Review: The Full Monty

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Atlantis’s Productions presents The Full Monty! Get ready to laugh and enjoy great music.

Before watching the play, I tried to watch the movie and I lasted for about 15mins before I decided that the movie wasn’t worth my time. The movie made me skeptical about the play and I was so happy to be proven wrong.

Rhoda and I rushed to Carlos P. Romulo Theater to watch the play after our yoga class. We knew that we’d be late but decided not to get all stressed out over it, applying what we learned in class: “Let it go. Let it be.” We got in and presented our tickets 25 mins later after the show started. Guess what? We got free upgrades! See what you get when you don’t stress over things and just let them be? ^__^

Anyway, when we found our upgraded seats, I was surprised to see that the scene was just right where I stopped watching the movie. Tthe scene in front me was a lot more funnier and entertaining which is the complete opposite of the movie when I decided to stop watching and sleep instead. Am I lucky or what? 😀 I felt that I didn’t miss so much from the play and even got upgraded seats!

The Full Monty is about six recently unemployed men. Jerry Lukowski (Mark Baustista) was just kicked out by his wife for not being able to support his son and being out of a job for a while. Trying to find a quick way to earn cash to be able to continue seeing his son, Jerry convinces his best friend, Dave Bukatinsky (Jaime Wilson) to put up a strip act and go up against the famous Chippendales when he learned that their wives pay up a good deal of cash to see men down to their underwear.

Dave and Jerry recruited four more men to complete the act: Malcolm MacGregor (OJ Mariano) a suicidal bodyguard living and taking care of his mother, Harold Nichols (Arnel Ignacio) as their supervisor from work and a dance instructor. The four of them found Noah “Horse” Simmons (Marco Sison) and Ethan Girard (Nino Alejandro) during auditions.

The rest of the cast are Ima Castro, Jay Valencia-Glorioso, Sitti Navarro, Ciara Sotto, Steven Conde, Ralion Alonso, Altair Alonso, and Hans Eckstein.

The story revolves about the insecurities of these six men; one tries to be prove himself to his son and wife, another is dealing with his weight, he believes that his wife won’t love him anymore if she finds out he doesn’t have a job, one  struggles with his age and another with his sexuality. It was heartwarming to see these men help each other with whatever they were going through and help them get over with insecurities.

The highlight of the show was during the performance of Jerry’s group when they decided to bare it all and go Full Monty to increase the level of competition against the Chippendales. Like the end of the movie (as I have heard from Rhoda) Jerry’s group takes their underwear off and the lights go out, Atlantis Productions stayed true until the end. Jerry and the gang ripped their briefs out the exact moment the lights go out and the only thing you could see were their silhouettes. Haha. In case you’re wondering, the strippers came out for the final bow wearing robes ( I don’t think they’re wearing anything underneath).

I truly enjoyed the play and was determined to not watch the movie and keep the memory of the play with me instead. Even Rhoda agreed that the play was way better than the movie. Did I get my money’s worth? Yes, and not just because of the free upgrade. The show was entertaining and everyone of the cast did great. I even searched for the soundtrack of the play and is playing as I write. Yey!

23. Try Anti-gravity yoga

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My brother joined Rhoda and I when we decided to try Anti-gravity yoga at Beyond Yoga at BCG. Like our TRX Suspension training, we first experienced Fly Fitness which is usually practiced by regulars, for first timers it would be better to try Fundamentals first. Since we were already there in class, Teacher Paulo introduced himself and the anti-gravity hammock to us.

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My new love. The Anti-gravity hammock. Made out of 12ft x 9ft synthetic fiber.

The first thing he taught us was to trust our hammock. If you are doubting that the cloth could hold your weight, don’t. It could carry more than 1000lbs. Yep. Perfectly safe. Don’t forget to remove any jewelry before mounting your hammock so that you don’t snag yourself or the hammock.  Next, he taught us how to properly mount our hammock and said “Hi! And I’m sorry. Later you’ll understand why.” Oh my, that didn’t sound so encouraging…

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The first pose we learned was called The Womb (see left, top most picture above) it may not look pretty but it is a very relaxing pose and i became a quick favorite. I was a bit disappointed when we needed to change poses because I wanted to stay in the womb a bit longer. 😛

Next pose: The Inverted Monkey Pose. For the first two sessions, this pose hurt a lot. Only on our third class which is a Fundamentals class did we learn that the hammock was placed higher than where it is supposed to be that’s why it hurts. The hammock should be just where your low-rise jeans end before you do any inversions. Trying this pose for the first time was a bit scary. I know the hammock would hold but I just cant help it. It took a few seconds before I was able to let the hammock go and place my hands on the floor, palms facing the ceiling. During our Fly Fitness classes, Paulo made us do inverted crunches. In wasn’t able to do a lot of crunches because the hammock was really hurting my back. What you have to remember in this pose is NEVER to try to push on the floor to hold yourself up. During our Fundamentals class, Teacher Roxanne made another student stop her inversion. She told us that pushing on the floor will create slack on the hammock and you’ll end up hitting your head on the floor.

