A word is worth a thousand pictures-Jude B

This is the world through my eyes

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Rajo’s Vision of the Millennial Filipina

Supermodel and fashion photographer Jo Ann Bitagcol. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Written and photographed

By Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Our country, the Philippines, is blessed with many great designers especially ones who’ve championed the textiles and materials of our forebears. Our people have used some of them from a thousand years before, prior to the Spanish colonial period.

Supermodels from left: Ria Bolivar, Jasmine Maierhofer and Jo Ann Bitagcol. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

There’s the research, academic and creative work of Patis Tesoro, there’s the elegant, stylistic landmark creations of Pitoy Moreno who is a National Artist in the hearts of his countrymen even without the official conferment (akin to Nora Aunor).

Supermodel and fashion photographer Jo Ann Bitagcol. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Dita Sandico Ong has pioneered the use of natural fibers in her work. The variety of tribal weaves, textures our country has to offer can be mind boggling such as the Nalak of T’Boli Tribe of Southern Mindanao to Hablon from Miagao Iloilo.

from left: BENCH Founder Ben Chan, Kaye Tinga, Rajo Laurel and Tessa Prieto Valdes. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

There are several monumental efforts here from Rajo. First is to collate all of these different materials and textures from the many parts of the country and create a cohesive collection out of it.  Then truly reinterpreting these materials in a new light and transforming them for the Filipina of today takes another kind of genius altogether. These are just some of the achievements in Rajo Laurel’s 25th anniversary fashion show, RED CHARITY BALL at the MARRIOTT HOTEL MANILA Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. It was the true culmination of the success that Rajo Laurel has achieved over the years.

Unliever Head of PR for Personal Care and PMAP Exec. Apples Aberin. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Supermodel Ria Bolivar; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

The Abel (from Ilocos) is almost unrecognizable taking on an otherworldly sheen.Jusi and Piña are cut, twirled and even crumpled takingon shapes never seen before, some of them are like abstract flowers, other forms that have originated from Rajo’s fertile mind. But always draped perfectly to highlight the female form of the Filipina. Some of the shapes are geometric, origami-like fusing both eastern and western influences.

Philippine Airlines NEW Business Class

If turning these beloved and revered materials for the Pinay of today was all that he did, then it would have been more than enough of a pinnacle for his career. But he went beyond that. He also made innovative use of newer ‘fabrics’ such as plastic, and shaped them into the unmistakable, or traditional form of the terno.

from left: U.S. Amb. Sung Kim, Philanthropist Chavit Singson and Panamanian Amb. Rolando Anibal Guevara Alvarado.The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

He didn’t stop there, he also used a metallic fabric, almost like an astronaut suit also for the familiar terno. His mind is able to envision, no place, no planet that cannot be conquered by the strength and ambition of the Filipina. (I’m not so sure about Filipino men, but definitely the Filipina).

The traditional Filipino Terno is given a space age make over. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

BENCH

The most recognizable Filipino fashion brand BENCH by Ben Chan was also able to show their mostly male, masculine collection that same night. Rajo in several TV interviews (together with Kaye Tinga and Tessa Prieto Valdes) especially in CNN Philippines profusely thanked Ben Chan who is a strong supporter of Filipino Fashion designers. The BENCH collection was able to balance out Rajo’s, which was mostly for women.

BENCH Collection; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Lea The Journey

Lea Salonga

Red Charity Ball producers and Rajo himself pulled out all the stops to tell his whole story and progression if you will by tapping someone who was there from the beginning. No less than Lea Salonga serenaded audiences with two hits Rajo requested: THE JOURNEY an original by Lea Salonga and THE HUMAN HEART from ONCE ON THIS ISLAND. THE JOURNEY was written by Julie Gould who also wrote the hit FROM A DISTANCE.

Lea Salonga is a childhood friend and supporter of Rajo. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

NEW TRESemmé Range

In between the powerful performances she was able to relate, “I first met Rajo when we were kids, I was 6 years old auditioning for KING AND I from Repertory Philippines. This is where his love for fashion and costume and theatricality came from. So many years later we both turned this love and these passions to lifelong vocations. And I’m only so proud as a frequent client as well as an old friend to see how he has grown and evolved and thrived in this incredible industry.

Leo Valdez as King Mongkut in Resort’s World Manila’s production of KING AND I (2012) where Rajo Laurel was costume designer.

RWM’s King and I

The venue holds a special significance to Rajo’s story as well. Manila Marriott’s Grand Ballroom is just next door to Resort’s World Manila.After that historic Repertory Philippines production decades before, Rajo was able to reprise his fascination and love for KING AND I through a Resort’s World Manila Production at the Newport Performing Arts theater (NPAT) last 2012.

This time though instead of being part of the cast Rajo would be Costume Designer. Leo Valdez was King Mongkut with Monique Wilson who played Anna, later productions would have Nonie Buencamino and Menchu Lauchengco Yulo in the same roles.

Nonie Buencamino (King Mongkut) and Menchu Lauchengco Yulo (Anna) in Resort’s World Manila’s production of KING AND I (2013) where Rajo Laurel was costume designer.

Rajo described the musical through the video presentation, “With fashion you could see how a simple person could become the King of Siam. I fell in love with the power of clothes. It has the power to transcend reality and somehow at the same time make it all real and tangible.”

The Archipelago Collection; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

ARCHIPELAGO

In his own words Rajo explains his thought process, “The collection is ARCHIPELAGO, it’s my 25th anniversary collection, essentially it is an essay. It is my attempt to define what Philippine fashion is now. So I began by collecting fabrics from all over our beautiful country. I was going from Aparri to Jolo, to create this wonderful collection. For me what’s beautiful about this is there’s a continuing legacy. It’s almost like creating a tapestry, a story of our people.

Supermodel Ria Bolivar; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Being a Filipino designer it’s already enough that I am part and parcel of the global world. As part of that global stage is to tell stories of where you’re from. I’m from the Philippines, I am a Filipino fashion designer; hear me. This is my people. This is my heritage and this is the magic that we weave. After 25 years of doing what I love to do, I feel that I made a difference. And I have been a catalyst for change. I have been a catalyst for good. And I am grateful what I do is what I love. And I love what I do.”

Marriott Manila Hailed Overall Champion in Philippine Culinary Cup

BENCH Collection; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Wide Ramp

What’s the most spectacular collection worth if it’s not seen properly? So a large horizontal shape, like a theater stage was constructed in the center with square ramps to side. This allows the large 95 piece strong collection to be displayed efficiently over a large space. The stage and ramp goes through almost the whole breadth of Marriott’s Grand Ballroom.

from left: Coleen Garcia, Dr. Vicki Belo, Iza Calzado, Cristalle Henares-Pitt and Lovi Poe.The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Of course choreographing, directing an ensemble piece of models and dancers necessitated an equal part of genius to Rajo’s. This was in the person of overall director Robbie Carmona, who is considered to be THE top-flight fashion show director in the country for some time now.Both the design of the stage and Robbie’s choreography gave photographers and audiences multiple angles to view Rajo’s innovative designs.

Watch out for more photos from Rajo’s ARCHIPELAGO collection in upcoming articles.

from left: Rajo with Fashion Show director Robbie Carmona during rehearsals.The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Accessories by JEWELMER; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Supermodel Jasmine Maierhofer; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

The Archipelago Collection; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Rajo Laurel is the most celebrated Filipino designer in the new millennium.The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Accessories by JEWELMER;The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Supermodel and fashion photographer Jo Ann Bitagcol. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

The Archipelago Collection; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Accessories by JEWELMER;The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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The traditional Filipino Terno is given a space age make over. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

The Archipelago Collection; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Top designers: from left: Joey Samson, IvarluskiAseron, Ben Chan and Patrice Ramos Diaz. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Supermodel Jasmine Maierhofer; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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The Archipelago Collection; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Supermodel Ria Bolivar; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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BENCH Founder Ben Chan hugs and congratulates Rajo Laurel. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

BENCH Collection; The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Supermodel and fashion photographer Jo Ann Bitagcol. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Accessories by JEWELMER;The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Supermodels from left: Ria Bolivar and Jasmine Maierhofer. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Lea Salonga is a childhood friend and supporter of Rajo. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Accessories by JEWELMER;The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Accessories by JEWELMER;The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Rajo Laurel is the most celebrated Filipino designer in the new millennium.The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Accessories by JEWELMER;The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Supermodel and fashion photographer Jo Ann Bitagcol. The RED Charity Ball on its 10th Year Celebrated Rajo Laurel’s 25th Anniversary in Fashion at Marriot Manila’s Grand Ballroom last October 27, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Seeing THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS

Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne) and Alicia Vikander (Isabel Graysmark). Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

W…

Written by

Jude Thaddeus Bautista

Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender): I should’ve died years ago. Meeting you for the first time changed everything, to be loved by you allowed me to feel again. The pain, sacrifice it was all worth it for every moment I ever had with you.

