess I’ll have to settle with that–for now.

“I don’t care if you say we can’t be together. I don’t care if you think I’m the most evil, unnatural creature walking on earth. You can think whatever you want, go whatever you want. I’m going to just go on loving you, even if it’s hopeless.”-Adrian Ivashkov

Two, Sydney’s involvement in witchcraft magic. If I ever said that Sydney has a boring life, I take it back. Now this girl’s definitely a fighter. I love the way the magic part was handled and right now, all I can say is that I want my own callistana–and several cats (okay, so maybe just one ’cause my dog’s quite territorial).

You’ll notice that I rated this book with 4.5 stars only as compared to The Golden Lily’s 5 stars. This may be an unpopular opinion considering how much improvement this book was when it comes to plot and pace, but I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed about Marcus Finch. Honestly speaking, I was expecting a hell of a lot more with his presence but I guess a book can only handle so much. I can’t tell much without spoiling the book but I really think there should be more to Marcus Finch than that. Anyway, all the Sydrian stuff made up for this slight disappointment so I’ll stop complaining.🙂

Characters

Sydney

Well, talk about character development. The decisions she made and the way she changed yet remained who she really was, well that’s kind of extraordinary. She’s still not the feisty, sassy and rebellious (okay, so maybe she’s gone rebellious) character that some people wanted but seriously, I feel that the development of her character is a lot more evident than Rose’s ever was (not that I don’t like Rose. she’s practically the best character-narrator ever). In all respect, Sydney really is my favorite type of person: the kind that grows on you.

Another thing I like about her is that her abilities do not only require physical strength but also mental strength. I love Rose but I bet she wouldn’t memorize spells just to use magic.😉

“Metaphors. This was the cost of making out with an artist.”-Sydney Sage

Adrian

This guy. Oh, this guy. He’s the fictional character that I don’t really think I’d ever find in real life. Not only because he’s a vampire but mostly because I haven’t even encountered an artist that’s really hot, what more an artist who’s hot, sensitive and perfect? More than anything else, Adrian made this book. I like how his mere presence messes up with Sydney’s mind and I absolutely adore how well he could understand Sydney. If there’s a character in the series that deserves all the love, it’s him.

One thing I’m worried about though is that he’s slowly becoming too perfect (well, yeah he has faults but those faults are way too forgivable). I don’t like perfect fictional guys and it’s the reason why I’m not as drawn to Dimitri as I was to Adrian. I really wish he gets to show more mistakes (if that’s the right word) because I really like it when there’s acceptance of imperfections.

“Under normal circumstances, you inviting me to the bedroom would be the highlight of my day.”-Adrian Ivashkov

Eddie

I like Eddie but I’m really not a fan of his decision to date Angeline. Upon reading The Indigo Spell, I only have a few words to say: See? I’m right! I really wish he gets more spotlight sometime in the future because he deserves it. I don’t like how his conflicts were all about his love life and I wish there would come a time when he’ll get to shine as bright as the sun or maybe like diamonds and become as fierce and badass as the guardian I’ve known him to be. I definitely think he should get more attention than Marcus Finch. I think a few scenes with Trey post-Angeline-Eddie would satisfy the hell out of me. Hihihi.

Jill

I don’t remember her that much in this book besides her spirit connection with Adrian. I need a lot of Eddie-Jill right now. One thing I’ve noticed is how she’s slowly becoming more mature. I kind of agree with Sydney. Jill has a certain regality that’s growing on me which I hope, yet again, would gain more development in the future.

Angeline

Ha. This girl, although not someone I hate, is nothing but trouble. Seriously. She keeps things more interesting with her mishaps but really, she needs to grow up. If anything, I think this girl needs to get herself involved in some fight with a strigoi. Or maybe a witch.

Ms. Terwilliger

I loooove this teacher! She’s almost motherly to Sydney and that alone earned my loyalty to her. She’s like the adult voice of sanity (or better yet, insanity) for the younger ones. I do wish to see her in action though. Like in real action.

Marcus Finch

If he wanted to be more likeable, I need him to be much more important than he was in this book. Yeah, he did a lot to release Sydney from the golden lily but heck, I need moooore.

