2015 Philippine Holidays

I wish my family could have a grand vacation next year! Knowing the best dates to plan the getaway would really help:

2015 Philippine Holidays

·         January 1, 2015, Thursday – New Year’s Day (Regular holiday)
·         January 2, 2015, Friday – Additional special non-working day (Special non-working day
·         February 19, 2015, Thursday – Chinese New Year (Special non-working day)
·         February 25, 2015, Wednesday – EDSA Revolution anniversary (Special holiday)
·         April 2, 2015, Thursday – Maundy Thursday (Regular holiday)
·         April 3, 2015, Friday – Good Friday (Regular holiday)
·         April 4, 2015, Saturday – Black Saturday (Special non-working day)
·         April 9, 2015, Thursday – Araw ng Kagitingan (Regular holiday)
·         May 1, 2015, Friday – Labor Day (Regular holiday)
·         June 12, 2015, Friday – Independence Day (Regular holiday)
·         August 21, 2015, Friday – Ninoy Aquino Day (Special non-working day)
·         August 31, 2015, last Monday of AugustNational Heroes Day (Regular holiday)
·         November 1, 2015, Sunday – All Saints Day (Special non-working day)
·         November 30, 2015, Monday – Bonifacio Day (Regular holiday)
·         December 24, 2015, Thursday – Additional special non-working day (Special non-working day)
·         December 25, 2015, Friday – Christmas Day (Regular holiday)
·         December 30, 2015, Wednesday – Rizal Day (Regular holiday)
·         December 31, 2015, Thursday – Last day of the year (Special non-working day)

Sharing My Wattpad Stories

I was checking my past emails one day when I chance upon a story that I started nine years ago. The opening line and the first few sentences got me hook. Unfortunately, I can’t remember how I wanted to finish my story so it feels like searching for a missing puzzle piece. I am now working on finishing this story and while at it, I discovered wattpad- a site where experienced and budding writers can share their talents.

It’s been too long since I last finished a creative piece and I hope to write a poem or short story again soon.  It’s ironic how working as a writer for a company where you have to take note of rules and guidelines somehow zapped up my creativity.
Anyway, while trying to figure out how to give that story an ending, I decided to post a story on Wattpad. 
 “A night full of stars makes me want to sing,” Clarisse dreamily declares to her companion who doesn’t seem to be listening. She is openly staring at the star-filled sky through his car’s open window; while Gabriel, her supposed best friend is busy utilizing the faint light of a small flashlight to somehow make out the words in the huge political science book. They are in the secluded area of a public park famous for stray lovers during the night.

“A stick, a stone, it’s the end of the road…” Clarisse starts to sing, swaying her head to the tune, seemingly enjoying herself. “It’s the rest of the stump, it’s a little alone…” she raises her voice obviously desperate to capture Gabriel’s attention.
Gabriel winces in fascination, scratch his head, and then look at her with bafflement, “What are you doing?”

“Singing!” Clarisse says in a matter of fact tone. “Waters of March, that’s my favorite song you know,” she enthusiastically informs. When he pathetically reacts to this by going back to reading, she adds, “I bet you didn’t know that and you’re supposed to be my best buddy,” she lightly laughs quite expecting him to do the same.

“Uh huh…” Gabriel says, preoccupied with some vague terms in law.
A long silence follows. Clarisse’s eyes are momentarily locked in the majestic display up high. When she speaks again, there is a quality of longing and sadness in her voice and her words are wrapped with meaning. “Like all the stars that are shining right now at this exact moment. We will never ever see them. Perhaps like all the things you don’t know about me,” she says slowly.
“What?” he asks disinterested but quite amused by his companion’s sudden outburst of sentiments.

“The shiny glitters at night actually twinkled millions of years ago.”
“Oh yeah,” he carelessly replies.

“All the stars that are shining right now, great beauty unknown to us and will only reach the eyes of our great, great grandchildren millions of years from now. I wonder if they’re any different from the starlight we see today. You see—“
“My! My! When will he arrive? What’s taking him so long?” he snaps, unable to contain his impatience any longer.
This interrupts Clarisse’s speech and attempts. The truth of his cold indifference hits her. She gazes at the book he is holding quite with envy, realizing she can never let him see.
For it might look like they are lovers out on a date. But they are just stranded on this place due to an unexpected car trouble. They are really on their way to a friend’s house for a group study and they have already contacted this friend for help; but they’ve been waiting for two hours. Gabriel’s irritation starts to surface because he can’t wait to study. He desperately needs a magnacumlaude title.
Luckily a few minutes passed and Arvin finally arrived. There is a playful smirk on his face that arouses one’s suspicion. His curious gaze went from Gabriel to Clarisse who in turn gave him a ‘don’t you even ask’ look…
This all took place ten years ago and now lay imbedded in Gabriel’s forgotten memory. After ten years, he can now boast of success, for he graduated summacumlaude and is now one of the finest lawyers in the country. This evening he is on his way to a conference-seminar on law to be held in a hotel.
Yet as he drives his car, his mind is into something else. He is thinking about Clarisse whom he hasn’t seen nor talks to in the last eight years. She left the country to work abroad. Much to his dismay, she had to leave a month before his wedding day. He was disappointed then, wanting her to be present on his special day. He remembers their last conversation as very formal; after that they lost touch and she glided out of his life.