The Light Between Oceans is a best seller list novel translated to several languages including Italian. Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS the movie on HBO Asia.

THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS is a compelling story about choosing duty or love. It is currently airing in HBO Asia (click on this link for screening schedule). Based on a bestselling novel written by Margot L. Stedman that has been translated to multiple languages and sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.

Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne) and Alicia Vikander (Isabel Graysmark). Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

The Shadow of World War I

Set in the 1920s, Tom Sherbourne was a soldier, a veteran of the First World War. After an extremely conservative and strict upbringing, he was trained to suppress his emotions just to survive. Tom’s adherence to the rules was second nature coming from his stringent childhood. This was something he got used to also as a soldier in one of the most brutal wars the world has seen.

The actual shooting location for the lighthouse was Cape Campbell Lighthouse in Marlborough, New Zealand. Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

The Janus island lighthouse, on the other side of the world, in one of the remotest parts of Australia was a unique challenge. A lone operator had to be able to follow procedure and schedules, without having to be supervised. Previous operators were unable to deal with the sheer desolation. Finding the right person for the job was a near impossible task. But the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service found their man in Tom.

Not only was he able to perform his duties well but the desolation was nothing compared to the horrors he had witnessed on the Western Front. There were no more shipwrecks with the consistent hand of Tom manning the lighthouse.

from left: Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne) and Jack Thompson (Ralph Addicott).Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

Ralph Addicott (Jack Thompson) an old boatman who would bring him supplies was his only link to the civilized world. On the rare occasion, Ralph would bring him to town, (which was still a considerable distance away) Tom was met with a grateful townsfolk. As a war veteran he seemed an almost heroic figure.

Alicia Vikander as Isabel Graysmark; catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

Isabel

Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander) had a warm smile, light easygoing nature anyone could fall in love with. She was the antidote to his serious, melancholy side.  She took away all the painful memories of the past, made him grateful for his current life and look to the future. They seemed destined for each other.

Since she couldn’t bear to see him leave she asked to marry him so she could be permitted on Janus (as his wife). Tom was hesitant to bring Isabel into such a desolate place. But because she was so in love with him it became their private paradise. They had everything they needed in a small island: a storm proof house (apart from the lighthouse itself), a vegetable patch, a broken piano, two hens.  Most of all they had each other.

Inconsolable

After sometime, one stormy night Tom tells Isabel that nothing will happen to her as long as she stays in their house. Tom has to make sure the lighthouse was operating especially during the storm.Isabel was in the kitchen when she feels a sharp sudden pain in her abdomen. The pain was so excruciating she felt she had to go to Tom. So she went outside to brave the winds and rain going to the lighthouse. But the gate was made of metal and the howling winds masked her voice and banging. Tom didn’t hear her. He found her the next morning lying by the gate still alive. They discover that she had a miscarriage.

Moral Dilemma

The next scene Tom plants a cross in their yard to mark a grave for their unborn child. Isabel is inconsolable. In spite of their prayers and best hopes, after some time, Isabel has a second miscarriage. Isabel was lying beside the grassy patch by the graves when she heard Tom scream from afar. He was trying to signal to her that a small boat was approaching near the beach. She saw him run to it so she followed.

The rowboat had a lifeless man carrying a baby that was alive. The infant was a girl with wisps of blonde hair not unlike Isabel’s sandy brown blonde color. She held the baby the whole night without letting her go. The following morning Tom tells her of the need to radio their discovery. Isabel begs him, “You’re all about saving lives. Let’s save this one life because she needs us. We’re not doing anything wrong.” Tom is torn between the regulations he has so faithfully followed all his life and his wife’s need for this child. This is the moral dilemma; the beginning of the conflict Tom finds himself in.

Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne) and Alicia Vikander (Isabel Graysmark). Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

Real Life Romance

The novel made waves after it was published in 2012. Not long after its bestseller list success, plans were made to produce the film, which was shot in 2014. Lead actors Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander met before, but this time writer director Derek Cianfrance required them to live on set for six weeks. This is to establish ‘intimacy’ that would translate into the screen.

Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne) and Alicia Vikander (Isabel Graysmark). Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

It’s a chemistry that would spill over real life. Soon after production the two stars announced they were dating. Fassbender is 12 years her senior at 37 while Vikander is 25, during production. A year later after the film was released the two married, in October 2017.

They are among the two of the biggest stars in Hollywood today. Fassbender having iconic roles as Magneto in the X-MEN franchise, ASSASSIN’S CREED, the recent thriller shot in Netherlands THE SNOWMAN also currently airing in HBO. AliciaVikander replaced Angelina Jolie as TOMB RAIDER, before that she has already established herself in more dramatic and serious roles.

One of my favorite early roles for her was in ANNA KARENNINA with Keira Knightley. In fact Alicia has won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for THE DANISH GIRL (2016). Fassbender is not far behind as a nominee from 12 YEARS A SLAVE. Castmate Rachel Weisz also won Best Supporting Actress for THE CONSTANT GARDENER (2005). Rachel plays Hannah Roennfeldt here in this movie.

Rachel Weisz (Hannah Roennfeldt); Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

Let’s hope their marriage survives the temptations and rigors of their Hollywood lifestyles. No matter what happens, fans can always look back to LIGHT BETWEEN THE OCEANS as the loving scenes that grew into a real life romance.

Racism In Australia

Author M.L. Stedman who was born in Western Australia, managed to shed light into racism in her country of birth. One of the pivotal moments in the book is when racism leads to a tragic incident. The irony in this case is that the discrimination was against a German immigrant.

Most people who are familiar with Australian history would already know of the oppression of the Aborigines by the white settlers. But their racism in this case at least extended to another Caucasian leading to dire consequences. Although, this is in the context of the First World War where the British Commonwealth was at war with Germany.

Sadly, however, racism from Australia still rears its ugly head to this day. Most recently July 2, 2018, here in the Philippines a brawl broke out in a basketball match between SMART Gilas Philippine team and Australian Boomers.

While racial slurs are immediately called out on the football pitch in the English Premiere League this incident went far beyond that. The Australian side was guilty of tampering and removing advertising on the basketball court a day before the match. Which already irked the Filipino side, their unusual physicality only exacerbated the racial overtones of their actions. So a wild brawl ensued between the teams and even spilled on to violence from the home crowd. Both sides have actually apologized and have been sanctioned by the FIBA organizers.

Given their history and incidents such as these there are steps that the Australian government should take. First is to acknowledge that racism exists and second have the necessary guidelines especially for their national squads. They should be more racially and politically sensitive because they are representing their nation in competitions abroad.

The actual shooting location for the lighthouse was Cape Campbell Lighthouse in Marlborough, New Zealand. Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

New Zealand Lighthouse

The film is the last of DREAMWORKS for Disney, although an American production outfit, it was shot in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. While the setting in the film is Australia, the main lighthouse was actually shot at the Cape Campbell Lighthouse in Marlborough, New Zealand. The cast and crew lived there for five and a half weeks. Other locations include Port Chalmers outside Dunedin also in NZ and the town of Stanley in Northwest Tasmania, Australia.

Isabel Graysmark:

Take me out to Janus with you.

Tom Sherbourne:

What?

Isabel Graysmark:

I want to see it. I want to see where you hide yourself away.

Tom Sherbourne:

I’m afraid that that would be against Commonwealth rules.

The only woman allowed on Janus is the keeper’s wife.

Isabel Graysmark:

Then marry me.

Author M.L. Stedman; M stands for Margot; Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

Frank Roennfeldt:

You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day,

Every day, all the time. You have to keep remembering

the bad things. It’s too much work.

Rachel Weisz (Hannah Roennfeldt); Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne) and Alicia Vikander (Isabel Graysmark). Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

Isabel Graysmark:

Tom, when I first saw you, I felt like I knew you, and I couldn’t stop seeing my life with you; and building a family together, one that isn’t stuck in the pain of the past. It’s very pretty. And so, if you’re asking me

if my proposition still stands…then my answer is yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes.

The novel won 2 awards: Best Novelist Debut and Indie Book of the Year (2013) for author M.L. Stedman. Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

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from right: Screenwriter / Director Derek Cianfrance and Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne). Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia

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Rachel Weisz (Hannah Roennfeldt) and Bryan Brown (Septimus Potts).Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

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Florence Clery as Lucy-Grace; Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

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from left: Screenwriter / Director Derek Cianfrance and Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne); catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

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Rachel Weisz (Hannah Roennfeldt); Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

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Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne) and Alicia Vikander (Isabel Graysmark). Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne) and Alicia Vikander (Isabel Graysmark). Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

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Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne) and Alicia Vikander (Isabel Graysmark). Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne) and Alicia Vikander (Isabel Graysmark). Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

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The actual shooting location for the lighthouse was Cape Campbell Lighthouse in Marlborough, New Zealand. Catch LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS on HBO Asia.

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Maningning’s Legacy of Art & Poetry

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Maningning Miclat was a true creative force who is an inspiration to young artists today.

