Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Next Big TV Show - GLEE

Since it seems my prediction on the next “big” song in the Philippines came true via Wonder Girls’ Nobody, I shall make another fearless forecast on the next big pop culture icon. This time, it’s a TV show brought to you by Fox Network - Glee.

To sum it up, it’s a show about a has-been Spanish Teacher/CPA who was “The Golden Boy” during his High School in the very same institution he teaches in. Since the Glee Club’s mentor was facing a scandalous lawsuit (thanks to the show’s female lead), he stepped-up to the plate and asked the business-minded School Principal to take over the club even if he had to shell out some of his hard-earned money.

All he had was a band of misfits as members: a gay fashionista who gets dumped into the trash by the football team daily, a plus sized African-American girl who’s got a loud mouth and an attitude to match it, an asian emo-girl who rarely speaks, and a geek paraplegic who sounds like Justin Timberlake. This band of outcasts will be lead by a drama queen who seems to get splashed on by cold beverages daily. She is a fresh take on a protagonist as you will be torn wether you like her or not. The club’s impending curtain call will only be postponed by the group’s knight in shinning armor - the school’s hottest football player who was forced to join the Glee Club.

If you expect the cast to be great singers, don’t keep your hopes up. Aside from Mercedes (the plus sized African-American girl I’ve mentioned who sounds like Jennifer Holiday when she reaches her high range), the cast in general doesn’t have strong vocals. A runner-up to Mercedes would probably be the lead girl, who sounds like a weak rip-off of Lea Salonga (she sang “On My Own” from Les Misérables for her audition to the Glee Club which was generally good but a tad pitchy, though the presentation was really nice).

The show is really pleasant to watch. During breaks, you will realize you’ve been smiling the whole time you were watching the show. Granted, it contains few scenes where you’ll laugh out loud, but the story is light and the characters are highly lovable. From the antagonist Cheering Squad Coach who hoards the school funds, to the obsessive compulsive Guidance Councilor who is as obsessed with the Glee Club’s new mentor as she is in cleaning everything within her reach- you can relate to each character as if you grew up with them.

The show will remind you how much you miss your high school life. Glee has the youthful exuberance of High School Musical, the musicality of Sister Act 2 - Back in the Habit, set details and humor of Ugly Betty, and the feel of competitive flare that "That’s Entertainment" used to bring on Saturdays (yikes!).

Believe me when I say this, the show will be a hit! So better watch it before everybody else does.

I remember telling my friends a couple of years ago to watch NBC’s Heroes as I felt it would be a hit. They told me after watching my 1st Season DVD’d that it’s lame and worthless. After a few months, they ended up being the ones who were bragging to their officemates that they’ve seen the show first before it became a hit in the Philippines.

So look for how to watch this show and be filled with GLEE!!!

PS: Raymond told me it will air in the Philippines on Sept 15 over ETC

Click here to Access the Show's Official Website

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On Saying Goodbye When You've Just Found Love (Part 2 of 2)

After all the effort of concealing my escape so that I don’t have to introduce my parents to Raymond, my dad had seem to have developed the power of telepathy and made a way to hinder my clandestine access to our gate.

“What are you standing there for? Raymond might already be waiting for you by our street corner!” said my dad as he was trying to haul my red Samsonite luggage.

It looked that I didn’t have any other choice but to go with the flow. So off we went down the slope that is our inclined street towards the nearest intersection.

Luckily, Raymond wasn’t there yet so an extended meet and greet between my dad my new partner wasn’t going to be that long and uncomfortable. When the tryke came where Raymond was snugly seated, I realized that their rubbing elbows might be short ... but it would still be highly uncomfortable.

Why was I feeling uneasy? Raymond was a trophy: he’s good-looking, well-educated and self-sufficient. Aside from that, my dad didn’t seem to mind meeting my new partner. Why did I have this strange foreboding that a dark rain cloud was hanging over my head, waiting for the right time to dump acid rain on my psychedelic gay parade?

After a short introduction of “Dad this is Raymond, Raymond this is my dad. Let’s go!” Raymond transfered from the cab to the seat behind the driver. I threw my two huge luggage, backpack and laptop bag inside the tryke. I kissed, then hugged my dad and told him I’ll meet him and my mom at the airport on the day of my departure. My dad didn’t give a big fuss about my hurried farewell although I know for a fact that he and my mom will have a blow-by-blow account of what has transpired at our street corner.

