Barangay Napalm

I spent my last few hours in Baler exploring a fragment of film history. This was where portions of Francis Ford Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now (1979) were filmed. And while majority of the film’s sequences were shot in Pagsanjan, it was in this very town where they did this iconic scene with Robert Duvall:

Production was marred by several delays: The set was ravaged by a typhoon, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack, and Marlon Brando‘s eccentric behavior drove Coppola nuts, just to cite a few unfortunate incidents. Fortunately, the film did go on racking up several accolades, including Oscars for Cinematography and Sound Editing. More importantly, it’s now considered as one of the quintessential Vietnam War movies. But for the then-untapped town of Baler, Apocalypse Now‘s legacy transcends the realm of cinema.

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By the falls and under the bridge

I stepped out of the hotel room that morning to find evidence of heavy downpour. Somehow, I forgot about Baler‘s susceptibility to bad weather – with its proximity to the Pacific and all that. Good thing the sun was kind enough to show up. We only had that day to sample Aurora‘s natural wonders.

Since it was everybody’s first time in the region, we hired a tour guide to show us around. Our first stop: the majestic Ditumabo Mother Falls 


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Haller, Baler

Prior to Holy Week this year, I never imagined myself getting this fixated with Baler. I mean, I’m no surfer. I don’t think I’ll develop the coordination and balance for that activity anytime soon (LOL). Luckily, it took an out-of-whim trip for me to realize that it’s more than a surfing Mecca.

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“Ang Taba Ko Kasi” Starves for Resonance

Ang Taba Ko Kasi
D: Jason Paul Laxamana
S: Cai Cortez, Ryan Yllana, Mark Neumann
RATING: Ratings copy 6

No other CineFilipino 2016 finalist enjoyed more pre-festival hype than Jason Paul Laxamana‘s Ang Taba Ko Kasi. The teasers were intriguing, the memes were hilarious, and its Facebook page amassed more than 73,000 fans. Those fans likely cried foul when the trailer was slammed with an “X” rating. Couple that hype with widely relatable subject matters like weight struggle and unrequited love and we’ve got ourselves a potential sentimental favorite. Now, if only the follow-through was as heavy.

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American Idol’s Final Top 10: An Initial Ranking

Consider this a nostalgia trip of sorts. Back when I still was deeply invested in American Idol, blog entries such as this were an annual tradition. I also did weekly reviews whenever time permitted, but I rarely followed through.

So, for old times’ sake, here’s my quick initial ranking of the final season’s Top 10, two of whom will be eliminated in a few hours (Boy, are they in a rush to end things):

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Black Bites Back: Oscars 2016 Highlights


As expected, Chris Rock took no prisoners in addressing the #OscarsSoWhite controversy surrounding this year’s Academy Awards. “Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right it’s racist!”, he said at the beginning of his epic introductory monologue. Just like any other Oscar host before him, Rock also had spotty moments: The jabs at Will and Jada went a tad too far, the girl scout cookie bit was borderline NPH’s prediction box gag, and don’t get me started on Stacey Dash. But overall, the ceremony benefitted from Rock’s energy and I won’t mind seeing him host again in the future.

Here are the rest of my 2016 Oscar highlights:

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