Written by

Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Maningning Miclat at age 28 was already an accomplished artist and published poet in both China and the Philippines. She had exhibited a grand abstract work at the Cultural Center of The Philippines. Being fluent in three languages, she translated her poems in Mandarin to English, Filipino and vice versa. Apart from this she was a generous soul, wanting to give young artists the same opportunities that had been granted her. She went on to teach in Far Eastern University.

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Bamboo Scroll – Charcoal Brush on Rice Paper, 1986 by Maningning Miclat.

So it was an immensely painful tragedy when the world lost her creative genius. She took her own life, 18 years ago, September 29, 2000. Soon after, her mother, Alma Cruz Miclat along with their closest friends and supporters put up the Maningning Miclat Art Foundation Incorporated (MMAFI). One of its main missions is to search for and support young artists through competition.

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From left: Inquirer Lifestyle’s resident Artist / Critic Cid Reyes, San Carlos Seminary Dean of Studies Fr. Sid Marinay, MMAFI VP for Ext Affairs Orestes Monzon, MMAFI Pres. Alma Miclat, U.P. College of Fine Arts Professor Emeritus (and former Dean) Nestor Vinluan and world-class sculptor Ramon Orlina open the 2018 MANINGNING MICLAT ART AWARDS exhibit. It ran from Sept 3-26, 2018 at the Nicanor Reyes Hall, Far Eastern University, Sampaloc, Manila. Photo by Jude Bautista

The foundation organizes the Maningning Miclat Visual Art Awards, a competition held every 2 years specifically for artists 28 years old or younger. Since 2004, the competition has been synonymous with discovering budding artists who have progressed to fruitful careers.

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FEU Chorale; FEU Auditorium, September 26, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

For this year’s edition, held at the Nicanor Reyes Hall of Far Eastern University is a special homecoming of sorts. MMAFI President Alma Cruz Miclat explains, “It has been very difficult for me to imagine coming to FEU specifically here at the Institute of Architecture and Fine Arts. For 17 years I could not even pass by Nicanor Reyes Avenue without crying. It was from the 7th floor of this building that my beautiful daughter Maningning fell to her death September 29, 2000. She was an art teacher here. I am coming to terms with my anguish, fear and anxiety all related to this place. Entering the campus was a test of will and courage. Last year during Nick Joaquin’s centenary I felt as if he bade me come. And so I did. As contributor, not often though in the arts and books section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, I wrote about the Nick Joaquin event and my experience coming here.”

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MMAFI Pres. Alma Cruz-Miclat; FEU Auditorium, September 26, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Shards of Our Own Lives

Alma took note of a description of Nick Joaquin’s work as inspiration, “I quoted Vicente Rafael in his introduction to Nick’s THE WOMAN WITH TWO NAVELS and TALES OF THE TROPICAL GOTHIC, made available world wide through a single Penguin Classics release. It says, ‘We whoever we are receive his stories told from a ruined world, hearing and perhaps sharing them as the shards of our own lives’. I did pick up the shards of my own ruined life and set forth to share them. Facing my pain and grief head on resulted in this partnership between the MANINGNING FOUNDATION, the artist playground DISTRICT GALLERYand the FEU President’s Committee On Culture; Headed by the great gentleman here Mr. Martin Lopez who arranged this beautiful activity.”

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from left: FEU Pres. Committee On Culture Dir. Martin Lopez with Top Four finalists- Harddy Santos, Jessica Lopez, John Nikko Pelaez, Wendi Patoc, Jurors- Dexter Sy, Egai Talusan Fernandez, Imelda Cajipe-Endaya, MMAFI Pres. Alma Cruz-Miclat, Historian / Writer Prof. Fe Buenaventura-Mangahas, MMAFI Board Member Julie Lluch, Author / U.P. Prof Mario Miclat and MMAFI VP for Ext Affairs Orestes Monzon. Photo taken during the awarding ceremonies of the Maningning Miclat Visual Art Awards 2018. It was held September 26, 2018 at the FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

Maningning Loved FEU

Alma talked about how her daughter felt for the esteemed educational institution she taught and worked for, “After all Maningning did love teaching here. Telling me how her students were so gifted. ’Nay ang gagaling ng mga kamay nila’. She was also in awe of the campus, this leading art museum, buildings done in art deco style. And she happily told me once that she was being asked to curate for a few exhibits here at the exhibit hall. That was 18 years ago. Now I feel it in my heart Maningning had a hand in bringing us all together here to put an end to the painful past and move on more vigorously in helping young artists have a place in this world.“

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Bananaue Miclat-Janssen; GINUGUNITA KITA a Performance Art of Maningning Miclat’s Poems set to music by Jesse Lucas, Sept. 26, 2018, FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

Martin Lopez

As director of FEU President’s Committee on Culture, Martin Lopez was instrumental in the successful and memorable homecoming of the Maningning Miclat Visual Art Awards exhibit and ceremony held last September 26, 2018.

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Maningning’s mural sized work was exhibited at the Cultural Center of the Philippines

Lopez said the event coincided with the 90th anniversary of Far Eastern University. But also noted many other celebrations, “We had a ceremony in this very space to mark the 100th anniversary of Nick Joaquin our National Artist for Literature, whose work and exhibit is on the 5th floor of this building. With the reopening of the auditorium after two and a half years of waiting (sister) Banaue was one of the first artists to inaugurate the newly reopened auditorium when we closed our Nick Joaquin Centennial year. We are all here to celebrate Maningning, we are here to celebrate art and music and her gift of art and poetry. We are very, very fortunate to participate and to partner with the MANINGNING MICLAT ART FOUNDATION in this endeavor and hopefully we have many more partnerships in the future.“

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FEU Pres. Committee On Culture Dir. Martin Lopez; FEU Auditorium, September 26, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Grand Prize Winner: Jessica Lopez – MOTION OF LIFE

Prior to GINUGUNITA KITA performance art of Maningning Miclat’s poems set to music by Jesse Lucas, was the awarding ceremony of the Maningning Miclat Visual Art Awards. The newly renovated FEU Auditorium was the perfect venue for the glittering night last September 26, 2018.

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Grand Prize winner Jessica Lopez in front of her work Motion of Life, the trophy was sculpted by Julie Lluch. The Maningning Miclat Visual Art Awards 2018 was held September 26, 2018 at the FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

Jessica Lopez of Pangasinan State University was awarded the Grand Prize for MOTION OF LIFE. She is the first female winner, perhaps the only one to highlight and use waste material (bangus fishbone) in her work.

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Artist: Jessica Lopez Title: Motion of Life, Fish Bone on Plywood, 48 x 36 inches

As Grand Prize winner, Lopez received a Julie Lluch Sculpture Trophy, P28,000.00, Maningning Miclat Book Collection and a solo exhibit at District Gallery.

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from left: MMAFI Pres. Alma Cruz-Miclat with Top Four artists: Wendi Patoc, Jessica Lopez, John Nikko Pelaez and Harddy Santos, Author / U.P. Prof Mario Miclat Mario Miclat. The Maningning Miclat Visual Art Awards 2018 was held September 26, 2018 at the FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

Top four artists were further recognized from among 18 semifinalists (including Lopez). They are John Nikko Pelaez (.U.E.) – BEG, Harddy DC Santos (.U.E.) – COVER UP and Wendi T. Patoc (EARIST) – HINDI NA MAIBABALIK PA. Both Nikko Pelaez and Harddy Santos are from the University of the East. These three artists, as part of the top four, were given Honorable Mention awards.

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Artists from left: Harddy Santos, Jayroll Francisco, Ralph Lauren Barola, Kenneth Santiago, John Nikko Pelaez Dominic Nelson Jinon, Dhan Louie Bautista, Cyrill Mustera, MMAFI Pres. Alma Miclat, Christine Capili, Arvin Santos and Previous winners Niño Cubacub and Dexter Sy. The artists are among 18 semifinalists of the 2018 MANINGNING MICLAT ART AWARDS. Their works were exhibited in Nicanor Reyes Hall, Far Eastern University, Sampaloc, Manila, Sept 3-26, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

18 Semifinalists

Hundreds of entries were sent online and were whittled down to 18 semifinalists. Being chosen to be part of the 18 is prestigious by itself as they were able to display their work at the Nicanor Reyes Hall in FEU from September 3-26, 2018.

Among them:

Andres M. Catig (EARIST)-DINADALAW NA NAMAN TAYO NG KALULUWA NI PAPA

Arvin Santos (.U.E)-ORDINARY DAY

Christine Capili-TABULA RASA

2Artwork

LEFT: Artist-Cyril Cleope, Title-PEACE, 2018, Oil and Acrylic, 36×24 inches RIGHT: Artist-DeoAmarante, Title-Longings of the Heart, 2018, Acrylic on Canvas 24×30 inches

Cyriel Cleope (EARIST)-PEACE

Cyrill Jan Mustera (U.E.)- SINNERS

Deo Carlos Amarante (EARIST)-LONGINGS OF THE HEART

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Renato Lucas; GINUGUNITA KITA a Performance Art of Maningning Miclat’s Poems set to music by Jesse Lucas, Sept. 26, 2018, FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

Dhan Louie Bautista (EARIST)-COLLATERAL DAMAGE

Dominic Nelson Jinon, (T.U.P.)-COME, HE’S HERE!

