Friday, October 19, 2012

Die Cast Dreaming

It's been a hobby of mine to go to malls, cornershop stores or some deserted kiosk looking for good stuff to buy (I specifically lookout for die cast cars or action figures). And like the MARS Curiosity rover, I find it fulfilling if after landing on an unknown world, I find something special to add to my collection.

Yesterday, I went to Makati Cinema Square and passed by a hobby store (forgot the name) in one of the stalls inside. And speaking of the Mars rover, guess what I found?

A Hotwheels 2012 Mars Curiosity rover die cast replica!

The Mars Curiosity rover (the real one) created such a large buzz in the media when it touched down on Mars surface last August. It sort of became this generation's Moon landing, with Mohawk guy becoming this generation's Neil Armstrong. (When you think about it, Neil Armstrong's death seem to signal a passing of the space torch- a farewell to the golden age of space travel and a welcome to the modern age.)

Okay enough of the space pondering. Along with the die cast Curiosity rover, I also found a Hotwheels 1:65 scale 2007 edition of the 1960's Batmobile (designed by George Barris) to add to my collection of batmobiles and other famous die cast cars. This would be my second 1966 batmobile. My first one, a 1:50 model went missing last Christmas after some children got access to my display cabinet and played with the cars. I've been looking for a 1966 batmobile since then (it has a sentimental value to me because of being one of the firsts in my collection).

So finding this one made me feel like a wound has been healed finally.

I recently got another batmobile in the toys section in  Landmark Makati. I tried to search in the net where it was based from to no avail. (If there's any one out there who knows, please share the knowledge.) The package has an image of Batman which looks similar to Neal Adams' Batman but that's the only  information I got from it. It seems like part of a 2011 series of Hotwheels devoted to DC Universe characters. There's also one for Catwoman, Bane and Joker and also for Wonderwoman and Green Lantern.

Some months ago, I've been wanting to buy a Batpod Hotwheels model but my wallet seem to stop me from doing so. But by June, during the hype of the Nolan's finale to this Batman trilogy I decided to buy--sort of to serve as a commemoration token for the movie. When I went to the toy store (Toy Kingdom), I saw there were a lot of new supplies on the rack for the Batpod (and other batmobiles). When I checked the price, I was shocked that they more than doubled their previous price. Good thing, when I went to the hobby store in MCS, there were old supplies (there's just 2 when I went there) and the prices are still the original, so I got to buy it in time for the movies release a few weeks later.

There is this small collectibles shop in the ground floor of SM Megamall. It's on the Shaw end of the mall right before the SM supermarket. The last time I went there, I got an official DC movie merchandise die cast batmobile from Burton's Batman movie. I've been meaning to go back there, they also sell action figures from comics, anime etc. The toys are arrange in a haphazard manner on the shelves which made me feel like searching for hidden treasures while looking around.

In the Toy Kingdom SM Makati branch, I got  a Greenlight The Fast and the Furious Dodge Charger. It's the car that Dom Torreto fears in the first movie. It's the one driven by Dom and eventually crashed. (Looking back, when I was watching that first installment, I never thought it would be a franchise that will go on for another 4 more movies and another one more coming).

There's also the Fast Five Dodge Charger (The ash colored one) but that would be a buy for the next time.

Still in the topic of movies, I got the DMC DeLorean from Back to the Future, I think it was from MCS also. The Back to the Future trilogy is one (or three) of my most favorite movies of all time. It's just so fun to watch agin and again. The movies contributed a lot to the pop culture of the 80's and even today. This car is one the aspects of the movie that made a great impression. (as well as Michael J. Fox's futuristic Nike Mag shoes which just had a revival some years back.) Anyway, the DeLorean time machine is one of the coolest time travel devices ever built in movies or TV.

Just a few more images.

Here's the batmobile from that Batman movie-that-must-not be named. The car actually looks cool. It looks sleek and fun (unlike the movie where it is from).

Here's the batmobile from the Batman: The Animated Series which is one of the best interpretation of Batman in any media. (And also has one of the most amazing Joker interpretations of all time, through the voice of Mark Hamill). This batmobile looks brooding, dark and gothic (perfect adjectives for the Batman).

