Kumu, positivity amidst the #COVID19 pandemic in Manila

As I write this, we are currently on Day 12 of the enhanced community quarantine here in Metro Manila, Philippines. It is March 25, 2020, Wednesday, as I write this.

While everyone wants to remain hopeful that we will survive this pandemic, the anxiety and fear combined is very much palpable where I live. I reside in Quezon City, near Mindanao Avenue or C5.

I have not been going out for days in an effort to adhere to the social distancing measures enforced by our government. Except for when I really have to buy groceries and medication.

When I did, I was really surprised that outside, it looked like a ghost town. The otherwise bumper to bumper sight in our main roads is nowhere to be seen. Yet this is not a feeling of comfort or relief, it is fear. Fear of the unknown and the unseen. We do not know for how long this pandemic will last. We also do not see the enemy: #covid19.

I must admit, I am very fortunate to be able to work from home during these trying times. Some of my kababayans are not as lucky. Online, I have read numerous accounts of people who have lost their main source of income ever since the lock down. Some have been mercilessly laid off, some were not required to go to work anymore. In a snap, they were jobless.

Freelancers and independent contractors like me got worried too, when one by one, our gigs or rakets were cancelled. This really made a dent in our cash flow. The constant bills keep on piling up, but the active income has stopped.

Ever since I led the freelancer life, I felt that I had to maintain a multiple income stream. This is to provide a buffer during emergency situations. Never did I think it would be this soon though. In theory and in all fairness, that seemed fine and logical. But that seems hardly so at present. But I firmly believe we shall get pass this.

As someone who constantly worries about my cash flow, I accepted a project from #kumu months back. Let me put my worries into context. The economy is volatile. Though they say that the Philippines has a booming market and economy, I always thought of the worst. I always thought anything can happen. The good, the bad, the worst. And the first one who should be able to help yourself, any time, any where, should be yourself.

At that time, it was crystal clear that Kumu is about building a fun Pinoy community. What is Kumu? As posted in this online portal, it is a “Filipino-centric social app that lets users host and watch livestreams, do virtual hangouts, as well as join interactive quizzes and social games. The app, which takes its name from the Pinoy greeting ‘kumusta?” Sounds well and fun, right?

But as March came in and the tragic deaths related to the novel corona virus piled up, everything else in the world has changed. Travel bans, both local and international, were implemented. A collective panic was beginning to grow. And now we’re prohibited to go out of our house. Three weeks ago, this was unheard of. Unthinkable even.

But what can a social app contribute to the present circumstances? That’s why Kumu is presenting “Social DistanSing”.

While other people underestimate the arts and entertainment in providing ‘relief’ during this period, I would like to point out though that it is also through these very things that we find comfort and solace amidst the chaos and fear.

When you see a daily update of rising death tolls worldwide due to COVID19, the future looks grim. And it is in those times when we look for something that can get us through the day. At this point, sometimes we turn to entertainment. To music, movies, poetry. Otherwise, we’d go bonkers even before the virus hits us.

How does this Kumu Social DistanSing event work? Basically it is a live stream session featuring Filipino celebrities and influencers whose collective goal is to raise funds.

Host, endorser and actor, KC Montero, who is also the Vice President of Marketing at Kumu shares this onhis LinkedIn account:

Extremely thankful for friends with giving hearts.. Kumu is collaborating with artists to help raise funds! We pledge that virtual gifts given on the Kumu Cares livestream will be donated to alleviate the plight of Filipino families most in need during this time. Download Kumu and catch your fave artists Go Live from March 26-April 8, from 4 to 9PM. On Kumu, no need to logout for other payment platforms, donations go straight on the livestream via virtual gifts!

I am really glad that we, Filipinos, are doing everything that we can to help each other out, in the best ways we know how. Philippines has been heralded as the social media capital of the world, and now we can use that to our advantage. To exercise our compassion and actually help others, too!

So I encourage everyone to download #kumu and take part in this noble cause. It’s accessible, easy and fun. Most of all, it is life-changing.

Here is the first batch of live streamers:

Spread the love, everyone!

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Film analysis: Man With A Movie Camera (1929) and The Birth of A Nation (1915)

I noticed that Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov, in his 1929 movie called Man with a Movie Camera (MWAMC), borrowed several concepts from D.W. Griffith. First, the use of close-ups. Vertov would shoot establishing shots of the place or of his subjects, then sometimes, he shifts closer to the subject by doing a medium/extreme close-up. Both of them employed cutaways.

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In relation to that, Vertov used an editing technique that compresses time, space and information so as to convey a quicker progression of the story  rather showing scenes one by one. I suppose this is the equivalent of today’s montage technique.

