art & design, filmmaking, movies, musings

si chedeng, si apple, at si elvie

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im currently shooting a new film for cinema one originals with two of the most gorgeous women on the face of the earth, gloria diaz and elizabeth oropesa. these two ladies worked previously on the 1974 cult classic, Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa, and aptly titled too because even at their current ages, their beauty is unparalleled.  one can only wish theyd age gracefully as these two have.

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i grew up knowing i had family relations with gloria diaz. my middle name is, in fact, diaz; my mother had explained my grandfather and gloria’s father were cousins (and we have connections also on the florendo side of things). to get to work with her for this film is a dream come true but i took my time before letting ms gloria know of this family connection. i preferred to get to know her better first. the first time we met up with ms gloria to discuss film costume requirements, she told us she can provide day clothes but doesnt have sleeping outfits because she only wears gowns and her crown to sleep! a true beauty queen inside and outside, she turned out to be warm, generous, and with a fabulous sense of humor. so when i call her tita gloria, there is more than a kevin-bacon-6-degree truth to that. i, thank you. charot.

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shot in manila and cebu and features awesome cebuano talent behind the camera (director, producer, dop and camera crew, sound crew, etc), “si chedeng, si apple, at ang louis vuitton” is directed by fatrick tabada (writer of sleeper-hit patay na si hesus) and rae red (co-writer of birdshot), based on a fabulous script by tabada. cinematography by don gerardo frasco, production design by carlo tabije and myself (cdo reprezent), produced by bianca balbuena, and executive produced by ronald arguelles, this film is a finalist at the 2017 cinema one originals film festival on november 12-21.

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art & design, filmmaking, musings, travel

wanderlust: rome

rome. magnificent rome. bella italia. where do i start?

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ive been to rome and venice in 2006, joining brillante mendoza in presenting his 2nd film, KALELDO, to that year’s rome international film festival. it would be my first time outside asia, having only travelled to hong kong the year before because of mendoza’s first film as well, MASAHISTA, which was screened there.  we travelled with producer, ferdie lapuz, and actress, cherry pie picache. staying for around 4 days, we were in rome for 3 days, saw the vatican, and a day in venice plus visiting murano island. needless to say it was a very short stay and we were just skimming over what we could discover and see in italy.

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this year, carlo and i worked on production design for bradley liew’s first feature film, SINGING IN GRAVEYARDS. a gorgeous portrait of an aging impersonator, joey “pepe” smith, who performs in bars as aging rockstar, joey “pepe” smith. i say gorgeous because the range of emotions we got from pepe smith’s non-acting acting is sublime and the environment (including our design work on the sets) captured on anamorphic lenses on a 2.39:1 aspect ratio is breathtaking. char. bradley claims he did not grade larry manda’s camera work. this film was included in the critic’s week section of the 73rd venice international film festival this year, which was why bradley, bianca balbuena (brad’s co-writer, producer, & girlfriend), mickey (sound design), tracy, (executive producer), and carlo and myself (production designers) plus pepe smith flew to italy to attend the festival.

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we finally got our screening schedules and the film was gonna be premiering towards the latter half of the festival. our visas granted us around 15 days to be in italy so carlo and i decided to max out that opportunity and see more of italy so we flew to rome and milan first before heading to venice for the festival.

after 10 years, im finally back in rome!

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rome was monumental and grand and delicate and massive and really the superpower history books said it was during the age of empires and gladiators and eating off grapes from the hands of slaves. while we stayed 2.5 days in rome and saw a lot of stuff, we still missed out on other sights and exhibits in the city. our milan hosts reckon we needed maybe 7 days to explore more of rome and i think i agree with him.

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the altar of the fatherland. only got to see this from afar before. it’s sooooo big. everything is big in rome. you can imagine what the great caesars wanted to impose on humanity back in the day for what rome represented.

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im loving the landscape of rome. those trees in the far distance evoke memories from childhood storybooks and pictures from encyclopedia, now real and alive and tangible. no wonder artists drew like that. id probably say the same when i get to visit japan. lol. walking around laurel trees, it was strangely amusing to smell them and be reminded of home and adobo. i think i will plant laurel trees in my home. and cypress. and this pine thing. and olive trees if i can find it in mindanao. awesome to see them mixed with calachuchi and calamansi bushes and talisay. i think i need a bigger piece of land.

