pre holiday random thoughts

THE FIRM treated us for an early celebration of Oktoberfest here at Shanghai Yangtze Hotel. They erected a big tent there to house more than a thousand people ready to get drunk and be merry. And so we did go and munched sausages, meatloaves and salami, dancing, singing, tossing mugs and getting drunk as if there’s no more tomorrow.

The atmosphere was so festive, reminded me of my day in small German city called Saarbrucken, except this time it’s happening in Shanghai and the Chinese audience were very elated to this so called western tradition.

Gan bei!

From seventh floor we moved to sixth. The office is now occupying two floors of this building in HuaShan Rd. The bosses and the seniors stayed on the higher ground, whilst most of the staff occupied the new floor. The working space now is big, with a central open space and the stations in U embracing formation. Our group is strategically stationed near the pantry and the open space. In our new office, I own a window with a view of red and beige painted wall, aluminum cladded vent, buildings under construction from afar and eastern sky as their backdraft.

The weather in the city is getting colder. Overnight the temperature dropped from 30c to almost 20 last Saturday. When I arrived in Shanghai last year it was not like this. It took about a month to realize I need warm clothes. Winter is coming and it’s coming early in Shanghai.

Finally, the rest of China takes a week long break starting tomorrow to celebrate its 59th founding day. I don’t know where my feet would take me this time as I plan to stay in Shanghai but you know things could hanged. And yes, I am avoiding drinking milk but last night I just couldn’t resist the Milo ice cream that I got with a great great discount.

Happy Holiday everyone!!! Out!


out of words 06: two towers

OFW One Year

Today, I celebrate my one year in Shanghai, China as OFW. The city and the people has been good to me and would like to appreciate such kindness. I would like to say thanks my officemates and friends here and buddies in Manila and the Philippines. My love also goes to my family, to Nang and Ez especially, for the support and understanding.
A toast to another good year!


Lights, Camera and Action in Hengdian World Studio

EVER wondered where they shot the Chinese wuxia films like Hero, The Promise, Curse of the Golden Flower??? How about the Forbiden Kingdom and third installment for the film Mummy showed recently in major cinemas? The answer is the village called in Hengdian in Zhejiang Province, China. And yes, this is the country’s own version of Hollywood and Universal Studio and it’s called Hengdian World Studios. With a total land area of up to more than 30 million square meters and replica of ancient Chinese buildings it is considered to be the world’s largest movie studio.

Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to be with my Filipino friends (15 of us) sailed south from Shanghai and investigate if the flashy pictures and promising ads posted in the Hengdian website were no fancy at all. By mid noon, after being wash out by rain along Zhejiang expressway and lost our way so many times, we reached the town of Hengdian. We knew were on the right track when we had a glimpse of those familiar tall maroon walls you see in Beijing minus Chairman Mao picture. After dropping our luggage in a hotel nearby and feasting our lunch in a local restaurant, we commenced on our tour with itineraries still unclear.

Day 1 09.14.08AD
First stop was the Palace of Qing and Ming or Forbidden City and we bought the ticket here for 330rmb that would be good for 3 days and can use for most the theme parks. The ticket price for a day pegged at 100rmb plus I think. From outside you would already have an idea how big the copied version of the imperial palace but the moment you step inside it walls everything became larger than life. I have never been to the original palace in Beijing but this one in Hengdian gave me an impression how impressive Chinese people were in building palatial architecture so vast yet still loyal to detail. What’s interesting also in visiting this place was that there were only few tourists wondering that would be impossible to happen in capital so it’s a good site to take pictures of the spaces minus the people. In the Hall of the Supreme Harmony, for 100rmb, I became the emperor of China wearing that yellow silk imperial gown seating on a fake glittering gold throne.

Next we headed to Dreamlike Valley which I think should only be named Dream Valley. Entering its gate you’d be welcome by a jungle ambiance complete with mist with big artificial trees (painted concrete trunks and pvc leaves) you must climb to greet Tarzan hello and view the park from the tree top. There were few rides in the park and I avoided the one they called Windmill. When dark fell we found ourselves on the grandstand watching a magnificent show combining earth, water, and fire in the overall production of dance and music. It’s like Beijing Olympics opening all over again. Later, in a different venue, we watched the flooding of a village with volumes of water cascading down from hill top with real actors running escaping the great deluge.

Day 2 09.15.08AD
The tour we started early this time. Before 9am we were standing and in awe before the great towering walls of the legendary of Emperor Qin Palace. My all time favorite wuxia movie is Zhang Yimou’s Hero and I was glad to reach their shooting location and even more glad upon entering its courtyard and saw the architectural drama inside. The two square shaped courtyards were so spacious and bordered by six storey high slanting battlement walls and sentry towers would remind you of ancient wars you’d see only in the silver screen. To make it centuries old, some walls look like clad in wood but really it was just concrete painted to mimic wood texture up close. Getting to another courtyard is to cross this narrow passage way squeezed by two walls that would offer you a different look of space of earth and sky and in between.

