Friday, October 21, 2005

Bracing for E-VAT

I have a growing suspicion that Filipinos are among the most taxed people on earth and with the Expanded Value Added Tax about to be implemented in a couple days, starting November 1, people are already bracing themselves for a sharp spike in their expenses.

As you may have already read or heard about, gasoline as well as diesel prices will definitely increase by about four to five pesos. Currently retailing at around 34 and 31 pesos respectively, the prices of fuel are expected to go up to 37 and 35 with some already painting a scenario of about 40 or 50 pesos per liter. The price of Liquified Petroleum Gas or cooking fuel will go up to around 521 pesos for an 11 kilogram tank.

When I was still with the DTI, I used to hear Mar Roxas (then Trade Secretary) explain that the impact of fuel on the cost of production of goods amount to just about 2 percent. It was hard to believe then and it is even harder to believe today. The math seems solidly worked out, but why is it that every one peso increase in the price of fuel almost always means a five peso increase in the price of fresh produce at the wet market? I don't have the data right now, but if you care to investigate, you can request the National Price Coordinating Council for the data on food and correlate that with the price of fuel.

Anyway, here we have a situation that Malacanang Palace has dubbed as the "bitter pill" everybody must take in order to get well.

Fine! Then Gloria should probably start spending for her own gasoline instead of billing the government, she should also spend for own food and electricity too while she is at it.

Rich people I know are already rethinking their spending schemes, what more of the poorer people I know -- myself included.

I depend a lot on my cellphone and telephone in the conduct of my writing business, soon enough I will have to pay 10% more for these services. Which means that I will most likely be spending around 2,000 bucks per month which this early is leading me to think of scrapping both expense items are unsustainable.

The cost of electricity will also increase similarly. So, for the remainder of the year, I will have go without airconditioning -- which is okay, really, since it's getting quite cool these days.

More later

Thursday, October 20, 2005

On not directing the Slipstream babe shoot

I had beeen looking forward to directing the next batch of Slipstream's babes for a number of days. This was after Lorrie Uy, one of the bosses of Slipstream's production outfit, brought up the idea after realizing that no one would probably be around to direct the shoot.

Pong De Leon, our "line/executive producer", was said to have been attending to another project with another company (as this is often the case with most of us who have to survive by taking on a number of projects simultaneously) and Mikko David had previously said he would concentrate on directing the video shoot for the PNTCC races. Usually, one or the other would direct the shoots for the show. But in recent days, neither had been available.

During those days when neither Pong or Mikko could direct the shoots lined up for the week, Paul Guerrero and I were, for lack of a better phrase or term, compelled to direct a number of shoots twice at the Batangas Racing Circuit -- which included the spiels and two babe shoots (Dang Palma and curing shots for Kisses Atilano) as well as a little news gathering.

This was something I did a bit begrudgingly for Slipstream, but nevertheless, agreed to do. This was because, at the very onset of things, I was hired as the show's script writer and agreeing to direct the shoot meant doing more than what I was being paid for. Nevertheless, I wanted to be a nice guy in that situation and also realized that it wouldn't hurt to build up more good will with the show's producers.

In anycase, at the time Lorrie opened up the idea of me directing the Slipstream babe shoot by way of saying "do you think we can do something that would be a bit more daring but tasteful with Vanessa Khain"... which, I have to admit, was in retrospect somewhat of a sly way of signing me on to direct the shoot without actually committing herself or Slipstream to actually hiring me to direct that shoot (which can mean that I would not have an additional talent fee, but would atleast guarantee me credit for the work done)...

In anycase, despite my misgivings, I was also a bit delighted to have the opportunity to do the shoots because, after all, it would allow me to execute a couple of 'artistic' ideas -- well, there's a budding Playboy videographer/photographer in all guys.

This wasn't going to be a big break for me as a 'director', because I had directed a dozen or so other projects for other companies before and had been compensated for the work I did -- a 30 second commercial for Don Juan de Marco horse racing club and a couple of AVPs.

Well, moving on, the day before I was supposed to direct the video shoot for the babes, I sent a text message to Pong De Leon to get his clearance on a rule I wanted imposed on the set and that was, the almost universal rule of having just one guy (the director on the set) give out all the instructions.

I had texted Pong, "Pare, ang understanding ko kasi bukas ako ang magdi-direct nang babe shoot. Hihilingin ko lang sana na isa lang ang magbibigay nang instructions sa set. Thanks."
(translation: Padre, as I understand it, I'll be directing the babe shoot tomorrow. I would like to request for only one guy to issue instructions to everybody on the set.)

He came back with the response: "Who said that?" (probably asking who decided that I would direct the shoot)

I texted back, "Si Lorrie, mali ba ako?" (Translation, "Lorrie said so, am I wrong.")

Realizing that Lorrie had to clarify the matter, I texted Lorrie asking her to explain the situation to Pong.

