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The Fault in Our Stars [TRAILER]

Need I say more?

Okay? Okay.

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Set the World on Fire – Live in MANILA 2013

akHow do I even begin?

It was the BEST show I have ever watched! Worth all the penny! Alicia Keys, the multi-awarded Grammy winner and an awesome singer-songwriter has totally set Manila on fire. It was a night to remember, one of the best nights of my entire life!

Gotta be honest, I didn’t come without apprehensions. I am a big fan. Bought the ticket as soon as it’s available but I was quite worried she won’t deliver her best seeing some of her strained live performances on YouTube. But I am so glad she proved me wrong. She gave her all, poured her heart and soul in the hour-and-a-half, almost-non-stop-singing show! Her energy is vibrating, her spirit is uplifting us all.

She started the show with her signature line for the Empire State of Mind. Then she jumped to the upbeat Karma. This is her usual opening song and I’m never tired of listening to this!

She went back and forth to old and new songs. Highlights are Tears Always Win, Like You’ll Never See ME Again, A Woman’s Worth, Fallin’, Listen To Your Heart and the mash-up between Limitedless and Murder She Wrote. The level of musicality in all these performances is off the charts! Her two back-up singers brought the house down as they performed for an intermission a cover of You’re All I Need to Get By.

My phone was acting up that’s why the video started in the middle of the first stanza.

I remember the voice rehearsals video I have watched a few months back in her preparation to the tour. This is the song she’s learning to sing properly. Just shows that even the best should not stop learning.

One of my all-time favorite songs! No words can describe how I felt watching her sing this live!

This song is from her Unplugged album. Have my original DVD copy of the intimate concert she had at New York. The lyrics may sound cheesy but it’s a perfect choice if you wanna sing-along.

The second half of the concert is definitely heart-warming, soulful and touching. Brand New Me was sung perfectly! Alicia Keys told her story of how excited she was to come back to the Philippines. And how it even became purposeful after the devastating super typhoon Haiyan.

I was shaking when she dedicated her most popular song, If I Ain’t Got You to our fellow Filipinos who suffered from the disaster. I think I was shaking when she started singing and I was in total awe when the Asia’s Songbird, Regine Velasquez stepped into the stage.

It was my first time to see Regine perform live. She’s amazing. She did her thing without overpowering Alicia Keys. And I loved the adlib where she thanked Alicia. So sweet! Then Alicia sang back at her and the whole country. What an incredible moment!

I applaud Alicia Keys for being such a humble person. If I Ain’t Got You is her signature song and I think it’s her most popular one. Other global superstars would want to own that and not share it with the other singers unless of course if it’s a tribute to them or something. But she did share it with one of our own singers. All for her love to us, Filipinos. This, for me, signifies how she extends her helping for those who are in need, how she willingly share what she has to fully connect to the people she’s with. I was teary-eyed and there I was thinking that it was the most special part of the show.

Next song was her number one hit, No One. All cellphones are up in the sky to light the whole arena. It was magical! It feels good to be part of something that cool! What made it more special is the chant-like group singing of the crowd as Alicia belts out the chorus.

Still paying tribute to the Haiyan victims, No One was mashed up with BEP’s Where is the Love. Crowd went nuts when Alicia Keys introduced another Filipino international artist, Apl de Ap ( I just realized I know the words to his rap in the song). Everyone was on their feet. And that is THE pivotal moment of the show. The crowd’s energy is so overwhelming I feel like the show won’t end anytime soon.

But it did. Just like everything else. Few more songs were performed — New Day, Girl on Fire and of course, Empire State of Mind where Alicia Keys changed New York to Manila in the last chorus.

I’m still bummed I wasn’t able to take videos of them because my phone was acting up! I am short of memory that I had to erase all songs and most apps (thank God, there’s iCloud!)

I am happy as I leave the arena. Though I know this would subside and I cannot help but  feel the post-concert depression. She ended the show with a note through this video. I was hoping she would sing 101, but at least I got this last part 🙂

CAUGHT ON FIRE!

Book 2 of any trilogy is crucial. It’s both the sequel and the penultimate part of the saga. Its main goal is to deepen the story and introduce more secondary characters to widen the world we’ve been crazy about on Book 1. But sometimes, diving on to the back stories and supplying more conflict can either be boring or overwhelming.

hunger-games-catching-fire-poster-banner-1

Catching Fire, second installment from The Hunger Games trilogy is neither. It’s just right for my dystopian palate. After reading the book twice, I finally got a chance to see the much-awaited movie today and it was really awesome! The action, the drama and the twists are a notch higher than the first one but not over-the-top. You will cry, shout, chuckle and even get all jittery as Katniss and Peeta sojourns through all the districts for their Victory Tour ending with the re-entrance to the arena for the 75th Hunger Games/ 3rd Quarter Quell.

