goblin kdrama hallyu
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Hallyu is real!

And there is an ongoing popularization of the Korean culture in the Philippines. In fact, Koreans are everywhere from Baguio to Cebu and in other key cities.

The Filipinos’ love for everything Korean is ever-growing. I, myself, caught the Korean love bug thanks to several unpretentious K dramas on my USB. I’ve finished several dramas from All About Eve, Irene, Jewel in the Palace, Queen Seon Deok to Love in the Moonlight. I’ve already lost count of how many Koreanovelas I’ve watched; I can’t name them all either [because I already forgot some of the titles.

The latest was the Goblin: The Lonely and Great God, starring the swoon-worthy Gong Yoo of Coffee Prince and Train to Busan.

Controversial as it is [but not necessarily because of the excessive product placement], Goblin captures the attention of the viewers—religious or secular.

From watching how the Goblin Couple’s sad love unfolds, I came to realize three things.

3 things I learned from Goblin

1) A kiss is powerful

For most Korean dramas I’ve watched, there are very few kisses that happen on the first few episodes. The same with Goblin, the first kiss occurred in the seventh episode. It was also during this episode when the ratings started to skyrocket, displacing ‘The Legend of the Blue Sea.’

It was the grim reaper and Goblin’s Sister’s kiss that proved how powerful a single kiss can be. It can make you forget then remember. Or, remember then forget about it if you want.

All the more reasons why a kiss is more than just a kiss. As a matter of fact, about 90% of the people remember their first romantic kiss than their first sexual encounter. A personal thing, kissing also makes you happy and healthy. That’s just how formidable a kiss can be.

goblin couple kiss
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2) Love is even more powerful

Choosing between sadness and love, the Goblin Bride would always say, ‘sad love.’ It’s better to love than not to experience love at all, right? Come to think of it, why would someone sacrifice anything for the sake of other person’s happiness? To the point of risking your own life and happiness like what the goblin did?

Love is an undeniable emotion; the energy that pulls all elements together. We all want to love and be loved, saying this with the Grim Reaper on my mind. So yes, we seek love, consciously and subconsciously, above all else.

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3) The Almighty is the most powerful of all

He won’t be called the Almighty for nothing, I guess. With ineffable, infinite power and might, He created all things awesome and not-so yet all this exceed our understanding.

Such incomprehensible omnipotence we test sometimes. This is what happened to the Goblin, Grim Reaper and Goblin’s Sister with the Goblin Bride as the consequence of this.

Whatever it may be, Goblin is a highly-recommended series. It’s very unique; I cannot think of any K-drama that comes close to this story. I heard it even deposed ‘Descendants of the Sun’ in the ranking game.

May is the pilgrimage season in Antipolo. It’s a month-long celebration that begins with a mass and followed by a procession known as the First Procession (happened on May 2). The procession started around 7 am in the morning where thousands of devotees from different parts of the country, not just Antipoleños, partake in.

Further, the image of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Nuestra Señora De La Paz Y Buen Viaje), the patron saint of the city, will be brought to Via Dolorosa (formerly known as White Cross).

via dolorosa in antipolo patron saint

What via dolorosa means

In Latin, via dolorosa means “the way of grief/sorrow.” According to Wikipedia, it’s a street within the Old City of Jerusalem; it’s the path people believed to be that one Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion. Fourteen incidents took place while the Christ carried his cross hence the fourteen stations of the cross. Via dolorosa, therefore, signifies Jesus’s suffering.

What you’ll see inside Via Dolorosa in Antipolo

Inside the site are life-size figures, like the ones you see in Kamay ni Jesus in Quezon province, that depict these stations.

However, no cameras are allowed inside, as per the management. It’s not a strict rule I guess. Anyway, it would be difficult to detect these tiny gadgets. And also, the rule has a loophole—how about cam and video-enabled mobile phones? Hmmm…

My sister said that it is not really a rule, but a reminder to keep quiet out of respect for people who are praying at the stations. Makes sense.

Going back, the stations of the cross culminate at the image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage and the gigantic white cross (hence the moniker White Cross).

We went there last Holy Thursday (April 13). It’s my first time there on this day because we usually go every Friday afternoon when all the chaos has subsided. And chaos it is! There were so many people going in and out, but it’s understandable because it’s Lent.

What saddens me is the thought a place as sacred as Via Dolorosa could easily be turned into a Divisoria-like area. [No, I have nothing against Divisoria; I love going to Divi.] Stalls selling stuff you don’t really need during a visit to pilgrim sites like this abound. I would understand the need to buy bottled waters and food to get you through the next meal or even foldable fans, but sim cards, curtains and other whatnot.

Not here please.

When it is not Holy Week, Via Dolorosa is a quiet place. And the serene surroundings draw you to communicate with God with all your heart. You can focus on praying for personal intentions because of limited distractions.

So if you must go there, go on a regular weekend so you can have the place to yourself to reflect and reminisce.

Inside, the first thing you will see is the small image the patron saint of Antipolo beside the candle racks. You can buy candles at the store near the gate. Light the candles and offer prayers.

On the left going to the first station are the rosary garden and the chapel where mass is held every Sunday. This is the perfect place for meditation (when it’s not the Holy Week).