This one is from the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game. I haven't played it yet but I hear its an incredible game.

For my Christmas wishlist, I want to have a die cast model of Men In Black 1987 Ford LTD Crown Victoria (the rocket  is optional), Green Hornet's Black Beauty (Guns and spikes optional), the Ghostbusters van (so I wont be afraid of no ghosts) and the Tumbler.

Here ends my overlong enumeration of some of the die cast cars in my possession.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dot - Words of wisdom from Asin and Sagan

Tuldok (Dot)

Ang tuldok ay may salaysay at may kahulugan
Na dapat mapansin at maintindihan
Kahit sino ka man ay dapat malaman
Na dito sa mundo ikaw ay tuldok lang

(A dot has a story and a meaning
That should be noticed and understood
Whoever you are  you should know
That in this world you are just a dot)

Kahit na ang araw sa kalangitan
Siya ay tuldok lamang sa kalawakan
Lahat ng bagay ay tuldok ang pinanggalingan
At kung masdang mabuti, tuldok ang uuwian

(Even the sun in the sky
is just a dot in space
Everything came from a dot
and if you look closely, will end in a dot.)

Tingnan mong mabuti ang 'sang katauhan
Maraming nag-aaway, tuldok lang ang dahilan
Sa aking nakita, ako'y natawa lang
'Pagkat ang nangyayari'y malaking kahibangan

(Look closely at humanity
People fight, because of a dot
What I saw I just laughed
Because what is happening is a big insanity)

Kaya wala kang dapat na ipagmayabang
Na ikaw ay mautak at maraming alam
Dahil kung susuriin at ating iisipin
Katulad ng lahat, ikaw ay tuldok rin

(So you have nothing to brag about
that you are wise and knows everything
because if you look at it and think
like everything else, you are just a dot.)

- Asin

Pale Blue Dot

We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

—Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, p. 6

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Project NOAH

I could imagine Noah's desperation when he saw the futility of his efforts as he lift that first plank of wood. How can he build an ark from scratch which can carry thousands of animals to salvation and sustain their survival for 10, 20 30, 40 days? How can he build something great from this small piece of stick?

Yet we all know the story-- we know that he persevered, he moved forward, even if he started with just a piece of wood, even if he only seem to have built a raft at the start.

Sometimes, a raft is enough to save a life. or a floating piece of wood. Or a log.

July 2012, Project NOAH was launched with a very energetic vibe. Here is a system which can save thousands of lives, the proponents asserted. Here is the solution to our countries perennial problems. Here is our ark aginst our enemy, the flood.

The project has a robust mission:

The Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) program team will collaborate with government agencies to promote and integrate advanced science and technology to enhance disaster management and prevention capacity of the Philippine government. These include: the deployment of instruments and state-of-the-art methods to construct high resolution hazard maps that are relevant to the community and local government units; delivery of readily accessible, timely and accurate hazards information through various media and communication platforms; disaster research and development; integration of disaster efforts by the national government, academe and civil society organizations; and application of a bottom-up approach by communities to resilience against disasters.

That's a mouthful.

Even grander is its vision.

To assure homeland security by reducing casualties and property loss from extreme hazard events and build disaster resilient communities in the Philippines by way of establishing research and development platforms and the promotion of frontier science and technology in disaster efforts.

To become a world leader in programs that leverage on advanced science and technology to mitigate the impacts of natural hazards.

I am almost in tears, and that is not in a sarcastic negative manner. I admire the effort that the government is giving into this kind of project. Having a background in the physical science, I know how it feels when a science project you propose to the higher ups geta go signal and recieves a funding. It's not even the money that you get from it. It's the fact that you get the opportunity to create something that you envision would become something great. It is a great feeling of satisfaction.

Tinkering a bit with the application, I'm quite overwhelmed by the amount of information they are providing in almost real time period.

Perhaps one of the most useful layer is the Probaility of Rain. As covered in their FAQ, it answers the question:

Q. Is it going to rain today?

A. Check the Probability of Rain option under the Weather Outlook tab. Click on an icon on the map located around your area to see the percent chance of rain within an hour, 3, and 6 hours.