Getting to the emperor hall was climbing its grand stairs guarded by iconic dragon like sculptures. But visitors beware of beating those drums near the hall entry, it would cost you 30rmb for gonging it. Though replica and unreal, the emperor’s hall interior was amazing in size and details. It was dominated of colors black and red. The central skylight was the only source of light received by this great hall. Before the imperial throne a sunken area was place with a bridge like platform over a pool of black, yellow and red hue. You can rent a custom with weapon of your choice for 30rmb. Our group staged a scene and viola! we created an opus so memorable I want to smile when remember.

Another park named Qing Ming Shang He Tu meanwhile got the inspiration from a Chinese artist interpretation of the Song Dynasty period. It gives you a preview of type architecture in that era, residential of poor, middle class and the rich, the commercial, the government and religious structures, and army’s fortress and headquarters. To add drama to the green landscape and architecture, they created a pond inside the park to represent the Bianhe river that mirror a perfect reflection of so Chinese and so China. Here, we first saw TV series being made and Styrofoam props sculpture on display that looks like polished granite.

After exploring the two parks everybody was obviously tired so we took our lunch to energize near the area and later back again trekking and crossing bridges to the site they called Guangzhou and Xiangang (HK) Jie (street). The amenities here provided a glimpse of the old Southern China during the sampling on two cities of Guangzhou and Hong Kong, a British colony during that time. At the west portion located the Hongkong colony with colonial architecture and hilly topography in sight. The other side meanwhile offered everyone old and countryside Guangzhou during the early days of the republic I assumed. The walk in these streets, with few people to be seen, was really the best activity to do here. At the same time, there were three shooting location happening as we navigate the site. We were treated by a spectacular 30 minutes show ala Pirates of Carribbean, with balls of fire flying, bomb exploding, and death defying acts that would take your breath away. But the good thing was there will always be tasteful spaghetti to eat to make your day.

The place had still more to offer like the Dazhi Temple and riding a cable car to mountain top but we sadly were running out of time and money. Overall, I found the trip amazing and an experience of a life time and explore the rest of the ancient China in 2-3 days all in one village called Hengdian.


mooncake, eureka, et al.

The weekdays fast like it’s only three days. Sobrang bilis but still payday takes too long to happen. This weekend would end on Monday for the Chinese to celebrate all over China, the Mid Autumn Festival on September 14. In Shanghai, you’d see people in long queue to buy mooncake in the bakery. Today, I felt the mall and the metro were too crowded. People do malling or just going home to reunite with their family for the holiday is traditionally kin day as oriental farmers make a toast to end the harvest. It is also encourage to eat mooncake under a moon this holiday and this I find poetic.

I finally get rid of Windows Genuine Authentication notice in my pc before dawn today. That Microsoft crap was plaguing my pc for months now till today with much help from digital life blog.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Hengdian in Zhejiang Province and would write details to you when I go back..


Photography 101

The ever talented Jamie, my friend who already won 1st prize on national tilt in Manila gave me a small lecture on photography by sending back my pictures with her notes and ideas and humiliation. Joke!

Ok, professor next time I'll do better.


Sa Kabilang Dulo ng Earth Video

While watching some of Howie Severino's docu in YouTube, I stumbled on this video that carry this 4-chord song in A major entitled “Sa Kabilang dulo ng Mundo” by a band called Peryodiko, with former Twisted Halo, Vin Dacel singing. I love the rhyming of Tagalog words in the song which reminded me of Gary Granada or Dong Abay prowess on this. It would go boring for listening several times and with a nice synth drum beat I think you can mixed it with Oasis' Champagne Supernova. But for know I love this song. I like this that I wrote the lyrics in my notebook. Baduy!


E-heads Reunion and Rakenrol

I SUPER envy those guys who watched the Eraserheads Reunion Concert in Taguig City this Saturday. I was watching the gig video from YOUTUBE and Inquirer VDO, with the crowds going gaga singing along with Ely and the rest of the band was both spectacular things to behold. This kind of event made me missed Manila and its music scene more. To most of the Filipinos who grew of with E-heads music the reunion concert is way bigger than Beijing Olympics or Democrats National Convention in the US. Opening the gig with the infamous psychedelic Alapaap, the band performed their songs that took the crowd back to the best of 90’s Pinoy alternative and rakenrol. I was only watching the video but I feel the energy and the excitement with these great four musicians reunited again doing their craft onstage live and made everybody happy hearing and living with them again.

Eventually the concert was cut short after Ely experienced chest problem and rushed to Makati Med. Well, let’s all hope for Ely’s recovery and good health. The historical event was documented here.

Talking of notes and scales, I was exchanging thoughts with Jo in YM about Manila music scene and "good" bands, sorry Cueshe, SpongeCola and 6Cyclemind not included, and send file me this music video from Camerawalls. Clem, after quitting with Orange and Lemons last year, still sounded like Morissey but this song from his new band is really good stuff the title “ Clinicaly Dead for 16 Hrs” is catchy that plays in your mind over and over again that makes it a super last song syndrome.