the defining scene of game of thrones Season 4 (for me)

[Note : Sorry if I couldn’t find a clip without Spanish subtitles, thanks to NShine11 for allowing me to use the YouTube clip here, I don’t own the copyright. Mabuhay to all fans of Game of Thrones, Pinoy and otherwise!]

BELIEVE it or not, I was a Game of Thrones fan before I saw the HBO series.  I picked up Book 1 (Game of Thrones : Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire) in a garage sale, consulted my book club expert son Bunso, and hands down, he said Read it!  Read it like it’s the last book you read!   So I did.  The books alone were luscious.

But like everyone else, after watching Season 1 of the TV adaptation on DVD, I’ve been won over by the astounding storytelling, the devotion to storycraft (is there such a word?), the wondrous weaving of different story arcs into a seamless narrative, blah blah blah.

No matter how good the other factors are, like the extraordinary acting, the SFX that do justice to the fantasy engineering, and the excellent location shooting, it’s the tale that draws you addictively (another dubious word!).

And yet, because I can’t afford cable (and even if I could you can’t get GoT on basic cable in New Zealand), I couldn’t catch Season 4 of my favorite show until the DVD came out or I was more resourceful (if you know what I mean 😉 ).  And because I couldn’t wait for the DVD, you know what I did.

Season 4 has many awesome, epic scenes.  The wildlings’ siege on The Wall, the trial by combat between Prince Oberon Martell and Gregor “The Mountain” Clegan, and so many others.

But for me, with its momentous buildup, the character development, and not the least the awesome acting, the defining scene of Season 4 is the final confrontation between Tyrion and Tywin Lannister.

Both characters are among the strongest in the ensemble cast.  But each took an awesome character like Peter Dinklage and Charles Dance to do justice.  But they acquitted themselves, and the scene was terribly satisfying.

The scene involves some heavy taboos : catching your dad doing the nasty (or right after, with some glaring evidence), catching said dad doing the nasty with your loved one, and then killing your dad (not to mention your loved one).  Heavy stuff huh?

Hope I didn’t spoil it for anyone, even at this late hour.  Enough words, let’s watch that scene again!


gifts i don’t deserve but love anyway

Thanks brother for this, now I have no excuse not to run a half-marathon!

Thanks brother for this, now I have no excuse not to run a half-marathon!

[Paunawa : So heartwarming to know that we’ve struck a chord with so many people, Pinoy wives and otherwise, with a previous blog.  Please allow me to thank kabayan in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill and everyone else in both the North and South Islands of our beloved adopted home, as well as kabayan back home, who’ve clicked their way to an all-time high for us in one-day visit totals! Mabuhay kayong lahat, and you’ve given me a lot more inspiration on blogging about Pinoy living in NZ!]

IT’S no big secret.  Because I’m such a crappy gift giver, I hardly expect gifts anymore.    Laziness and the luck of a budget force me to give gift vouchers, the occasional banknote or worse, a christmas card, when I know people deserve better.  But because the people I love and who I love back haven’t given up on me despite my shortcomings gift-wise, especially during the holidays, I have to show my gratitude somehow.

This holidays have been particularly awkward for me as I have practically received a windfall from both here, Auckland and back home in the Philippines.  Loved ones have taken the time not only to set aside hard-earned coin but also the effort to select what they considered (correctly) presents I would enjoy and cherish.  Here are a few of them, in no particular order :

New Balance Minimus Trail MT10 (pictured above).  Fourth Brother and his family upstairs in Auckland have somehow got it in their heads that I’m headed towards running my first half-marathon at age 50, and bless their souls, they’re halfway right.  I’ve done the hard yards, and I’ve nearly convinced myself to run the Round The Bays, especially since son Bunso has agreed to backstop me and pace me throughout the 21 km.  Beforehand, I  read that this particular pair of shoes is not typically a marathon shoe, but is great for midheel support, particularly if you’re running on cinderpaths or off road trails.  Now I can find out how good the model is, because Fourth Brother has sent the pair to me as a Christmas gift, what a surprise!  Thanks so much kapatid, even more since I know the pair costs a pretty penny.  I’m grateful.

A breathtakingly simple way to explain the meaning of life.  I don't know how I survived without it.  Thanks Bunso! :)

A breathtakingly simple way to explain the meaning of life. I don’t know how I survived without it. Thanks Bunso! 🙂

I Think, Therefore I Am.  After biographies, thrillers and Stephen King-ish genres, I’m beginning to read up on philosophy books.  Again, son Bunso, with whom I share a love for reading, has apparently read my mind and given me an interesting book, entitled  I Think, Therefore I Am, along with a lovely pair of socks.  How could you not love Bunso, with such thoughtful gifts?

books are friends, and I'm gonna buy a new friend, thanks to Ganda and her boyfriend.  Thanks guys!

books are friends, and I’m gonna buy a new friend, thanks to Ganda and her boyfriend. Thanks guys!

