Kita Kita: a social media buzz turned to romcom phenomenon

I first heard about Kita Kita among my social media friends. I had no clue what the movie was about while seeing the title multiple times on my timeline, and I was brought to curiosity to watch it after seeing a couple of good reviews on the film. It turns out that my friends are right about the movie. I absolutely love it to the point that it has become one of my favorite all-time films and I can see myself watching it multiple times once it is aired in cable movie channels.

I honestly admit that it is rare for me to appreciate a movie (especially a Filipino one) that everyone adores or talks about. Movies that are widely advertised, mass-budgeted or simply known by many do not usually impress me due to cliches, but there are lots of aspects in Kita Kita that turns it into an exception. Its lightheartedness (although the end is rather tragic), unexpected twists, comedy vibes, romantic chills, Japanese serene and picturesque landscapes and emotional mixture of tears and frustration are the obvious signs that make Kita Kita worth being appreciated by the masses. However, there is more to this masterpiece that makes it more than appreciable.

Kita Kita is about two individuals destined to cross their paths. One of them is a woman who becomes temporarily blind due to stress and heartbreaks, and another is a hilarious man who, after having been suffered by heartbreak, moves to Sapporo to start his life anew. However, they did not have a slight chance to know each other well given the fact that Lea (played by Alessandra de Rossi) was blind when she knew Tonyo (played by Empoy Marquez), who died at the same moment Lea regained her eyesight. It is interesting to see how their lives intertwine with their same sets of experiences and their multiple path-crossings. The film maker has done an excellent job in drawing parallels of these characters’ similarities in experiences and coincidental encounters, thus the definition of soulmate. However, the tragic ending implies that soul mates do not usually end together for some reason, no matter how many times their paths have crossed.

Quote that illustrates the central message of the movie

Another plus-point about Kita Kita is its acting. Empoy Marquez carried the entire ambiance of the film due to his hilarious nature and pick-up lines, and he portrays his character excellently to the point that the masses now consider “funny” as the new “handsome.” Similarly, Alessandra de Rossi managed to bring her acting to a higher level even though I am not a big fan of her. The AlEmpoy pairing have a good chemistry and it is nothing similar to cliched love teams of two good-looking people. Instead, a not-so-physically-appealing man is paired with a gorgeous woman who is inches taller than he is.

Translation: Got chills bro?

Thirdly, the movie title itself is eye-catching in a way it can be seen as a pun or a play on words depending on how the entire expression is pronounced (you will understand if you are a Filipino and speak Tagalog). “Kita Kita” can either mean “I see you” (which is the literal translation of the title) or “I saw you” implying Tonyo’s pursuit to Lea, or how Lea, blind, sees the world using Tonyo as her own eyes (here, “you” refers to the world Lea sees through Tonyo, including the latter mentioned person). Or it can also mean “see you again” or “see you some other time”, which implies a glimpse of hope that Lea will meet Tonyo in a different time and place in a different person or eventually when she goes to heaven. Another interesting aspect in this movie is the fact that it gives a literal picture of the famous quote “love is blind”, wherein the blind Lea falls for Tonyo without knowing what he looks like.

“Eh, ano kung bulag ka, ako naman ang magsisilbing mata mo eh.”

Translation: “So what if you’re blind? I will serve as your eyes.”

Last but not the least, Kita Kita never fails to teach us life lessons although it may be done implicitly. It shows that it is possible for two people to fall in love without involving physical attraction and that personality conquers all when it comes to looking for a relationship. Yet the most important lesson in this film (in my opinion) is to make the most of our time with our loved ones before they are taken away. We never know when this will happen, which is why it is highly important to show them kindness and compassion and to find time for them as long as we have the option to. Lea and Tonyo never had a chance to know each other deeply, yet Lea wished that she could have known Tonyo well enough. But then, Lea had no choice because she was blind when she knew him. Given that we are not in her situation (well if you are then you will not be able to read this entry), we need to make the most of our chance to be available to our loved ones as much as we can.

It is overall an entertaining romantic comedy movie that keeps the audience tuned from beginning to end. An enormous thumbs up for this timeless and unforgettable masterpiece.

“Noong nakakakita ka, ‘di mo ako nakita.

Nang mabulag ka, doon mo lang ako nakita.”

Translation: “When you could still see, you didn’t see me. When you became blind,
that was when you saw me.” Totally describes what the movie is all about.

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Title (translated) I See You

Country Philippines

Release Date July 19, 2017

Directed By Sigrid Andrea Bernardo

Starring Alessandra de Rossi, Empoy Marquez

Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance

Length 84 min

Plot

A temporarily blind woman gradually falls in love with her hilarious fellow Filipino neighbor in Sapporo as she finds comfort in him while he in turn, serves as her eyes to see the world.