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umm, this painting was gorgeous. hi kuya 😉 we probably followed this guy from here in the vatican museum all the way to the sistine chapel. then we lost him. then he passed by us again while we were having dinner near the pantheon. choz. he nodded at us and we would have invited him over for pasta had he not walked so fast. see, we’re not stalkers. lol

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a detail of a wall painting of raphael (one of the ninja turles) in the vatican museum. that’s him in the black hat looking at us from the corner.

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every inch in the vatican museum is art. the church is the biggest patron of the arts, evident here in every room of the museum. i do wonder how nudity got to be so taboo when a lot of the depictions in art in the most holy of places are in the nude. paintings and sculpture of men and women all naked, loved by popes and the clergy. on display.

no pics of the sistine chapel, pinagbabawal. there were a few who defied and stole some photos but carlo and i felt we were too enthralled by michelangelo’s frescoes to bother taking photos. a lot of times, we felt photos do not give justice to the masterpieces on display, esp the frescoes in the sistine chapel. we stayed maybe an hour just looking up. gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

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the tapestries in this room is grabe na! dako kaayu!

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mosaic detail on the floor.

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a marble sculpture of laocoon and his sons, excavated in rome and now on permanent display at the vatican museum. gorgeous! according to google/wikipedia, this is in the hellenistic baroque style. char.

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wandered into a music shop near our airbnb in rome. always fascinated by shops in europe, they carry a lot of items despite its size. sa pilipinas, it would have to be some big franchise shop to carry this much varied merchandise in good condition. even the 2nd hand shops in cubao dont carry this kind of working, usable condition of merch.

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this time i got to see the colosseo up close and personal. chos. ancient rome is crazy, i tell you, to build such a massive building where people battled and died all in the name of entertainment. bloody thirsty masses watching and deciding the lives of slaves and warriors. hmmm, how very pilipinas lang now. never knew we became so blood thirsty, thrilled of the numbers of dead people popping up in the streets of manila. and how we ridicule and humiliate and curse at people on social media. wow. like the ancient romans? in my lifetime? but going back, maganda. pero masakit. the church with its riches despite the massive poor struggling to make ends meet. the relics of a mighty stadium reminds us of a brutal past. and we dont really learn from it.

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the oculus at the pantheon. i wasnt able to visit this in 2006 and this turned out to be absolutely one of my favorites in rome. i was surprised with the interiors, with the different colored marble sculptures and niches and that impressive hole in the ceiling.

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ang olive oil sa italy. bow. i heard a little about the olive oil mafia in italy, where the version we have commercially available isnt pure olive oil anymore. and only one family is supposedly controlling the olive oil industry. while in florence, our host told us not to use the cheap olive oil and instead use his stock of a slightly higher priced olive oil for our pasta. granted masarap nga. pero yung sinasabi niyang cheap oil ay isa na sa mahaling brand available sa pinas (bertolli). so ano nalang kaya yung mahalin sa kanila? wohoo. coconut oil nalang.

IMG_6280.jpg#gwapulis. in the vatican museum.

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local art in the neighborhood. diba kalorks. instant beauty everywhere. ingani ilang street art. atoa kay struggling but getting there. nothing wrong with mmda art really and sometimes i like that, ako ay engineer ako ay nurse thing. we need more subversive art though. lol.

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one cannot be in italia without eating gelato. the difference is that gelatos in italy are not as sweet as we have in manila. big difference for me kay dili kaayu ko tig-kaon ug ice cream. a bit cheaper also in italy. 150 to 200 pesos up per cone. mahal diay gihapon. haha

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thankfully they finished renovating/fixing the trevi fountain, one of the most gorgeous sights in rome, made more famous because making wishes at this fountain is 86% more effective than in other fountains. i made that up.

i did throw my coins back in 2006 (not in 2005 as i originally thought). and here i am back in italy. dreams come true, especially when you work for it and aim for it and save up for it and everything else in between.