In  MWAMC, Vertov did this when he showed how a woman starts her day: waking up in bed,  getting up, and washing her face. In The Birth of A Nation (TBOAN), Griffith showed this when a man and a woman, supposedly on a date, are seen talking outside the house, cut to seeing them strolling by the lake then to the “Love Valley”.

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Another editing technique used is cross-cutting. It is used to established action occurring at the same time and usually in the same place. In TBOAN, it’s seen when the man inside a room is having a meeting with another man, while at the same time, the woman in the other room was “daydreaming” of her ideal life. We confirm our assumption that this was simultaneously happening when the man from the other room goes out of his room and enters her room where he sees her daydreaming. In MWAMC, this is evident when we see people riding a carriage, then we see a horse running and pulling the carriage, and then we see the camera man filming them.

Another is the concept of superimposition. In TBOAN, Griffith made use of superimposition. Towards the ending, a warrior is seen atop a steed on the upper frame while on the left part, we see a group of people and to their right, we see a huge pile of dead bodies. All these give a new meaning to the picture. As a whole, this is a personification of war. In Vertov’s film, we see a woman dancing while a medium shot of a hand playing the piano is superimposed on it. This means, perhaps, that a woman is dancing to the musician’s piece as he/she is playing the piano.

This only means that with editing, we can gather meaning from the order and manner by which the images are conveyed.

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Color in Film: Raging Bull and Pi

Color helps a movie tell its story. It shows a character’s journey. Both the lead characters in Raging Bull (RB) and Pi — Jake LaMotta played by Robert de Niro and Max Cohen played by Sean Gullette, respectively — are unbalanced, emotionally-destructive and eccentric. The use of black and white in these films help us see and feel their character’s mental, emotional and psychological state. Hence, black and white establishes or reinforces a biographical profile for a principal character. Using this, we can also, in a more pronounced manner, perceive Jake and Max’s feelings of imminent psychological disintegration in terms of cinematic time and space.

The absence of color in film is also an artistic and psychological convention of taking the viewers back in time. RB recounts the story of boxing champ LaMotta between the 1940s to the 1960s. Thus, black and white captures the mood of the period because it shows the way many people visualize that era and the movie also had fight footage inserts in it. The movie is entirely in monochrome, except for the opening billboard and the sequence of home movies shot in color. For additional trivia though, its director, Martin Scorsese has stated that he “decided to film it this way at least in part because fellow director Michael Powell, who happened to be viewing the initial (color) footage of de Niro as LaMotta, pointed out that the gloves the actor was wearing were the wrong color for the period.” (1)

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Scorsese also used Eisensteinian visual collisions in editing. There was this sequence showing Jake and Vicki La Motta in their bedroom cut to a boxing scene between La Motta and Tony Janiro. The bedroom scene is quiet. No ambient sounds or mood music. The pace is slow and the lighting is low-key. But we feel like Jake is being jealous, making this a tense moment between the two. The mood is even more sinister. (see below) Then suddenly, it cuts to an extreme close-up of a boxer getting punched twice in the face, might be Janiro. And the cut is accurately timed with the first punch and we hear a rowdy crowd. We move jarringly from a slow to a fast pace, from peace to loudness, from stillness to motion and from restrained violence to clear-cut violence. As Eisenstein would have it, these two shots, when combined, create a new meaning altogether.

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Violence is also showcased in both films. The fight scenes, both inside and outside the ring, in RB, involve blood. However, because it’s in monochrome, we are not distracted by its color especially if we see the boxers with a cut profusely bleeding in close-up during a fistfight. Trivia: Hershey’s chocolate sauce was used for blood in this movie. (2) Also, “sponges filled with fake blood were inserted into the boxing gloves, spraying the fighters and the ropes with amounts of fluid previously unseen in a sports movie.” (3) In Pi, however, Max burns the paper with the number and casually performs a trepanning on himself in the right cerebral hemisphere with a power drill. Therefore, black and white gives off a subdued tone in dealing with bloody scenes.

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Hence, using black and white heightens the impact of RB and Pi’s violence. The lighting and contrast also enhances the brutality of the violent scenes especially if it comes across as film noir style. Additionally, monochrome helps express nostalgia as it links the time period and deepen the audience’s immersion in a movie’s historical context. In short, Raging Bull and Pi might not have had the same visual and emotional impact had they been seen in color.

 

Glow Up Love: 41st Wedding Anniversary

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In a time where most relationships do not last that long, Lola Mel Delos Reyes and her husband Lolo Tomas is on the road to forever. They will celebrate their 41st anniversary this 2020.

In time for their celebration, their daughter, Grace, wrote Glow Up so her mom can experience the fabulous transformation she so rightly deserves now. Love — romantic and filial — is definitely worth celebrating!