Malachi Wolfe

Well, he’s not a main character but he’s well-received ever since The Golden Lily so I’m not surprised of his reappearance in Indigo. As usual, he’s a mystery that’s yet to be solved. I am so freaking excited to finally find out his true identity. *wink*

Writing Style

As usual, Richelle was her brilliant self in this book, particularly with Adrian’s character. I am a fan of Richelle’s ability to turn potentially dull characters and situations into something interesting through dialogue and chemistry. She did a great job with the Sydrian scenes (and all the scenes for that matter) but I really hope the other characters get more of the spotlight. Richelle’s great with subplots so I trust her to continue to deliver another great one in The Fiery Heart. Best thing about it? It’ll have Adrian’s POV in it! *fangirl flail*

“You’re not as much of a lost cause as she was. I mean, with her, I had to overcome her deep, epic love with a Russian warlord. You and I just have to overcome hundreds of years’ worth of deeply ingrained prejudice and taboo between our two races. Easy.”-Adrian Ivashkov

All in all, this book’s amazing and despite the fact that I have a few disappointments (which are really minor, if I may say) in it. I can’t wait for The Fiery Heart to come out on November 19, 2013! Just a few months away!!!

Title: Les Miserables (2012)

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Synopsis:

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption-a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. In December 2012, the world’s longest-running musical brings its power to the big screen in Tom Hooper’s sweeping and spectacular interpretation of Victor Hugo’s epic tale. — (C) Universal Rotten Tomatoes

Les Miserables movie poster

Director: Tom Hooper

Production Companies: Working Title Films, Universal Pictures

Main Characters:

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean
Russell Crowe as Javert
Anne Hathaway as Fantine
Amanda Seyfried as Cosette
Eddie Redmayne as Marius
Samantha Barks as Eponine
Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers
Aaron Tveit as Enjolras

Release Dates: 16 January 2013 (Philippines)

Genre: Musical, Drama, Romance

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Thoughts:

I am not a fan of Les Miserables as much as I am of The Phantom of the Opera but I respect and adore it for the beauty of the story and the songs. It’s my second favorite musical and I love it mostly because the actors on West End and Broadway share roles from both Les Miserables and Phantom. Heck, John Owen Jones, Ramin Karimloo, Colm Wilkinson and others have been Jean Valjean and Phantom/Erik at some point in their lives.

Les Miserables musical first caught my attention because of Lea Salonga’s version of I Dreamed A Dream when she played Fantine in the West End 25th anniversary. She made me cry after I listened to that one song so off I went and looked for a way to see the entire show. After watching it, I told myself that it really is one of the best (if not the best) musicals ever. I adore the 25th sans Nick Jonas. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate him but let’s admit it, he is not in the same level as Ramin Karimloo or Alfie Boe when it comes to voice quality–making it difficult for him to sing along with them without getting drowned out by more powerful voices. And I don’t even hate his voice, it’s his acting that irritates me whenever I watch it.

Anyway, on with the movie.

This film is in my list of movies to watch out for in 2012. Sadly, the date it was set to come out was December 25, 2012. All Filipinos are aware of this, that come December 25, cinemas all over the country can only feature films that are participating in the Metro Manila Film Festival. This usually lasts until the second week of January–which practically meant that I had to wait until January 16, 2013 to be able to watch it. Worse, since it was a Wednesday, I couldn’t catch it because of work the following day.

But hey, I guess you can call me a fangirl because I ended up watching the film 3 times. Yes, darlings. 3 times. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I don’t do this for any film so even I was surprised that I had been willing to spend that much to watch a movie.

I can’t call myself a critique or expert or whatever (I can’t even carry a tune) but here’s what I think of the film:

First, I did not cry my eyes out. I don’t know if this is because I was in the cinema with friends or because the film really doesn’t touch me as much as the musical does. I got a bit teary-eyed but that’s about it.

I really like the production–the setting, the costumes and the fact that the cameramen were made to wear period costumes as well just in case they got caught by another cameraman.

One thing I admire them for is that the actors did not try to be as musically talented as those in theater. You see, people keep comparing the film to the live version that they forget how vastly different the two kinds of productions are. I like how the actors blended their acting to their singing although yeah, I do long for better vocals at times.

What I don’t like about the film is that they used way too much close up shots. The first time I saw the movie, I was seated at the front row, suffering from having to look at the pores on the faces of the actors whenever there was a close up shot. I did not appreciate it. Another thing was the shaky camera. It’s good for some parts but in others, it made me dizzy. Kind of like what happened when I watched The Hunger Games.

Now for the cast.

