The Collector: Movie Review

the-collector-movie-poster Its one thing to be totally scared of a home invasion movie, but its a whole other thing to have a composite of a psychotic torture movie with a regular B & E. Such was the case for The Collector, which my brother and I first watched when it came out in 2009. After my brother found out that there was a sequel in 2012 called The Collection, I decided to watch it again, and boy was I just as creeped out, if not more, six years later.

Arkin is a twice convicted felon for theft trying to turn over a new life and earning his keep as a construction worker. But the straight and narrow seems to evade him as his wife gets in a bind with some loan sharks who threaten their family. Against his conscience, Arkin breaks into the home of the rich family he is working for, thinking that they were leaving town for a vacation. Unfortunately for him, another predator has marked the home as well and he has a mean taste for torture.

When I first watched The Collector, I was totally scared. This is the type of horror that has enough blood and gore to rival the Saw movies. Each booby trap was well thought out and intricately done and because of the small space that was the house,  it seemed even more scary and dangerous to move around, adding to the suspense of the film.

As if the implied threat was not enough to scare the living daylights out of audiences, the film also employed several very macabre, and graphic torture scenes for good measure, leaving no doubt that The Collector is not someone who should be taken lightly. He is totally psychotic and the fact that he never showed his real face to the audience makes him a more menacing figure.

As for Arkin, I believe this film should have catapulted Josh Stewart to superstardom. Despite playing an antihero of sorts because he has flirted with the other side of the law, there is a certain vulnerability to the character and a certain morality that makes the audience root for him. First off, his soft spot for the little ones shows his humanity, and even while he was indeed trying to rob the family, he risked himself time and again to go back and save the Chases. His nobility was further exemplified by the fact that he was trying to protect the little girl Hannah, even willing to sacrifice himself just so the villain would not get his hands on the girl. And the amount of pain that he endured — even I was willing to give him a medal of valor.

All in all kudos to the entire team behind this low budget movie because they really were able to make the most of the $6 million budget allotted to them for this film. It was well executed from start to finish, and did not seem formulaic despite the fact that it borrowed some of the premise from other films. It was able to maintain a sense of mystery and drama despite the violence and craziness that was prevalent throughout the movie. It managed to retain a sense of humanity and make a hero out of an imperfect man and that’s what made it such a huge success in my book.

Feng Shui Essentials for 2015

(Photo by: Myra Abando)

(Photo by: Myra Abando)

Celebrating Chinese New Year has somewhat become part of Filipino tradition. So much so that Filipinos are even the first ones in the supermarkets buying round fruits to bring their homes good luck when this day arrives, even partaking of tikoy (glutinous rice) to promote unity among family members and friends.

The President has even declared the day a holiday owing to the number of the Filipino Chinese community in various parts of the country.

Filipinos have embraced Chinese customs and traditions for the Lunar New Year, and for good reason. Filipinos, like the Chinese share common values like love for family, religiosity and belief in starting the year right to inspire many happy returns.

This is why Pinoys are increasingly fascinated by feng shui, which translates to wind and water – the art of harmonizing one’s life with the elements to encourage positive things in life.

2015 is the year of the wooden goat. According to Feng Shui Master Joseph Chau Kam Shing, the year is filled with both positive and negative elements so it is helpful for believers to sport lucky charms to counteract the negative forces and channel them into positive energy.

In his book Feng Shui Essentials published by the Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp., Master Chau warns people who are born in the years of the goat, ox, rat and dog to be extra careful as they are offending the Tai Suey, or the star opposite Jupiter. While some difficulties await them, all hope is not lost as there are means to protect them from the negative elements.

Those born under the dragon (wood, gold), goat (metal), ox (water, earth) and dog (water) signs are also asked to refrain from going to funerals and burials this year.

According to Master Chau, the Master Protection Pendant should be worn by those who are born in the year of the rat, horse, rabbit, and ox and people whose surname are beginning in C, M, N, K, S and Y in order to counter the negative energy surrounding them this year. He says this is one of the best all round ways to remove bad luck, conflict and accidents.

For travelers, he advised the Safety Medallion to avoid road mishaps, and avoid evil spirits.

Females are in need of the Health Medallion this year because of the prevalence of the Serious Sickness Star in the Southeast. Master Chau advises women to carry the medallion in their wallets or put one in the Southeast area of their homes, bedrooms or offices.

Master Chau shares a variety of charms to enhance money luck this year. First, there is the Wealth Bucket, which symbolizes steady wealth and prosperity to the bearer. This item should be placed in one’s safety box, house or office to ensure stable income.

There is also the classic Jade Pei Yau, which is considered a money catcher. This animal is said to have a voracious appetite for money and encourages money to flow freely into the home.

