Batman Begins

The Batman comic books were dark and Batman Begins, although sanitized for a lower rating, is faithfully dark too. As befitting a comic book-based movie, there’s the evil mob boss, the corrupt cops, psychopathic criminals, and, of course, the crafty arch-villains. Against this array of bad guys stand Batman and a few friends: the love interest, the sidekick (Alfred, no yet Robin), the incorruptible cop (played well as usual by Gary Oldman), the gadget maker (Q anyone?), and of course the gadgets. As a prequel, the movie successfully spun the Batman legend into a cohesive beginning. But this is more than just the beginning of Batman, it is the reinventing of Batman back to what he originally was. During the course of the movie, he transforms from a scared young boy to a lost soul, to a knight errant, to a ninjutsu trainee of a shadow society called the League of Shadows, and finally to the Dark Knight of Gotham City. The result is the best Batman movie ever. It helps that Christian Bale fits the role very well. In this movie, he is dark, brooding, and tormented. Typical Christian Bale and fittingly Batman AND Bruce Wayne. I look forward to more and better Batman movies. Batman has begun!

Rating: 5/5

Sin City

I’ve always liked film noir. Their raw and unsweetened portrayal of reality strike me as brutally honest and true. I also used to like (I wonder if I still do) comic books or graphic novels as comic book fans prefer to call them. They provide you with the words as books do and the images as movies do while still leaving something to your own imagination. Put the two together and you get Sin City, a tour into a city that’s about as dark as it can get: Kidnapping, rape, torture, mutilation, murder, cannibalism, corruption… You name it, it’s got it. And it’s not just the bad guys doing those things. Practically everything is over the top: the action, the blood, the gore, the dialog, even the narration, that you can’t help but feel juvenile glee especially when the bad guys get it. It is at various points suspenseful, exhilerating, depressing, amusing, even heart-warming. A twist of Tarantino and heaps of Rodriguez and Miller. It’s great! Go watch it!

Rating: 5/5

Coron, Palawan

Spent the weekend with some friends on a crash tour of Coron, Palawan. We went there on a Friday night, spent two days going around Coron and were back in Manila by Monday morning. It was almost hectic and sometimes tiring but the time we spent there sure were an awesome two days.

On the first day, we went island hopping. First stop was Cayangan Lake. Supposed to be one of the cleanest lakes in the country. It probably is but the trail to the lake was so muddy that by the time you get to the lake your feet are already muddy too. And guess where people would be washing up. The lake itself is great. It sits amidst towering limestone cliffs. The water was clean and clear although there was really nothing to see once you were actually in the water. Second stop was Twin Lagoon which was a natural feature accessible via a small opening on the limestone cliffs. Again, it looked magnificent with towering limestone cliffs. But this time the water was littered with floating leaves and other floating things trapped in the lagoons with nowhere to go. The was also nothing to see once you were in the water except for the eery depth of the lagoons themselves. Third stop was a sandy white beach on some island. It looks great in its desolation. Swimming is out of the question though as it was knee deep all the way from ship to shore. The last stop was at Siete Picados. This is a group of 7 islets surrounded by corals. Sadly, quite a lot of the corals were dead but nevertheless, we were able to snorkel around and look at some interesting corals, fishes, and other reef dwellers.

It was on the second day when things got more exciting, altough not right away. A friend and I went diving the idea of which is exciting enough by itself. However, we were not allowed to take the first dive, Irako, due to the extreme depth (40m) for our experience. So we had to sit out the dive. After waiting for the first dive to end, lunch, and a lengthy rest for digesting all the food as well as for allowing those who dived sufficient time to off-gas, we dived Kogyu Maru, the second wreck. It was pretty huge and also quite deep (35m) so we didn’t have enough time and air to go slower and examine things closely. I did see some interesting things like the bulldozer, the truck, construction materials (“funny stones” as the divemaster referred to them), and some angel fishes that were swimming oriented to the deck. After surfacing and taking a decidedly shorter surface interval than for the first dive it was on to the third wreck, the East Tangat wreck. The wreck is that of a gunboat lying with it’s bow under 7m of water and its stern under 20m of water. Altough, supposedly less challenging than the previous dives of the day, I actually enjoyed this dive more. It was my second wreck dive so I was more adjusted and relaxed. It was also much shallower and smaller so we were are able go around the wreck around three times. This allowed me to take a better look at the wreck and appreciate it more.

The one thing I didn’t like about the trip was the resort where we stayed and ate (though I have no complaints with the affiliated dive shop which has a nice and helpful staff). The staff could have been more welcoming and accomodating. As it was, the people we dived with were more hospitable. Perhaps the staff was just too jaded with all the tourists coming and going.


Went with my officemates to Pansol this weekend. We went to this private pool somewhere in the back streets of Pansol called La Casa De Ramos. It is pretty big with 3 rooms and can accommodate around 15 people maybe more depending on the level of comfort you can tolerate. My officemates had gone ahead friday night while Paul and I drove there early saturday so when we got there, most of them were already wasted from the previous night’s merrymaking.

Food was prepared courtesy of Eddy who is known to be a good cook. I must say the food was great. For breakfast, for which Paul and I just made in time, there was fried rice and tapa. For lunch there was sinigang na hipon and roasted pork chop, for dinner there was roasted yellow fin tuna and salted eggs. There was even snacks: ginataan (which unfortunately had too much ube), palitaw, and sago’t gulaman. There was so much yummy food I was afraid I was going to get indigestion!

In between eating and drinking, we swam around the pool or hung out at the gazebo where we sang or chatted. This went on till evening. I then beat a discreet retreat to bed where I tried to sleep. Unfortunately, I rediscovered the hard way that sleeping is definitely tough in a hot summer night with an almost non-functional air conditioning unit. Still, I did manage to gather a few hours of much needed sleep.

The next day, we packed up. The rest proceeded to see the Pahiyas Festival at Lucban. Migs, Paul, and I drove back to Metro Manila. We all had other things on the to do list. Besides, I really was not too keen on Pahiyas as I’ve already seen it before and didn’t really like it all that much.

Dive and Trek, Anilao, Batangas

I joined Ren’s party for scuba diving this weekend. Again, this is another one of those after a long long time things. The last dive I had before this was December ’04. At the rate I’m diving, I’m going to be a perpetual newbie.

We went to Dive and Trek, which is the first time I’ve gone and stayed in that resort. The resort is pretty spacious and provide reasonably nice food but they don’t provide towels for day dive guests. No towels for day dive guests?!? Come on! Good thing I had packed my trusty MSR PackTowl, so it wasn’t too much of an inconvenience.

The resort is known for its house reef and the giant clams inhabiting it and it is where we did our first two dives. It didn’t disappoint: The viz was great and I saw a couple of giant clams. I even saw a huge titan trigger fish on the second dive. On the third dive, we left the house reef behind and dived around the Ligpo Island reef where I saw the usual reef dwellers. I also saw three giant jacks which startled me when they suddenly appeared from out of the blue.

All in all a great weekend for a dive.