May 20, 2013

Why get inked?

Why get inked?
Just because.
Just because you want to.

You may regret it after a day, a week, a month, a year, or a decade, but leave that worry for the future. For now, it is enough that you trust yourself and your decisions. And in the event that you do change your mind in the future, know that you will be okay. After all, your past decisions alone does not define you.

Cheers to us - who are capable of making decisions that we know we may regret, but do carry on still! Cheers to us, the brave ones!

Cheshire cat by Joey Viar of Ouch Tattoo Rob Ermita | 2009

Carpe Diem by Gene Testa of Rob Galleria | Mandirigmang Siopao by Bored Arlet :D | 2011

White Ink by Totoy of Sin City Tattoo | 2012

Warrior by Elbert Batioco of Dherts Tattoo | 2013
Mountains by Grace (Batok Tattooing) | 2014

Earth by Elbert Batioco | 2017

During the Tattoo Sessions

See you around!

May 19, 2013

Hunter x Hunter movie could have been better.

I've been waiting for this movie for a long time so I anticipated it to be very good. Unfortunately, high expectations inevitably result in disappointment.

The movie didn't offer anything new at all when it comes to Gon and Killua's friendship. We go back again at Killua's internal dilemma which was almost the highlight of the movie. Rather than being a great story about friendship and adventure, the movie turned out to be a poorly executed film on cheesiness and shallow character development. Maybe the meager 1.5 hour screen time is one of the culprits for this.

courtesy of

On cinematography and soundtrack 2/5
One thing is for sure, it wasn't breathtaking or notable in any way. 

On the story and characters 2/5

At first I thought that the movie will center on Kurapica and the gang but it was more of Killua and the gang - which would totally be fine, had the story presented something fresh. Sadly, it didn't. 

Meanwhile, Retz and #4, the only new characters introduced, were not properly built up in the film. We see former Phantom Troupe member #4 as a caring brother with incredibly low EQ to misunderstood his little sister's feeling. We see Retz as a delayed hero without much character. As for the rest, they're nothing new. 

On certain scenes

1. Did Killua have to run (again) from himself/ Illumi? Haven't we seen this dilemma so many times before (Hunter exam, Greed island, Chimera Ant, etc) When will he truly resolve this? The part where he was implied to be crying while running away was absurd considering that his character is a top assassin. His devastation could have been portrayed differently and more gracefully. 

2. There is a post-credit scene so stick until the end. I can't make opinions on the post-credit because I didn't stick around to watch it, because I didn't know that there will be a post-credit :| lalala


I would not recommend the film to (1) people who are not familiar with Hunter x Hunter since they will have a hard time following the plot, and (2) die-hard fans of the story who do not want to get disappointed with the story's execution, but if you are die hard fans, then you'd rather get disappointed than ignorant of it, right? :D



Hunter x Hunter is my favorite anime series of all time! I even planned on getting a Hunter x Hunter inspired tattoo (silhouette of Gon fishing while sitting on the crescent moon - like that of Dreamworks production.) HAHAHA 

"So help me, Gon," became my motto during my challenging thesis days. HAHAHA

"Mr. Spock, not Spark." said the Trekker

How did you find the movie? said the Trekker.
I love it, Spark is my favorite character! I exclaimed
Mr. Spock, not Spark, retorted the Trekker 
I didn't plan on watching Star Trek, because I am not a fan. No, not a fan would be an understatement; I was absolutely clueless about its story, characters, etc. Hence, the above correction, and the following request to kindly inform me should you find any misinformed opinion on my part.

courtesy of

On cinematography 4.5/5

The very first thing I noticed about Star Trek was the vividly-produced graphics. The movie opened with such rich colors and effects, that I told myself, "Perfect, now I have something good to say about Star Trek (since I was not expecting to enjoy the movie)." This fascination of mine, however, did not sustain until the end of the film.