Third pose is another inverted pose. I didn’t catch the name of the pose, sorry. From the Inverted Monkey pose, you just have to unwrap your leg from the hammock and touch your feet with both hands. At first, I didn’t have problems with the pose. But when we needed to switch legs holding us up, I got a little scared when my left leg was the one wrapped in the hammock. I needed to grab on the hammock and was only able to let go when I’m sure that my leg could hold me. Haha.

Next pose in the picture above is called the Angel’s Wings pose. After our second class, I asked Paulo for a simple pose for beginners and this was what he taught me. We also did this pose on our Fundamentals class.

The Star pose was taught during our Fundamentals class. Your hands must be placed on your chest, Rhoda was just using her hands to cover her face because she looks like Pucca in all inverted poses. Hahaha. This pose may look hard but it really isn’t. But the Swan Dive Pose looks scarier. It is basically the same pose only with your feet together. What’s going to hold you up if your legs are together? The Hammock. Trust me. I was able to do it, so can you. ^__^

The last pose above was taught during our Fly Fitness classes and only my brother managed to get the pose.

Overall, anti-gravity is so different from the yoga I used to know. I was used quiet classes where only the yogi master was the one talking in the room and there are minimal interactions with the other students. In anti-gravity we are encouraged to laugh and make side comments. This could be a little stressful compared to other yoga practices because of the fear that you’ll fall on your head. Just listen to your yogi master and you’ll be good. Teacher Rox taught me alot during your Fundamentals class. Trust. Big word, but that is all you need in anti-gravity yoga. Trust yourself. Trust the hammock. Trust your teacher. At the end of the Fundamentals class, we congratulated ourselves for doing something good for our body. We also learned that we grew 1/4 of an inch which will last for only an hour. Ha!

I will surely miss the hammock.

New mantra: “Let it go. Let it be. It’s done.”

Beyond Yoga:

http://igobeyondyoga.com/

Meshwe: The taste of my childhood

Just like every kid who grew up or at least stayed in Saudi Arabia long enough to enjoy their food, I have missed the taste of the food I grew up eating. And ever since our family came to live here, I can say I haven’t had a taste of a real shawarma. I don’t know whose idea it is to put onions and cabbage and wrap it  bread together with beef or chicken, add some white watery sauce and call it shawarma. Obviously not someone who had tasted the real deal.
I stopped looking a long time ago and thought I that the chances of me getting a bite would mean, I’d have to visit to Saudi Arabia again. Not until I saw a post from a friend claiming she found a place selling exactly the same thing we grew eating. If this came from someone else, I would have dismissed it immediately. But since it came from a very reliable source, I just had to try it.

After watching Ironman 3, I convinced Rhoda and dragged my brother to try the place my friend recommended.

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We found Meshwe at Il Mercato. They are open only on Fridays and Saturdays, 5PM – 4AM. As we approach the stall, I can smell the shawarma and got real excited. Initially, I thought the shawarma would be pricey if it is authentic, but their prices were very reasonable and the owner was very accommodating. She asked we were lived in Saudi and where we went to school. I found out that Chef Nathan Mounayer was a schoolmate and was just a year ahead of me. Though, I couldn’t remember him, his face did look familiar.

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We each ordered a shawarma (Pho80) and Rhoda got a shawarma plate (Php140) as pasalubong for her parents. Nathan’s mom and I chatted while our orders were made and even offered to take our picture inside the booth.

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from left to right: Me, Chef Nathan, Yummy Chicken Shawarma, Jei (my brother) and Rhoda

 She also recommended we try the chicken fingers with Arabic fries (php125) claiming it tastes like Al Baik chicken. I got so excited that I think I was jumping with joy. My brother was so young back then that he didn’t have a clue what we were talking about. He cant remember eating anything called Al Baik and was silent the entire time.

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Chicken Fingers and Arabic Fries

Our shawarma was done and we found seats. A few seconds later, our chicken fingers came. We had one chicken finger each and dipped it into the garlic sauce. I was waiting for my brother to react when he tasted the chicken, he gasped and said it tasted like Broast chicken. I laughed and remember that Al Baik chicken was called Broast in Jeddah and Al BAik everywhere else in Saudi. It was nice to know that your taste buds could still remembere a certain kind of flavor you tasted more than a decade ago. I quickly explain to Rhoda what was happening while we enjoyed our chicken and garlic sauce. The fries were a little soggy but the flavor was still there. I’m taking Rhoda’s word that the seasoning and spices used were just right even if you aren’t used to the Middle East cuisine.

Nathan’s mom came over and asked us how the food was. We smiled and thanked her for bringing the food we knew from Saudi here in the Philippines. She was sweet enough to give us a tip, she may have noticed that one chicken finger each wasn’t enough to satisfy us, and told us to buy Jollibee’s Chicken Joy and she’ll sell us the garlic sauce next time we come back.

When she left, we attacked our shawarma… For a moment, I thought my brother and I were back in Jeddah until I heard a voice saying “Ang sarap!” and saw Rhoda. The large chunks of chicken, fries and pickles with the garlic sauce. It was perfect! Rhoda said that the pickles had a lemongrass flavor. I hated pickles and lemongrass, but I love their pickles. Rhoda later learned that they make their own pickles. Wow. Halfway through our shawarma, we were already planning on how to get our hands on the garlic sauce and pickles they were using by applying as OJTs or franchising (I asked and it seems that they are not yet ready for it yet). Haha.

