wanderlust: karlovy vary


karlovy vary is about 1.5 hours from prague in the czech republic. i had but recently only realized that czechoslovakia had divided itself in 1993 (i blame sleepy afternoons and not concentrating in history). so there is the czech republic and there is slovakia on the map. awesome to learn something every day, right?



karlovy vary is known for their spas and medicinal spring waters and a lot of their tourism is towards people seeking wellness and therapy. however, every july their sleepy little town gets to throw a big party for the summer crowd and because it hosts the karlovy vary international film festival.


this is Hotel Thermal, home of the karlovy vary international film festival. the hotel is kinda like CCP, except with a hotel and is near everybody else.

our film, KAPATIRAN (Brotherhood), was screened this year, ive blogged about it already. this post would show a little bit of karlovy vary instead.


one of the ballrooms in the grandhotel pupp with a big ass morgan freeman portrait. one of the biggest spa hotels in karlovy vary and where a lot of the parties during the festival were hosted. it’s awesome for 1 festival to have most of the whole city so involved. you can see a lot of their poster billboards all over. the theaters are spread out and not just in one venue.




another one of the venues where we had our 2nd screening of karlovy vary. goofing outside the cafe, we were joined by hubert poul (6th from left), programmer in karlovy vary and the one who was responsible for bringing us to the czech republic. also in the photo in lucille (rightmost) who was in-charge of our schedules and car transfers. very organized and with a bmw sponsorship for transfers, we were major alta in karlovy vary haha


early morning and the crowd had just partied the night before. still some few souls traversing through the venue and gardens, others sunbathing for their life. im pinoy, no thanks, i have my umbrella to shield me from the sun.


the view outside hotel ruze, where we enjoy our breakfast buffet of cheeses, hard bread, and yohgurt. plus goulash and different kinds of sausages as well.


another of the collonades that feature a spring of water, supposedly medicinal and which you can drink (if you buy them touristy ceramic mugs).


we stayed for 4-5 days but wish we could stay the whole week. got to watch brillante mendoza’s ma’rosa (heartbreaking) and swiss army man, directed by dan kwan and daniel scheinert (amazing). then of course, the new edit to kapatiran, which we saw for the first time in karlovy vary. during the q&a, pepe likened the philippines to shattered glass, an archipelago of broken people, separated by seas and subcultures yet connected by affiliations. and then there was a proposal that occurred. but that will be another story.


for the rest of the photos i took in karlovy vary, head on to my fb photodump album.

art & design, filmmaking, laundry therapy, movies, musings, travel

wanderlust: karlovy vary



so the days before and after hong kong disneyland we went walking.




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hong kong is a crazy, colorful city lit with bright neon lights and panaflex signages. while a lot of the shops have moved on to LED billboards, the city still generally  retains that chaotic beauty it is known for. and i had to wonder if electricity in hong kong is cheap because the commercial district is insane with the lights haha

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the gallery/avenue of stars is confusing because it was supposed to be under construction and in the works but this installation in its “temporary location” seems to be in order and not temporary at all. and i couldnt help not taking a photo with maggie cheung with her baonan of noodles.

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kunyari stolen. it was a rather hot time in hong kong so we took to short mall breaks to cool off. egressing to peking road, i realized we were in the chungking mansions area, famously put on film by local director, wong kar-wai, and his australian dop, christopher doyle, in the aptly titled chunking express. the film was said to have been shot in doyle’s chungking apartment, so the legend goes (sorry, too lazy to google fact check this).

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i booked airbnb a total of 4 days 3 nights stay in hong kong. understanding that carlo and i would then be flying off to europe from hong kong, we did a bit of laundry first. the weather was, as i said, hot, so drying clothes was no problem at all. the airbnb was also equipped with a kitchen so we bought some rice (very good rice) and luncheon meat in some supermarket while walking around. cost efficient breakfast for 5. there was leftover uncooked rice so i brought that to europe. lol. asians.