Head to the first station. It’s a rocky terrain going up. If you are not in for the physical challenge, I suggest you go ahead to the White Cross where you only have to tackle a few steps going up.

In the middle, you will see a stunning view of the Manila skyline. There is a cave-like path where the lifeless body of Jesus lies. It’s actually the thirteenth station.

Again, our last stop is the White Cross. Just be careful though because you might fall or trip at the steep trail.

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How to go to Via Dolorosa in Antipolo

From Crossing or Cubao

  1. Ride the jeepney with Antipolo Simbahan signage. The fare is Php34 from Cubao and around Php25 from Crossing.
  2. Alight at the last stop, just a few meters from Antipolo Cathedral. If you are from JRC or Crossing, alight at the first stop after Ynares Center, in front of USA88.
  3. Hail a tricycle and tell the driver to take you to White Cross. [White Cross is a more popular term than Via Dolorosa.] A special trip costs around Php40 (Php10 per passenger).
  4. The tricycle will drop you off about a few meters away from the entrance. Walk towards the entrance.

From LRT2, Santolan station

Upon alighting LRT2, look for jeepneys with Antipolo Simbahan signage. Ride one. The fare is Php23 from Santolan. Then, proceed to steps 2 to 4 above.

Via Dolorosa is open for public; no entrance fee required. Food and drinks are not allowed inside to maintain the cleanliness of the place.

Don’t bother using the only public restroom, though. I won’t elaborate, but you get my point for sure.

May 14 is Mother’s Day!
Code you can use when shopping for gifts for your moms: LZDSUMMER

Lazada is Life

I’m immensely grateful for the precious gift my mother has given me. She is my hero today and every day. ~Steven Cojocaru

Lazada Philippines

It’s Mother’s Day once again. But have you ever wondered how Mother’s Day came about? Well, below are some fun and interesting things to know about Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day facts

1)  Mother’s Day originated in the United States in the early 1900s. It was first celebrated in 1908 on second Sunday of May.

2) The Mother’s Day we know today is attributed to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, who campaigned to have a day dedicated to all mothers.

3) Mother’s Day became a recognized holiday in the US in 1914.

4) In the US alone, more than 122 million phone calls are made during this day.

5) Carnation is the flower of Mother’s Day, as it was believed that it was made from Mother Mary’s tears as…

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angel locsin as darna
Angel Locsin as Darna | Image credit

Last April 8, my mother, sister, my kids—Sasha and Adele—and I watched the 19th Antipolo Cityhood Parade. This year’s theme was Pinoy Komiks. We’ve seen our own barangays’ versions of Dyesebel, Flavio of Ang Panday, Barok and Gundina, Lastikman and of course, Darna.

My kids loved the huge floats. I think this was the first time they’ve seen something like this.

I, myself, is a big fan of Pinoy comics. I grew up reading Funny Komiks and Liwayway. I look forward to Saturdays not because there’s no school on that day, but also because we can go to the plaza and buy the latest Funny Komiks.

On Sunday papers, my first stop is always the comics section. I like Pugad Baboy and its satires about the government, politics and other nonchalant issues that we Filipinos are facing today.

I even read the comic strips on Bazooka’s wrapper. Hehe.

Watching the floats pass by, I remember my fondness of Pinoy comics. There is something so gratifying to see the live versions of those comics characters especially Darna.

Hey, who doesn’t love Darna!?

Who is Darna anyway?

Created by Mars Ravelo, Darna is a Pinay superheroine. Ravelo conceptualized Darna in 1939 as the female counterpart of Superman, which explains her powers and capabilities. However, it was not until 1947 when the Filipino comic readers caught a glimpse of Darna. The character wasn’t even called Darna then but Varga, a deceased extraterrestrial warrior that magically manifests herself through Narda, with the help of the white stone, of course. Varga’s mortal identity was-guess who-Narda! Darna was an anagram to Narda.

Ravelo has to leave Varga behind after a falling out with the editors of Bulaklak Komiks, Varga’s publisher. So, Darna (the Darna we know today) was first published in 1950 by Pilipino Komiks. Nestor Redondo illustrated Ravelo’s retooling of Varga as Darna. Right from the start, Darna was pitted against her archnemesis, Valentina, the snake goddess.

Darna ran for 28 issues, and a movie was made even before the comic series ended. In 1951, the first Darna movie, which was directed by Fernando Poe Sr. (and the last film he directed), graced the Philippine cinemas. Vilma Santos, or Ate Vi to her fans, wore the iconic Darna costume four times between 1973 and 1980.

While she’s a fictional character, Darna is considered a cultural icon in the Philippines. She’s one of the most celebrated characters in Philippine comicdom, if not the most famous.

Going back, as I watched the parade, I remember Darna, with Angel Locsin as the main protagonist; a local TV adaptation in 2005. The telefantasya was shown on GMA-7. Angel epitomized Darna. To this day, I think it holds the record for the highest TV rating at 52.1 audience share. It was on the night when Angel first transformed to Darna.

[There were even rumors that some areas in the metro experienced a brownout/blackout.]