In anycase, Lorrie came back to me to say that Pong had been offended by my text message and in a later conversation said that Pong would resign if he wasn't going to direct the babe shoot. HAAAAHAHAHA! What a prick!

So, in the next few episodes, you'll be watching babe segments directed by Pong De Leon...

Mind you, we've been receiving comments about the babe segments and they were asking us to come up with more tasteful shots and more pleasant interviews... I wrote the interview questions and posed all of them to the girls, it's usually the director's prerogative to look over the interview questions first and before approving it for the shoot... Pong glanced at it and asked me to pose the question, so I guess it came with his approval...

All of the shots for the Slipstream babes were Pong's since he actually held the camera through out all the four babe shoots that day.

If you like the visual treatment for the babes, that's pong's work... a regular spielberg, for sure.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Filipina Models, anyone?

I can't seem to think of writing another entry without mentioning the fact that since directing the shoot of Slipstream's babe of the week Dang Palma and shooting cures for Kisses Atilano, I've been asked to shoot more babe segments for Slipstream.

In order to make this 3 minute segment even better and to give viewers of our show (who are mostly guys like me) something to really look at, I asked a long time friend and an upcoming young Director to help me out in this shoot. Bong Malong, son of Director Flor Malong, is a craftsman who as earned his stripes working on a number of video projects and he has impressed me a lot with the edgy beauty of his shots plus the fact that he is really quite fun to work with.

In the next episodes of Slipstream, our hot babe segment will include Vanessa Khain, Liz Festejo, and a couple of other girls. We'll be shooting at the Fiesta Resort somewhere in Rizal Province tomorrow Tuesday October 11 (GMT8).

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

PNTCC 2005: Philippine Racing at its best

In the 1960's the Philippine racing scene was massive, with corporate sponsors pumping in enormous amounts of money to fund their racing teams.

Just when things were getting great, martial law came down and with that came the ban on Philippine motorsports during the 70's oil crisis, killing what could have been one of the greater tourist attractions in the country and could have made the country a mecca for motor sports.

Philippine racing went underground for a while.

After Marcos' ouster, in the mid 1980's, the Philippine racing scene began showing signs of life again and in 1994 big money started coming in again, but sadly the enthuasiasm of sponsors have since begun to wane a bit.

This year, the Philippine National Touring Car Championships (PNTCC) 2005 makes a bid for another resurgence in the racing scene.

Races in previous years had been small, but with the new set up and rules, more teams have joined in the fray.

Racing out from both the Batangas Racing Circuit and Subic International Racing Circuit, the PNTCC dishes out more hardcore racing action with rivalries on and off track flaring in bouts of serious clipping, bumping, grinding... spills and spin-outs... dramatic recoveries... etcetera... etcetera... You know the gig...

I don't even own a car but with the help of Mikko David, people at Race Fans Incorporated, and others... I'll be blogging about the next few races when I get the chance and I am considering the option of coming out with a new blog for that with video clips, pictures, and some articles.

Hold on! It's coming.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Slipstream honeys

This is actually the more difficult or should I say HARD part of scripting Slipstream (Wednesdays, 8:00 PM at Solar Sports -- Channel 35 on Skycable and Homecable, Channel 42 on Destiny Cable).

On the left you have Martha Daniels and on the right you have Kisses Atilano, our featured Slipstream honeys.

I got a chance to direct one of the segment shoots, one of them being Dang Palma's segment.

One thing about these girls is that they're not only hot, they're unbelievably sweet and reasonably intelligent too. Not that I'd actually expect you to think that they are, but they are.

You'll probably catch Martha Daniels on the cover of Red magazine this October.

She's also involved in a sex comedy play directed by Soxy Topacio. I forget the title but the plotline reminds me of Lady Chatterly's Lover and in this play she acts out the part of a repressed teacher who gives in to her carnal desires at an inopportune time.

Kisses, in the mean time, will be doing a couple of tours to promote her album "Quicky with the Playgirls" where she raps her heart out in 'Break up'.

Apart from being a singer, she is also a -- as you may have already guessed -- freelance model.

Well, what else can I say? You just have to watch Slipstream if you want to see more and I do mean MORE of these girls.

Oh, and the racing action is fun to watch too! Don't forget that!

Race action with PNTCC at BRC

Scratch up another for the Philippine National Touring Car Championship (PNTCC) because the sun came up yesterday on perhaps one of the hottest races in the season.

Veterans Enzo Pastor and Jody Coseteng were at it again with some serious nudging. Novice Tok Corpuz rubbed Danny Daquiag raw. If you want to see this, you better tune in to Slipstream which is on at Solarsports Plus every Wednesday at 8:00 pm. (I'll post another entry on the racing action and results later.)

Off-track, there was also some serious action to be had. Remember I mentioned something about Slipstream's sweethearts (a.k.a. Richard's Angles)? Here they are.

I would be lying if I told you guys that these girls didn't give the men stirring at the paddocks some serious wood.

(That's it for now, gotta go.)

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