For those having trouble collecting a debt, the Pay Back Collection Set may prove to be helpful. As part of the Financial Acquisition of Treasure (FAT) charm, this helps people collect on debts owed to them in the past.

The Trend Eight Antique Coins, on the other hand, should be placed inside one’s wallet, checkbook, passbook or record book by people having problems collecting on debts or stating out businesses.

For couples, the Brass Happy Couple encourages partners to have a faithful and harmonious relationship while theBrass Antique Pumpkin, which has carvings depicting long life, conjugal bliss, wealth and other positive relationship traits help couples have good luck and smooth sailing relationships.

The Jade Mandarin Ducks on Plate also depict harmonious relationships which usher in prosperity.

Career, Studies
The Jade Dragonhead Fish or pendant is one the most effective lucky charms for those who are starting out in their careers or needing help with their studies. A caveat is that the jade needs to be of good quality for it to be effective. ACicada charm on the other hand, helps children concentrate on their studies.

All the charms should be energized and blessed by a qualified person so that the positive chi within the ornaments will be activated. If not, the items will not serve its purpose and will only be decorative, Master Chau concludes.

This post was also published on cineramaetcetera’s partner bog Unli in the Philippines.

My not so successful attempt at my first movie marathon

IMG_0836[1]Laugh all you want but I got eliminated early at the Star Movies Scare-a-thon!

Yup, after all of the excitement (if you read this blog a week back, I was ecstatic to be picked by the electronic raffle), and the practice (I tried to condition myself not to react to scary movies, and not to drink too much water), I was actually one of those caught literally napping during the second movie by the marshalls. I actually don’t feel too bummed about it because the competition was tough. And I say that not to make excuses but to give credit to the competitors and the Star Movies/Fox Philippines staff who watch them like hawks.

READY FOR ACTION. These security personnel serve as marshalls for the event. These guys look really tough but they're really polite and nice. But they're experts at detecting violations. They've been doing detail at the Movie Marathon for five years already. (courtesy of Star Movies Philippines FB page)

READY FOR ACTION. These security personnel serve as marshalls for the event. These guys look really tough but they’re really polite and nice. But they’re experts at detecting violations. They’ve been doing detail at the Movie Marathon for five years already. (courtesy of Star Movies Philippines FB page)

I may not have won the the big prize (P150,000) but I had a great experience at the event. I was totally psyched to see my fellow competitors assembling early at the venue (SM Aura Samsung Hall) and feel the excitement of being part of such a fun event. It was really fun to be part of such a great crew. Everyone was excited, everyone was talking and sharing how they entered the raffle. There were some veterans in the lot, who got picked again after they joined last year or the year before and it was great to see them a) share tips about their experience or b) keep their strategies close to their chest. It was generally a great atmosphere from the first moment Star Movies opened its doors to start the registration.

EXCITED MUCH. Participants line up to get their official Movie Marathon jacket from Star World, which will be their uniform for the night. (Star Movies PH FB)

EXCITED MUCH. Participants line up to get their official Movie Marathon jacket from Star World, which will be their uniform for the night. (Star Movies PH FB)

The Star Movie Marathon, according to event organizers was made tougher this year because competitors were not only tasked to sit through countless movies but because the genre was horror, they were also not allowed to have any reaction to the movies on screen. As such, the following rules have been crafted:

  1. No standing
  2. No talking
  3. No yawning and no sleeping
  4. No screaming and no laughing
  5. No coughing or sneezing
  6. No excessive blinking
  7. No hand and arm movements
  8. No phone use, call or text (except for designated times)
  9. No accessories like hats, shades, blankets, etc.
  10. No public bowel movements (if you pee/poop on your seat, you are not just disqualified but you have to pay for the damages)
  11. No bathroom breaks except for those who win bathroom passes. Still, if one uses the pass, they must immediately consume 500 ml of ice cold water before returning to their seats all in five minutes
  12. Star Movies jacket must be worn at all times within the hall
  13. No additional food and beverage other than what is provided

Its true that at first, the rules seem harsh but come to think of it, the contestants are playing for P150,000 and its justifiable for the organizers to want the prize to go to the person who most deserves it. I, for one, totally support that idea, especially after experiencing how tough it is to be part of the contest.