As an avid fan of the book, I am generally happy with the adaptation. Of course, there are scenes omitted (but for a good reason — preparation for Mockingjay) and the ones retained are closest to the original text in the book! I was even quietly going through some lines myself while in the movie house as they say some familiar lines (ie. Haymitch’s “stay alive” advise to Katniss at the eve of the Games). I am also amazed with how accurate most of the new characters are with the book’s description. I find the actors who played Mags, Johanna, Wiress, Plutarch and Thread perfect for their roles! I am not a big fan of Sam Claflin playing as Finnick. He’s fine in the movie though but I’d like to see somebody else playing his role.

I am at the edge of my seat in the duration of the film. Even during the quietest moments of it, I can feel the tension of what’s going around. There’s so much more to tell and I am happy and satisfied by how much of it was told in the 2 plus hours of the film.

Best movie I have seen this year!

Here’s the trailer:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I honestly did not know why I was so eager to buy this book! I was in Greenbelt last weekend and my friends and I visited Power Books. It caught my eye since the cover’s really attractive. But that’s not what really got my attention. It’s the title. I swore to my friends I have encountered The Perks of Being a Wallflower before, I just can’t remember where, when and how. To cut the story short, I bought the book clueless of what it’s offering.

But I didn’t start reading it until I was lying in the bed the next night, almost calling it a day before waking up to a working day. At first, I thought, “Nothing extraordinary. Just another teeny-bopper novel.” But seriously, stopping from reading it almost pained me! It’s everything but ordinary! It tackled issues of family, sex, relationship. I brought this in the office and I read some parts during my downtime. And, three days later, I’m done!:)

First, I like the Chbosky’s writing style. I was curious about who Charlie was writing to but in the end during the course of reading. How he did not spoon feed us, readers is quite clever. Who do you think he was writing to?🙂 Towards the end, I felt he was writing to me. I think that’s what Chbosky wanted us readers to realize. Also, I love how personal it was. Reading from the Charlie’s perspective isn’t too over the top. I felt his sadness whenever he writes about Aunt Helen and Michael. I was moved with how important family is to him. But most of all, I can’t help but smile whenever he shares his moments with Sam, Patrick and the rest of his friends.

Somehow I can relate to him being a wallflower myself. But I’m not always like one. Of course, when I’m comfortable with the lot I’m with, I can be as crazy as Sam and Patrick. But there are moments, like during first day in school and work, when surrounded by strangers, I am like Charlie and just occupy a tiny space.

“You see things. You keep quiet about them. You understand.”

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

These are but two of the great words this book has to offer. Believe me, it has a lot. My personal favorite would be the poem Charlie read for Patrick. At first, I didn’t like it but, towards the end, I got chills. I needed to stop reading for quite a while. But, the very last thing I would forget about this book is the part in which he wrote about a book he has read, The Fountainhead. The protagonist was told by his best friend that he is a cold man. I was so moved by the main character’s reply contextualizing a boat sinking. He said, “I would die for you. But I won’t live for you.” I did not stop myself from smiling though I was alone. It’s very simple yet the impact is overwhelming.

This book showed both sides of being a wallflower. They are, or should I say we, remember the littlest of detail when it comes to somebody we like. Simple words matter and usually meant more than it’s construction. However, you cannot expect a wallflower to make the first move. Coz if they do, they won’t be wallflowers anymore. They usually put the interest of the other party before theirs which sometimes is not really helpful.

Go on, read this book and see what life is in the eyes of someone who rarely converse but understands what others usually take for granted.

When I arrived home Sunday morning, I immediately Google-d this book. Voila! I knew it! Here’s the reason why I was so into buying it.

It starred familiar faces! Of course, Logan Lerman who portrayed Percy Jackson is now Charlie, Emma Watson’s coming out movie (from the Harry Potter franchise) as Sam. And this movie got more interesting with Nina Dobrev (Vampire Diaries’s Elena Gilbert/Katherine Pierce) as Charlie’s sister Candace and Kate Walsh (Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice’s Dr. Addison Montgomery) as Charlie’s mum.

Jasmine van den Bogaerde

… most popularly known as Birdy, gave me chills because of her voice! She’s only 16 years old and a product of a singing competition in UK. Her voice resembles that of Leona Lewis’s but hers is way, way better. Skinny Love and Shelter are two covers featured in the soundtrack of The Vampire Diaries. I did not notice it in the series until my sister downloaded the tracks. You gotta listen to her! She’s a bit creepy, I think but really, really, really good. 🙂