Harddy DC Santos (U.E.)-COVER UP

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Artists from left: Dominic Nelson Jinon, Dhan Louie Bautista, Cyrill Mustera, MMAFI Pres. Alma Miclat, Christine Capili, Arvin Santos and 2014 winner – Niño Cubacub. The artists are among 18 semifinalists of the 2018 MANINGNING MICLAT ART AWARDS. Their works were exhibited in Nicanor Reyes Hall, Far Eastern University, Sampaloc, Manila, Sept 3-26, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Jayroll P. Francisco (U.E.)-ICON

Jessica Lopez, (Pangasinan State University)-MOTION OF LIFE

JhecoLorica, (F.E.U)-THE MODERN THRONE OF BASIC NEEDS

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Artist: Kenneth Santiago, Title: Different State of Emotions, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 40 inches.

John Nikko Pelaez (U.E.)- BEG

Kenneth H. Santiago (U.E.)- DIFFERENT STATE OF EMOTIONS

Ralph Lauren Barola (Marikina Polytechnic College)-The ARTstoppable

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from left: Jurors- Dexter Sy, Egai Talusan Fernandez, Imelda Cajipe-Endaya, MMAFI Pres. Alma Cruz-Miclat, Historian / Writer Prof. Fe Buenaventura-Mangahas, MMAFI Board Member Julie Lluch, Author / U.P. Prof Mario Miclat and MMAFI VP for Ext Affairs Orestes Monzon. Photo taken during the awarding ceremonies of the Maningning Miclat Visual Art Awards 2018. It was held September 26, 2018 at the FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

Ronald Dulay (U.P. Baguio)-BALIK TANAW

Rhicelle Kirk Tabanera (EARIST)-DIFFERENT MOTIONS THROUGH EVERYDAY SITUATIONS

Wendi T. Patoc (EARIST)- HINDI NA MAIBABALIK PA

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Top Four Artist – Wendi Patoc and MMAFI Pres. Alma Cruz-Miclat. Title-Hindi Na Maibabalik Pa, 2018, Acrylic on layers Canvas panel on canvas 7 wire spring, 24 x 48 inches. The Maningning Miclat Visual Art Awards 2018 was held September 26, 2018 at the FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Maningning Miclat was a true creative force who is an inspiration to young artists today.

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National Artist for Music Ramon Santos; FEU Auditorium, September 26, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: FEU Pres. Committee On Culture Dir. Martin Lopez with Top Four finalists- Harddy Santos, Jessica Lopez, John Nikko Pelaez, Wendi Patoc and Juror Dexter Sy during the awarding ceremonies of the Maningning Miclat Visual Art Awards 2018. It was held September 26, 2018 at the FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: FEU Pres. Committee On Culture Dir. Martin Lopez, MMAFI Pres. Alma Cruz-Miclat and writer Ibarra Mateo; FEU Auditorium, September 26, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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right: Dancer Angela Castro and Banaue Miclat-Janssen; GINUGUNITA KITA a Performance Art of Maningning Miclat’s Poems set to music by Jesse Lucas, Sept. 26, 2018, FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Artists from left: Harddy Santos, Jayroll Francisco, Ralph Lauren Barola, Kenneth Santiago, John Nikko Pelaez are among 18 semifinalists of the 2018 MANINGNING MICLAT ART AWARDS. Their works were exhibited in Nicanor Reyes Hall, Far Eastern University, Sampaloc, Manila, Sept 3-26, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Artist: Christine Capili, Title: Tabula Rasa, Oil and Ink on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

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Jesse Lucas; GINUGUNITA KITA a Performance Art of Maningning Miclat’s Poems set to music by Jesse Lucas, Sept. 26, 2018, FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Semifinalists / Exhibiting Artists from left: John Nikko Pelaez, Christine Capili, MMAFI Pres. Alma Cruz-Miclat, Grand Prize winner Jessica Lopez, Dominic Nelson Jinon, Dhan Louie Bautista, Kenneth Santiago and Ralph Lauren Barola. The Maningning Miclat Visual Art Awards 2018 was held September 26, 2018 at the FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from right: Vim Nadera, Juror Egai Talusan Fernandez

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Artist: Cyrill Mustera Title: Sinners, 2018, Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 36 inches

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from left: Al Gatmaitan, Toots Tolentino, Banaue Miclat-Janssen and Jesse Lucas; GINUGUNITA KITA a Performance Art of Maningning Miclat’s Poems set to music by Jesse Lucas, Sept. 26, 2018, FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Teresita Ang See is a huge fan of Maningning’s Chinese poetry.

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Top Four – Artist: Harddy DC Santos, Title: Cover Up, 2018, Acrylic on Canvas, 40x30inches.The Maningning Miclat Visual Art Awards 2018 was held September 26, 2018 at the FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: Jesse Lucas, Banaue-Miclat Janssen and Renato Lucas the stars of GINUGUNITA KITA a performance art of Maningning Miclat’s Poems and the Music of Jesse Lucas with performances by Al Gatmaitan, Angela Castro and Nasser Lubay. It was held on Sept 26, 2018 at the FEU Auditorium, Far Eastern University, Sampaloc, Manila. Photo by Jude Bautista

1Artwork collage

LEFT: Artist-Rhicelle Tabanera, Title-DIFFERENT MOTIONS THROUGH EVERYDAY SITUATIONS, 2018, Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 24 inches RIGHT: Artist-Dhan Louie Bautista, Title-COLLATERAL DAMAGE, 2018, Oil on Canvas

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from right: Rome and Jing Jorge with MMAFI Pres. Alma Cruz-Miclat; GINUGUNITA KITA a Performance Art of Maningning Miclat’s Poems set to music by Jesse Lucas, Sept. 26, 2018, FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Maningning Miclat’s oil painting “Trouble in Paradise,” Art Association of the Philippines’ grand winner in 1992. Photo courtesy of Miclat family

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Artists from left: Dhan Louie Bautista, Cyrill Mustera, Christine Capili, Arvin Santos are among 18 semifinalists of the 2018 MANINGNING MICLAT ART AWARDS. Their works were exhibited in Nicanor Reyes Hall, Far Eastern University, Sampaloc, Manila, Sept 3-26, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Artist: Robert Tiaño, Title: Innermost Self, 2018, Oil on Canvas, (2016) Grand Prize winner

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Al Gatmaitan and Banaue Miclat-Janssen; GINUGUNITA KITA a Performance Art of Maningning Miclat’s Poems set to music by Jesse Lucas, Sept. 26, 2018, FEU Auditorium. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Serendipitous PLAN MAN

Han Ji Min as Su Jongin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Beloved, I’m crazy for you.

Written by

Jude Bautista

In a small nightclub So Jung (Han Ji Min) switches to a ukulele to sing her latest song: “Your day begins with an alarm… Alarms are always on time… Get up to the wake alarm… Wash to the shower alarm…  When the alarm rings 12:15 pm… You go inside a store… At the store she is always there… You want to tell her how you feel… So you set an alarm and a plan… To make the perfect confession for the only girl exactly like you… Like him…  like her… lonely you

Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

To Mr. Han’s (Jung Jae-Young) horror So Jung sees him in the audience. She points him out of the crowd: “Its plan man! He’s the plan man!” So Jung starts a cheer: Plan Man! Plan Man! (the audience turns to him and starts to cheer too: Plan! Man! Plan Man!) Mr. Han is embarrassed and screams: “That’s personal!” He storms out the exit.

Han Ji Min as Su Jongin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

PLAN MAN is a funny, endearing rom com from Korea currently showing in RED by HBO. Actor Jung Jae-Young plays Han Jeong Seuk a librarian with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. In his case he plans out his day almost to the millisecond, from the moment he wakes he irons out his bed sheets. In his mind it’s the people who don’t plan, who don’t obsessively clean up after themselves who are ‘crazy’.

Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

The problem comes when he falls for 7-11 cashier Ji Won (Cha Ye-Ryuun). Not only is she pretty but is definitely another OCD. He notices her ‘appealing’ habits of arranging the display, disinfecting her hands and endlessly cleaning glass surfaces.  Big surprise he is inept with the opposite sex. Enter So Jung (Han Ji Min) who volunteers to help him date the lovely Ji Won. So Jung needs Mr. Han because she’s obsessed with joining an American Idol-type contest for bands.According to the rules So Jung could not enlist herself as a soloist and she needs him, who just happens to know how to play the keyboards.

Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Cha Ye-Ryuun as Ji Wonin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Jung Jae Young

Jung Jae Young is a veteran actor of Korean cinema and has played a wide variety of unusual heroes. According to his Wikipedia page / credits include: “a war-weary North Korean officer who befriends his counterparts from the South in WELCOME TO DONGMAKGOL, a shy rural farmer who travels to Uzbekistan in the hopes of finding a wife in WEDDING CAMPAIGN, a Joseon merchant who gets drawn into plans for developing a rocket against the Ming Dynasty in THE DIVINE WEAPON” to name a few.

Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Evidence of his talent are countless Best Supporting and Best Actor Awards.  His most recent Best Actor awards are from 68th Locarno International Film Festival, 35th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards, 9th Asia Pacific Screen Awards, 53rd Gijon International Film Festival for the movie RIGHT NOW WRONG THEN in 2016.

Needless to say he was very convincing as someone with an OCD here in PLAN MAN but also tragically funny. While having made more than a dozen movies he’s a relative newcomer to TV. For 2018 he is in the show STRANGE FAMILY and has recently completed the film ON THE BEACH AT NIGHT ALONE.

Han Ji Min as Su Jong with Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Hollywood Parallels

I noticed a number of Korean movies that seem to borrow some concepts from Hollywood. MISS GRANNY that has a Sarah Geronimo hit remake is a combination of FREAKY FRIDAY with elements of PRETTY WOMAN (especially with the Roy Orbison soundtrack). PLAN MAN seems to be similar with AS GOOD AS IT GETS because of characters dealing with OCD. Apart from that however, this is a more original or different take altogether.

Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

PLAN MAN is definitely funnier at the same time points to traumatic past events that may explain the disorders or mental state that people find themselves in. While it is a comedy, it also deals with the lack of ethics in the TV broadcast industry and how it may destroy lives permanently.

Koreans also have Turo turo (Filipino term for sidewalk eatery).

In AS GOOD AS IT GETS, no less than Jack Nicholson plays the cranky OCD guy pestering the lovely Helen Hunt. PLAN MAN has Han Ji Min who plays the endearing musician songwriter So Jung. Mr. Han sees her as messy, quirky. She’s a cat lover who frequents a turo turo (Filipino term for sidewalk eatery) that specializes in intestines and tripe. Mr Han asks, “How can you eat it when dung passed through them?” She replies, “That’s why they’re so good!”

Han Ji Min as Su Jongin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

KEYS TO THE HEART

Han Ji Min is one of those Korean superstars the whole world seems to fall for these days. She also stars in KEYS TO THE HEART, a drama that was just released April of this year in cinemas. Owing to her acting abilities, she’s more somber almost unrecognizable there as an heiress who loses her joie de vie after a serious car accident.

KEYS TO THE HEART’s storyline is about an over the hill MMA fighter who has difficulty accepting his special needs brother. This touching drama is also currently showing in RED by HBO.

Han Ji Min as Su Jong with Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Han Ji Min

Han Ji min’s accent is endearing or cute when she speaks English (at least in role of So Jung). For example she pronounces plan man as Puh-lan man! Puh-lan Man! It becomes an unmistakable 3-syllable cheer. I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s just her or a Korean thing.  Then I saw the translations for the title from Korean, which were spelled Pel-raen Man. This isn’t unique to the Koreans, the Chinese also add a syllable or two when translating some English words. This makes it easier to read and pronounce phonetically from their language.

Han Ji Min as Su Jong, behind her is the Triangle Gim Bap display.Watch PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

She also writes a song about the Triangle Gim Bap, a rice cake / sushi like product. It’s on the 7- 11 shelves she works in. Like the fried chicken, fried siomai in Mini Stop or siopao and Hot dogs in Philippine version of 7-11.

Ji Min also has an uncanny resemblance to Leica Carpo who is known as a marathoner. Leica was a former publisher of Sunday Inquirer Magazine, the weekend mag ofPhilippine Daily Inquirer. These days Leica runs her own public relations firm in the U.S.

Han Ji Min as Su Jong with Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Philippine Connection

In real life Han Ji Min has a heart of gold. Her educational background as a Social Welfare graduate from Seoul Women’s University has given her an insight in using her fame to help those in need. Back in 2009 she visited a rural village in Bukidnon, Philippines. It was for a TV show focused on charity work called World Special Love from the Korean tVN network.

Han Ji Min visited a remote village in Bukidnon, Philippines to help out with the education and welfare of kids in 2009.

A youtube video, shows her having fun from the plane trip via Philippine Airlines. The unmistakable red, yellow and blue tail of PAL could also be seen when she lands. Han ji Min was so moved by her experience with the kids that she wrote a book about it: WE’RE ALREADY FRIENDS: HAN JI-MIN’S PHILIPPINES DONATION BOOK.

Proceeds from the book were then donated to educational programs of kids in the Philippines, other developing countries and even North Korea. In 2012, she was also  designated as goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP. Ji Min returns to the TV screen in 2018 for the romance FAMILIAR WIFE.

Han Ji Min visited a remote village in Bukidnon, Philippines to help out with the education and welfare of kids in 2009.

Different locations from the movie around Seoul form a heart (supposedly).

Walking in Seoul

Apart from the language and food, the city of Seoul figures prominently. The small side streets and alleyways seem to create an impression of a pedestrian friendly metro. All the locations revolve around just a few blocks from each other. The characters walk from one scene to the next. His workplace, the library to the corner store, his therapist, the nightclub So Jung plays. They even have their own version of the large pedestrian crossing in Tokyo although definitely not as chaotic.

Seoul has its own busy pedestrian lane crossing although less chaotic than Tokyo’s.

In this movie Mr Han may be the title character but its Han Ji Min (as So Jung) who will melt your heart. Beyond her adorable smile it’s her fun, quirky personality and kindness that makesaudiences love her.

Han Ji Min as Su Jongin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

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Cha Ye-Ryuun as Ji Wonin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

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Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Han Ji Min as Su Jong with Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Han Ji Min as Su Jongin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

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Cha Ye-Ryuun as Ji Wonin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Han Ji Min as Su Jongin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

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Cha Ye-Ryuun as Ji Wonin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

From left: Cha Ye-Ryuun (Ji Won) and Han Ji Min (Su Jong)in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

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Cha Ye-Ryuun as Ji Wonin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Jung Jae Young as Mr. Han in PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

Cha Ye-Ryuun as Ji Wonin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

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Han Ji Min as Su Jongin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

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Han Ji Min as Su Jongin PLAN MAN showing on RED by HBO.

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Underage Love in POLICEMAN AND ME

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Delicate, mahal ko.

Written by

Jude Bautista

There’s something about her delicate face, her vulnerability that draws him in. He couldn’t quite explain it. So when he found out she was catching the last train home, he quickly volunteered to walk her there. They had less than a few minutes to catch it so they had to run. The night air rushed through their faces, neither of them knew when they ran as fast or could explain why they were smiling, giggling.

As they turned a corner they see the last tram going off the station, just missing it. Both were disappointed. Kota Sagano (Kazuya Kamenashi) surprised himself when he looked down, he was still holding her hand.Their plans change and he instead asks to call a cab for Kako Motoya (Tao Tsuchiya).

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Kota: Do you have a boyfriend? Kako: If I did I wouldn’t have joined the mixer. Kota: I see. You don’t have one. That’s good.  Kako: What about you? Kota: I’m currently single. Next time can the two of us meet up? Kako: What? Kota: No…That is if you don’t hate that. Kako: Not at all. [Both of them laugh]Kota: How do I put it, sometimes I say thank you too much or being too polite without being honest. What I really want is to get to know you better, that’s how I feel. How long have you been living here?

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Kako: Well, all my 16 years. Kota: I see…(His face suddenly changes) What?? 16 years? Aren’t you 22 years old? (Sensing his growing anger and frustration she immediately bows) Kako: I’m sorry. Actually today I was just called to fill in for someone. I had to say my age was 22 years old. The tone of his voice changes too. Kota: (Looks disappointed) You have to go home now. Kako: Can’t we at least exchange emails? Kota: Huh? You still have the nerve to say that? Stop this nonsense…little brat. Kako: (Screams) I’m sorry! (She then immediately runs away)

The English title of this Japanese movie is POLICEMAN AND ME the original is P to JK  (PとJK P to JK) acronyms for Police and Joshi Kōsei, Japanese for “high school girl”. P to JK is actually a wildly successful manga (comic book) created by Maki Miyoshi. It’s a title that was started in 2013 that is still currently on going. Each volume seems to outsell the previous one. By 2016 the series has sold 2.1 million copies. POLICEMAN AND ME is currently airing on RED by HBO.

from left: Daigo Nishihata (Jiro), Mahiro Takasugi (Okami), Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Tina Tamashiro (Mikado); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

The story isn’t your typical manga romance, which deals with teen marriage. Kota Sagano, a 26-year-old cop, genuinely falls for Kako Motoya a 16-year-old highschooler, he mistakes as 22. He didn’t want to sully her reputation by just dating her, especially at that age. He also didn’t want to let go and not see her at all. So he decided to propose marriage to her and ask her hand in marriage from her parents. 16 is the minimum marrying age for women in Japan but requires parental consent.

from left: Rie Tomosaka (mom), Tao Tsuchiya (Kako), Jun Murakami (Dad); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Their plan was to keep it under wraps from most people until she graduated. Her father was understandably against it but felt powerless to prevent them from the marriage. Kako reached a compromise with her father to not get her pregnant until after graduation. There weren’t any vulgar sex scenes, quite the opposite. Both of them seemed to be quite awkward in that regard.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Lead Stars

Tao Tsuchiya is adorable as Kako, with equal parts of innocence, naiveté, stubbornness and determination. Not knowing how to be physically affectionate with her husband she’d approach him, close her eyes and pucker her lips waiting for him to kiss her.