But Arvin whom he sees and talks to regularly informed him that Clarisse is in town. Naturally, he is looking forward to seeing her again. He is thinking maybe he’ll visit her or call her as he parks his car. He is imagining lengthy conversations, like it used to be. A smile appears on his face, as he figures out what Clarisse would look like after eight long years. He is in the lobby of the hotel now, on his way to the gathering when---

Like an answered prayer, a familiar face greets his sight. Clarissse, a few distances away from him is getting out of an elevator. Surprise and excited, his face lights up and his spirit are lifted. Gabriel moves towards her, about to call her name when from behind Clarisse a gentleman emerge and smoothly takes her hands.

In awe, Gabriel stands in silence watching as they go. He wants to follow them, to still declare his presence to Clarisse. But there is that stunned look on his face now and he looks really hurt. Withdrawing his gaze away from them, he turned to proceed where he’s supposed to but he suddenly feels dizzy and scared. Something about what he just witnessed slashed a big slab of his stability. As he is about to push the elevator button, he finds out he cannot. He feels so heavy inside, like he will collapse any minute. Giving up to the pain, he dashes to the hotel exit in a hurry and into his car; barely aware of what he is doing or why--

And in that cool calm night keeps on driving. He drives way too fast not knowing where he’s headed, not a care; just this intense feeling that he has to escape, to vanish. He feels so torn and he can’t understand.

He must have gone far when feeling unbelievably weak; he suddenly halts the car to a stop in the middle of a dark road. He buries his face in his hands and a thousand questions yell in his mind. “What is happening to me?” he asks with alarm. He should be nothing but glad for Clarisse’s found happiness.

Yet something about this dig deep into the core of his heart and the emotions that burst so new and raw, he can lose his mind. Feeling trapped, he opens his car window for some air and for the first time realized where he is. He is in the same public park where he and Clarisse were stranded years ago. He firmly closes his eyes and like the rush of a million falling stars, the memory of that night rolls back into his thoughts. Strangely, so clear and complete…
In his mind, he sees and hears it all—the song, the conversations, the nervous laugh, the pauses, her desperation, his apathy, Arvin’s smirks, the silence and the tension that follows. He realized—that it was the night Clarisse had tried to break the high hard walls of their friendship. How in the most subtle and creative manner, she tried to open up to him, letting him into the deepest part of her, wanting him to see her in a new light.
He finally understands—that Clarisse had fallen in love with him and how he unknowingly tremendously broke her heart. And that he also feels the same way—unconsciously hidden all these years.

He opens his eyes and meets the wide dark sky adorned with stars. Recalling Clarisse’s sentiments about millions of starlight they will never get to witness; Gabriel’s tears starts to flow, remorse and regret colliding—for after all these years the light of his love for her finally reached his heart.
Still pain must end. For he has a son and a wife waiting and Clarisse has a life of her own. But for this lone night, he will cry and stare at the stars wallowing in despair—a silent cruel tribute for a love that would never be. 

Gone Girl Book Review Haunting and Creepy

I love reading and I have always been the type who gets engrossed and attached to the story and the characters. So much that I literally want to see them come to life or somehow meet them in the hallways. Many times, I would find myself rushing, reading as fast as I can because I can’t wait to know the ending. But then, when I am finally finished, I feel this weak sadness and sometimes longing that it is not yet the end, that there is something more.

The above perfectly describe what I felt when I read “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn.   
I downloaded the e-book because of the blockbuster status of the movie which I simply refuse to watch it until I read the book.

The mystery novel started with the perfect hook, then gets my emotion to go up then down then up again making Gone Girl one of the most exciting and haunting and books I have read.

It seems that the sympathy I feel for the characters shifts as I flip the pages (or as I click the pages since it is an e-book). The first half, I feel so sorry for Amy then on the second half I began to pity Nick. Then I  on whose side should I be because both have a reason to be  

The book got me intrigued and amazed because of how it depicts marriage and a little sad because it is true that marriage can indeed get that ugly, you know transform someone into monster-like character.

I actually shared the story to my husband who discouraged me from further reading it saying it put bad ideas in my head (lol). A comment I once read about the book in an online review site said that it is one of those movies that make you feel lucky you are single.

This book deals with marriage and the complex characteristics of an individual and how sometimes (maybe most of time) things are never really what it seems. It deals with secrets and a lot on gender sensitive issues such as the roles that men and women play in marriage and how there is a need to control and dominate. Creepy and depressing is another way to describe it because it can clearly happen in real life.

Finally, Gone Girl is a must-read and a must-see because it is not one of those stories where you can easily foretell the ending. It is a welcome change from the usual stories we read and see owadays with same storyline and same conflict and utter lack of creativity. Now I can’t wait to see the movie!