SAMSUNG HALL AT SM AURA. Adding to the challenge are the narrow seats, that are better fit for events than a movie marathon. But the challenge is supposed to be tough so only the most deserving will survive. (Star Movies FB page)

SAMSUNG HALL AT SM AURA. Adding to the challenge are the narrow seats, that are better fit for events than a movie marathon. But the challenge is supposed to be tough so only the most deserving will survive. Still, the venue’s dome shape and kickass sound system was world class.(Star Movies FB page)

People think that joining a movie marathon, especially a contest like this one, is all fun and games. I too, at first thought that because I was a movie fanatic, (I blog about movies, duh) it would all be just a walk in the park. While I enjoyed by brief stint as a participant, I realized that there are a lot more things to consider aside from one’s enjoyment of the films being shown. Among these things are the physical environment — the level of comfort that one has in the venue. If its too cold, (The Samsung Hall’s dome shape and really cool air-conditioning didn’t help matters) one has the tendency to move and want to move around for warmth, or he could enjoy himself too much and simply nod off to fall asleep, which is what probably happened to me. Kindly consider that while The Exorcist and The Conjuring are both interesting and compelling horror movies, watching them at 2 am (the competition started at 12 am) without sleep is in itself a challenge, a challenge which I underestimated and paid for dearly. :D I actually felt myself close my eyes and drift off for a second before the marshall shined his flashlight on me and politely asked me to step out. Busted!

Of course, there are other aspects to consider like mental preparedness like how will you keep yourself from responding to the movies when they’re really intended to shock, or how to manage your nerves and the tension of competing. I guess what it all boils down to is understanding one’s limits, and overcoming the physical aspect (like the call of nature and the freezing cold) and marrying that with a sound strategy that I have not quite devised yet.

After I was eliminated, I joined the other eliminated contestants on the balcony, which organizers have set as a waiting area fore those who are waiting til morning before leaving the venue. This was a really great gesture on their part because it showed that they cared for the welfare of the participants, to ensure that they stayed safe until such time they can leave when it is more convenient to travel.

At the balcony, we were still able to watch the movies being shown and even peek at what was going on downstairs at the competition. I was eliminated at 4 am but I was still able to stay to finish another movie before I left and there were less and less people who remained. I’m happy to note though that my two seatmates were still in it at the time, but most of the people on my row were already out. I would have loved to stay and still be part of it because they were starting to show the really neat classic horrors (Nightmare on Elm Street) but that’s how the cookie crumbles and I was glad for those who still stuck it out. Plus, I really really wanted to just veg out and go to bed.

FRIENDS FOR LIFE. Did I mention that I made some new friends? She's one of them. :D

FRIENDS FOR LIFE. Did I mention that I made some new friends? She’s one of them. :D

At the end of the day, I didn’t win but at least I got to make some new friends, laugh at myself, re-watch a few good movies and get a souvenir jacket and a loot bag plus, most of all, I got to keep this awesome experience. If I enter and get picked again next year, I would be better prepared but if not, its still cool because at least I got to join this one, and not many people could say the same. As for the winner, while I have yet to find out who he/she is, I am totally happy for him/her. He/she totally deserves the kudos for being the badass who stayed through it all. And thanks also to Star Movies for giving me this opportunity. It was one of the most enjoyable and unique experiences of my life and I loved every second of it.


FINAL FEW. The last four contestants face off with true horror as the ghouls stare them straight in the eyes. (Star Movies PH FB)

This just in: There’s already a winner and coincidentally, his name is Star. Congrats dude!

LAST MAN STANDING. Finally, after hours and hours, Star was declared the winner of the Star Movies Scareathon Year 5. (Star Movies PH FB)

LAST MAN STANDING. Finally, after hours and hours, Star was declared the winner of the Star Movies Scareathon Year 5. (Star Movies PH FB)

V <3 V: A Life and Style Diary


Dress cute wherever you go. Life is too short to blend in.

Famous words from hotel heiress and fashion icon Paris Hilton that young fashionistas the world over took to heart. Sisters Vern and Verniece Enciso pushed the envelope further and started V <3 V, a lifestyle blog that seeks to guide their readers on how to be hip and trendy, all while maintaining a certain sophistication that seeks to showcase the wearer’s personal style and preference.

Two years after the blog became a hit on the internet, Summit Media has taken on the cudgels of bringing the Encisos’ unique style to the Filipina fashionista, printing a compilation of V <3 V’s best tips on a variety of lifestyle topics like fashion, travel, beauty, music and wellness into a life and lifestyle diary.

The book is compact and easy to read. It serves as a cheat sheet for Pinays who want to be fashionable but are cautious about committing fashion faux pas.

The layout is fun and chic, and Vern and Verniece’s take on what’s trendy and what’s not reads like refreshing suggestions to their readers. In presenting the same fashion pieces in multiple ways, they are able to provide options, giving their audience a peek at the possibilities for basic items of clothing and accessories.

Because the sisters, despite looking alike, have different interests and styles, they are able to relate to different types of readers.

The Enciso sisters made sure that most of the recommended items and accessories featured in the book can easily be bought from the mall. For Pinays on a budget, similar items can be acquired from the local tiangge, giving them the power to look their best given the limitations of their own budgets.