While on the bus going to Manila, I pretended I was sleeping on Raymond’s shoulders while he was holding my hand. I was waiting for him to ask me why I was fidgeting when I was introducing him to my dad. Another hassle was added when a guy sat next to our seat when our bus made a stop in Pampanga. My gaydar alerted me that this guy’s blood was as pink as Barbie’s blush-on. He kept on looking at us every 5-10 minutes. I tried sitting up straight and letting go of Raymond’s hand for somewhere around 30 minutes but he still kept on looking.

Luckily, this guy provided the distraction I needed. My fidgeting during Raymond and my dad’s first meeting didn’t come up. Captain Gossipmonger of Pampanga might have been waiting for Raymond and I to do something nasty in front him. Thankfully, I felt I preferred sleeping on my Yumyum’s shoulder rather than asking Mr. Pampanga how he grew up to be a pervert.

That night, Raymond, Cassey, Janna, Kai, and I went to O-Bar for a night out. We didn’t really stay too long as I had to wake up early the next day to get my e-ticket from my agent and to meet up with ZORRO to give him back some of his stuff. So after finishing a bottle of Absolute Vodka Kurant, 2 6-packs of Sprite, half a bottle of cherry preserves and an unknown number of lemon wedges, we all went back to Cassey’s apartment.

The next day, after I was finished with my agent, I went straight ahead to Glorietta to meet up with Zorro.


When I still had Susan Boyle performing on my butt cheek, I also had a fit of flu. Zorro visited me and brought some oranges and DVD’s with him to help me “recover”. That same night, after around 20 minutes of Zorro leaving our home, he called while crying on the phone.

As I told you before, Zorro and his partner have been living together under one roof for more than a year already. When he got to their place, he wondered why their room’s light was turned on. When he opened their kitchen’s lights to get some water to drink, he heard a commotion in their room. Afterwards, his partner came out wearing only a towel around his waist. Zorro was surprised as his partner said that he was going to stay overnight in Pampanga for a conference. When his partner told him this, Zorro asked if he could stay overnight in his brother's place, to which his partner said yes. While talking, another guy came out of their room, also wearing just a towel around his waist. He felt betrayed and ran out of their place. As it was raining, he went to the nearest shed and was waiting for a tryke to bring him to his brother’s house while crying because of his partner’s alleged act of betrayal. He called me because he didn’t know what to do.

I told him to just go to his brother’s place and think it through. He was obviously still very much emotional about it and if he were to talk with his partner at that state, he might say and do things he will soon regret.

Anyways, back to me.

I haven’t had the chance to give him back the DVD’s he lent me because he was all over the map of Luzon while trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life without his recent ex. I, on the other hand, was busy with Raymond, so we didn’t really have the time to meet up and talk about what happened.

Since it was my last day in the Philippines and he was staying in a hotel in the Makati area, I met up with him to give him back his DVD’s and to ask him how he was coping. He wanted to treat me for a snack so I said yes. Why would I say no to a freebie right? While eating, he asked if I already watched Transformers 2. I’ve always wanted to watch the movie but never got around to actually doing it. I told him I’ll watch it with him as a friend. I wanted to make it clear to him that I am with him as a friend and not as a date because I am already committed. He said he was cool with the fact that I’m not interested in him and just really wanted my company.

While watching the movie, Raymond asked me where I was. I told him I was with Zorro watching Transformers 2. He told me we should have dinner together as it was my last night in the Philippines. I told him he shouldn’t worry about it because I really was planning to have dinner with him and will go back to Cassey’s as soon as the movie finished.

We left the theater as soon as the closing credits rolled. Zorro and I bid our farewells as he told me he was going to Guam to his sister to soul search a week after I leave. I wished him good luck in finding his soul and off I went to Cassey’s pad.

When I got there, Raymond was so mad at me that it felt like I was a refugee from Well’s “The Invisible Man”. He was watching the Michael Jackson wake coverage. Although he answered the questions I asked, he only answered them in 10 or less syllables while his eyes never left the TV. Cassey, Kai and Janna were nowhere to be found. I ask Raymond where they were but he answered in a very child-hates-his-mother-tone “They left to go to White Plains to have dinner with Cassey’s friend.” The answer was more than 10 syllables so it looked like he was softening up.

I asked him why he didn’t join them in going to White Plains.

“They invited me but I told them I’ll stay here because I’ll wait for you to come back. It’s our last night together for the next 6 months so I thought you wanted to spend it with me!” said Raymond as he rolled his eyes.