Kazuya Kamenashi as Kota is the bigger star of the two as an established success in both music and film. Most fans agree he played the character close to the manga version.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Aging, Shrinking Population

From an outsider, accepting the under age factor may be too much to ask. Especially if you think that even the manga or comic book is classified in the ‘shojo’ genre, which is targeted for young girls.

This is one story that may highlight cultural differences. In the U.S. or even here in the Philippines getting married at 16 or even 18 is sometimes perceived as a problem. Teen pregnancy is something that has to be addressed as an issue and concern. While not necessarily ‘normal’ in Japan, there seems to be some factors why or how the government can view teen marriage as a positive.

Mahiro Takasugi (Okami); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

With an aging population, there’s an increasing need for higher birthrates. Social scientists, even political experts have all agreed that the aging population will also lead to it shrinking. By 2050 Japan’s current 127million will only be 107 million. ‘The demographic shift is threatening the existence of rural communities, contributing to a ballooning public debt and starving the economy of labor.’[From Japan’s Shrinking Population by Isabel Reynolds –Bloomberg.com]

Tina Tamashiro (Mikado); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Basically there are not enough young people to work in farms, or supply the labor force in other sectors that keep the whole country running. This is only one of the problems they face.Which isn’t to say that either the manga or the film was necessarily government produced. But rather, getting married younger and having a higher probability of having children (or more children) is a message that may be made acceptable because of this problem.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Mahiro Takasugi (Okami);Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Hiroki’s Wide Shot

Ryūichi Hiroki as director was able to balance a certain amount of realism and the fantasy or romance of the relationship that attracted so many readers. His style was very unobtrusive but in my mind quite effective. I loved his use of long shots even during dialogue. The shot size of the people talking, take up only 1/4th or a quarter of the screen.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

From a wide shot or long shot Hiroki sometimes would dolly in almost imperceptibly during a dialogue scene. The longer or wider shot removes the need to cut from one face to the next making it more efficient, editing wise. We get to appreciate the performance and delivery even more in my opinion. Then when the lines necessitate, he moves into a close up. Because he uses the close up less it then becomes more effective in a way. As a viewer you don’t necessarily notice his techniques, doesn’t call attention to itself, but you can ‘feel’ it.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Ota City

An added benefit to the wide shot, as a viewer I tend to look at the environs and their surroundings. Ota City in this case is part of the Tokyo Metropolitan area but is more of the suburbs. It’s a city that has a small town feel. While having a commercial district it has a lot of tree lined streets. It doesn’t have the tower or skyscrapers dominating the Tokyo skyline. The electric cable car or tram figures in the story early. Which is actually a common mode of transport throughout Japan.

Ota City incidentally is home to CANON and ANA Airlines among other large corporations.

Ota City; Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Hiroki allows us to see all this, where the characters literal place is on the screen ergo the location. I don’t know if Ota is the same location in the manga or was specified. But even Ota Shingako High School figured prominently. This is where Kako, goes to school and a lot of the scenes take place. The school boasts of an expansive campus and probably the biggest brass band I’ve ever seen.

Ota Shingaku High school Brass Band; Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Whether it’s the movie POLICEMAN AND ME or from the enduring success of the P to JK manga, the bottom line is, to cherish love at any age.

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Daigo Nishihata (Jiro); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

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Ota City; Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

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Ota City; Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

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Tao Tsuchiya (Kako); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

Tao Tsuchiya (Kako); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

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Tao Tsuchiya (Kako) and Kazuya Kamenashi (Kota); Catch POLICEMAN AND ME on RED by HBO.

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Father’s Day Milestones 2018

Nativity of Christ by Francesco Mancini behind the main altar of Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica of St Mary the Major), Rome, May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Written by

Jude Bautista

This year’s Father’s Day Celebration, June 17, 2018, coincided with several milestones for the Bautista clan. My father Jose C. Bautista can be proud of completing a lifelong dream: seeing the Pope during the Neo Cathechumenal Way’s 50th Year Celebration last May 5th,in Rome, Italy.

Pope Francis waves to the Philippine contingent, an arms length away from his passing vehicle. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista- click on photo for full story

During the same trip he was able to complete a brutal schedule from May 1-12. We visited about 3 churches / landmarks daily and averaged 3-4 kilometers of walking per day.

from left: Junee Ibaviosa, Joe and Linda Bautista, in front of St John Lateran, Rome. May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

This is no small feat for an 86 year old my mom Linda on the other hand is 79. Consider Meghan Markle’s dad in his late 60s couldn’t make it to the Royal Wedding due to health reasons. So we’re all really proud of Joe and Linda grateful our prayers were answered for safety and health through out the trip.

We are all ever grateful to my brothers Timothy, Donald and George who sent financial support that made this trip possible.

JY and Linnell Bautista with son Theo. From fb

First Great Grandchild

By the end of the same month of our trip (May 29, Theo Daniel De Villa Bautista was born to JY and Linnell Bautista, Joe’s first great grandchild. This also makes my brother Timothy and his wife Joy Bautista proud grandparents. Jay and Linnell got married last March 2, 2017. Linnell gave birth naturally at Mount Sinai West Hospital in New York to a strong bouncing baby boy 7lbs and 3oz strong. Mom Linnell was walking about just days after delivery.

Theo Daniel De Villa Bautista born May 29, 2018. 7lbs and 3oz – from fb

First time and proud grandfather Tim treated his father Joe to a Father’s Day celebration, June 17, 2018 at a Japanese Restaurant. Long time family friend Ramon Castañeda, who was there with us, is also a New Yorker.

seated from left: Erlinda Bautista, Joe Bautista, eldest son Tim Bautista, standing: Joy Bautista and Ramon Castañeda. Pasig, June 17, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Tanduay Limited Edition

Since I was on a tight budget, I had to think hard of what I wanted to give my dad. I happened to see Tanduay’s Superior Blended Rum Limited Edition, which was issued 2017 in celebration of the Year of the Rooster. I was also relieved to know it was only P280. That’s tremendous value, so I thought of buying that. But didn’t buy it on the spot thinking I just lived nearby.

Tanduay Superior Blended Rum Limited Edition is a great gift idea with its smooth taste and elegant packaging. Photo by Jude Bautista

3 days before Father’s Day I went back to buy it and found out every single bottle had been sold out! I was in panic mode going through several liquor outlets and supermarkets but eventually found last 3 bottles in another supermarket. So if you do seethe Tanduay Limited Edition on a shelf, do yourself a favor and buy one.  Special occasion or not, its a perfect gift or treat for yourself. If you can’t find Limited Edition just go for the Tanduay Superior 12 Years, which is also tremendous value.

Noel Bautista with wife Rachel Hazel. From fb.

Noel

He may not know this but my third brother Noel is actually one of my idols as a father. (As I have yet to be blessed with a child of my own) In the late 80s, throughout the 90s I remember being a little bit taken aback at how devoted he was as hands on father. He was able to change diapers of eldest son Nigel, feed him, put him to sleep and generally care for him. Even with his later kids Nicole and Brent.

The Holy Family in the main altar, Parish of San Giuseppe in Trevizo, Northern Italy, May 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Noel may not have been the wealthiest or the most financially successful among my brothers but definitely he was the most caring. That affection and care he gave them wasn’t something they could remember because they were babies or toddlers. I’ve never personally seen any other dad care for his children the way that he did.

Nigel Bautista, the last time we saw each other was at least 5 years ago. Hotel Fiore, Fiuggi, Italy, May 10, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Nigel

Fast forward to our trip in Italy this May. Noel’s eldest son: Nigel Paolo Emmanuel Bautista, Nigel for short is now working for Arcadia Group, the conglomerate that runs giant clothing brands TOPSHOP, TOPMAN, BURTON, OUTFIT, DOROTHY PERKINS and many more. Nigel works in their main office in London as a Software Specialist evaluating the company’s apps for phones and devices.

from left: Erlinda Bautista, Nigel Bautista, Joe C. Bautista and Beth Javier.Hotel Fiore, Fiuggi, Italy, May 10, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

While we were in our last few days in Italy, Nigel decided to join us. He had a brief weekend trip to Paris then flew in to Rome. We had not seen each other for 5 years or so. I was thinking of how proud Noel must be of Nigel having grown and achieved so much at a young age.