There's an almost 50% chance that it would rain within our hour in my area. I should bring my umbrella if I'm going out.

Another useful layer, albeit not immediately but for long term plans is Flood Map. It shows the flood height and its extent given a particular rainfall scenario.

I chose a scenario with light rainfall (5 year flood map) and I get the image below. Which means I should not build my house in the red and orange areas. Those are flooded easily.

See that legend on the right? The humanoid figure is the average height of a Filipino (5'5"). The red means that if you are an average Filipino you will be submerged. And you'll be dead.

There are many other things you can find here. (I think if I want to write a scientific paper, I can create one by just using historical and real-time updated data in this page.)

There is a layer for Weather Stations which show the amount of rainfall, temperature, wind speed, wind direction, air pressure, and humidity of a geographic area for the last 24 hours. There's stream gauge and rain gauge. MTSAT, Processed MTSAT. Rainfall, Temperature, and Pressure Contours. I don't how they are used at the moment but that is just because I don't want to delve deeper. But I know that they all have their applications.

This program is a collaboration of many agencies. I commend this kind of joint work. I know it's not much right now but it is a building block for something bigger and better. It may be best if the government gives a lot of support into these endeavors. We are a country not endowed with a magnificent space program. Or a collosal particle physics accelerator project.

Yet, we can still strive to be great at some things. And the things worth doing are those that benefit our countrymen. Stepping on the moon will not help us feed our fellows. Discovering a new particle will not give a comfortable roof to our homeless. Let those rich nations conquer space.

I tend to think Project NOAH is just a log. It is a tool and information dissemination system to arm us, make us aware of the situation, to alert us. But it is a start of something huge. It is a sign just like an olive leaf, that even with all these literal and metaphorical flood around us, we are not beyond saving.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Living City - The Case for Urban Motility

The ability to move is a characteristic of most living things. Single-celled organisms could move using their whip-like appendages. Terrestrial animals move by walking or crawling. Other organisms move by flying, swimming, or burrowing. Movement allows these creatures to gather food more efficiently, to find shelter timely, or escape predators quickly. Thus, one could conlude that movement is necessary for the propagation of species and of life.

In a dynamic world, the ability to move and relocate is a very beneficial skill. This is not irrelevant to cities where multitudes of buildings, vehicles and citizens dwell. In the future where we face a vastly increasing scarcity of resources but ever expanding land area (see Dubai development) a walking and adapting city would prove to be crucial. Hence we ask, for a living city, how do we make it mobile?

Lego Crawler City

Mobile Cities in fiction...

In a city as big as Manila for example, frequent large-scale relocation is a very difficult if not impossible undertaking. Many science fiction stories have proposed elaborate means of moving a city. One search in Wikipedia will give the following results for moving cities from books and video games (1):

The four novels in Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines Quartet (Hungry City Chronicles) include large mobile Traction Cities that travel across the world, devouring each other to gain fuel and other resources. 
A massive city travelling along equatorial rails around the planet Mercury is the setting for a minor part of Blue Mars, the last book in the Mars Trilogy of Kim Stanley Robinson. The city is pushed along by the slight yet powerful expansion of the rails as the close-by sun shines on them (with the city always just staying within the planetary night), moving the city once around the planet every 88 Earth days. The same city appears in Robinson's early novel The Memory of Whiteness.
There is a similar arrangement in Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire, where Nomad City avoids Athega's light by continually moving over the surface of Nkllon. 
In Alastair Reynolds's Absolution Gap, vast cities circle the moon of Hela to keep the planet Haldora in view, in case "the Miracle" – the momentary disappearance of Haldora – occurs again. The mobile cities are called Cathedrals and are devoted to worship of the Miracle, which they believe is God's message to humanity. 
In Christopher Priest's novel Inverted World a city on a "hyberbolic" planet is continually moved on rails to keep it at a particular location—which itself moves—where conditions are "normal". 
Greg Bear's novel The Strength of Stones is set in the declining years of a planet of motorized cities that ejected their inhabitants. 
Storm Constantine's novel Calenture takes place in a world of mobile cities that fly, walk or move on wheels, guided and powered by "pilot stones". 
The computer game Starcraft features an interstellar empire of humans that use collections of mobile buildings to assemble ad-hoc cities in space and on land.