Have I become that insensitive already? Am I that selfish? What made me think that I can just dump my partner with my friends as I watched alien robots clobbering at each other.

I snuggled up to him and said a million pardons. Technically, he smiled when I got to somewhere around the 26th “I’m Sorry and I’ll never do it again.”

Then he said “It’s okay for you to watch movies with your friends, just make sure I know them ... and none of them is Zorro.”

So Raymond was jealous of Zorro ... this was another proof of the gossip that has been roaming around about me for the longest time ... I’m so effin’ beautiful!


By 2 am, I was done with re-packing all my luggage. Cassey, Kai and Raymond went with me to get a cab. I said goodbye and never made a big drama about it. I wanted to leave as soon as I can because I might go crazy and not leave at all because of Raymond.

I had the cab driver go to Victory Liner in Pasay to fetch my parents (my sister can’t drive them because our car was coded so they rode the bus instead). As soon as we were all together, my parents asked where Raymond was. I told them he was still at Cassey’s. They just nodded at the same time like they’ve choreographed the move and started interrogating the cab driver about his life as a transportation associate.

I knew this interview will take a very long time so I thought I’d better get my 3rd Generation iPod Shuffle on to set a dramatic mood on my 9th time to leave the Philippines. I suddenly realized I left my iPod at Cassey’s.

I got my phone and dialed Cassey’s number.

“Cassey, can you check if I left my iPod on top of the wooden dresser in your room?”

After a couple of seconds, Cassey’s bright and chirpy voice rang in my ear. “Yeah girl, it’s still here! Wanna have Raymond bring it to you to the airport?”

I never really thought of that. I guess I can’t expect Cassey to bring it for me. I don’t also want to burden Raymond with having to bring an insignificant accessory when he has already given me so much of his time and his effort. Before I could say no, Raymond was already on the phone.

“Cassey told me all about it. I’ll meet you in the airport at around 5?”

It looked like I won’t have any choice so I said yes and thanked Raymond for his understanding.


The line for checking-in my luggage was so long. It took me about an hour to finish everything up. I hastily went outside as my parents would have scared Raymond away with their unending queries.

When I got to the waiting area for relatives and friends of those who were leaving the Philippines, I saw my parents and Raymond talking animatedly. My dad saw me and waived. I marched up to them really fast and talked like a robot. I asked Raymond for my iPod, thanked him, said goodbye to him and my parents and marched off.

When I was a couple of yards away, I don’t what made me do it, but I looked back. I then realized why during important partings in Hollywood movies, everything slows down. I thought it was just a prerequisite effect for directors so that the audience will know that he/she is good. I understood then that when you are about to say goodbye, everything does seem to slowdown. You want to remember everything you see that you soak it all up - the sight, the smell and even the feel of the air around you. The last thing I saw was Raymond still talking to my parents with a wide smile on his face. They didn’t see me looking back, but if my sisters, my brother and his family were there, it would have been a complete picture of everything I hold dearly in my heart.

When I was done with Immigration and was sitting in Tinderbox, the only Cafe in NAIA where smoking is allowed, I felt I did everything wrong. I should have talked to Raymond longer than just “Thanks for bringing my iPod.” I should have pulled him away from my parents and told him how much he meant to me and that I love him more than he thinks I do.

Though I know I wasn’t able to do that, I also know in my heart that after 6 months, I’ll have another chance to tell him everything I wasn’t able to. Until then, I guess I have to just hold on to the wonderful memories we’ve shared with the 3 weeks we were together.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Geoff Taylor - The Next Big Star

While on-board, I get my daily dose of Pinoy Showbiz through the e-mails I get of Abante Online. When I read the one dated 24 August 2009, I was really happy with what I saw. A friend of mine, Geoff Taylor, had just won GMA Network’s “Are You the Next Big Star?”.

I first met Geoff in the now deceased bar in Olongapo called Level 3 (because it was on the 3rd floor of a 5-story building ... creative name right?). He was tall, good-looking and was built like an Olympian carved by a gay version of Hephaestus. We were introduced but never had the chance to talk much because they were having a post-production party and there were so many old friends there I had to prattle with. From what I know, that was the first of his multitude of ramp modeling stints. Even during that time that he was still a greenhorn, I knew that he’s destined to become something big.

The next time we met was in Kiara’s mini-fashion show. Kiara is one of the most prominent designers in Olongapo. He was opening a new studio at that time and he opted to do a small show to serve as his publicity stunt rather than throwing the usual cocktail party. He called on some of his ramp model friends and Mulch directed the small event for him. Again, I wasn’t able to really talk to Geoff during that time as I didn’t think I had anything to tell him and if I just went up to him and blabber off to kingdom come, he might end-up thinking: a) I was hitting on him, b) I’m a stalker, c) I was off my rockets and d) all of the above.

The third time we met was when Geoff’s manager, Victor, asked me to PA for a fashion show they were doing in SBMA. Well, not really PA, as what I did was do some graphics and video editing work. It was during that event - Ever After (A Bridal Fashion Show), that I found out he was a real person and not just a breathing mannequin.

Ramp models are usually egotistic. If you have enough guts to walk down a ramp and know that everybody is looking at you, it follows then that you should be confident enough to know that you deserve to be looked at. Most of the models I know don’t just have big egos, they also have a thing with keeping a certain character in public appearances. It always surprises me when I see how a model acts inside a hotel room and how it instantly changes right after passing through the hotel room’s door. I think having schizophrenia is a prerequisite to being a good and well-known ramp model.

Geoff though was different. He was who he was on and off the stage. He was humble and very eager to learn things. You can talk 3 hours straight and he would listen to you intently and would even ask questions to know more details.

After that, he joined Mossimo’s model search. A few months later, he joined ABS-CBN’s 1st Season of Pinoy Dream Academy. Though he didn’t win both competitions, I still believed that it wasn’t the peak of his career - that there were more things destined for him.

After his show with ABS-CBN as a vampire of some sort in Kapitan Inggo and a couple of features about his life in the same network, his showbiz stints became less each passing month.

While trying to enter showbiz from the fashion world, he and his mom were staying at his manager’s house in an exclusive subdivision. Whenever I was in Manila, I usually crashed in on his manager’s pad as staying there was free, and I was always surrounded by gorgeous people (so I feel like I’m gorgeous myself). Though the boy I met a couple of years before has already been replaced by a young man, he was still the same Geoff Taylor I met. He was still level-headed and enthusiastic about life in general. He still asked a lot of questions. He still laughs at the comic video clips I had on my phone. And most important of all - he still knew my name and called me “Kuya” (at least not Manong).

Though I’m not in it, I know people in showbiz change as soon as they make a name for themselves. Heck, I even know of one guy who used to teach me how to do a side-split while properly belting “Through the Fire” in falsetto. He became really famous as a vocalist for a band and was even linked to a sexy female starlet. I always thought he was a homosexual male, I guess after 2 albums and a couple of sold-out stadium concerts, he has metamorphosed into a Butch Lesbian. We’ve bumped into each other at several functions and he won’t even look me in the eyes. There’s another former friend who I used to eat fishballs and tuknenengs with, but suddenly had amnesia as to who I am as soon as he became a “socialite”. This fishball-addicted-pseudo-socialite won’t even add me in Facebook.

That is why I really was proud of Geoff when I saw him again after all the media exposure he got. He was still the same person. I guess the limelight doesn’t really cause cerebral damage as proven by his resilience over showbiz’ mind-affecting glitziness.

During my last vacation, I saw that Regine Velasquez had a new talent search called “Are You the Next Big Star?”. When I watched the pilot, I was shocked to see that Geoff Taylor auditioned. I texted Mulch right away as he was Geoff’s manager’s 2nd degree nephew. Then I messaged Geoff and his manager, Victor, over Friendster as I wasn’t sure if they still had the same numbers. I didn’t really want to text or call them directly as I haven’t been in-touch with them for a long time.

After Mulch moved to Manila, I have crashed in on his place instead of Victor’s because Mulch’s pad was more accessible. It has been a year since I’ve last talked to either Victor or Geoff. I wasn’t even expecting him to reply from my Friendster message but Geoff answered a couple of minutes after I sent the message, thanking me for my well wishes and asking me to vote for him if/when he reaches that stage of the competition.

After that, I never had the chance to actually see the show progress as I was busy with my social and love life. I was only able to watch the show again a couple of days before I left. I saw that Geoff was still in the competition with only a handful left from the original set of competitors. My gut told me Geoff had this in the bag.

Now that I know he won, I can say that he really deserves it. Not just because he has both the looks and the voice, but because he has the attitude. He has also worked for this for a very long time and winning this competition is a just reward for all his patience, effort and loyalty to his manager.

I know that when he does become the next big star in the Philippines, he would still call me Kuya and listen to my stupid stories. He’d still be the same person, but a bigger and brighter star.