Overall Rating 5/5 stars (10/10)

Sources

Kita Kita, IMDb

Kita Kita Facebook

Further Readings

5 fun facts about the Alempoy movie ‘Kita Kita’, Rappler

Go on a ‘Kita Kita’ tour of Sapporo, Japan, ABS-CBN News

WATCH: ‘Kita Kita’ bloopers from Alessandra, ABS-CBN News

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#RIPChesterBennington: A special tribute to Linkin Park frontman

It has been a month since Chester Bennington left this world. I felt shocked and sad as I heard about his sudden tragedy, and I could not help but reminisce my teenage years when I first discovered “In The End” on the radio, became familiar with the band’s other famous songs and knew the rest of the songs in their early albums as soon as I got their early CDs in my hands and had the songs downloaded in my first flash drive MP3 player. I appreciated every single music video of them played on MTV, as well as Chester’s inimitable growl and vocals paired with Mike Shinoda’s incredible rap. No latest rock band is ever incomparable to Linkin Park and that even includes the band themselves in their recent genre. The band will be a lot different without Chester Bennington, not only in terms of how they will sound but also in terms of memorable experiences they provide to their fans.

To the band that brought me to become a rock fanatic along with the Offspring, 90’s alternative grunge and 80’s and 90’s classic hair bands, THANK YOU! May you rock in peace along with the legendary rock angels Chester Bennington.

Here are Linkin Park’s notable songs which I personally love rocking to. I admit it is hard to pick which among these is my top favorite (credits to YouTube for the music).

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Stabilo Pastel Collection: A must for every stationery, arts and writing supplies collector

I was one of the luckiest to have discovered about the promo of this collection through Stabilo Is Launching Their Ultimate Collection This Weekend, SPOT.PH . This was held on July 14-16, 2017 in National Book Store at Glorietta 1, Makati City and I still insisted in going and buying those pastel highlighters, fine liners and fibre-tip pens even though I lived far from the venue. And with God’s grace, I managed to grasp each and every available color of these mentioned materials. I did not regret spending a penny no matter how much they all costed, realizing that they could be of so much use when doing my artwork, journal writing or simply taking notes in case I go back to school. The ink looked attractive on paper just as the bodies of the highlighters, fine liners and fibre-tip pens were appealing to the eyes of die-hard pastel collectors. More importantly, it does not smudge the back of the paper.

I used the named materials immediately after the purchase. It has been weeks since I started using them and I realized that each type of material played specific roles. Stabilo Pastel Highlighters are ideal for highlighting the key words and are more transparent than its standard color counterparts, which makes the highlighted words clearer to read. Stabilo Pastel Point 88 Fine Liners are more useful in annotations as well as in writing, drawing, coloring, painting and calligraphy, for the ink is water soluble enough to make it as a painting color (see Stabilo point 88 video for more Stabilo 88 tricks). Stabilo Pastel 8 Pen 68 Fibre-tip pens are used for the same purposes of Stabilo 88 Fine Liners except for annotations and writings. Stabilo pens and pencils are worth to look in the eye but in my opinion, are the supplies that I am okay with not buying. These are nothing different from regular pencils and black ink pens, although the pastel colors of their bodies made me assume that those were colored pastel pencils and pens with pastel colored inks.

My Stabilo Pastel Collection together with my standard Stabilo 88

For more information about STABILO

Explore the globally known French cheese in town named Boursin

There is so much to know about this particular cheese brand and so far, it is the best I have ever come across with when I still lived in France. It is rare to find flavored cheese spread there and although there is not much variety of flavors of locally-made Boursin compared to Boursin in the USA, I, as a flavor lover, still appreciate the fact that France has managed to come up with cheeses that include herbs, spice and other ingredients providing additional taste. I personally prefer this Normandy cheese spread compared to other French cheese brands such as the Laughing Cow and Babybel. There are several ways to use Boursin other than as a cheese spread, including the fact that it can be used for appetizers, salads and as an ingredient for recipes (e.g. burgers and mac n’cheese).

My personal recommendation would be to start tasting its signature flavor Garlic & Herbs (Ail & Herbes in French) before the others. However, one is still free to begin with another flavor.

Boursin cheese brought by a family friend. Would like to taste flavors other than these two.

N.B. Inspired by a long tradition of guests to mix seasoned cheese with herbs, the cheese maker Francois Boursin gave birth to Boursin cheese in 1957 in Normandy. With Garlic & Herbs as the brand’s first known variety, it is the first known flavored cheese sold in France.  Boursin has now expanded in over 35 countries across five continents.

Sources and additional readings




Come and join the Bibimfun at your nearest BonChon branch!

…along with Chapchae, Bulgogi Noodle Soup and Chicken Fries!

