Kyoto, Japan | Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

Kyoto, Japan | Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine

I could tell you that we went to visit shrine Fushimi Inari because we want to pay tribute to Inari, the patron of merchants in Japan. In fact, each torii in the famed shrine in the base of the sacred Inari mountain is donated by business, each torii costing 400,000 to 1,000,000 yen, the donation proportional to the torii’s size. Statues of foxes abound the trails of toriis at Inari, the Shinto god of rice and sake. These foxes, or Kitsunes, are Inari’s messengers, holding in their mouths the key to the rice granaries. There are 5000 brightly painted toriis of different sizes in the seemingly unending picturesque trail, making it Kyoto’s most popular tourist destination.

Or I could tell you that I made sure we go here because I wanted to be young Sayuri, running under the toriis in Memoirs of A Geisha, except unlike the movie, this tourist area is packed. It’ll be quite difficult to run without bumping on somebody or getting almost decapitated by a selfie stick.

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Fushimi Inari 1002

And then there is Jr, who innocently asks…

“Kailan tayo pupunta sa mga lapis?” (When are we going to the pencils?)
“Anong lapis?”
“Yung madami.”
“Ahhh, the torii”

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Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
68 Yabunouchi-cho
Fukakusa Fushimi-ku, Kyoto

How we got there: Since we have a Kyoto City Bus pass, we rode bus #5 from Kyoto Station. It directly stops at Fushimi Inari Shrine

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VIDEO | VLOG #034 – Let’s Do the Bagnet Dance

VIDEO | VLOG #034 – Let’s Do the Bagnet Dance

It’s been awhile since I watched a movie alone, but when I heard that “I’m Drunk, I love you” was down to 10 cinemas, I knew I just had to do it alone. Good thing, there was a screening at Gateway Cinemas at nearby Araneta. So in a packed cinema, I willingly let a movie pick on old healed wounds.

Let’s just say I was an easy, willing victim, and the movie pushed so many buttons. For one, I know how difficult it is to mount a music festival in La Union so there goes button number one. The plot line is way too familiar, and I don’t know whether to be happy or sad for a person who couldn’t relate because he or she has not been placed in a similar predicament. Old feelings said hello once again, but it’s nice to be reacquainted with them in rose colored nostalgic glasses. There is enough memories to draw from, but it’s always a relief those are behind you. Or in Carson’s term, “graduate” na tayo dyan.

I love how in expected indie-movie fashion, the plot development nor the lines are not formulaic. Things are said the way they are said in real life, not in perfectly worded sentiments that you don’t actually say in that climactic moment. People don’t actually say “Minahal mo ba ako dahil kailangan mo ko o kailangan mo ko kaya minahal mo ko?” when caught in the heat of an argument, people oftentimes retreat and those star cinema perfect lines are reserved for the millions of times you play the moment back in your head. I’m Drunk I love you is rooted in such realism.

Totoo naman. “Hindi mo kasalanan na hindi mo ako mahal.” Not as poetic, but equally saksak puso tulo ang dugo levels.

I went out of the cinema with the right amount of closure. And then I looked for bagnet. Because bagnet solves everything.

Watch the video here:

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LIFE LATELY | All the Feels From La La Land

LIFE LATELY | All the Feels From La La Land

I haven’t read any reviews or any article prior to watching the movie. I knew it got a few awards at the Golden Globes and that it was a musical. I wasn’t really expecting much when I asked JR if he wanted to watch a movie — any movie — at the new mall, Ayala Malls The 30th. I heard the the mall had full recliners so I wanted to try it. I wanted to try the cinema more than watch La La Land, to be honest. It just so happens La La Land was conveniently screening just as we arrived at the mall. We grabbed the last two seats, A1 and A2, nearest the screen. Maybe that’s why I didn’t know what hit me after the end credits rolled. I sat there, turned to Jr and told him, “I loved it!” — sniffing and wiping off tears. I was shookt.

I had zero expectations on the movie. The first sequence on the freeway ramp reminded me of my time in LA. At the end of my two weeks in Los Angeles in 2015, it had me singing a line from John Mayer’s ‘In Your Atmosphere’: “I don’t think I want to go to LA anymore.” I was LA-ed out. I thought, great, I got assaulted with a musical number without any context about the worst thing in LA. We’re off to a horrible start. I’m gonna hate this movie.

And then the story unfolded. And I thought, damn, what is happening? Why am I feeling all these feels? Wait. I can’t keep up. I just can’t.

I was Mia. I was Seb. I was in Griffith Park. I was in Grand Central Market. I want to go back to LA and go everywhere again.

No one was giving Mia the parts she wanted but with Seb’s nudge, she set out to write her own part, not needing the approval of other. I loved her hustle — quitting her job, risking it all and writing her own screenplay. She trudged on, putting up a show and finishing it even if it was in front of just a handful of audience.

You know what you want to do. Sometimes all you need is a small nudge. You do your best, even if no one’s watching. Everyone’s still asleep when the sun rises, but still, everyday, the sun shines.

I loved how Seb knew what he wanted. He just needs to find a way to get there. I love how it shows that sometimes you have to compromise, be a little sell out, but your eyes will always be on the prize. Sure, you’ll have to swallow your ego and pride, but you do not lose sight along the way. In the end, he got his jazz club. It might not be in the location he wanted, but he got it and they were going to play jazz the way they want to.

It might take a long time to get there, but you’ll get there.

I loved the ‘non-musical’, non-star cinema ending. It’s rooted on realism. That sometimes, your dreams are your happy ending, and that people you meet along the way are people who point your way to your happy ending. Seb encouraged Mia to write a screenplay that would land him a casting call of a lifetime, and Mia reminded Seb of his jazz club dreams. These people may not be in your life forever, but there is a reason why they are in your life then.

And you’re always gonna love them.

But what struck me the most are two lines from Mia’s ‘Audition’. We all have dreams. We grow up and priorities realign and some dreams remain dreams. But for the dreams we are brave enough to pursue, we fight, and we fight til it breaks us, and til we break thru. But rarely do we come out the other side unscathed. On our wake are broken relationships and painful sacrifices.

“Here’s to the hearts that ache. Here’s to the mess we make.” That’s my new tattoo.

Yes. I found my new favorite movie of all time.


Ayala Malls The 30th
30 Meralco Avenue
Pasig, Metro Manila

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