...and in real life.

In the same Wikipedia page, we will find that there has been proposals for moving cities in real life.
The Walking City was an idea proposed by British architect Ron Herron in 1964. In an article in avant-garde architecture journal Archigram, Ron Herron proposed building massive mobile robotic structures, with their own intelligence, that could freely roam the world, moving to wherever their resources or manufacturing abilities were needed. Various walking cities could interconnect with each other to form larger 'walking metropolises' when needed, and then disperse when their concentrated power was no longer necessary. Individual buildings or structures could also be mobile, moving wherever their owner wanted or needs dictated.

Following a link in the same page, we learn of the moving fort Gulyay-gorod used in Russia (2).
Gulyay-gorod, also guliai-gorod, gulay-gorod, literally: "wandering town"), was a mobile fortification used by the Russian army between the 15th and the 17th centuries.
A gulyay-gorod was made from large wall-sized prefabricated shields with holes for guns installed on wheels or sleds, a development of the wagon fort concept. The usage of installable shields instead of permanently armoured wagons was cheaper and allowed more possible configurations to be assembled. The gulyay-gorod was designed as a fortification in steppes, whose flat, void landscape provided no natural shelter. An early Western description of the gulyay-gorod was made by Giles Fletcher, the Elder, ambassador to Russia, in his Of the Russe Common Wealth.

One can consider other real life examples like a town that follows a railroad. One could also argue that aircraft carriers or large cruise liners is some form of a floating city. The main argument against these though is that there is no form of autonomous government and social institutions that comprise these moving "cities". There may be captains on a ship but a real city needs to have a city hall, school, hospitals, cemeteries, prisons etc.

Urban Mobility - true form

A common characteristic from the above moving cities is the vehicle for transport. The city does not really move by itself, it is just built above a moving transport vehicle such as a ship, or a railroad etc. 

It may seem too science fictional to mention but real motility would mean that the city should be able to move-- its buildings, its roads, its lands.

I found this advertisement for Volkswagen Tiguan created by the DDB Milano, Italy Advertising Agency where a city dynamically moves its pavements and buildings to accomodate the citizens (3). One could see the roads realigning to adapt to pedestrians crossing. The buildings opening up a road for the car to pass through.

This may be impossible to achieve at present since it would require a large amount of moving gears, belts, chains and such. It woud also require a very smart central processing unit to calculate the changes needed to accomodate and adapt to the citizens' activities.

But such concept can be simplified to support just the movement the city from one place to another-- relocation. This feat can be done using the idea of urban sprawl and blight.

Sprawl versus Blight

Sprawl is defined as the "the spreading out of a city and its suburbs over more and more rural land at the periphery of an urban area. This involves the conversion of open space (rural land) into built-up, developed land over time" (4).  Comparing this with a living cell, (of a tree for example) a sprawl is that part of the tree where new cells are created as the tree grows i.e. the budding parts.

In some urban studies,  sprawl is sometimes construed to have negative effects on a city as it has many negative effects on the environment or on the vitality of the city itself.

Blight on the other hand refers to the deterioration and decay of buildings and older areas of large cities, due to neglect, crime, or lack of economic support. If sprawl signifies growth, blight signifies decay and rot.

What about it?

Imagine a typical city. Let's make this city very consistent and homogenous. Let's put a constant sprawl rate on its north border. By itself we would have an ever expanding city to its northern lands , expanding to some extent until the city is not able to support itself anymore and it just disintegrates.

Now make it so that blight will be on the southern edge with rate of decay that match the rate of sprawl. We would then have a city that maintains it's status quo because of the opposing forces of blight and sprawl. Which in effect would move the city into the direction of the sprawl leaving a trail of derelict buildings on its path of blight.