I also watched that of Marian Rivera’s in 2009.

I vividly remember the movie versions too, although I’ve only seen the movies with Nanette Medved and Anjanette Abayari. I love the simplicity of the plot of both movies and the characterization of both actresses to think they have very different physical features.

Angel, Marian, Nanette and Anjanette played their role well.

In 2012, the ABS-CBN Management bought the rights to produce Darna. A movie is slated this year or the next. And according to the network executives, they would love to see Angel fly again as Darna, but she cannot. She experienced back pain twice while training for the said role.

While there’s a clamor for Angel to play Darna again, sadly, she already announced that she could no longer do Darna. She is currently suffering from a health condition—a disc bulge in her spine—that prevents her from reprising the role. Her doctor advised Angel not to engage in any extreme physical activities as they would lead to permanent damages to her spine. Ouch!

So, who will be the next Darna? Who will be the next one to shout, “Ding, ang bato!?”

Fans are rooting for:

Liza Soberano

Erik Matti, who will direct the movie, wants Liza to play Darna because her Pan-Asian features suit the physical characteristics of the heroine. Liza said she would be honored, but is not ready to wear the sexy costume.

Nadine Lustre

In a short teaser released and shown in cinemas in 2015 during the Metro Manila Film Festival, the narrator sounded like Nadine, the fans took notice. Nadine herself wants to play the role, but she said she’s not ready.

Jessy Mendiola

Sometime in 2015, fans thought that she was chosen as the next Darna since she posted pictures of her wearing the costume. It turned out that is was for a spoof segment on Banana Sundae. For Erik, Jessy has the built, but she is not Darna-like as she’s ‘maputi masyado.’

Maja Salvador

Maja once said she wouldn’t say no if the Darna remake will be offered to her. She added while laughing that that’s too big a responsibility for her.

Kim Chiu

Kim wore the Darna costume in 2013 during a performance in ASAP. She has yet to comment on the possibility of portraying the heroine.

Arci Muñoz

Arci said the wouldn’t pass playing the role of Darna if it’d be offered to her. Erik wants to see her personally though before he gives any observation.

Pia Wurtzbach

Miss Universe 2015 has the features of Darna. However, she’s too stunning to be Darna. Erik comments that Darna is a regular Pinay woman, not a beauty queen.

[UPDATE: It’s final: Pia won’t play Darna]

Yassi Pressman

Although no offers are made yet, Yassi mentioned that it was such an honor to be included in the list of those the management is considering for the role.

Julia Montes

Julia has the physical features suitable to portray Darna. Not to mention, her acting prowess.

Above are some of the names of the actresses that their respective fandoms want to play the next Darna. Their names are the pinakamatunog although some other stars emerge from time to time.

Bea Alonzo
Anne Curtis
KC Concepcion
Kristine Reyes
Jane Oineza
Sarah Lahbati
Jennylyn Mercado
Sanya Lopez

As for me, I am vying for Liza, Jennylyn and Sanya, pero malabo for the last two names. Liza is too young; she’s not even doing kissing scenes, so I guess the costume will be too much for her to take. Jennylyn or Sanya would be perfect for the role. But they aren’t a Kapamilya that’s why they cannot do the role. Awww…

[Or maybe there’s a possibility. Jennylyn made a movie with John Lloyd Cruz, right?]

Whoever will play Darna, it’s safe to say that the movie is a highly-anticipated one. It’s exciting enough to see Darna soar again on big screen. As the anticipation builds up, let’s all satisfy ourselves with the fact that whoever will be chosen, she must be the one.

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Source: Backyard Eats’s FB Page

I pass by M.L. Quezon Avenue every day. Some great eats can be found in this stretch from Not Just Meat to Beeffalo to Macy’s Burger. But something really unique will soon to open on this side of town.

Yup, the Antipoleños will welcome its first food park—Backyard Eats—anytime soon. And by soon I mean this May, hopefully. [Can I be the first to say “I can’t wait”? You need to reward yourself once in a while, right?]

It was supposed to open this March. I saw the tarp saying “Fun starts inMarch” or something like that. I can’t really remember the exact words. Hubby and I are already planning to go the next day after the opening day. I don’t know what happened. Maybe the delay is caused by the need to make the place really attractive for diners and passersby.

At first glance, you can see and feel the rustic vibe of the place. There are wooden tables and chairs and plants all over the place. I can see ferns, bonsais and bougainvilleas, among others. I know food parks have a certain warmth, and this one amazes me because it looks cozy and nice. Quite al fresco pa. [Why quite? Discover it yourself.]

Well, we go to food parks for the experience and I can’t wait to experience our very own.

From the outside, I can see at least two diners namely Pika Chew (for pika-pika foods, I guess) and Potato Hub. I love finger foods and potatoes! [That’s an understatement. Ahem!] I just hope that the place can accommodate the surge of people since it’s kinda small for a food park. It’ll be crowded for sure especially on the opening day. Ooops.

From browsing its Facebook page,  the owner(s) had already started food tasking. I can also tell that Backyard Eats will have a weekend market too.

The pics are really appetizing. Yum!

So ayun, kita-kits sa Backyard Eats!

*Not a sponsored post

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