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MAMMA MIA! in Manila!

     From January 24 to February 19, 2012, the global entertainment phenomenon "Mamma Mia!" performed at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in Manila.  I was among the excited audience on their third performance and Gala night in the country which turned out to be quite a cool experience.

I was wearing all black that night with my South Park tie as an accent.

     Mamma Mia! is a stage musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson based on the classic songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band (info taken from Wikipedia).  Tagged as "the world's number 1 show," indeed since the first performance night in London on March 23, 1999 up to the present, each night of performance delivers its promise of unforgettable and fun night for the audience.

Dead Stars

     After a relaxing vacation, I'm back with the promised guest post written by my good friend Neriz Cruz Gabelo which features a photo from another good friend Elvert de la Cruz Bañares.  I introduced them both on the prelude to this post.  

Here's the full article:

DEAD STARS

     He was in his mid-life with a successful career and a very supportive long-time girlfriend by his side.  Everything was running on smoothly.  It would just be a matter of timing when he would finally leave his bachelorhood to tie the knot with his fiancée UNTIL he met another girl and their world was never the same again.  Does it sound like I am talking about your love story?  The man in the story was Alfredo Salazar, a serious lawyer, who skipped most of his youth to fulfill his aim of becoming a trial lawyer.  He was engaged to Esperanza until Julia Salas came into the picture and prompted Alfredo to make a crucial choice between what his duties call for him to do as a responsible boyfriend and what his heart really longs to have.  He eventually ended up marrying Esperanza but longed for Julia Salas all his life.  Talk about the song lyrics: “Are you gonna stay with the one who loves you or are you coming back to the one you love?”  But the story did not end there.
*Photo courtesy of Elvert de la Cruz Bañares.
     The story was a classic written by a prolific writer Paz Marquez-Benitez during the post-World War II.  She was one of the few Filipino writers who patterned her works under the tutelage of American writers who enforced their language on the learners at that time.  But what made her such a brilliant writer was her poignant depiction of a universal emotion that knows no age, gender, economic status, race and what-have-you:  THE LONGING FOR A LOVE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN.  The story is entitled, “Dead Stars.”

My BICOL VACATION

     This is an updated version of the old post:  I'm Going on VACATION!

     To my fellow bloggers, friends and supporters (ahurm -- clears throat) thank you guys for your continued support and patronage.  My two blogs  Show Me Your Look Today and The Pinoy Wanderer are nothing without YOU.  Even while I'm away on vacation from January 4 to January 18, some of you folks still kept my blogs alive.  I sincerely thank you, and please know that I am deeply grateful.

     I'm updating this post because tweet random, well, randomly tweets my old posts and it's kinda hard to explain to my twitter followers that I'm already back from my vacation specially with this post's old title.  Haha!

     As I've said on the previous version of this article, I took a two-week break from blogging to spend time with my family in the province.  My flight for Legazpi City was last January 4 at 6AM, and talking about that flight -- ehrrrr -- we missed it.  I knowww, right?  So then we had to take the next flight (which was two hours later) and naturally, spent extra bucks for our new set of tickets.  

At this point, none of us were aware that the last call for our flight
have been made several minutes ago.  Pffttt!

Rose Scented Rosary From The Vatican

     Life is something that's bigger than all of us -- and for me, it's important that we believe and hold on to something so that life can have meaning and direction.  Sometimes we call this faith, other times, the lack of it.

     Hey guys, what's up?  2011 was certainly a great year.  It was not a seamless ride but the bumps along the way were just proof that life, with all its contradictions, is a great life.  It's a journey which presents us with valuable lessons as we strive to find true love, peace, happiness, and as we struggle to give meaning to our existence.

     For the year that has just ended, I shall remember the days with a thankful heart.  I have received countless blessings, and though for most I feel that I am not worthy yet they were still given to me.  I am blessed with many things but most of all, I am blessed with my faith -- for with my faith, I feel that life has a purpose.

     Talking about faith, I am deeply grateful to my best friend tokzzz for sending me these gorgeous rose-scented rosaries from the Vatican which are blessed by the pope.  I got two of them -- one I will give to my mom, and another I will give to Mamats.  They are two of the most wonderful women that I have the privilege of knowing and loving.  I feel that they rightfully deserve to have these rosaries.  Tokzzz is one of my few friends who acknowledges that there is something bigger than all of us -- that there is a God.  Among his many traits that I admire most is his spirituality.  Thank you tokzzz for being a really good friend.

Rose-scented rosary from the Vatican, blessed by Pope Benedict XVI.
     And so, let's begin this year with strong and unfaltering faith.  But though we look forward to the days ahead, let's not forget to look back and learn the lessons of the past because from the past is where we get maturity and wisdom.  To the years before me, I say THANK YOU.  And to the years ahead, I say BRING IT ON!

     Have a prosperous 2012 everybody!
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