Whitcoulls voucher.  Whitcoulls is like the National Book Store of New Zealand.  It’s the largest chain, with branches in all the major cities.  Daughter Ganda and her boyfriend have long known my love for books and reading, and instead of buying me a book that I may have read, they have thoughtfully given me a gift voucher worth roughly the price of a paperback novel.  Awwww, thanks loads and love you Ganda and boyfriend!

Mahal's new gift.  Now all it needs is a willing rider.  Who, me? ;)

Mahal’s new gift. Now all it needs is a willing rider. Who, me? 😉

Avanti Giro 1.  I cycle to work partly out of my fitness regimen and partly due to my not having a driver’s license yet, I know I know it’s kinda embarrassing, but it’s really not that far between work and home, and I’m gonna take the restricted exam soon.  In the meantime, wife Mahal has given me a flashy new bike, supposed to make me ride like the wind and therefore get to work earlier.  It’s not something that makes me go head over heels, but it’s definitely an improvement over the China-made bike I’m using now (no offense to Chinese bikemakers), and no grannies are gonna overtake me now.

Like I said before, I’m such an awful gift-giver that just giving me gifts should make me happy.  And I am happy with the gifts I have, just that I’m so guilty about getting them.  Because I’m gonna enjoy them.

Thanks Brother, Bunso, Ganda (and boyfriend), and Mahal, and thanks for reading!

PS.  From the Philippines (and thanks to Fourth Brother, who kindly brought them), we’ve received gifts from Eldest Brother, and as soon as I can, I’ll update you.  🙂



why pinays are popular as second wives in NZ (& elsewhere?)

Love is lovelier the second time around.  Thanks and acknowledgment to Hazel and Mark F, a lovely Pinay-Kiwi couple in Wellington!

Love is lovelier the second time around. Thanks and acknowledgment to Hazel and Mark F, a lovely Pinay-Kiwi couple in Wellington! And just to make sure, Hazel isn’t the 2nd wife of Mark, she’s the first! 🙂 Their pic just happens to be the most photogenic of a Pinay-Kiwi couple I found. Sorry for the initial confusion!

[Paalala po : As long as we can kindly remember that blogs are just opinions and just me thinking out loud, then I hope no offense will be taken with this or any of your humble blogger’s blogs.  Mabuhay! ]

OF course it’s not the general rule here in Kiwiland, but just looking around you will tell you that more often than not, the Pinay wife of a New Zealander is usually the second wife, or the wife taken when a New Zealander remarries.

Notice that I don’t refer to other Asian wives (this is obvious but I’m just making sure), especially because I’m not sure how Chinese, Indian, Thai, or any other Asian wives are perceived and/or appreciated by Kiwis.  I’m also not referring to Pinays meeting and marrying New Zealand citizens who happen to be ethnic Pinoys.  No matter what the nationality and the passport, Pinoys and Pinays go together hand-in-glove (or green mango & bagoong) as we share the kind of upbringing, culture, even religion and cuisine.  Language and accent are just minor adjustments that can easily be made with time.

Nope, I refer to Kiwis marrying Pinays period.  Through an introduction at a party, via the internet, it doesn’t matter.  It goes without saying that there are also Kiwi-Pinay marriages where it’s the first time around for both, or where the Pinay is the first wife.  But this type I observe is in the minority.

But just off the top of the head, in Wellington alone, I can think of a dozen Pinays in a relationship where the New Zealander husband has remarried.  These are the reasons.

New Zealander goes out of his way to look for love the second time around. Let’s face it.  If love was a tennis match, the service game has to begin with the lalake (guy). If he doesn’t make the first move, get out of his comfort zone or convince himself that things won’t happen unless he makes things happen, he won’t achieve his goal, which is to find a life partner.  Now, first-time lovers who are usually in the prime of their youth think things will just fall into place, that they will get the pretty girl on looks and smooth moves alone.

Not so with the second-timers, the ones who’ve been there, done that.  They know they have to be more discerning, to find the keepers, the serious ones, the ones worth pursuing.  Fun is still fun, I’m not mincing words just to be diplomatic, but fun is no longer the prime objective.  Getting through life with someone you love is.  Besides, when you’re no longer as young as you used to be, you have to look harder, work harder to be presentable, and search further to make your Easter egg hunt worthwhile.  Thank God for filipinocupid, cherryblossom, and all those other helpful sites! I can almost hear them saying.

New Zealander is more mature this time around.  No more all-night benders with the boys.  No more lost weekends where what happens in Auckland, stays in Auckland.  And no more episodes of casual sex, where everything in a date is casual, most of all the sex part.  What Kiwi Guy just wants now is a proper woman to be yin to his yang, to be the nut to his bolt, and to be his partner in life, love and everything in between.  He realizes that all the mistakes in his first relationship were there for a purpose, for him to learn from and NOT to repeat in hopefully another relationship (given a chance), and hopefully with a Pinay (given a chance).  Too bad for the lady in the first relationship, and as long as he’s sincere, great for the Pinay in the second.  Because most Pinays look for mature, responsible men who, no matter what their past is, are interested in taking care of their wives dutifully and raising families responsibly.  Not as exciting as the younger versions of these same Kiwis but definitely more reliable.  And that’s why, on their second tour of duty, odds are that a Kiwi ends up with a Pinay.