Of course, an entire section is devoted to make up and hairstyles for various occasions where the sisters provide step by step instructions on how to achieve certain looks to give readers that much needed boost of confidence when going to the mall, partying with friends and even going to a job interview. The best thing about these tips are the fact that they were acquired through years of trial and error so they are presented in a practical and understandable way.

The Encisos travel a lot and their book serves as a travel journal of sorts, filled with magnificent photos that encourages readers to pack up their bags and head out to their next destination.

Its ironic that these young girls would have a section entitled Life 101 in which they share thoughts about their journey so far, but despite their youth, the insight that these two sisters share with their readers would no doubt relate to anyone who has ever had their heart broken, their dreams dashed, or found inspiration in the little things.

V <3 V is a book that every young Filipina should have. It inspires confidence and gives budding fashionistas the tools that they need to be stars they were born to be. Girl power all the way.


First of all, I would like to give a shoutout to for nominating me for the Quintet of Radiance Award. Its my first time to be nominated and I’m really psyched to be part of it. So, I’m copying off the rules from (a big thank you by the way), and the rules are as follows.

blogger1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

2. Include a link to their blog

3. Select 15 bloggers you follow and want to pass the award onto.

4. Nominate the 15 bloggers and inform them of it.

5. Finally, list seven interesting facts about yourself.

So, that being said, here are the seven interesting facts about myself :

1. I am an animal lover and I would have wanted to be a vet but I’m afraid of real blood. (For horror movies, my motto has always been the gorier the better).

2. In relation to Item #1, I absolutely love tigers and if given an opportunity, would want to raise one as an exotic pet.

3. I love to go on adventures and am willing to try everything at least once, but I am also a believer of the concept of a calculated risk. Thus, I try as much as I can to ensure my safety before doing anything extreme.

4. I would like to study abroad (preferably on a scholarship because I can’t go on my own)

5. I love my mom above all others

6. I would love to get a job in development communication

7. My dream is to backpack Europe

So, now for the Quintet of Radiance. It is a total of four awards. They’re pretty self explanatory :D


In order to accept these awards, I need to describe myself using every letter in the alphabet. This is super tough so brace yourself.

A- Adventurous : I am always game to try out a new thing and see new places

B- Big hearted : I  have a soft heart when it comes to those in need.

C- Clumsy: Anything that requires balance or coordination? Count me out

D- Devoted: I am very loyal to my friends and family

E- Emphatic: I feel for others and understand pain and suffering

F- Fun: I always look at the positive side of things

G- Gregarious: I love to spend time with my friends and family.

H- Hilarious: I crack up my friends all the time. I must be funny.

I- Intuitive: I have a good grasp on stuff involving people.

J- Jolly: I like to smile a lot and be positive about things, even though things don’t always go as planned.

K- Kind: I try to show compassion where I can and try to be a good person most of the time.

L- Loving: When I give my heart, I give it completely.

M- Mischievous: I’ve been known to prank people once or twice. *wink wink

N- Nurturing: I like to share my experiences with others so that they may learn from it, whether its good or bad. I likewise like learning from other people’s journeys.

O-Ordinary: I’m a simple girl with simple tastes. I have big dreams though :D

P-Professional: I take a lot of pride in my work and my work ethics.

Q-Quirky: If you saw my list of quirks, you would agree.

R- Resourceful: I always try to make the best of any situation.

S- Strong: I would like to think that I am strong willed.

T- Temperamental: I have a mean temper, something I would like to curb and manage better in the future.

U-Underrated: I think that there is a lot to me that people don’t know yet, but they would be surprised, and pleased to discover.

V-Versatile: Life has taught me to go with the flow, and I have become quite flexible to different situations because of it.

W-Wide reader: I love to read. Nuff said.

X-Xenochial: I had to consult a dictionary to find a word that describes me using the letter X so I came out with this, which means hospitable

Y- Young at heart: No matter how old I get, I want to maintain a child-like enthusiasm for all things

Z-Zealous: I am a passionate person at heart for a number of causes.

Whew! As for my nominees, here they are:

So I hope you guys accept this nomination because you all totally deserve it. Ciao!

Teddy Bear Museum: A walk through history with the cute and the cuddly

Originally posted on cineramaetcetera:

When I originally booked my family’s trip to South Korea, I wanted to visit as many settings to Korean dramas as I could and one of them was the Teddy Bear Museum featured in one of my favorite Kdramas, Princess Hours. However, I knew that the Teddy Bear Museum was situated in Jeju and we only had time to look around Seoul so I was a bit defeated.

Luckily, I didn’t give up and researched a bit more, only to find out that there is a branch right in the middle of the city at the N Seoul Tower. And the great part is, the area is also covered by the Seoul City Bus Tour, which we used to travel the city’s various tourist spots in two of our four-day trip.

Getting there: Commuting is a bit tedious as the area is uphill since the tower offers an overlooking…

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