Bibimbowl meals may no longer be new to many Filipinos but as an amateur of Philippine-based restaurants (since I did not grow up in the country), the last long weekend of June was my first time to step foot into BonChon, with Fiery Spice Seafood Bibimbowl, Chapchae and Bulgogi Noodle Soup as my first set of meal. This eventually drew me to be one of the BonChon’s loyal customers and to explore each of their given specialties. The super spiciness of Fiery Spice Bibimbowl was already close to the authentic spiciness level in Korea and the Bulgogi soup and Chapchae were saucy and delicious. I equally loved Chicken Fries, the side dish my mom ordered (I went to BonChon with my parents at that time). Although they were only tasty at the outside, I was glad with the fact that BonChon still managed to come up with flavored sauces that gave additional taste to the chicken meat (That time my mom ordered Chicken fries with Miso Sesame Ranch dip as condiment. It tasted really great!).

Fiery Spicy Seafood Bibimbowl (before mixing)
Fiery Spicy Seafood Bibimbowl (after mixing)
Bulgogi Noodle Soup
Chicken fries with Miso Sesame Ranch dip

Other dishes I adored in Bonchon were Kimchi Coleslaw and Jjampong, otherwise known as the spicy seafood soup with egg noodles. Taco flavored Bibimbowl was equally great, yet it tasted more like a Mexican dish than a Korean one.

Taco Seafood Bibimbowl (before mixing)
Taco Seafood Bibimbowl (after mixing)
Kimchi coleslaw (left) and Chapchae (right)
Jjampong

Looking forward to see what Bonchon Chicken Philippines has to offer! I would love to taste these existing dishes I have not yet explored, which are Bibimfries, Gangnam Bao, Classic Ko-dog with Miso Sesame, Krazy Ko-dog, Korean Beef Stew, Chicken Sandwich and Fish and Chips.

DISCLAIMER: I am actually referring to BonChon Chicken Philippines in this entry. For BonChon restaurants in other countries, feel free to check this website.

BonChon is a South Korean chicken restaurant founded by Jinduk Seh in Busan in 2002. It opened its first overseas store in New Jersey in 2006 and arrived in South East Asia in  2010 (it opened its first South East Asian branch in Thailand). At the same year, BonChon established its branch in the Philippines through Scott Tan. Now globally known, the Korean restaurant has been receiving multiple good reviews from the press.

For more information about BonChon Chicken Philippines

Fete de la Musique: The story behind the spectacle

It was actually my third time to attend the Fete de la Musique. My first was back when I still lived in France and my second was when I watched a French New Wave indie band named Naive New Beaters in 2013. I attended the Fete with my usual concert buddy, who invited me after our common friend dragged her to watch the performances at the Rock stage. It has been a while since we did not watch concerts, which was why we decided to give ourselves a chance.

There is an interesting story behind the Fete that I would like to share. The Fete de la Musique originated in France in the early 1980’s. The concept of an all day music celebration came from Jack Lang, the French Minister of Culture and was later approved by Maurice Fleuret, the Director of Music and Dance, who discovered in a 1982 study that one child out of two played a musical instrument in a population of 5 million people. The concept came to life as it was held the first time in Paris and was then called La Fete de la Musique (literally known as Music Day or Music Celebration). The purpose of the celebration is to promote music by encouraging both amateur and professional musicians to perform under the slogan “Faites de la musique” (a homophone of the event’s name meaning make music) and by organizing free concerts where these musicians can perform.

The Fete is now known as an international phenomenon celebrated in 120 countries including the Philippines. Organized by Alliance Francaise de Manille (famous French language school in Manila), the Embassy of France to the Philippines, Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines and B-side Collection, the Fete de la Musique 2017 covered 30 stages in Metro Manila.

My concert buddy and I enjoyed the event for concerts and musicals have always been part of our lives. However, we only watched the performances at the Rock stage. We did not get to watch any in Eclectic stage due to its delayed schedule of performances and to the fact that we needed to meet our friend at the Rock stage as early as we could. We did not stay out the entire night either since we both needed to be home early.

Looking forward to attend the festival next year and to discover more artists in different stages. Here are the bands that we rocked with.

TheSunManager
Snakefight
The Riot Act
Flying Ipis
Saydie

N.B. The official date of Fete de la Musique is on June 21, the same day as the start of summer in Northern Hemisphere countries. Yet in the Philippines, the celebration took place near that date.

Sources and Additional Readings



Mermaid at I’M Hotel: Ideal for entertainment and chills

I went there as I watched the performances at the Fete de la Musique’s Eclectic stage. The delay of the show drew me to tour the roundabouts of the bar and I was amazed at the entire colorful set-up. The space was huge enough for a small concert (preferably acoustic and other “chill” concerts) to be held. The artwork on stage was beautiful and described the aquatic ambiance of the pool bar hence the mermaid’s image.