With very full and happy tummies, we came back to the Meshwe to pick up Rhoda’s pasalubong. My brother and I were planning to buy shawarmas for our parents when we remembered that Mother’s Day is just around the corner. We plan to come back with our parents and celebrate Mother’s Day there so they could order whatever they want. Plus one bucket of Jollibee’s Chicken Joy of course. Haha.

I don’t think Rhoda will ever eat another shawarma again (like my brother and I), unless it came from Meshwe.

Dear Meshwe, I could never thank you enough for the wonderful experience of bringing me back to Jeddah in every bite. We will be back soon. Again and again.

Review: The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

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I waited for the series to be finished simply because I am just bad at waiting and chances are I would have forgotten what I have read when the next book comes out. So instead of the individual books, I’d like to focus more on the three main characters as I see and understand them them and some concepts that became much more clearer to me in this series than The Mortal Instruments.

Will Herondale. The startling resemblance to Jace Wayland/Herondale’s character is not very hard to notice (plus Alec Lightwood’s good looks). The good guy pretending so hard to be the bad one not to look cool but to protect the ones he love. I never liked these type of character before because I find them so hard to sympathize with. These characters could be frustrating at best that I start to root for other characters in the story. But not Will. With Clare’s magic at creating very real characters that it’s so easy to believe and understand him that you wanted to hug him tight until the bad dreams go away. He was described as noble and a complete gentleman. Again, Will being noble and holding his feelings back to make others happy would not have the same effect if it weren’t for the situation he, Jem and Tessa were in.

James “Jem”  Carstairs. A sick and dying drug addict who is also Will’s parabatai (more in this later). Yes, he is dying and I have accepted then that this sweet boy will make me cry for so many reasons and I was right. It was very difficult for me to read the several parts of the series because the tears wouldn’t stop falling. Anyway, given the situation he was in, I never looked at him as weak and incapable of protecting the people he loves. Neither did I think that Will or Tessa or anyone around him loved him out of pity. Between Will and Jem, Jem is so much easier to love since the other one kept pushing people away while Jem welcomes everything with a bright attitude. If I ever felt pity for anyone, it wasn’t for Jem. My heart went out to Will and Tessa, seeing how much they both love Jem and is willing to do anything (like reaching into the fire for the much valued drug making him live or voluntarily giving yourself up to the enemy to save his life). Only during rare moments did we see him sulk and wish to have a longer life, but that didn’t last long. On the moments that count, he was the smart one making sound decisions and accepting his faith as a given not because he has lost hope, rather, he reminded me how precious each moment in life is. When he was twelve, he was told he’d live for only a year if he’s lucky but as things turned out, he lived longer than that and that much was enough for him. Well, until Tessa came into his life…

Tessa Gray. A girl who had exceptional talent in shape-shifting because of the blood that runs in her veins. Because of her talent, she is wanted by the enemy to make the Nephilim disappear. Like Clary, I didn’t feel much for her but I were to chose, I’d choose Tessa over Clary any day just because she could kick ass better than Clary. What’s interesting for me is her love for Jem AND Will. Even before I read Clare’s post on why or how come one person could have more than one great love, Tessa never appeared like a bitch to me even if she claimed to love both boys equally. For some weird reason, Clare convinced me it was possible though no other story I have read, watched or heard was able to do otherwise. I understood how much she loved both. I didn’t join Team Will or Team Jem, as I would have done in any other books with love triangles involved. I was pretty much contented with the way things turned out in the end. I believe Tessa is one lucky girl to have found two great loves, though I believe she’d have more loves and heartbreaks, like Magnus Bane, being immortal and all…

The concept of Parabatai. An oath taken by two Shadowhunter warriors, binding them to each other as blood brothers and promising to protect each other. That didn’t mean much to me while I was reading The Mortal Instruments. During that time, it was a given for me to protect your blood brother during any situation, putting the your parabatai‘s welfare before yours. An old concept given a new name. That was it. But in The Infernal Devices, I have learned that there is no greater love than the one your parabatai gives you. It will be difficult to understand how three people could love each other equally. The love Will and Jem will never be matched “because he loved him as his soul”. Watching two boys who are both willing to give up anything for each other could be very very very heartbreaking. I couldn’t help thinking how these boys loved each other so much and not fall in love with each other. Haha. No wonder there are alot of fanarts going around, even on Clare’s tumblr (scan Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs tags and you should see more fanarts).  Even the parabatai oath sounded like wedding vows to me, though I know that having a relationship with your parabatai is forbidden, still…

The ending of the series was very reassuring for me. I had high hopes for The Mortal Instruments last installment and the start of the third series, The Dark Artifices and, of course, The Bane Chronicles.

As another fan of the series put it, “The Infernal Devices is not about ‘who’ to love, it is about  deciding ‘to love’.” And that pretty much tells it all.