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At age 76, Kidlat Tahimik (aka Eric De Guia) is among the younger National Artists, and happens to be the only one alive for Cinema. Further, among this tiny elect group, he is the only Wharton MBA holder, with a c.v. which includes a stint as a researcher for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This was before he symbolically tore up his Wharton diploma (he didn’t totally trash it though), and followed his bliss as an artist. Or as he has stated elsewhere, he let his duende come through. This duende is not the squeaky voiced gnome of lower Philippine mythology, but the inner demon or the spirit of genius which inspires and animates true artistry. See the Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca’s “Theory and Play of the Duende.” As Kidlat Tahimik declared in his film Mababangong Bangungot (Perfumed Nightmare) which is essentially his artist’s manifesto: “When the typhoon blows off the cocoon, the butterfly embraces the sun.”
HERE are my nominees for the best nonfiction books of 2018. I haven’t read everything published this year, but I read a great deal, and these are my 15 favorites. Each reflects serious thought, research and argument. Each made me look at things in a new way. The first 14 are listed in random order (no tyranny of the alphabet). At the end is my choice for best nonfiction book of the year.
POP QUIZ! What do the following actors have in common:
If you tell a fellow Filipino that you are flying to Abu Dhabi, the assumption is almost always that you are going to start working there. And you can’t fault them because as you wait to board the plane for your Abu Dhabi trip, you’d notice that you are surrounded by mothers on the phone, saying their last minute goodbyes to their children. “Mag-behave ka habang wala si mama, ha? I love you, anak [Behave while mom is away, okay? I love you],” implying that they will be gone to work abroad for a long time.
What in the world is this nebulous construct called creativity, anyway? The mere mention of the buzzword can make even the most erudite tongue-tied. Vastly cited Italian behavioural scientist Paolo Legrenzi describes creativity as a justification of artistry. In his 2013 publication, Creativity and Innovation, he cites architect Vittorio Gregotti: “Every work of architecture seems to be justified by the term creativity, which by now is used to define every aesthetic act (diffused aesthetics has overwhelmed us) with which designers, advertisers, stylists, architects and many other professions justify their ‘artistry.’”
SAY THE name “Jacques Tourneur” and the first word come to mind for most folks is “horror” (the second is possibly “cat”). Tourneur had been directing since 1931, mainly shorts, finally made a splash early ’40s working for producer Val Lewton in Cat People (low budget, eerily beautiful) and I Walked With a Zombie (despite the pulpy title, my favorite adaptation of Jane Eyre). Say “Tourneur” and the word “westerns” rarely pops up -- but some of his westerns do in fact represent his finest work.
IN THE bleak winter of 1989, as a graduate student living in a windswept campus on the edge of the Scottish highlands, I found in a tiny bookstore a copy of James Hamilton-Paterson’s Playing With Water, which at that time had the subtitle Alone On a Philippine Island. Just another one of those vacation travel books, I thought. But at least it’s about home. I started reading it that evening, and finished the book in the gray light of dawn, close to tears -- and grateful at having been gifted with such a wonderful and unsettling read.
FOR millennia, humans have sought for ways to preserve their dead, perhaps as a way for the bereaved to remember, and for the deceased to be remembered. Since the body also served as a shell for the spirit, it was also believed by many ancient cultures that a well-preserved body, possibly better and purer than it had been in life, guaranteed a person to live beyond death in a comfortable afterlife. An incorrupt body could also be seen as a reflection of the soul: in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths, the body of an extraordinarily good person that has been revealed to be intact after death just may place one on the path to sainthood -- a prerequisite being that this body has not been preserved through embalming, but by some miracle. Examples of these saints would be St. Bernadette and Saint Elizabeth, of the Catholic and Orthodox faiths, respectively.
PART of what makes Halloween (2018) remarkable: the return of John Carpenter (helped with music); the return of Nick Castle (he provided the heavy breathing and at one point plays masked killer Michael Myers); the return of Jamie Lee Curtis (reprising the role that made her famous, Laurie Strode) but what for me really sets this sequel apart from the 10 other sequels reboots remakes and so on is a new name: David Gordon Green.
AT THE TURN of the millennium, SNK Corp. came out with the two-dimensional SNK Gals’ Fighters on the Neo Geo Pocket Color. Designed to be the female version of the hugely successful The King of Fighters series, it was released near the end of the handheld’s life cycle. Needless to say, it was an attempt to boost flagging sales; it tried to widen the user base by making 10 distaff characters from popular licenses its protagonists under proven gameplay mechanics.
FROM SIMULATED SNOW to new rides and shows, Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL) is upgrading and refreshing its offerings in time for the holidays -- and beyond.
YOU NEED TO KEEP reminding yourself: Damien Chazelle’s adaptation of James Hansen’s biographical book First Man is not The Right Stuff and astronaut Neil Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling) is no test pilot in the mold of Chuck Yeager, nor was it -- or he -- meant to be. Question: does it manage to stand on its own four radically redesigned fins?