We thus have created a moving city devouring everything in its predatory sprawl and excreting rotten buildings in its blight. We can then structure this city based on this fact. Build the residences, entermainment centers, leisure parks in the sprawl area. Put the government buildings at the center. Put the cemeteries, prisons, garbage dumps on the blight zone. Decaying objects are left behind, while new ones are created up front.

The mayor acts as the pilot; determines the direction of movement. All hands on deck. Full speed ahead!



Monday, April 16, 2012

Living City - The Search for the Urban Genome

Chinese artist Lu Xinjian displayed some amazing art pieces in his ongoing project entitled “City DNA” (1). In the art series, Xinjian creates art based on the aerial views of various cities in Google Maps-- from bustling Beijing to sophisticated Paris. Beautiful as they look, they offer some thoughtful insights on the subject of urban structure and design.


Xinjian's art represents not the blueprint (as these are merely floor areas) but the genome of the cities that he references. Just as how the DNA of a human being dictates almost every biological trait that a person can be (it's diseases, it's physical attributes, its mental states) the urban genome could also tell every potential traits of any city. It could indicate at what age or era of the city's existence would it suffer from pollution, or overpopulation or traffic congestion. Or how much contribution to the city's growth are effects of the sprawls, or to the city's decay from the blight.

The concept treats the city as a living organism, with wheels flowing through its veined roads and pedestrians staggering its neural pathways. Every building forms the body of the city, with some serving as the the skeleton while some serve as the muscular framework. The city lives and breathes and grows as long as it's citizens remain dynamic just as single-celled organisms would flourish in a food-rich environment. The city endures the battle between eternal birthing of sprawls against the ever-dying blights the way a human body suffers when the immune system battles an infection.

New York

The group of editor-curator Joseph Grima and artist-architect Pedro Reyes has devoted a project for this exact concept but not as an art endeavor but as an actual academic pursuit (2). They call it the Urban Genome Project. Though instead of simply finding that ultimate code on how a city would grow, the project's primary intent is "to map the code on which cities are written, thereby assembling an index of tools for improving the urban environment, with a specific focus on political processes."

The project aims to understand this code so that they can create new and improved genomes that societies can utilize in facing a fast-paced era. They gather best practices, conduct dialogues, do case studies from various cities and collate them into a repository which can be used as tools for urban hyperdevelopment.  I urge the reader to check these for themselves on their website.

Perhaps the only critic that one can see from this project is how tame they are in their stand. The only outcome that the project is aiming for is the establishment of an online archive of all their materials, the publication of their findings in the form of a book and an exhibition.


A more rigorous and much more ambitious approach on this topic was presented by university professor Jonathan Fink in the National Academy of Engineering. In his paper published in the Spring Issue of The Bridge on Urban Sustainability entitled "The Case for an Urban Genome Project: A Shortcut to Global Sustainability?" (3), Fink discusses the similarity between the human genome and the urban genome and how the methods applied to the human genome could as well be applied on a larger scale to a whole city.

As an excerpt, he asks,

What if we could classify the myriad attributes of a city into a finite set of characteristics, and these categories could in turn point urban policy makers toward the best options for alleviating poverty, stabilizing climate, and achieving energy independence? Is this just a utopian fantasy?
Perhaps not. Think, for example, of the Human Genome Project (HGP), one of the most celebrated scientific accomplishments of the late 20th century. The major public- and private-sector investments in HGP were justified on the grounds that all people share a common genetic framework, which when fully deciphered could point the way to cures for human diseases. Might we apply the same logic to cities, using a classification system for all urban traits—an Urban Genome Project (UGP)—to suggest the way(s) to metropolitan health?
Could such a typology inform computer-based models that can map alternative futures for individual cities and for the urbanized world as a whole? What new kinds of data would we have to collect? And how should the contributions of governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), companies, and their academic partners be funded, coordinated, and applied?

Just as how the human genome enabled us to determine possible diseases a person could be afflicted even at birth, then the urban genome could in principle enable us to know all problems the city may encounter in the future right there from the moment the first brick is laid.

The author goes on to discuss the methods on how to measure and classify the cities using various indicators and use these figures as catalysts for mathematical models of urban progress.