I have a love-hate relationship with Hugh Jackman as Valjean. I really liked him in the Epilogue (that was the most touching part of the movie) and in some parts like his interaction with the Bishop of Digne (Colm Wilkinson) but sometimes, he sounded weird to me. He goes from high-pitched to low-pitched that if not for the distinct sound of his voice, it would have been difficult to recognize his singing. I also didn’t like his Bring Him Home. =|

Russell Crowe. He didn’t sound too bad and his acting was not entirely bad either. But he lacked something (or a lot) to be Javert. I didn’t really see the obsession, despair, fierceness, and righteousness that I know Javert to have. I don’t know.

Anne Hathaway as Fantine. She’s good. I mean really good but as much as I find her I Dreamed A Dream devastating, I also find it too raw with emotions that it became overwhelming. The blending of music and acting was not in proportion. The acting overpowered the singing that it no longer sounded beautiful to my ears. Kinda like, if she wanted to show emotions and all that, she shouldn’t have sang the part and acted it out instead (which practically ruined the purpose of the musical film so don’t bother with me anymore). My opinion. I found her voice angelic during the Epilogue though.

The last part really is the best part of the film.

The Thenardiers. They’re the movie’s comic relief and I think Sacha Baron Cohen and Helen Bonham Carter (goodness, their names are long) did a pretty good job. ‘Master of the House’ is very entertaining in the movie.

Amanda Seyfried as Cosette. She does look the part and her voice really does sound vulnerable and soft and pretty much feminine. Her voice is a good complement to that of Eddie Redmayne’s so I guess she’s fine.

Eddie Redmayne did great as Marius (especially compared to Nick Jonas but yeah, let’s stop comparing). I am particularly impressed of his Empty Chairs and Empty Tables as well as his duet with Amanda in A Heart Full of Love. And he’s good at being dense (no sign at all that he ever noticed Eponine).

Aaron Tveit as Enjolras. The thing is, he must have been really good in his role (and he’s actually cute!) but I was rather distracted by Killian Donnelly (Combeferre in the movie) who was almost always in the same frame as Aaron. On what I’ve seen of him, I think he did well as a leader for the group of students. But well…yeah, I don’t think I have the right to say anything about Aaron’s performance. Sorry!

I like Samantha Barks’ Eponine in the film more than her performance in the 25th Anniversary at West End. Her singing sounded more beautiful and I felt her On My Own better this time around. Given her background, I think it’s pretty much obvious that she’ll have the best singing performance among the main characters. And as usual, people who can relate to her situation reacted quite a lot whenever her unrequited love was highlighted by the cameras. The gasps and the sighs and the awws. As expected of the Patron Saint of the Friendzoned.

I also really liked the performance of the child actors in the movie. Young Cosette and Eponine took on their roles well but the one I loved most was Daniel Huttlestone’s Gavroche. He was spunky and witty and brave, just like a street urchin. His death scene was heartbreaking especially upon seeing Courfeyrac’s (Fra Fee) reaction. I still want to cry about that.

One of the things I am rather fond of doing while watching the film for the first time was spotting West End actors (at least those I know of). Killian was my favorite to look at if that much wasn’t obvious yet. I love that I found Gina Beck (my fave Christine Daae) as well but her screen time was too short so I had to be satisfied with Killian. Of course, the appearance of Colm Wilkinson, the original West End/Broadway Jean Valjean, as well as the original Eponine, Frances Ruffelle, made the film more endearing.

There are still quite a number of things I want to say about the Les Miserables film but I’m going to cut it here ’cause I still have an appointment to the barricades. Nevertheless, you’ll find me watching the film again. This time, alone just to find out if it will make a difference to my eyes.

Shake

I have always been the type of person who observed, never cared and kept quiet. And so sometimes, people think that I’m timid and that once I get scolded or called to the office, I’d break down and cry. Honestly, that’s exactly what I wanted to do every time.

It’s just that the thing is, I don’t usually care long enough to shed my tears. You can berate me all you want and I’d simply listen and let you have your say. But I don’t think I’d allow you, someone I’ve never even had an intellectual conversation with, to make me cry. You are not that important to me. And just so we understand each other, I’ll let you know that I’ve cried so many times over books, Japanese/Korean dramas, and movies. Heck, I’d cry over my pets a heck of a lot more than I’d cry because of you.

You might have been able to shake me, you might have made me panic, and you might have scared me, but it will never be enough to move me. I am not a slave to your superiority–or more accurately, your tyranny.