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i think i got over lamenting about how efficient public transport and commuting is in other countries and the philippines remain 3rd worldly in that aspect. yet we walk most of the time when in other countries. better local view and experience than being in cabs or double decker tourist buses. also known as pagtitipid. bow.

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the full facebook photodump album of my hong kong pics are here.


hong kong gives off that warm, frantic vibe of an advanced yet backward asian city. i marvel always at the use of bamboo and netting for scaffolding in a city made up of steel and glass skyrise buildings. the chinese characters on posted flyers and signages complete the image of a slightly worn out city that dont necessarily try to be anything else. however, the hong kong i met in 2004 was different from the hong kong in 2016. or maybe i was the one changed, eyes weary of superficial gloss and facade. i see a much more realistic picture of hong kong now. or of myself. maybe both.



wanderlust: hong kong



back in january, i suddenly had a crazy urge to celebrate my 38th birthday in hong kong disneyland. yes, disneyland. im not embarrassed to say i grew up with disney animated classics and the fondness continues to this day. ive been to hk disneyland before in 2004 but still. this time, it would be my name day. and this time i got to celebrate it with my mom, sisters, and carlo. wohoo!


wakey-wakey, it’s disneyland day!



no lechon this year! my birthday lunch was burger, fries, and fried chicken!

got a little bit emotional posing with this stand-alone dumbo. i remember my dad’s photos of disneyland in the US from the 80s and there was a photo of the dumbo ride in that album. and the postcards he sent us from disneyland said he promised to bring us 3 kids to disneyland. ayun. ok lang, payong. sabi nga ni phil collins sa tarzan, you’ll be in my heart always.


baby mine, don’t you cry…

we had a fun time in disneyland. first and foremost, im glad to be able to bring my mom around and see the temples in angkor wat two years ago and cinderella’s castle this year. the things my dad and mom couldnt do early in their lives because we needed to be reared in a comfortable house and educated in good schools. this is my way of giving back. travel. relax. enjoy each other’s company. i do admit this trip was too short. so we might have to plan another trip soon. char.


more photos in my sister’s fb album. happy birthday to me.

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wanderlust: hong kong disneyland



had a grand time in karlovy vary celebrating its 51st international film festival and especially because our film was part of the festival. aside from kapatiran (brotherhood), lav diaz’s 8-hour opus, hele sa hiwagang hapis, and brillante mendoza’s cannes entry, ma’rosa (which won jaclyn jose her biggest international acting award), were also screened in karlovy vary.

but more than anything, i particularly love the paparazzi theme of the festival. and with that, we staged our own.

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producer, bianca balbuena

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production designer, benjamin padero

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production designer, carlo tabije

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director, pepe diokno

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director, pepe diokno, and associate producer, royd santiago

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production designers, benjamin padero and carlo tabije

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thug life editor, benjamin tolentino

filmmaking, laundry therapy, musings, travel

evading the paparazzi



this year, carlo and i had only planned to go to batanes for our annual vacacion. that changed with an impromptu decision to celebrate my birthday in hong kong disneyland once i turn 38 in june instead of the usual pilgrimage to cagayan de oro. little did we know we would also make it to macao, china in march for an awards show…


and then kuala lumpur, malaysia for a film workshop.


but maybe the biggest thing that happened to us this year was a chance to fly to europe right after hong kong so we could attend the international premiere of a film, kapatiran, we worked on with director pepe diokno and producer bianca balbuena.

so hongkong happened.


and karlovy vary, in the czech republic, happened.


and dubrovnik, croatia, happened.


and budapest, hungary, happened.


and prague, czech republic, happened.


and i have tons of pictures i dont know where to start. bear with me. jetlag. excitement. need for sleep. all that jazz. everything needs to be processed emotionally and photographically.

love traveling. thankfully that has been satiated. but carlo and i still have 2 more trips to go this year. ohmy. soo excited!