Pinay has more realistic expectations.  And what’s the converse, or other side of the discussion in the previous paragraph?  Almost invariably, Pinays in the market for a husband look for stable partnerships, the ones that will stand the test of time.  They know that this is quite difficult to find in this day and age, but the prize is worth looking for.

Pinays are tired of the uncertainty of living, and while marrying a Kiwi is not without its mystery, the promise of living in New Zealand removes a lot of doubt and worry.  Especially when the Kiwi has a good job, promises to help the rest of Pinay’s family, and has a proven track record as a good dad (Remember, there are usually fruits of the first relationship).

In short, Pinays are attracted to good looks, physique, a sense of humor and overall charm, just like everyone else, but some things are more important to them, and that’s the security of family and a (primary) provider.  And to have both, you have to marry the right guy.  Curiously, that’s what a lot of Kiwi blokes are looking for too.  So it’s a win-win.

Those are the reasons , in my mind, why Pinays are more often chosen by Kiwis in their second, or even third relationships.  I could be dead wrong, and I welcome any opinion to the contrary.  Thanks for reading!




confronting change big-time this 1st weekend of the year

taking time off after a year of hard work and study.  Me, Ganda (standing), Mahal and Bunso.  Panganay was unfortunately at another engagement but was there to celebrate with us in spirit.  Happy 2015 to all!

taking time off after a year of hard work and study. Me, Ganda (standing), Mahal and Bunso. Panganay was unfortunately at another engagement but was there to celebrate with us in spirit. Happy 2015 to all!

OF all the quotable quotes that I remember from high school, one of the cheesiest, certainly among the top five, was an ironic Change is the only constant in life.  Or something like that.  Many years later, I find out that this is not entirely true.

If you’re a totalitarian despot with little regard for life and freedom, you can keep your country as it was in the 1960s, which was when your granddad, the original despot, was still alive and in power.  If you’ve got oodles and oodles of petrodollars, you can keep your kingdom as it was in the medieval age, when torture and absolutism were as commonplace as air and water.  If you’re a gazillionaire recluse, never needing to work another day of your life, you can live in your own little bubble-world where long is short, high is low, black is white, or whatever else you see fit.  The only constant in life, in absolute terms, is death and probably taxes.

Pardon me for being a little introspective on only the second day of the year, or perhaps because it’s the second day of the year.  Notwithstanding the alarming number of accidents and natural disasters that have been happening very recently, the end (and start) of the year always serves as a chance for renewal and rejuvenation, an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, set new targets, and get rid of destructive habits.  Having led a less-than-ideal life, I choose the start of 2015 to do all three.

But I won’t get into the gory details and bore you to tears.  I have the usual assortment of bad habits, underachievement and stupid mistakes of youth that I want to eliminate and make up for, mitigate and consign to the dustbin of history.  The challenge is to do all these things without being caught up in the complications of creeping middle age that Your Loyal Kabayan like myself is inevitably caught up with.

Instead, I’d like to divide 2015 into what I think will be the biggest challenges that will define the rest of my life, and of course that of Mahal, who stands by me, hopefully for better or worse.

Job.  I can’t complain about much in my job, it’s a great gig, the pay often leaves me with still a few coins jingling in my pocket, and the workmates aren’t bad.  But this 2014 I’ve stayed on a plateau of comfort and complacency that’s allowed other people to advance ahead of me.  To keep up, I need to upskill and prove myself ready for more responsibility.  This year is crucial for me.

Migration status.  Without getting into the nitty-gritty, I’ve told you a few times before that I haven’t fully sorted my migrant status in my adopted country.  I can’t stay a guest worker forever, especially in light of frequently changing migrant policy in New Zealand.  Mahal and I have received an assist from someone  who’s in a unique position to help us (I won’t jinx it by identifying the person), but the road ahead is long and winding.

Family.  I don’t know if I told you that this is my second time on the merry-go-round, and one of the things I’ve committed to is starting a family despite my advanced age.  Mahal has been patient all this time, but as you know the window of opportunity is getting smaller and smaller with the passage of each year.  We don’t know what 2015 will bring us, but if the stork brings a package, thank you God for the blessing!  That’s how fatalistic I/we am/are.

So that’s how I sum up my thoughts on the first weekend of the year.  No grand plans, and not so much as a single New Year’s resolution.  Just gritting my teeth, and biting the bullet.  So roll the dice, let the chips fall, and deal those cards.  Enough of the gambling metaphors, and let 2015 begin!

Thanks for reading and mabuhay po tayong lahat!

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.