Happy New Year!

Polka dots! Happy New Year!

Yeah, I know.

It’s the 8th of January already and I should be blogging more often. I guess for now I have to resort to one post a month since well, I’ve got to go to work.

2012 was a roller coaster for me and I couldn’t be any more thankful. I got to finish a book (not the best one out there [yet] but hey I’ll get there), got myself a job and got to watch The Phantom of the Opera live. So you see, I’ve gotten myself a lot of blessings last year.😉

2013 Planner [which will turn into a journal]

What I look forward to in 2013 is for me to develop my writing more and to find a goal that suits me best. I’d also love to travel this year–out of the country or somewhere south of the Philippines. Oh, and of course, watching the Les Miserables film which was to be shown here in our country at a later date than December 25. Argh! January 16, please come faster! =)

I’m still writing my stories although at a much slower pace but really, the day I got myself into it, I knew I’d never stop. So…I’ll get back here next month, okay? And check out my stories at Wattpad, please?

http://www.wattpad.com/user/rainelorenzo

Love Never Dies on my birthday

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It’s World AIDS Day today. It’s 25 days to Christmas! And it’s also the first day of Advent.

Turns out, these events coincide with my birthday. Yay!🙂

Yesterday we had planned to visit Manila Ocean Park but things got out of hand and we ended up going to Mall of Asia instead. I must admit that I was a bit saddened because I was really looking forward to the visit but I guess some blessings are disguised in disappointment because the moment I stepped inside the mall, my feet brought me to Odyssey (a CD/DVD shop) and off I went and bought the boxed set of The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies (a bit expensive but what the hell, it’s my birthday). I never intended to own the original copies of the two musicals–I was content with just clips–but I guess my inner phangirl needed these things in my closet just because well, I’m a phangirl.🙂

New Starbucks Christmas cups

To celebrate my birthday (an advanced one since these happened yesterday), we ate steak at Racks and I bought a turtleneck top from Uniqlo. I also managed to get myself two cups with different designs from Starbucks to add to my collection.

Moving on to the day of my birthday, I decided that since we have no particular plans, I might as well give time to finally watch Love Never Dies. I have already seen various clips before but I have never seen the full show. Although, I’ve been listening to ‘Til I Hear You Sing, Beneath A Moonless Sky, Look With Your Heart and The Beauty Underneath for quite some time already.

Birthday gifts for myself :)

So off I went and turned on the computer to set the the DVD. Just as I felt when I can finally see POTO live, I found myself getting emotional about finally seeing Ben Lewis and Anna O’Byrne in the Australian production. I would pay to see Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess as well but not everything I want can be given to me so freely.

***SOME SPOILERS AHEAD, I THINK. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.***

I was prepared to dislike it or be nonchalant about it but as I watched, I knew that I like it as well. It’s no POTO and there are a lot of things I question, but nevertheless, I like it.

The production was splendid (The Australians did great here) and the cast did great as well. What I didn’t really like was the story.

I love Anna and she’s brilliant as an older Christine. Ben has expressive eyes and I like how he interpreted the older Erik. He’s still menacing and a bit maniacal but not quite too petty (or maybe he still is and I’m just biased).

The chemistry between Anna and Ben was there–really there!–and I love their scenes together because they sizzle together. Really.

Raoul (Simon Gleeson), well I never really liked Raoul (except when it’s Michael Ball, Hadley Fraser or Anthony Downing) but I don’t think he deserved to be turned into a gambling drunkard. Yes, yes. A lot of lords become that but Raoul, despite his immaturity, loved Christine and I knew him as an intelligent person (or at least not stupid) so there was no way I can see him as a good boy gone mad. I would forgive if he had turned cold over the years but a waste-away? Not really.

Jack Lyall is an adorable Gustave and I really think his character saved the sequel. LND didn’t seem much of a romantic love story to me but more like a father and son story. I cried after The Beauty Underneath. Well, parent-child story is a another weakness of mine, after all.

Okay. Madame Giry and Meg. The actors did good but I didn’t like what happened to these characters. They are not ambitious (okay so maybe they need to have some sort of ambition as well) but they certainly do not worship the Phantom. I actually think of Madame Giry as a powerful character despite her fear of Erik but I sure as hell do not think she’s a slave to Erik’s musical abilities. Meg is allowed to yearn for a better standing as an actress/singer but again, I do not think she would enslave herself to the Phantom the way she was characterized. And that is my opinion.