Grammar and Writing Lessons in Funny Songs

These videos got me laughing so hard and at the same time reminded me important grammar rules. The videos actually made me want to apply for a teaching job. Well, maybe someday. I just have to blog and share these videos because I am so happy to find something that are very educational and entertaining at the same time.

Word Crimes by Weird Alyankovic (The man is a genius, really!)

Grammar: Brief and Naughty 8 Parts of Speech

Free Movies Cine Europa 17 this September 2014 at Shang

Movie buffs like me who wish to catch international films for free should not miss the Cine Europa 17 that is happening from September 11-21, 2014 at Shangri-La Plaza’s Shang Cineplex at Edsa, Mandaluyong. 

Kindly check the image to view the movie schedule.

Based from experience, it is Free Admission but tickets are limited so one should be there at least an hour before the sched to get a movie pass to get ticket. They do not allow reservations or  give out tickets hours before the screening time.

This year’s Cine Europa will feature 23 brilliant films from 17 countries. The synopses of the movies to be featured in this film festival are provided below.

Die andere Heimat is an exquisitely-shot black and white film chronicling the life of a young man and his dream of immigrating to South America. A poor but knowledge-hungry son of a blacksmith, the young man is joined in the film by his family, friends, and neighbors and offers a closer look at the societal dynamics in rural Germany.

Loss is the theme of two films, starting with A Second Childhood (Italy) which shows how a couple deals when one of them is discovered to have memory loss.

Bon Voyage (The Netherlands), meanwhile, examines the impending sense of loss experienced by a family whose patriarch is diagnosed to be seriously ill.

A different kind of family is at the core of Vegas (Norway), as three friends who find common ground take refuge in their friendship as they go through their respective journeys. 

In Child’s Pose (Romania), an affluent woman uses her power to keep her son, who is charged with manslaughter, out of prison. 

A kid’s occasional small-time hustles from a ski resort take a dangerous turn in Sister (Switzerland), when the kid partners with a British crook in an effort to provide for himself and his unreliable older sister.

Sean Ellis’ Metro Manila (United Kingdom) returns to Filipino screens as it features the story of Oscar Ramirez and his family, who leave their impoverished but simple life in the rice field regions north of the Philippines in search of fortune in the cruel streets of the city. The official British entry to the 2014 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, Metro Manila stars Jake Ramirez, John Arcilla, and Althea Vega.

 Everybody Famous (Belgium), an amusing account of how a father devises a plan so his daughter, who lacks musical talent, can become the next big star. 

There is also Czech Republic’s Identity Card, which tells of the adventures of four students growing up in communist Czechoslovakia and how their creative and independent souls make them a counterpoint to their country’s totalitarian conventions.

Hungary’s Thorn Castle, about the friendship of two boys who bond over the beauty of nature as they learn how to camp, hunt, and live off the land in the countryside. 

Chinese Puzzle (France) offers a stark contrast as it takes place in New York where a man decides to move after his ex-wife brings their children there, following their divorce.

The film, which stars acclaimed French stars Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou, is the third film in director Cédric Klapisch’s Spanish Apartment trilogy.

Audiences will roar with laughter with Scialla! (Italy) when a melancholy professor discovers that the rebellious teenager he’s tutoring is actually his son. 

The Netherlands’ Mister Twister – Class of Fun, about a young substitute teacher’s unique teaching antics. His style earns him the affection of his students but will a rule-obsessed principal keep him from being the cool one?

The Godmother (Romania) takes off when an American mother and wife, who has a brilliant teaching career in Bucharest, finds herself in the middle of a real gangster story after her husband is found out to be laundering money for a local mobster. The heroine forms her own family mafia to fight off her family’s enemies and gets help from unusual characters along the way. 

In Ice Dragon (Sweden), an 11-year-old boy sets off on an adventure as he flees his alcoholic father and brother. A lovable tale that includes whales, fishing, friends, and first love, Ice Dragon was a well-received children’s film in its home country.

Also in the line-up is Denmark’s The Hunt, which is a stirring account of how one small lie changed a man’s life. The film was nominated in the 2014 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. 

Lóve (Slovakia) promises to be a gripping action drama, as it reveals the tale of a man who is keen on shedding his criminal past in order to live a normal life with the woman he loves.

A gathering of Spain’s most stellar male actors, A Gun in Each Hand is a musical film that shows eight confused and perplexed men in their forties who have to deal with identity crisis. 

Another Spanish film is the delightful animated feature The Missing Lynx, which follows a bunch of animals as they set off to save their fellows from being kidnapped and used in experiments.

Something sweet awaits film buffs in Two-Seater Rocket (Austria), which tells of Manuel’s great efforts to build best friend Mia’s childhood dream to win her heart.

 The work of the world’s best researchers, oceanographers, and biologists commences with Planet Ocean (Switzerland), which vividly transports viewers to the deepest, most wondrous parts of the Earth, all in a call to respect The Blue Planet in which we live.

For inquiries, call 370-2500 loc. 597. Visit the Shang’s Facebook page at Follow Shang on Instagram: @shangrilaplazaofficial.

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