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for more pics, check out my facebook photodump album for rome. cheers and leave me a comment here in my blog if you like this sort of thing. char.

up next: milan, dahlin’, milan.

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

wanderlust: karlovy vary

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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art & design, filmmaking, food trip, laundry therapy, movies, musings, set design, sketch

a week off facebook

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stayed away from facebook and logged off twitter since monday because i havent had time to watch the new game of thrones episode. but im looking at all the positives of this action. i had more time to nap between meetings and shoots and during the long uber ride home in rush hour. i missed the hullabaloo of catcalling and whistling controversies and i think that’s a good thing. too much drama and the guy hasnt even really started working yet. my mobile internet is not exactly all that happy though because instagram consumes a lot more data and i hit my cap too fast.

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btw, im blogging because im not exactly on facebook still.

im thankful carlo and i got to watch x-men apocalypse last week before we got busy. btw, the critics should just really stop because the movie was awesome. the only thing i didnt like about it is nightcrawler’s jeje hair. sansa stark was awesome as sophie turner as jean grey. and im loving the new cyclops. the character was always my favorite compared to wolverine.

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we just finished majority of principal photography for SINGLE/SINGLE season 2 with pepe diokno. the cast is awesome and fun but shooting as fast as we did takes a toll and ill never really like shooting for tv. unless maybe if i were working on a show like game of thrones or some weta production in new zealand then i wont have complaints whatsoever. the best person on the set in S/S was, hands down, utility jay-r who was always gracious and checking that everyone gets hydrated. such a selfless man. thanks, kuya jay-r.

also finished a shoot with paolo dy that i wasnt able to personally shoot haha (because i had a conflict sked with single single). carlo supervised the shoot as double unit instead. wow double unit. i never do double units, btw, but had no choice for this because of the celebrity talent’s schedule. paolo’s fast on the finishing touches and marketing of his new full length movie, ignacio, a gorgeous costume drama on the saint, coming on in july. hope all goes well for paolo and the film!

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and im excited to buy a new printer. my other one conked out after 3 years of continuous, “unlimited” printing. and when it did, i was broken and unproductive creatively and realized i was totally reliant on printers. i wish i could afford a portable printer that does A3 paper but i can only afford this. and im happy.

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had a short trip flying to cagayan de oro last week to see my cousin get hitched. he wanted me to “host” his reception as i have done with our other cousins’ wedding reception dinners years ago. and so i went. hahaha congrats tonski and zsazsa!

then i got to meet my brother-in-law’s adopted pitbull, bruno. and while i believe in good-hearted dogs, this 8-month old puppy chilled my heart a bit because i was considered a stranger in their house. he barked at me! hahaha and while he slowly approached and licked my hands, his body language was still on guard and anxious and he stares at me (head to toe). it will take a bit more time for him to fully accept me but ill only be seeing him again in december and by then he’ll have grown up and totally forget me. cesar millan, help. haha

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but i was at the beach with him that sunday. and because he was so busy swimming to get back to land, i got to hug him and carry him above water.

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so many gorgeous people on the set of SINGLE/SINGLE, mind you. and all are easy-going, kind, and considerate of everyone. matteo, shaina, anna luna, brian sy, bernardo bernardo, jc santos, and the dame cherie gil. then we have the gorgeous will devaughn, who walks in and worlds stop. actors aside, i only agree to work in non-tvc projects based on the cast of characters behind the camera. who can say no to bianca balbuena? aber? along with her epic partner, pepe diokno, and epic lover, bradley liew, we have kuya ruel (char kuya), kulas, ms ninay, lilit, patti lapus (extraordinaire), martin and maki. kalorks roll call na ito sige nga. pero hindi na lahat ha, haba the list. shoutout to our hard working team, kitch, sammy, docdoc, nante, melben, isabel, ken, vinze.