All these being said, I conclude that I still enjoyed and liked Love Never Dies and I am still going to listen to the songs because I do not hate it at all. Not even if it ended in that manner. I now view it as a totally different musical from Phantom of the Opera. It has its own charm and it doesn’t deserve the hate. That’s it.🙂

P.S.

I also enjoyed watching LND because it was fun spotting Ms. Claire Lyon (currently the Christine in POTO world tour) in the ensemble.🙂

***END OF LOVE NEVER DIES COMMENTS.***

So aside from watching that, I celebrated my birthday by sleeping, eating, downloading bootlegs and video clips, and begging theater actors for birthday greetings. Haha!😀

What I did not expect was the Mr. Peter Karrie greeted me even before I could ask for it. It was totally unexpected and I was so surprised that I almost cried. It was the best birthday gift ever!🙂

I'm a lucky girl. :D

I’m a lucky girl.😀

More greetings for me:

birthday greetings

From Marcus Lovett (who's currently the Phantom/Erik in London POTO) and Joanna Ampil (one of the best theater actresses from the Philippines)

Greetings from my first Live Phantom and Christine

 

 

 

I’m a happy theater geek.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!😀

Times

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There are times when I wake up and everything is bright and shiny;

times when I feel as if the world is sad and tiny.

There are times when I wish I am somewhere else;

times when I feel like I am someone else.

 

And then there are times when my heart is heavy;

times when my soul is tired and weary.

But still there are times when I am grateful;

times when I am always beautiful.

 

I hope for those times when I no longer fear;

I hope for those times when things become clear.

I long for those times when life never burns;

I long for those times when love never scorns.

The World’s Most Famous Mask

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I don’t particularly remember when but I am pretty sure that the first time I found out about The Phantom of the Opera was when I went to my best friend’s house where she made us watch the 2004 movie. Ever since that day, I’ve been in love with the man with the white half-mask.

Okay. So maybe it’s Gerard Butler I first fell for. He’s a gorgeous actor, you have to give him that. I also absolutely love the songs used and unlike most people, I adore All I Ask of You (Reprise) a heck of a lot more than the song itself. You see, I think I have a weak spot for broken souls. It is followed then by The Point of No Return, and then that’s the time I can put All I Ask of You in the list. I remember watching the movie again and when that was no longer enough, I went on to YouTube clips.

Some time passed and I found Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera in an aisle least visited (Children’s Classics) in a National Bookstore branch that I don’t frequent. I know it’s kind of weird to find this book in the Children’s Section but then, it looked good beside Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. The mask cover is a bit scary though.

It wasn’t a very easy book to read (I can blame the translation or perhaps I really am not good with classics). The book isn’t too thick, you see, but it took me about a week to finish it. One thing is for sure though. Erik had me scared a lot of times (his mirror chamber/prison is traumatic) but he also tugged at my heartstrings just as much. People say that the book portrayed the Opera Ghost in a creepy, malicious way but I think he’s just a victim of society’s cruelty. I found myself hating both Christine and Raoul for being so judgmental and narrow-minded. And then I cried in what was the final lair scene in the musical where Erik’s vulnerability is pretty much exposed.

Perhaps it’s my idealistic views that made me like Erik much better than the other characters despite his criminal activities but I don’t care. In my mind, he doesn’t deserve the judgment thrown at him (I abhor his mother, I swear). I don’t particularly remember the details of the story yet I don’t seem to forget the feelings the book evoked in me.

Fast forward to early 2012 when I revisited the Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier)  by seeing the filmed version of The Phantom of the Opera’s 25th Anniversary. I watched it alone at night, in our LCD TV, and found myself even more enchanted by the story. I thought the movie and the book were amazing but seeing a production meant for theater blew my mind and soul away. The movie didn’t make me cry at all but Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess had me weeping even before the final lair scene ended. It was totally unexpected as I thought the book would always be the best version of the story.

This is another ‘milestone’, if I may say so, in my life as an admirer of Erik/Phantom. This is how I found out who Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh were. I watched clips of various productions, listened to songs and followed the Phantom actors on Twitter. I find it almost obsessive how I listen to four different versions of Music of the Night (Ramin Karimloo, John Owen-Jones, Michael Crawford & Colm Wilkinson) at least once a day. Since watching Phantom 25th, Music of the Night has become my all-time favorite song. I still smile at how I can fall asleep listening to pop rock songs but I couldn’t sleep when I listen to songs from musicals. It is always as if the voices of these great actors keep me entranced but never totally unconscious.