The stage where bands perform

The pool provided an impressive view of the buildings. It was equally relaxing to either sit on the caged lounges on top of the pool, lounge chairs by the poolside and simply at the restaurant sipping some cocktails, munching some snacks, chatting with friends and when there was an event like the Fete de la Musique, watch bands perform.

Poolside from the entrance
Lounge chairs
Poolside near the view
The view from the pool

The food and drinks were promising despite the budget spent on them. The salted egg chips were as delicious as I expected and sipping a glass of Mermaid tears cocktail drink felt like an unexpected comeback, given that I have not drunk cocktails for a long time.

Salted Egg Chips and Mermaid Tears Cocktail while waiting for the show

I would definitely consider Mermaid as a comeback place. I would also recommend it for my family, friends and loved ones, as well as for typical bar hoppers yearning for a place to chill.

Mermaid is located at the 2nd floor by the pool. It usually opens at the evening from Monday to Thursday, and the whole day on Friday and weekends.

For more information about the bar and the hotel

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken: Definitely a #1 chicken shop

I am grateful to have discovered this restaurant for the first time through a friend. We, along with our other friends, were looking for a place to chill after our church service and as suggested by this first mentioned friend, we all then decided to head to Hot Star, which was just a few kilometers away from our church service. Two among us had already eaten there and claimed that the served food was good. My other friend (also one of my best friends) and I still had never gone there and due to curiosity, we decided to agree with the popular suggested choice.

And it turned out they were right! It turned out to be the right place to chill and eat! Each of us ordered a signature 12-inch flavored chicken (except for my best friend who only ordered ice cream), and mine tasted so much like heaven that I would choose Hot Star over any chicken-based restaurants like KFC and I felt like going back there a couple of times. Mine was Salt & Pepper, while my friends’ were Red Hot Chili Pepper and Barbeque flavored. I also appreciated the ice cream (known as soft serve in Hot Star) that I ordered, the flavor of which was a combination of white almond and black gulaman (gelatin, in English). I also loved how the combi flavored soft serve had the same price as a single flavored one as it provided me an option to buy the ice cream with two flavors I both wanted to taste.

There are five flavors one can order for his or her own chicken: salt and pepper, barbeque sauce, sweet and sour, red hot and chili peppers. One can have one and more flavors in a 12-inch chicken, while in junior size chicken, there can only be one.

And meanwhile, here are some of the Hot Star specialties.

Salt and Pepper Signature Large Chicken
Red Hot and Chili Pepper Signature Large Chicken (ordered by a friend). Ordered this when I went back to Hot Star with other friends
Combi (White Almond & Black Gulaman) Soft Serve

I would recommend Hot Star to every food lover I come across with, especially to chicken lovers. In fact, I would recommend this restaurant to family, friends and to the masses.

N.B. Founded in 1992, Hot Star first started as a little kiosk in Taiwan’s Shilin Market. It became the largest fried chicken shop nationwide and established branches in Australia, Shanghai and six Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines. It opened its doors in the Philippines in 2014 and now has eight local branches.

For more information

Salad Stop! Another healthy food chain in town

EAT WIDE AWAKE.

Such is the idealogy of this known salad bar. In the world full of salads, I would definitely take them all. Salad Stop! is more than just a restaurant offering healthy and delicious dishes. Its specialties, most particularly salads, are well-customized to the point that they look as presentable as a professional chef level dish or even as the food shown in popular online recipes such as Tastemade, Goodful and Bon Appetit. The customers also have a choice to have their ordered salad customized differently from the pre-customized choices.

Go Geisha at Salad Stop! Alabang

I would personally recommend this restaurant to people who have been vegetarians, vegans and healthy eaters and to those who are beginning to live a healthy lifestyle. The salad dishes are as appetizing as they look and are healthy at the same time. Most importantly, they do not make stomachs heavy but already full enough. Salad Stop! is an ideal restaurant to go to after work-out and the Alabang branch (where I went to) has a nice location as it is near the gym.

Aside from salads, the restaurant equally offers salad wraps, soups, drinks, desserts and snacks that are mostly gluten-free. For more nutritious meals other than leafy greens, The Wholesome Table can be an option.

N.B. Salad Stop! is a Singaporean food chain founded in 2009. Dubbed as the healthy food chain in Asia, it has been offering high quality nutritious meals, using over 35 fresh ingredients and 18 homemade dressings. Its operations expanded in the Philippines in 2014, with Central High Square in BGC as the first local branch.

For more information

Salad Stop! Singapore Official Website

Salad Stop Philippines Facebook

Salad Stop Philippines Instagram

Additional Reading

6 tasty things to try at Salad Stop!, where veggies take center stage, Rappler

Salad Stop: New Franchise from the SSI Group, Manila Reviews

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