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That’s why Glow Up will give them a special anniversary treat! A beautiful makeup makeover plus an age-appropriate styling that is both elegant and timeless!

The episode aired on GMA News TV on February 24, 2020. For the full episode on Youtube, click here.

Lucky Single Mom gets a FREE Glow Up treatment

Ever since she got separated from the father of her kids, Arvie Anatacio’s self-esteem suddenly dropped. This even caused her to gain more than ten pounds. The 34-year-old mom, who used to be a bubbly lady to have around, became strangely anxious and oddly reserved. But now she has come to understand that this is not doing her any good, especially to her children. So she decided to Glow Up!

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Our hosts, Win and Thia, will help Arvie bring back her natural positivity through a complete makeover. They say a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life, and that’s exactly what Arvie is set to receive on the first part of her transformation. Good bye to the old, and welcome to the new look!

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As someone who also didn’t spend so much time putting makeup on herself, now Arvie gets to know the basics of everyday makeup for busy moms like her. And lastly, a styling session with the hosts inspires Arvie to flaunt her curves.

From being anxious, Arvie now learns to be proud of whatever she has gone through, making her stronger than ever before. Watch her Glow Up journey this Sunday at 8 p.m. on GMA News TV.

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iPhone problems after updating to iOS 13

So I have been worried for days since i encountered a ‘memory full’ storage problem after updating to iOS 13. As someone who cant just wipe out data right then and there on her phone because calls and updates were expected over the weekend, i’ve become restless since i was left with only 2 gig(!). I’ve bought a fone with large storage bec i was anticipating run and gun shoots and frequent exchange of huge files in my job. It wasnt a splurge, it’s actually an investment.

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The problem, which i only understood later on, is that my ‘other’ data storage had ballooned up to almost 103 gig (can tou just imagine my shock?!) And the worst part is i dont know how to get rid of them to free up eaten storage. When I delete media files, text messages or apps, the ‘other data’ would only increase!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

After much research this ‘other’ data are actually accummulated log, cache, temp files over the years, and sometimes corrupted info that you had unknowingly encountered during updating your iOS.So my takeaway for all the iphone users out there: dont update if it’s not necessary. I never did! Not until last week. I had to do it thinking it would fix my camera bug error after i dropped my fone and the rear cam was not working. !but the update did not solve that so I had to have the rear cam changed! Side story: i was charged waaaay lower at this repair shop in SM North EDSA annex than the legit Apple Service center there. I saved more than 50%! The service center would have charged me 4k-5k for a two-week turn around time. But the repair, which i got to witness firsthand, lasted only less than 30 minutes. After that, i got my phone back! And the cam was working!Also, regularly backup your data on your PC/mac/ icloud. Because once you keep a lot of photos or videos, chances are it will build up temp files and other data that would be ‘absorbed’ by the system instead of its usual ‘replenishing’ cycle when you backup and delete unneeded files.Super hassle to be erasing content and restoring them on your phone when youre always on the go, not to mention, if youre in the midst of the Holiday rush!

 

So if you encounter this problem, there are a lot of resources online where you can learn from. Now after the reset, ive found out i have around 105 gig AVAILABLE memory! That’s a huge progress!!! I’m happy but I wish i didnt have to reset -restore! 😞 hahahuhuHappy Monday all! ❤️❤️❤️

#Hugot Playlist on Sarap, ‘Di Ba?

When it comes to love, are you Team Sawi (Loser) or Team Wagi (Winner)?

This weekend, your favorite Kapuso singers and idols will confess their greatest love stories and heartbreaks! Its a morning full of hugot lines and theme songs.

Watch out for award-winning actress and comedienne Tuesday Vargas and versatile stand-up comic and host, Boobay, together with The Clash Season One alumni Golden Cañedo and Jong Madaliday. While confessing their saddest stories of the heart, Jong and Golden will also pair it with their own hugot playlist.

For those who are bitter in love, feel better now with a healthy and yummy dish. Get a taste of the special Ampalaya and Tofu Teriyaki! While cooking, Tuesday shares her tips in relationships that she has learned throughout the years.

 

A heartwarming rendition of a Filipino classic love song will also be rendered by our Happy Nanay, Mel Delos Reyes. She was once a contestant for singing competitions but fate had other plans for her when she instead focused her attention on her carinderia business. After almost two decades in the business, Nanay Mel still sells her ulam at 5 pesos! This act of kindness made her a trending topic and a constant love of her customers who still visit her today to thank her for what she has done for them.

 

Stay in love and inspired this weekend on Sarap Di Ba?! 10:45 am on GMA Network.