Their voices are literally hypnotizing.

What made 2012 even more meaningful to my passion for Phantom of the Opera is the fact that the world tour of the musical is being brought to Manila. Imagine what joy I felt when my financially broke self heard the news. It’s understandable as it is always a despair for theater lovers when they can’t afford a trip to Broadway and/or West End to watch the full production of their favorite musicals/plays.

I still struggled with the money to buy a ticket without asking from my parents but I knew I couldn’t let this opportunity pass. There’s no telling when and if I could ever manage to see the production in Broadway/West End after all.

I continued my fangirling, looking for news, following Claire Lyon (Christine), Emilie Lynn (Christine Alternate), Jonathan Roxmouth (Phantom/Erik) and Anthony Downing (Raoul) on Twitter just to torture myself, and bugged everyone to come watch with me. Thank heavens for my best friend who also like Phantom. She bought a ticket for me (with a chance to let me pay at a later date) and upon seeing a photo she took, I knew the dream to see the production live is about to come true.

September 30, 2012

Before this date I had been tweeting the actors, telling them how excited I am to see them–and charming and humble people that they are, they tried to reply to as many fans like me as they can. They’re really wonderful and always tell us how they want to meet the fans at the stage door after their evening shows. I swear that kind of attitude from them is exactly what made their Filipino fans love them even more.

I’ve watched plays before although always far in between (years even), with “Ako Si Ninoy” being the latest musical I’ve seen. I love music from theatrical productions despite my lack of talent in that area. Anything that has songs in it like Phantom of the Opera is a production I know I would always enjoy no matter how many times I’ve seen it.

And so my friend and I went to the Cultural Center of the Philippines with seats in Balcony 1, more than excited to finally see the production. I must admit that the moment the lights dimmed, I found myself feeling emotional. My chest was tight and I wanted to cry of happiness all throughout the show. I guess that’s something one feels when s/he is seeing one of his/her dreams coming true.

The audio in our area wasn’t the best (it was a little difficult to hear sometimes) but it wasn’t enough of a deterrence for us to enjoy the production. I particularly loved the scenes in the lair as they give a lot of focus on Erik/Phantom. I should also point out how the production isn’t an exact copy of what we can see in the 25th anniversary. The stage is smaller and therefore must be maximized but heck, it still turned out to be a great show; the effects were mesmerizing and yes well, downright amazing

I enjoyed listening to that night’s cast. Emilie Lynn sings wonderfully and certainly a beautiful Christine. Anthony Downing made me love Raoul’s character as his portrayal didn’t seem immature to me and yes, we should all take note how handsome he is.

I’ve seen clips of Jonathan Roxmouth before watching the show and I must say, he definitely did not disappoint. I love his voice and he’s a great actor. I also love his hands and the way he acts with them–which is a big thing since I have a hand fetish. And he’s gorgeous too (which seems to be a requirement for Phantom actors. Haha!) even though Erik is supposed to be an ugly, corpse-like person. For now, I’d say he’s my third favorite Phantom (at least voice-wise since I haven’t seen any other live). My first is JOJ (who had retired from Phantom just recently, making me really sad), closely followed by Ramin (who I hope will reprise the role sometime in the future, preferably when I can finally afford to go to London).

Right now, my wish is to see the actors, take a photo with them and make them sign my souvenir program, before they leave in a week. My friend and I were supposed to go to the stage door after the show but careless that I am, I ended up leaving my iPod Touch by my seat and we had to rush back to the almost deserted theater to check if it was still there. Luckily, nobody has picked it up yet. Unluckily, by the time we managed to find where the stage door was, the cast had left. It’s somehow unfortunate but I guess it means that I have to make a way to get those photos and autographs before they leave. I sure hope I manage to do it. After all, this is certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

One other thing I really, really wish for is to have the cast, particularly Jonathan Roxmouth, make a studio-recorded album for the Phantom of the Opera songs. Even better if they can make a recording for Love Never Dies too. Well, there’s nothing wrong with hoping.🙂

I can say that I have come quite far in my interest for this particular story/musical and I am pretty sure that the love for The Phantom of the Opera will never die. In fact, I think more and more people are going to fall in love with it as they years pass.