LET’S FACE IT. The NBA 2K franchise is a venerable one built on both the intrinsic pull of its source material and the collective talent of its developers. Never has the National Basketball Association (NBA) been more popular, and its already immense global reach -- propped up by outstanding leadership and instantly recognizable marquee names -- continues to grow by the day. Meanwhile, Visual Concepts has turned the otherwise-vicarious experience of appreciating matches at the sport’s highest level into an extremely impressive undertaking.
GETTING from Singapore to New York in one hop is better than a layover -- even if it involves taking the world’s longest flight.
ENZO, Gab, Chuchay, and Luis join a support group on social media under their online alter egos. Enzo starts a group chat and sets a date to meet with the group’s other members. At a coffee shop one day, they all get together because of something called “Pete.”
Maybe it is best that people learn about road safety at a young age -- perhaps as early as grade school.
Malou Treñas-Del Castillo, who was then 27-years-old when she worked as a brand manager for multi-national company, came home early from work one evening due to a bad headache. She recalled receiving a phone call from a friend when she suddenly passed out leaving the other person hanging on the line. She regained consciousness unaware of what had happened.
LOS ANGELES -- “Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart,” a wise little bear once remarked -- and Jim Cummings has put his heart and soul into playing Winnie the Pooh for three decades.
IT’S NOT HARD to understand why Nihon Falcom and NIS America have moved to port Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana in the Nintendo Switch. Having seen the title generate positive reception upon its release on the PlayStation Vita in 2016, on the PS4 last year, and on the PC earlier this year, they understand its potential to reach a new set of gamers via the hybrid console. Their confidence is not unfounded, and not simply because they carry a lot of weight in the gaming industry. More importantly, their latest contribution to the Ys franchise has been praised as the best yet.
An agriculturist who never got to travel outside the country built the first Art Deco building in the country in 1936; a kapitan del barrio’s widow strategically equipped her home so she could see everyone’s movements; and a frequent traveler erected a mansion for his unmarried children and in memory of his deceased wife. The legacy of Negros Occidental’s sugar barons lives on in the stories of their homes.
The Philippines, with its more than 7,000 islands, is considered one of the world’s 18 mega-biodiverse countries -- the archipelago contains “two-thirds of the earth’s biodiversity and between 70% and 80% of the world’s plant and animal species,” according to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
TYCOON GAMES aren’t for everyone, but it isn’t hard to understand why they have a loyal following. They’re flashy, and they’re capable of producing a surprising amount of fun and complexity. From Sim City to Zoo Tycoon to Roller Coaster Tycoon, the process of building something from scratch and seeing it thrive and prosper brings about catharsis. And, by the same token, Kalypso Media delivers.
A SYNTHESIZER made from assorted metal objects, comic character figurines made with a 3-D printer, and children’s toys made from recycled materials -- these are just some of the creations that will come alive at The Mind Museum this weekend in an effort to promote science and innovation.
In the coastal towns of Anda and Bolinao in Pangasinan, P110 million worth of milkfish (scientific name: chanos chanos) was lost earlier this month. The fish kill was reportedly caused by dissolving oxygen levels on the water surface of the fish ponds in which the bangus was being raised. If more fish kills occur, this may reduce the milkfish supply in nearby provinces and in Metro Manila. What few people in the area know is that a Filipina scientist -- Dr. Charissa M. Ferrera -- and her team are currently working on research to help alleviate the problem.
SINCE its inception in 2005, Sega’s Yakuza series has invariably churned out virtual masterpieces. While a bit all over the place at times, this part family drama, part mafia flick, and part martial arts and adventure franchise has always boasted of top-notch quality in terms of presentation and humor. In this regard, Yakuza 6 does not disappoint; it offers the same blend of action, comedy, and emotional heft via traditionally outstanding production values.
MIKE DE LEON’s first film in — has it been 18 years? — has to be an event; the latest from one of our finest filmmakers, in the same league as Lino Brocka, Mario O’Hara, Ishmael Bernal, Celso Ad. Castillo. If it’s arguably the weakest feature he’s done to date (hopefully not his last) it still stands head and shoulders above most anything out there today, Filipino or Hollywood.
WHERE is the Philippines now in its journey to Universal Health Care (UHC)? This was the critical question that Dr. Gundo Aurel Weiler, Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), answered during the recent “Health for Juan and Juana: Moving Forward with the Philippine Health Agenda” forum.
While some people may be surprised by the wealth of rich heritage food that can be found just one hour away from Manila in the province of Cavite, it should not really come as a surprise since Cavite was part of the galleon trade where goods and spices were exchanged between Spain and China via the Philippines and Mexico.
GLAN, SARANGANI -- This coastal town, home of the annual Sarangani Bay Festival every May, is popular in the tourism circuit for its long, pristine white sand beach.