On story 3.5/5

I like the plot, because it didn't alienate me. Moreover, there were plenty of audio-visual content to guide non-fans in understanding the contexts of the film. After watching Star Trek Into Darkness, I got interested in watching its earlier versions. That's a good thing. 

Despite that, I felt that the themes presented in the movie are nothing new. 

On characters 4/5

I love Spock! HAHAHA even if I got his name wrong. His lines (though I don't remember) made me chuckle.

As for the others, they were not my cup of tea. Kirk reminds me of Thor, portrayed as a brash but caring leader. Khan is a typical villain with a reasonable backstory. Uhula was, well, a love interest for Spock - she didn't serve any purpose in the film but to force Spock to explain why he chooses not to feel. Scotty was conveniently around to help save the day, but his pep talk on Enterprise crews being explorers and not a military body delivered the point to me. Oh, Sulu! I like him a bit because he reminds me of power rangers and because Bones wouldn't want to piss him off, HAHAHA.

On being science-fiction 3/5

Is this really science fiction? Or was it based on science fiction? 

Sure, the events took place in some distant future, but there weren't any new possibilities (presented) due to science advancements. It didn't make me think about science at all. I hoped that the content writer deconstructed at least one science concept and then reconstructed it differently to hold the film together. But I guess, science doesn't sell that much to our crowd anymore. 

On certain scenes

1. Was Dr. Carol's half naked shot really necessary? I heard myself internally groaning at that part. 
2. The shots on the Enterprise reminds me of Vandread 2nd Stage :)
3. Seeing London in the future, with mostly skyscrapers, bothers me. I want a future with more trees and mountains than buildings. However, I agree that the future with less trees is more believable. 


Star Trek was a pleasant surprise. I'd recommend it to mostly everyone! -except to people who gets bored with action films. 

BTW why was it entitled Star Trek Into Darkness?

May 11, 2013

Taiwander: My first is in Taiwan =)

But that's the glory of foreign travel, as far as I am concerned. I don't want to know what people are talking about. I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can't read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can't even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses. 
Bill Bryson, Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe

Right now, I have made myself believe that one of my purposes in life is to understand the world and its people through travelling without prejudice. Easier said than done when you still value society's advice to save first for your future. Perhaps, the only way to do it is (1) book that flight (and worry about the finances later - follow at your own risk, HAHAHA), and (2) be mindful of your thoughts about others. 

Pre-departure: VISA application

Prior to this trip, I am guilty of having prejudices against Chinese due to the hassles I've gone through in getting a visa to Taiwan. I found all the TECO representatives to be rude and disrespectful, but after thinking about it carefully I've accepted that they were very efficient in doing their jobs. And sometimes, one cannot be efficient and nice at the same time. 

Departure: Immigration interview

Often, anticipation is worse than the actual situation. This is my first travel abroad, and I'm alone. You could imagine how uneasy I was feeling. During the immigration interview, I was asked if I was excited, I told her that I was scared. She jokingly asked me if I would rather not go and she would just deny my visa. Eeeep.

Arrival: Taipei and around

It is very easy to go around in Taipei - that's saying a lot coming from someone who lacks average navigation skills. I didn't get lost in Taipei (Holla! I always get lost in Manila.) HAHAHA. 

Maokong Mountain

Riding a gondola to get to Maokong Mountain

Taipei Exhibit

Art Revolution Taipei Exhibit: Fascinating night sky

Art Revolution Taipei Exhibit: We all have the same goal

Taipei 101

View from 89th floor of Taipei 101

Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf/ Lover's bridge

kainis, puro lovers nga. HAHAHA

Shilin Night Market

So many people, and food, and things to buy (but not for a cheap price)

The people are disciplined, healthy-looking, and fashionable! I have nothing but praise for the country.