Brent

Just a few days ago June 25, Noel’s youngest son Elijah Brent surprised us with a visit here in Manila coming all the way from Wellington, New Zealand. He is currently working as a staff of NZ’s Member of Parliament Priyanca Radhakrishnan. Brent shares with us that he is able to relate to Prianka as an Asian who spent some growing years abroad but has studied University in NZ and now lives there too. Some of Prianka’s advocacies include ‘immigrant rights and women’s right women survivors of domestic violence, and migrant workers who have been exploited’. From Labour Profile.

Joe with grandson Brent; Paco, Manila, June 25, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Brent is also working as tutor at Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Victoria University and is also taking up a Master’s Degree in International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington. He hopes to work in the diplomatic field in the future. Brent shares his father’s and grandfather’s good looks too. He is in town on a holiday to Coron, Palawan.

from left: Joe, grandson Brent and Erlinda. Brent visited from Wellington, NZ. Paco, Manila, June 25, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

To this day Noel remains to be the biggest fan of his kids. Even when they are grown up and have their own lives he still posts their pics and praises them on facebook. He lovingly refers to his daughter Nicole as Ganda (Beautiful in Filipino) and Brent as Bunso (Youngest child).

seated from left: Proud dad Noel, Rachel, Brent, standing: Nicole. From fb

From Noel’s fb  birthday greeting to Brent:

‘NOTE TO MY 30-YEAR OLD SELF. Hate to break it to you Noel, but you’re gonna drink too much, eat too much, and be a lazy bastard the rest of your life. Any potential you showed your 20s, so far you will waste. To make it worse, at this point you won’t do much about it. Your saving grace? You’ll have great kids, not the least of which is this guy Elijah Brent, who’ll be true to the promise, outdo himself in school, work and in life. SO FAR, SO GOOD. Thanks for making your old man look good, anak. Happy 23rd birthday, we love you to bits!

The Pieta by Michaelangelo was even more moving in person, inside St. Peter’s Basilica, May 3, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

St Joseph

My dad’s patron saint as his namesake is St. Joseph who is self sacrificing, humble father happy to let his son, Jesus and wife Mary take center stage. That’s whySt. Joseph is the epitome of fatherhood. No wonder Joe shares the same attributes; he always lets my mom, his children, grandchildren get a lot of attention. But throughout our lives he’s been there supporting us consistently, quietly.

St Joseph with the child Jesus in the Parish of San Giuseppe in Trevizo, Northern Italy, May 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Fr Paolo Benetton, the brilliant mind and organizer behind our successful trip, brought us to his hometown of Trevizo, Norhern Italy. He showed us the Church a corner away from the house he grew up in, incidentally Parocchia Di San Giuseppe – Parish of St Joseph. He introduced us to his dad who waved at us and smiled warmly but preferred not to address the Filipino crowd.

Fr Paolo translates for mom Rafaella who charms the Pinoy visitors. Parish of San Giuseppe in Trevizo, Northern Italy, May 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Fr. Paolo’s mom on the other hand gamely engaged the visitors speaking in Italian while his son translated, “I can never forget getting a call from his first communion teacher ‘your son is so naughty I don’t think I can teach him anymore.” Getting howls of laughter from us– as Paolo became a priest. When we were leaving their home I wasn’t surprised to see the mailbox: Rafaella is the name of his mother, Giuseppe the name of his father (the Italian version of Joseph).

from left: Fr. Paolo, dad Giuseppe and mom Rafaella in their lush and green yard. Trevizo, Northern Italy, May 7, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Elegant Label

Going back to my gift there’s a nugget of wisdom at the back of the elegant label of the Tanduay Limited Edition,

“…Chinese New Year is considered to be the most important festival for the Filipino Chinese Community in the Philippines and is celebrated in hope of attracting prosperity, closer family ties and peace.”

Although it is way past Chinese New Year, we managed to have some measure of prosperity, closer family ties and peace from our Father’s Day Milestones.

Tanduay Superior Blended Rum Limited Edition is a great gift idea with its smooth taste and elegant packaging. Photo by Jude Bautista

Joe Bautista; this was outside the catacombs of San Sebastian, fringes of Rome, May 4, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: Allen, Irene and Angela King at the Colosseum (Circo Massimo), Rome, May 3, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

150,000 people from 135 countries attended the celebration. The 50th Neo Catechumenal Anniversary was held at the University of Rome Tor Vergata Grounds, Rome Italy, May 5, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Noel recently visited brother George in Auckland NZ, coming from Wellington. From fb

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Theo Daniel De Villa Bautista born May 29, 2018. 7lbs and 3oz – from fb

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Angels aloft St John Lateran; May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Clockwise from left: Grant; Mahal; J.j. Claus, Ganda; and Bunso. Missed you Panganay Nigel. — with Grant Randell, J.j. Claus Alamani, Nicole Bautista and Elijah Brent Bautista at Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay. From fb post

A waterfall on our way to Northern Italy, May 6, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: Dr. Glo Chua, Beth Javier and Leng Leng Ibaviosa. Viale Manlio Germozzi, Rome, May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

This ancient façade is beside St John Lateran in Rome.May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Fr Richard Garrido; Asst Chaplain of Cardinal Santos Medical Center was honored to say his first official mass in Rome during the trip. Photo by Jude Bautista

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The St. Peter / Paco Neo Group; this was outside the catacombs of San Sebastian, fringes of Rome, May 4, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Brent has tattoos, on his left wrist is Filipinas in the ancient script Baybayin. June 25, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Linda with grandson Brent; Paco, Manila, June 25, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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From left: Erlinda Bautista, Joe Bautista, Allen and Irene King. Santa Croce Gerusalemme (Hoy Cross in Jerusalem), May 2, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

The Italian countryside in Northern Italy, May 6, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: Erlinda Bautista, Nigel Bautista, Joe C. Bautista and Beth Javier.Hotel Fiore, Fiuggi, Italy, May 10, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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‘The altarpiece in mosaic was made in 1722, reproducing a design by the painter from the Marches, Carlo Maratta, which dates to 1696-1698. It represents the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, in the River Jordan’- St. Peter’s Basilica, May 3, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

from left: Roly Cua, Erlinda Bautista and Joe Bautista, behind them The Pieta inside St. Peter’s Basilica, May 3, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Even if it was drizzling there were thousands still visiting St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, May 3, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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from left: Jude Bautista, Erlinda Bautista, Nigel Bautista, Joe C. Bautista and Beth Javier.Hotel Fiore, Fiuggi, Italy, May 10, 2018. Photo by Roly Cua

The Italian countryside in Northern Italy, May 6, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

Noel Bautista with wife Rachel Hazel. From fb.

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Tanduay Superior Blended Rum Limited Edition is a great gift idea with its smooth taste and elegant packaging. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Where Gladiators and Christians gave their lives for entertainment: The Colosseum in Rome,May 3, 2018. Photo by Jude Bautista

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Revealing the PHANTOM THREAD

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Deep Kiss, you are my Alma.

Written by

Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Reynolds (Daniel Day Lewis): Why do I feel as if I’ve been looking for you for a very long time? Alma (Vicky Krieps): And now you’ve found me.

CUT TO an interview Alma (Vicky Krieps): I never really liked myself. I thought my shoulders were too wide, my neck was skinny like a bird and I had no breasts. I thought my hips were larger than needed, my arms strong. But in his work I become perfect and I feel just right. Maybe that’s how all women feel in his clothes.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

PHANTOM THREAD was able to fool me more than once. As I started watching I had the distinct impression, it was a biopic of some sort, a docudrama on a real life legendary designer from the 1950s whose clients include royalty and Hollywood stars. After some cursory research, it was astonishing that it was all a work of fiction from the fertile mind of writer director Paul Thomas Anderson. It truly is from Anderson’s seed of genius that the film has sprung forth and inspired others. The recent awards season bears this out.

Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

PHANTOM THREAD won an Oscar for Best Costume Design (Mark Bridges) andNominated in 6 Oscar categories: Best Actor (Daniel Day Lewis), Best Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville), Best Original Score (Johnny Greenwood), Best Direction (Paul Thomas Anderson) and Best Picture.

Both the Golden Globes and BAFTA also nominated Lewis for Best Actor. If it weren’t for Gary Oldman’s masterful performance in THE DARKEST HOUR, Lewis may have earned a fourth Oscar for this film.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

BAFTA also awarded Mark Bridges Best Costume. Critic’s Associations and technical guilds in the United States and U.K. have either nominated or given awards to PHANTOM THREAD. The Boston Society of Film Critics for example has given it the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Score.

Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Paul Thomas Anderson – PTA

Not only is Paul Thomas Anderson (PTA for short) credited as Writer, Director, he’s also Director of Photography / Cinematographer and Producer. On the youtube video of test shots he talks about the classic lenses from the era that he wanted to use to recreate that 50s look. Among them are classic lenses 85mm Jena 2.8, 55mm Nikon 2.8 before finally settling on the 50mm Jena 2.8 from Zeiss.

Writer Director Producer Paul Thomas Anderson; Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

He was also very particular about the film stock they used and tested quite a few along with different lenses to get the exact look and feel they wanted. I wondered if it was possible to shoot it digitally and recreate the look he desired in post, as a more cost effective solution. But he may have wanted ‘the look’ in camera as they say. And it is difficult to question success.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

He did however admit his reliance on his cameramen and gaffers because of his lack of technical knowledge. Hence, Colin Anderson was nominated for the Camera Operator of the Year Award from the Society of Camera Operators.

PTA was already critically acclaimed for BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997), PUNCH DRUNK LOVE- with Adam Sandler (2002) and INHERENT VICE (2014). But it was his work THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) that gave him the most Oscar nominations and a Best Actor win for Daniel.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Director Paul Thomas Anderson. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Maya Rudolph & Other Inspirations

Anderson has a long time relationship with SNL legend Maya Rudolph, going 17 years with four kids. One of the tender moments when Paul had flu and Maya was nursing him back to health. She gave him a facial expression that made him realize that she ‘had not looked at him with such tenderness and love in a long time’.

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Another flash of inspiration is from friend and musical director Jonny Greenwood who complained of how long he took to get dressed: ‘You’re like Beau Brummel!’ Brummel was a fashion icon in the 19th century, ‘(who) claimed that he took five hours a day to dress and recommended that boots be polished with champagne. This preoccupation with dress, coupled with a nonchalant display of wit, was referred to as dandyism.’ [From https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Beau_Brummell] Cristobal Balenciaga and his ‘monastic life’ was also an inspiration for the main character.

Prior to PTA’s relationship with Rudolph, his previous long-term lover was Fiona Apple. He continues to direct music videos for Fiona and RADIOHEAD, of which Johnny Greenwood is a member.

2nd from left Johnny Greenwood of RADIOHEAD composed the haunting soundtrack for PHANTOM THREAD.

Reynolds

Anderson was able to create a character that was very much believable and at the same time delve into that personal fantasy or make believe, that makes a person a central figure of a story. So he seemed like a real person, in this magnificently crafted film. The central character is himself a brilliant mind with a host of quirks that no writer or director could imagine. For example he’s rail thin but has a voracious appetite. And has extremely specific preferences or requirements to how his food is prepared.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Daniel Day Lewis was able to shape the role in more ways than just his performance. PTA credits him as co writer. The first name Reynolds is from the youth of Day-Lewis. Reynolds Stone is a renowned wood engraver in the U.K. who influenced him. “Reynolds Stone was quite an important figure in the life of my family. He was probably the greatest living wood engraver in this country, in his lifetime. We spent some Christmases in his house in Dorset as a child. The Stone family were figures in our lives.” The last name Woodcock arose from Daniel’s joke to Anderson who broke down laughing. That assured the fact it was going to be used. From: youtube vid: Cast Q & A.

Title uses font designed by renowned English wood engraver Reynolds Stone. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Research and Casting

Day Lewis again tirelessly researched his role. He consulted with the curator of fashion and textiles at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and apprenticed under Marc Happel, head of the costume department at the New York City Ballet.

House of Woodcock staff were either dressmakers or costume designers in real life. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Historic Clothing Archive also yielded some fortunate encounters. When Anderson and Costume Designer Mark Bridges were there they bumped into retired dressmakers Joan Brown and Sue Clark. They were given the roles of Biddy and Nana respectively. The seamstresses roles were also given to ‘Amber Brabant and Geneva Corlett are professional film costumers. Georgia Kemball is a textile designer’. From: [official imdb page]

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma).Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Alma

PHANTOM THREAD is the film that people will look back on as the breakthrough role for Vicky Krieps (Alma). This is when the world was introduced to the talent and magnetism of a young actress from Luxembourg. She has the perfect cover of innocence and weakness when she is anything but. Underneath that childlike smile hides a mentally strong and willful woman who changes Reynolds life.

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Before meeting Alma, Reynolds would easily charm young ladies; sweep them off their feet. But it was only a question of when he’d tire of and eventually replace them. She’s a combination of tenderness and strength that Reynolds never encountered before.

Krieps’ natural Luxembourg accent was perfect for the role, “She was always an immigrant. Let her accent do the work. You just need to get the sense she was from somewhere different, preferably Eastern Europe,” said Anderson.

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

She has been cast in THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB with Sylvia Hoeks the latest sequel from THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO franchise. Vicky is also currently shooting LYREBIRD a drama with Guy Pearce.

Lesley Manville

Lesley Manville on the other hand has been around the block: MALEFICENT (2014) ANOTHER YEAR (2010). Nominated as Best Supporting actress at the Oscars and BAFTA. But also won the trophy from AARP, London Critic’s Circle Film Awards and International Cinephile Society Awards: PHANTOM THREAD (2017 Best Supporting Actress) and ANOTHER YEAR (2011 Best Actress).

Lesley Manville (Cyril); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

She won the 2014 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance as Helene Alving in Richard Eyre’s revival of GHOSTS. She was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to Drama.

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Manville has recently been cast in DALI LAND, NORMAL PEOPLE and the much-anticipated sequel MALEFICENT 2 with Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

In an interview with People TV, Lesley had a great insight about this film, “Even if I hadn’t been cast its up there in one of my favorite films of all time. Its really wonderful the way it puts the microscope in what we want to sort out; how to be yourself, how to love, how to be a full and proper person, for some of us in the creative industry, how to marry that with creativity.” Gary Oldman, this year’s Best Actor winner, is incidentally Manville’s ex-husband and had her only child with him: Alfie Oldman. She now has 2 grandchildren Matilda and Ozzy.

Lesley Manville (Cyril); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Cyril

Lesley plays Reynolds’ ever-present sibling Cyril. She is the agent / manager / second in command in the House of Woodcock. He affectionately calls her ‘My Old So and So’. Usually she knows what he needs and wants before he asks for it. In front of clients, she’d never question him. But in private she would never take sh** from him. It’s true as stated in other reviews, while Reynolds is the creative genius it’s these two women who truly rules his life.

Lesley Manville clip

Film influences

As brilliant as Anderson is, he was very modest in acknowledging his influences in terms of movies, “Stolen, that would be the word for it. We watched PASSIONATE FRIENDS (1949) six times; we keep coming back to it over and over again. I don’t know why no one’s talking about it. The other one is I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING (1945) a great Powell – Pressburger movie. A lot of the Powell Pressburger movies including the RED SHOES. BRIEF ENCOUNTER, I watched again as a refresher. REBECCA, VERTIGO and SUSPICION with John Fontaine.“

Center: Vinyl cover of official soundtrack album by Johnny Greenwood of RADIOHEAD. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Because of the era, the film has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock who directed VERTIGO. The story / romance also parallels with PASSIONATE FRIENDS, I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING even with the setting (U.K.). Writing and directing duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger used color and music effectively to tell their stories. THE RED SHOES also from Powell Pressburger was a required viewing for DLSU Communication Arts majors (a long while ago) under Dr. Mike Rapatan.

On PHANTOM THREAD’s last shooting day April 26, 2017, was the same date that director Jonathan Demme (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, PHILADELPHIA) passed away. Anderson considers Demme a friend and mentor and has dedicated the film to him.

What is the Phantom Thread?

This was one of the moments in the film that convinced me that Reynolds was a real person, made him more human. He creates secret pockets in the linings of his jacket, or clothes in general that contain mementos, that are important to him. He keeps a lock of his mother’s hair in one because she taught him to sew and make dresses – his craft. Sometimes it’s a label with the name of a loved one. Only he knows its there. That’s how he literally keeps the people who matter close to his heart.

Alma: Reynolds has made my dreams come true. And I have given him what he desires most in return.

Dr. Robert Hardy (Brian Gleeson): And what’s that?

Alma: Every piece of me.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Mark Bridges won an Oscar and BAFTA award for Best Costume. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Mark Bridges won an Oscar and BAFTA award for Best Costume. Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

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seated center from left: Costume designer Mark Bridges, Director Paul Thomas Anderson and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma).Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.Photo from Official facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

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Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Lesley Manville (Cyril); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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Vicky Krieps (Alma); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

from left: Lesley Manville (Cyril), Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) andVicky Krieps (Alma).Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

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House of Woodcock staff were either dressmakers or costume designers in real life. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong.

Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

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Lesley Manville (Cyril); Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PhantomThread/posts/

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Daniel Day Lewis (Reynolds) and Vicky Krieps (Alma). Watch out for future screenings of PHANTOM THREAD in Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong. Photo from Official website: http://www.focusfeatures.com/phantom-thread

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