Physical attributes of cities, such as air quality, water flow, traffic patterns, building materials, and land use, can be tracked directly. Socio-economic properties, such as jobs, housing, and health outcomes, must be inferred from financial, demographic, occupational or service records maintained mostly by governments.

These are just a few of the myriad variables that can serve as indicators of a cities future. Hence, a properly simulated path of growth could 'predict' future events and ultimately the society could better prepare for any circumstances which may come. There comes the mitigation of disasters through construction of passageways years in advance, as a simple example.

Los Angeles

Although the Urban Genome Project could not in itself be used to change the city into a better equipped one, it would serve as the starting point of any and all progressive endeavors. It could serve as the input for various tools to achieve that purpose. The author discusses some of the useful computational tools for simulating how each variable affect every other aspects of urban living.

One point I gather from the article is it's emphasis on the utilization and implementation of Urban Genome into the real world. It cites various existing software programs and previous organizational efforts regarding urban development that could act as pillars for the Urban Genome Project. This idea is real and it is very achievable as long as the best efforts are put in by key players.

I was reminded by the comic book series written by Scott Snyder titled Batman: The Black Mirror. In his story, he characterizes Gotham City as a  living, breathing character. A character with her own personality, secrets and appetites. In the series, it is the city that molds the lives of her citizens. It is the city,  Snyder implies, that created Batman. It is the city that put the lives of its citizens into salvation or into damnation. And as the city grows, lives grow with her as well. And if the city suffers and dies, her citizens suffer and die with her.

This brings a new meaning to the saying: "The city never sleeps."



Saturday, April 14, 2012

Zombie Survival Map

We all know about that that failed rocket test launch of North Korea. And we also know that it was just supposed to be for launching a satellite into space and not for intercontinental nuclear warhead delivery purposes (at least that's what the NoKor government said). We can assume that that everything is fine, for now.

However, what if in an alternate world, a different scenario happened? Let's say NoKor developed the missile and tested it succesfully. And they also developed an airborne toxic chemical that turns humans into zombies once inhaled.

I believe it's best to be prepared for these types of worst case scenarios.

With that forced introduction, let me just share this amazing Google Map mod called Map of the Dead. It is a map that shows some important places where you could stock up on supplies, medicine, food, water, gas, guns and ammo. All those stuff. It also shows you which areas are likely to be overrun with zombies and which areas could be safe hiding places.

I searched my neighborhood just in case the zombiepocalypse arrives here soon enough. It seems there are just a few places to get supplies from. It's best to be ready.

You can check the map here:

Be prepared.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

8-bit Map of North Korean Missile Rocket Fall Estimate

The government is preparing measures to address the possible impact of North Korea’s rocket launch this month, even as President Aquino continued to call on North Korea to stop the launch.North Korea is scheduled to launch the rocket sometime between 7 a.m. to noon (Philippine time) from April 12 to 16...
...The rocket is expected to fly 190 nautical miles northeast of Northern Luzon in Sta. Ana, Cagayan and 150 nautical miles east of Polilio Island in Quezon, he added. (Link)

Here's an illustration showing the estimated area of the second stage rocket fall near Philippines.

Everything seems like fun and games in 8-bit (and rainbows).

Image courtesy of the Google 8-bit map-- Google's April Fool's Day prank.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pretty Monster (Insights from Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang)

Probable spoilers ahead.

Movie bit:

In the movie's final moments while Corazon (Erich Gonzales) and Daniel (Derek Ramsay)  are being hunted by the village people, Daniel pitched a picked up line to Corazon:

Aswang ka ba?
Kasi ibibigay ko ang lahat ng laman loob ko lalu na ang puso ko para lang sa yo.

We'll not those exact words but something similar. Something like "I'll go to hell as long as I'm with you".