National Taiwan University

The only photo I got in Taiwan. HAHAHAHA 

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

The exhibit inside is also worth a visit 

Doesn't Chiang Kai Shek always smile in his photos?
Pogi pose

Longshan Temple

It was a Sunday when I visited Longshan. People were praying and having some offerings. As I walk inside, I can hear their chants more. And it was getting louder, people were standing up and some women were crying. I was struck with awe. I don't know what it's called, but I felt something. After witnessing their chants, I went out immediately because I felt like a nuisance in whatever they were doing. I felt like I was not giving them privacy of sort - but that's just me
Longshan from the outside

People chanting
People offering food

Huaxi Night Market / Guangzhou Night Market

Huaxi street is like Divisoria. It is where you see people wearing normal clothes, you see beggars on the streets, sidewalk vendors, etc. It is a place where you feel that pickpockets are nearby. It kind of awakened the alert being in me. I didn't stay long in this place, but I'm happy and thankful that I saw this part of Taiwan. I didn't want to form a one-sided opinion about the country. 

Before going back

My early days passed by so smoothly that I became too relaxed and fell asleep on my way to the airport. The driver got frustrated because I can't speak Mandarin so he gestured that I get off the bus. As a result, I got lost in a nearby province in Taiwan. Good thing, I spotted some OFWs who were nice enough to help me. One OFW even gave me her cheeseburger when she found out that I haven't eaten yet T.T

Dan (from Wisconsin) who was with me in the bus to the airport also helped me communicate with the driver. We talked about each other until my boarding time. He works at the Grand Canyon (National Park Service?) as ... actually....I didn't understand his work HAHAHA but he seemed very happy with it. He's an optimistic fellow.

I have observed that you will definitely meet inspiring and like-minded people when you travel. Just thinking about it makes me giddy, yay!



My first out of country destination is in Taiwan, and you know what I say about first? It always gets followed by a second (and a third, a fourth, a fifth...)


As dumb as it sounds, I wanted to go outside the country to see if the colors are really different. HAHAHA I was curious to see if the photos posted by my foreign friends are indicative of the colors of the environment they are in. In the end, it was just a filter effect; the colors are more or less, the same. HAHAHAHA  

The texts I got from Taiwan

I have a sim card which I don’t really use, but I check it every now and then just to read old and new messages. Last week, I checked it and saw that I received some international texts from Taiwan. Here goes: 


1. It's 1 am and I just landed at the airport. I'm nervous.
2. Everything is written in Chinese. Chinese characters scare me.

3. The cab driver didn't give me enough change, but he was smiling and all so I didn't bother. After all, I'm too overwhelmed by the fact that I'm alone in a foreign land to argue over $2.


1. Too bad, no one is here with me to take my photos. 

2. Wow, people are much disciplined in lining up - the left side of the escalator is for overtaking only. People who wish to just ride and stop in the escalator must stay on the right side and not occupy the whole space

3. I'm now in a Gondola station. It is very noisy - Chinese noisy. HAHAHAHA I'm excited and scared.

4. Taiwan is highly modernistic with their tall buildings and praiseworthy landmarks yet the place maintains its trees and mountains, an urban forest in my standards.

5. MRT, buses, and roads have distinct spaces for the elderly, pregnant, and disabled people. It's amazing how people on wheelchairs stroll the city without any companion or help. It just goes to show how easy and safe it is to go around the city.

6. It's almost my departure time and I'm not in the airport yet; I fell asleep on the bus and got passed my destination. I'm lost in a province where it's difficult to find someone who understands English...

It is very scary when no one understands you. 


Compared to the Philippines, Taiwan, the country, is more tourist-friendly: there are english maps everywhere and the transportation system is such a breeze to follow. Moreover, Taiwanese people are generally helpful - just not as cheerful, approachable, and English-savvy as Filipinos. That said, Filipinos (the inhabitants of the Philippines) are more tourist-friendly than Taiwanese. 

After all has been said and done, I still love the Philippines dearly, but Taiwan is a country that we could learn from.



Did I mention that I was in Taiwan last weekend? HAHAHA I have a crazy habit of texting my old sim card about my feelings and insights everyday. Unfortunately, I forgot that international texts is enabled in my postpaid line. Why, hello 15php per text!