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and speaking of vinze, this guy was our intern for the whole two months of summer. i warn interns that production shoots go beyond their required 240 hours of internship and they have to be willing to stay a bit longer to complete a project. this guy stayed two months and went through 5 different tv commercial shoots and 6 days of the SINGLE/SINGLE shoot. still so much to learn but hardworking, he wanted to just stay forever as art department. but like all interns, and because i believe in real education, i strongly demanded he bring his ass back to school and finish college before coming back to work full time in the art department. i tell you, you’ll thank yourself years later. and your mom will be the most fulfilled mom because she’ll see you on stage getting your diploma. congratulations in advance on your graduation, vinze. 😉

and i have now finished my coffee and have to run off do prep for another shoot. cheers and wishing everyone a safe and productive weekend!

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ps. this is perhaps the best ramen in manila ive ever experienced. was introduced to this by direk erin pascual. life changing ramen. this is mendokoro ramenba in salcedo village, makati. the shoyu ramen is the best and the only thing i order and eat because i cant get over it. no, i cant.

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art & design, interior design, set design

happy enervon users

this series of tv ads just came out featuring celebrities michael v., carmina villaroel, and anne curtis. i had the pleasure of working with gian mawo, under straight shooters, and legendary producer dante nora with the over the moon ad agency on this campaign. the brief was originally a talking head against some chroma limbo background. the director, however, wanted to situate the tv personalities in their private spaces, some sort of comfort zone where they can easily take us on a journey to their past by way of pictures on walls or on albums, etc.  their personalities are reflected in that room, complementing the “interview” and the take aways of the photos. i especially loved bitoy’s set only because im partial to interiors with bare cement walls and i wouldnt mind living in that space.

these were the set pegs and the initial designs i prepared. we had to scale down bitoy’s set, making it more intimate.

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set design for bitoy

set design for bitoy

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set design for carmina

set design for carmina

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set design for anne curtis

set design for anne curtis

i eventually reworked my sets into google sketchup nearing the construction phase. while the sets were all of the same dimensions, the sketchup output also served as a guide for my set decorator once we got to dressing up the rooms in the studio. btw, it was our first time shooting at the shooting gallery and wow, awesome studio.

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proj spread carmina with door panel

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the director and the creative team of the ad agency were generally happy with the sets so i was thrilled. it was tricky setting up bitoy’s photos as well as i had to configure the sizes of all photos prior to printing them on cintra boards. here is a screencap of the layout i made on a 10 feet x 20 feet wall. i had to eventually take out the photos that showed bitoy’s family as there were ad rules prohibiting us from doing so, i forgot what rule basta ayun.

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and here are the full ads. woot woot!

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art & design, filmmaking, food trip, musings

food design in HENERAL LUNA

yesterday i had to go out and buy a newspaper, something i havent done in years! and it struck me that the same thing is happening to people with Heneral Luna, saying they havent been to the theater in years yet here they are. the Lord be praised!

Production designers Benjamin Padero and Carlo Tabije left no stone — or should I say plate — unturned when it came to the food styling.

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col boyd was not crazy about the local food

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the spread prepared by chef toto gonzales and chef gene. i explained to chef gene the scene would have been after dinner where the guests would have milled around to chat and gossip. chef gene suggested this lineup. we also discussed plating and i took notes, including flower arrangement!

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our awesome executive producer, nando ortigas, all dressed up beside ms annie rocha, wife of our producer, ed rocha. on the right is line producer, daphne chiu.

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art & design, costume design, filmmaking, interior design, movies, musings, set design, sketch

shooting heneral luna part 1

HENERAL LUNA is in the last stretch of school tours and promotions prior to the movie’s release on september 9, 2015 and artikulo uno has already released a series of behind the scenes featurettes, including a production design video featuring carlo and myself. however, let me take you further behind the scenes and the design process for one of the sets featured in the current trailer, including trying to meet requirements for our first day of shoot.

a lot of the movie’s intense scenes was staged in this convent room where president aguinaldo’s cabinet staff would meet to discuss (argue) plans for the impending conflict against the americans.

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we’ve started reading and studying the heneral luna script august of 2013.  the script called for the cabinet meeting to happen in a convent. historically, the philippine government often had to move around and meet where it would be convenient and church convents would be akin to board rooms/conference rooms in our modern life setting. by this time, our govt had been driven out of manila and aguinaldo held office in the provinces. i started researching on visual pegs with photos of convents in the 1890s and any local government meetings i could find.

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