Personal bit:

It's been a long time since I last watch a local movie in a cinema. The later ones I remember were the Bong Revilla fantasy movie Exodus (which I kind of liked because it brings some elements of Peque Gallaga's "Magic Temple" which I really liked) and Resiklo (which makes you think Matrix Revolutions and some other post-apocalyptic/alien invasion film)

Movie notes:

I loved the cinematography. It perfectly captured the barrio scenery with it's sepia tones and earth hues.
I think Erich looks very pretty in the movie even as an aswang.
Mon Confiado, the best supporting actor ever, did great as expected. So did Epy Quizon and of course Kuya Bodjie.

Storywise, I think it is good. I always loved origin stories and alternate history telling and the movie did a great job of presenting an alternate take on the aswang as a folktale creature.

The movie also presented some very interesting takes on the psychology of human beings. The idea of the mother eating her dead child is downright creepy and disturbing on many levels. I think if the movie gives more emphasis on that concept, it would make a very scary film. The build up scene where Corazon cradles the dead baby, up to her eating the dead child's flesh is very, very haunting and amazingly done.

Another nice concept introduced was the idea that the monsters are created by the society as a response to a very agitating event such as a war, as in the movie's case. There is an article I read where it noted the fact that ghosts are  not people who lived their lives safely and very ordinary but those who lived their lives too much that their border between life and death is broken or became unclear. Which supports the movie's point that the monsters are a result of some bad circumstances.

It's also nice to see that the movie's mythology is pretty much head on with the real local mythology (at least the one I heard). The aswang's transformation to a wildboard is something which came out from my childhood. It's crawling motion as it approaches it's prey is one  that I almost exactly see in my mind whenever I hear those stories as a child.

I just feel like it was one or two side stories too much that it kind of feels like all over the place. Matias' (Mark Gil) tyrant hacendero arc could have been made simpler or more molded with Corazon's story etc. But it's just a minor gripe. I think the movie is well made, the actors performed well and it has a nice narrative and interesting concepts. Whatever minor complaint with the film, I think you should put aside as this movie seems very well-thought of and nicely executed, I won't have second thoughts of watching another movie of this calibre.


If you're a fan of Erich Gonzales, definitely watch it, because she's just so pretty in this movie.
I you like horror movies, I think you should also take a look. Be warned that this is not your typical scare-you-off-your-seat movie (the supposedly scary parts only come late into the movie, and they are not that scary too.)
If you like Philippine movies, you should also watch this. The cinematic experience itself is worth the price of the ticket.

Monday, January 16, 2012


If you open your television right now it's very probable that you will find a reality TV show playing. It seems watching real life on TV is much more entertaining nowadays than movies or series. One thing you'll notice though is how the reality TV shows become more and more extreme. There is now a reality TV show following the life of a sexy magazine magnate, or the life of an under-aged pregnant teen, or the controversial life of a controversial celebrity.

Soon, it will become more extreme. I thought some of the possible reality shows that may soon air in our little boob tube.

1. The Doctor's Apprentice

10 Medical Doctors are pitted against each other in a hospital. Each week, every doctor is given a patient to diagnose and treat. If the patient dies, the doctor is instantly expelled from the hospital. If all patients are treated, three weakest doctors will be picked, based on their treatment of their patients.

Slogan: Who will survive in this game of life and death (literally).

2.The God Factor

10 Religious leaders are housed in a dormitory. Each one can interact with each other about their own religions. Their goal is to convert each other to believe their own gods. If one leader is able to convert another, he will have immunity for the elimination. Every week, each one will undergo a very extreme test of faith. Anyone who surrenders his/her faith will be eliminated.

Slogan: Profess. Believe. Survive.

3. The Sight

10 fortune tellers are pitted against each other. Every start of day, each one makes a prediction on who will be eliminated on that day. When the day ends, they vote on who they want to be eliminated. The fortune teller who guesses the least correct is eliminated.

Slogan: The winner already knows.

4. Vegan Brother

10 vegetarians are housed in a steak and bbq restaurant. The last one to eat meat wins.

Slogan: You eat meat. You lose it.

5. Interrogation Idol

10 interrogators are given a prisoner of war each. They must do all they can to the POW to retrieve a secret information even if it means resorting to torture. The agent who gets the information the longest time is eliminated. If the POW dies, the agent is eliminated.

Slogan: Nothing is Top Secret.


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