When September Ends

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It had not been intentional, I tell you, that I ended up supremely busy (at least in my mind) for the entire month of September. I guess I can say that the reason I haven’t been able to write anything for last month is the fact that my emotions went through quite a raging whirlwind.

You see, the world tour of The Phantom of the Opera has just arrived in Manila. I have always wanted to see it live and now that they’re here, I couldn’t let opportunity pass. I struggled to find the money I need to buy the tickets and went fangirling during my spare time. I watched lots of Phantom-related clips and listened to the songs for hours on end. It was a moth of addiction for me.

And then for some insane reason, my friend was able to convince me to go on a job hunt. I went with her mostly because I knew I needed a job already (more than a year of joblessness isn’t a very good record for anyone) and because I am so easy to drag around.

We walked around the business district of Makati, passing resumes, going to interviews and then going online to pass more resumes.

I had several failed interviews and I don’t wish to discuss them anymore but there had also been good ones. I was able to land a job as an Executive Assistant and although it isn’t exactly the most fabulous job in the world, I knew I would learn a lot from it. I’m excited to reflect on the changes in me after about a year of working.

My view on weekdays.

I can say that I am the kind of person who learns by experience and now that I have moved on to another chapter in my life, I knew there would be a lot of things in store for me–some nice, some not. One can never really be prepared for big changes (you always get surprised no matter how much you anticipate things) but I guess it all boils down to how you’re going to adapt and accept these changes.

My motto right now? Make the best out of every single day of your life.

Don’t wallow too much on what was already done and always look forward to the future with optimism. Yes, yes, I know. I’m the number one pessimist in the family but hey, I struggle to be optimistic once in a while.

Since I am no longer a ‘bum’ at home, my biggest challenge is how I’d be able to make time for my writing. I’m still in the adjustment period, but one thing’s for sure. I’m not giving up on my stories.

Confessions on Romance Novels

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I am a devoted romance reader and had been reading love stories since Cinderella. If there is one thing I hope to happen when reading books, it is definitely to fall in love.

#1

The first romance book I have ever read is a Harlequin romance entitled, “Taming The Shiek” by Carol Grace. I like it a lot mostly because despite the adult characters, it did not need a sex scene to be effective. And to think it was categorized by Harlequin as a Sexy Romance.

#2

When I was fourteen, I got swept into the world of Historical Romance by Johanna Lindsey’s “Man of My Dreams. Since then, I’ve always been fascinated by lords and ladies.

#3

I love reading romance series. The first one I’ve completed was Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series with eight books in all. It’s about a family of eight siblings, their names arranged alphabetically. Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth.

#4

I have another book series (the one that introduced me to romance series) which now has ten. They are beloved books and have characters that are really very interesting. It’s the Malory Novels which are now combined with the Anderson books because of intermarriage.

#5

The only contemporary romance series that I currently enjoy is the Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Those who are familiar with my first Heartlake story, “Secret Diaries” would notice that this is the same series that Rachelle got as a present from her father.

#6

Other romance authors that I love are Judith McNaught (she only has six historicals but all of them are really good ones) and Julie Garwood (who writes the best Scottish warrior-English bride romances).

#7

I’ve only read three and a half Nicholas Sparks novels. Half because I still haven’t finished reading “Message in a Bottle”. I’ve also read James Patterson’s “Sam’s Letters to Jennifer” as well as David Levithan’s “Lover’s Dictionary”. I intend to read Daniel Handler’s “Why We Broke Up”. There are only a handful of male authors who would venture into love stories and it is an awesome way to get balance between male and female romance authors (although I am still female author biased).

#8

I don’t have a favorite romance novel heroine but my favorite heroes will always be Jason Fielding (Once and Always by Judith McNaught), Ian Thornton (Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught), James Malory (Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey), Anthony Bridgerton (The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn), Brodick Buchanan (Ransom by Julie Garwood), and Calvin James Bonner (Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips). Sorry guys, can’t choose.

#9

All the romance novels that I have ever read has made me cry (or at the very least, made my heart twist with so much emotion). I always think that it’s one important element of a romance novel. It should make a reader feel a wide range of emotions.

#10

My favorite quote is from one of my favorite romance authors. She mentioned several times in different books that “Life’s a bitch”. I couldn’t agree more.

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“When male authors write love stories, the heroine tends to wind up dead.”-Ain’t She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips