Amici: Definitely recommended for Italian food enthusiasts

It is not surprising to see how this canteen-turned-business entity has been offering authentic and delicious Italian food through the years. Founded by Fr. Gianluigi Colombo, Italian priest and Don Bosco Publishing Press operations manager, the known restaurant has been providing that Italian delice and atmosphere from its “turo-turo” (street food stand) days (June 1994- June 2001) serving the employees of the press to its establishment as Amici di Don Bosco serving nearby school students that leads to its gradual growth to broader markets (June 2001-present). Wood fire ovens (like the ones found in pizzerias in Italy and other parts of Europe like France) and homemade pasta further add authenticity to dishes and desserts. The casual Italian dining culture and experience is established through the restaurant’s colorful, dynamic and welcoming personality, paired with accommodating staff attending to each diner’s concern. These give the feeling that the customers are dining in an Italian-based pizzeria.

The following are the sumptuous dishes I experienced as a first-timer.

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Spinach Artichoke for appetizer
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Pizza Margherita (tomato pizza with basil and mozarella cheese)
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Pizza Chorizo e Spinaci (Spanish Chorizo and Spinach with White Cheese)
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Linguine al Prosciutto e Tartuffo (truffle-oil based linguine with proscuitto ham, porcini and shiitake mushrooms)
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Salted Caramel Gelato (salted caramel flavored gelato ice cream)

Tasting the truffle oil mushroom linguine turned out to be my dream come true, for I have always longed for Amici’s truffle oil linguine based on a friend’s recommendation. It never failed to satisfy (to exceed even) my expectations, and the combined gelato delice, the appetizing Spinach artichoke and mouth-watering pizzas brought me a heavenly experience that urges me to become the restaurant’s loyal and faithful customer.

N.B. Other branches are found within Metro Manila including Greenhills, Ayala Triangle Gardens, McKinley Hill, Alabang Town Center, SM Megamall, Robinson’s, and Trinoma. Yet, it is more recommended to dine in Amici di Don Bosco (the original established branch) as it provides more authenticity and delice than the rest. 

Sources

Amici Official Website

Amici Philippines Facebook

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The Fault in our Stars: a film filled with one last hope

And the film is worth-appreciating more than this brief review can express. It is heartwarming in a way that the young adults battling with cancer are still finding their wills to live, and provokes emotions that include comedic acts from Isaac, the patient who loses his eyesight, as well as teary-eyed scenes especially at the approach of Gus’s death. Moreover, the overall acting is so natural that it increases the film’s realistic aspect. The expressions shown by the characters are close to the ones depicted by real-life cancer survivors and their surrounding loved ones.

The inspirational part of the film lies in its implication of several life-learning lessons related to renewed faith and hope. This is seen in the central themes including self-determination, following one’s heart desire, being successful in one’s field, viewing the harsh world optimistically, fighting for survival, finding one’s purpose in life and standing up for one’s faith and beliefs, as well as in minor relational themes like love, friendship and concern. Other than adding to the audience’s inspiration, they also make the movie even more heartwarming. All of these personally inspires me, as an audience, to fight my everyday struggles, to follow my own path and succeed in it, to solve my own problems productively and with faith, and to be thankful for my own blessings while being considerate towards the less-fortunate.

And finally, the title of John Greene’s (the author) work is an oxymoron of the plot. While the title sounds more like a blame and/or a complaint, the plot gives an atmosphere of faith among the readers and the audience wherein Hazel Grace attempts to live her best moments before her last breath.

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Country USA

Release Date June 6, 2014 (USA)

Based On John Greene’s The Fault in Our Stars

Directed By Josh Boone

Starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Willem Dafoe

Genre Drama, Romance

Length 125 min long

Plot

A teenager diagnosed with cancer named Hazel Grace attempts to live the best of her moments. Her faith and hope is renewed as she meets Augustus in support center, with whom she falls in love.

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“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.” – Augustus Waters

Overall Rating 4.95/5 stars (9.9/10)

Sources

The Fault in Our Stars, IMDb

The Fault in Our Stars (film), Wikipedia

Further Reading

8 Differences Between the Fault in Our Stars Book and Movie. Myxph.com

Maleficent: a bittersweet version that provides every sinner a better light

Yet, the movie was hard to appreciate at first. Its plot concept was confusing in a way that it was incomprehensibly distorted, failing to provide any direct clues as to why the supposedly evil Maleficent became a good-turned-evil fairy. It was expected to be a movie following the animated adaptation with Maleficent as the main character, yet the plot turned out differently. Other aspects that made this movie lovable enough to hate were Maleficent’s shallow reasons for casting a spell on Aurora (to be perfectly honest, I would prefer if Maleficent came up with deeper reasons other than her break-up with Stephan) and those dragging scenes that literally bored the audience.

But my views as an audience turned out differently as the film reached its middle. I realized that Maleficent had several aspects to offer, one of which was unpredictability. The audience suddenly realizes the film’s purpose as he or she ends the film, which is to create a different plot concept from the animated version. This even provides a twist wherein Aurora’s father Stephan is the real villain of the story. He is the one to blame for the bitterness increased in Maleficent (yet Maleficent is also responsible for her mistakes and she ends up fully admitting it), which brings her to plot for cruel revenge. Another twist lies in Maleficent growing to be Aurora’s lovable mother figure, in contrast with the animated version wherein Maleficent is a pure wicked fairy that casts spell on Aurora due to jealousy.

The film never fails to provide the golden lesson that sinners can be saints. This is reflected upon Maleficent’s life story as a whole, wherein her long lost love for Stephan turns her into a bitter evil fairy leading her to destroy the kingdom and casting a sleeping curse. It also teaches the audience that every sinner has his or her chance to correct his or her mistake. Maleficent takes that opportunity by saving Aurora from the curse, and her kiss proves well that she is indeed Aurora’s true love, being a mother figure as her love towards her grows.

And there goes the rest of the black comedy’s anticipating aspects that includes the graphics, the special effects and the overall light yet grotesque scenery (which the blogger personally loves). Angelina Jolie did her job well in performing her role as a pure-hearted villain and it is not surprising to see how the role fits her.

Maleficent_poster

Country  USA

Release Date  May 30, 2014 (USA)

Based On  Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and Charles Perrault’s La Belle au Bois Dormant (The Beauty Sleeping in the Wood)

Directed By  Robert Stromberg

Starring Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Juno Temple

Genre Adventure, Fantasy

Length 97 min long

Plot 

Followed by her lover’s betrayal in following his father’s footstep’s to become King, Maleficent seeks revenge through destruction of the Kingdom and her eternal spell on Aurora (her lover’s daughter). The latter is then destined to sleep as her finger gets pricked at her sixteenth birthday, until her “claimed true love” kisses and awakens her.

Overall Rating  3.75/5 stars (7.5/10) – due to misunderstood distortion of the plot and the dragging early scenes.

Sources

Maleficent, IMDb

Maleficent, Wikipedia

#PBB3rdEviction: “We’re proud of you, Jacob.”

And forever I will be. I have been a fan for two years and I am glad how joining various reality talent shows has turned the singer and theater actor I have discovered on YouTube into stardom. I have dedicated my full-pledged support ever since I have heard his angelic voice in one of his cover videos (which unfortunately can no longer be found on YouTube) and felt teary-eyed knowing that it was time for him to leave the Big Brother House. Tears fell harder when Kuya (in other words, Big Brother) expressed his words of farewell to Jacob. He was the only evictee who has received such message of warmth, marking how valuable he has been to his co-housemates as well as to his dedication to tasks.

There are several aspects I admire about this cutie crooner. One of them involves the fact that he is multi-talented. I tend to look up to these kinds of people being one myself, and his outstanding theatrical singing voice pushed me to admire him further and learn what he has to offer other than singing and acting. Then it turns out that he is also a chef at heart. Having such talents makes me so much relatable to him, given how I share the same talents as him even though I am more into baking than cooking, as well as being a middle child, a person who grew up abroad, and a quiet person who does not tend to stand upfront for his opinions, is often mistaken as a playing safe housemate who is not true to oneself and is seen as lazy despite waiting for a task, which he will do in no doubt. Sharing the same attributes as him makes me admire him even more both as a housemate and a person. I even felt flattered knowing that my favorite dish turned out to be his culinary specialty (which is pasta).

Another aspect I love about Jacob is his determination to follow his dreams. He is not the type to give everything up whenever he loses, as proven how he keeps joining several television talent searches (Kanta Pilipinas, The Voice and now, PBB All In) despite not being part of the finalists circle, and would still do his best to be recognized and aim for his showbiz dream. He even inspires me to face my everyday struggles, to have faith in myself, find my direction in life no matter how hard it is, and to aim for my goals and hit them. Seeing his smile just makes my day any better. I also love his sweet, compassionate and friendly personality that he has shown inside the house, and it is pretty understandable how his departure grieved his co-housemates.

Not forgetting to mention that Jacob is undeniably handsome! It is one of his attributes that first turned me into a fan, which indeed brought me to like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud, subscribe to his YouTube account, buy the magazines where he is featured, and watch him in reality talent search shows and guestings. His talent and personality increased my fandom to its highest level, and therefore made me socialize with his other fans virtually and convert my real-life friends into fans.

He may be one of the evictees this season, but opportunities will certainly come knocking at his door. He already has that artista (celebrity, in other words) factor, and there is a chance he will be given future projects that will improve him further as a person just as PBB did. GO TEAM JACOB!

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Photo taken from Official Jacob Benedicto FB group page

For more Jacobian feels

Jacob’s interview on Ubertime

“Leaving on a Jetplane” by Maris, Jane & Jacob

Mommy Anne’s (Jacob’s mom) on Ubertime

Jacob’s house on uberKatok

Where to follow him

@jacobbenedicto (Twitter & Instagram)

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