Weekly Ketchup 24 - Manila, Toothless, and New Games

Sometime last week, I was given a Planet Philippines assignment to write the top ten things that Filipinos abroad miss about Manila. I thought it would be a fun and easy lifestyle article to write, so I took the job.

As expected, that didn't turn out to be the case.
I had a hard time coming up with a list that would make Manila shine compared to other cities in the world, other cities in the Philippines, and even the provinces. Everything I suggested, like authentic Filipino food, culture, etc. can be experienced, sometimes even better so, in the provinces. Even jeepneys, that ubiquitous symbol of life in the Philippines, are better experienced elsewhere. Night life, campus life, shopping malls, even bargain-huntings - all items on my list - can be found everywhere in the country!

The thing is I had written similar articles that might make Pinoys abroad miss the country and, in most of them, I mainly advocated or championed the provinces, which, in my opinion, is really where the action is. I've even, on more than one occasion, advised foreigners I've come across to skip the city entirely. Seriously, this city is an overpopulated and extremely populated mess. What's there to love? Why would anyone ever wanna come back?
Image source: amadeusphotography.com
Unless you have business or people here.
Those are the only logical explanations I can think of. For the purposes of the article, the first reason would be irrelevant - but the second is possibly the only compelling reason. Even that argument isn't solid considering that there is a significant number of Filipinos based in the provinces who have also gone abroad. How do I market this city to them?

I turned in my draft and expressed my concerns with my editor. The article is due for a rewrite, so I have to be creative again. Thankfully, I have a background in the industry of making mediocre products flourish. I'd probably describe Manila as the one place where you can experience the Philippines in one go! That's a stretch even then but wish me luck.

Manila skyline from Wikipedia
I must've been stressed out about this piece so much that on the day I submitted my draft, one of my teeth hurt and had to be pulled out. Granted, I accidentally bit onto it early in the morning. Also granted the gums around that tooth have been swollen for some time now, which was the reason I went to the dentist late last year to begin with but ended up having an impacted wisdom tooth removed instead. Basically, I just had a couple of teeth removed within a span of less than a year.

Because of this ordeal, I had to miss my college friend Pat's birthday that evening - and you know how I feel about missing birthdays!

Between losing people and losing teeth, this whole growing old thing really sucks - but I chose to be zen about it. Again, I had to remind myself that I'm still lucky. Who knows - I might even live to see all my teeth fall off. And I just disgusted myself. Moving on.

Coincidentally, losing a tooth signifies death in dream interpretation.
Anyway, submitting the draft and losing a tooth happened on Wednesday - the same day that How To Train Your Dragon 2 came out. It's quite a funny coincidence because, you know, I'm toothless... and the movie has a dragon named Toothless (for anyone who may not get the reference).

The first movie was one of the best films I've seen when it came out. I certainly felt like Dreamworks finally had a worthy challenger to Disney's classics in terms of capturing people's imaginations for years to come (sorry, I just don't think Shrek, Madagascar, Ice Age, Kung Fu Panda and their sequels hold a candle to The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast or any of Pixar's offerings). So this sequel was a big deal for me.

Unfortunately, as sequels go, great expectations are rarely met, so I approached the new film with a bit of caution - but I knew I had to see it.

As it turned out, HTTYD 2 joins The Empire Strikes Back, Spider-man 2, X-men 2, Attack of the Clones, The Dark Knight, and, more recently, The Winter Soldier as one of those movies that surpassed the potentials of its predecessor (no, Two Towers and Desolation of Smaug do not count - their saga is one movie as far as I'm concerned). It retained the humor, energy, and heart of the first film but I felt that this film was much bigger and more ambitious. The animation was just as mind-blowing as the first one, if not more so. I'm glad I saw both films in 3D.

Of course, what really made HTTYD2 really great were the dragons.

I totally just added that line so I can segue into my last item for the week. I'm bound to experience more dragons because I got a bunch of new games from GOG.com, which were mostly strategy games with high fantasy, sword-and-sorcery themes, which means dragons. The site is currently on a massive sale and so I took the opportunity to pick up some titles that I've been curious about for awhile, though some selections were, admittedly, more impulsive.

Of course, I can only buy so much and had to put a cap eventually. While I did just get paid for a writing racket months ago, I also just had dental surgery (tragically, on the same day I collected payment). I also still have a bunch of games from my previous raid, which I actually just started playing last Thursday during the Independence Day break: Age of Wonders 2, Warlords Battlecry 2, and Heroes Chronicles.

My recent haul. pid was from a previous purchase.
Maybe not coincidentally, this was also E3 week, so I was all about games!

I'll give my thoughts on those games some other time as this blog is getting kinda long. So cheers to the next week. Here's hoping I won't lose anymore teeth in the near future!

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