Uncanny X-Men #11: Cyclops and Wolverine reunited

Gotta admit, I teared up when Cyclops and Wolverine were finally reunited in Uncanny X-Men #11.

Both have been dead for the past few years, and it’s been almost eight years since the X-Men: Schism crossover in 2011 tore the X-Men apart and put an end to the friendship of Scott Summers and Logan.

Check out this IGN article about the new “This Is Forever” storyline. Spoilers, of course, if you haven’t read Uncanny X-Men #11.

It’s a kind of magic

This fascinating book by the brilliant scientist Richard Dawkins shows that science is far from boring, and is magical (poetic magic, not supernatural or stage magic) in its own right.

Magical because it is real, and not superstition or myth. Oh, and “The Magic of Reality” has illustrations from one of my favorite artists, Dave McKean. Yup, the same award-winning artist behind several covers of Hellblazer and Sandman, who was also involved in two Harry Potter movies.

I have always loved science. One thing that has filled me with awe since childhood is the reality that whenever we look at the night sky and gaze at all those distant stars, we are actually traveling back in time.

As Dawkins wrote:

“In a different sense, a telescope can work like a kind of time machine. What we see when we look at anything is actually light, and light takes time to travel. Even when you look at a friend’s face you are seeing them in the past, because the light from their face takes a tiny fraction of a second to travel to your eye.”

May science always fill us with childlike wonder, and may our thirst for knowledge never be quenched.

Should we finish books we don’t like?

Do you feel pressured to finish every book you read, even if you’re not enjoying it?

Here’s why you shouldn’t, according to this Lifehacker article by Nick Douglas:

“If you wish you could read more books, try quitting the one you’re on. If it’s not calling to you every minute that you’re away, maybe you should drop it and find a book that does. In fact, whenever a book bores you for two (or five, or ten) pages in a row, quit it. Move on. If you end up wondering what happened next, you can always come back.”

Try this technique, and let us know if it works! 

Happy Year of the Pig!

新年快乐! Xīn Nián Kuài Lè! Happy Chinese New Year!

Have you ever wondered why there are 12 Chinese zodiac animals? One legend involves the Jade Emperor.

Whether or not you believe in the Chinese zodiac and the forecast for your animal sign, Chinese traditions are definitely part of Philippine culture.

In fact, we have the world’s oldest Chinatown, Binondo, whose humble beginnings Esquire Philippines recounts in this article.

“To fully understand Binondo, we must look to the people who built it: the Chinese-Filipinos. Even before the arrival of the Spanish, the islands of the Philippines were already brimming with Chinese traders, their goods, and their influence. Mindoro was a known trade port to the Chinese, who noted the island on their maps as the Kingdom of Ma-i.

“Other states, such as the Rajanate of Butuan and the Kingdom of Tondo, had frequent trade with Chinese merchants. Chinese goods flowed from the port of Tondo and from there, across the archipelago. Wares reached as far as the Aeta tribes of the Cordillera in return for gold.”

May the Year of the Pig be an awesome one for you and your family!

A life worth living and measuring

You can plan the perfect life, but nothing will happen until you take the steps to live the life you want.

I love how Clayton Christensen’sHow Will You Measure Your Life” makes us reexamine our purpose in life and the metrics we should use for success.

It’s a lesson that applies to both individuals and companies. As Christensen stressed:

“You can talk all you want about having a clear purpose and strategy for your life, but ultimately this means nothing if you are not investing the resources you have in a way that is consistent with your strategy. In the end, a strategy is nothing but good intentions unless it’s effectively implemented.”

How about you? How are you measuring your life?

‘Goyo’: Seeing Gregorio del Pilar through the eyes of the boy general

I finally watched “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” on Netflix, after failing to see it during its theatrical run.

“Goyo” is a more difficult movie to get through than the crowd-pleasing “Heneral Luna” (which is also on Netflix, by the way). Partly due to its length and slow burn, but more importantly because it strips away the heroic image of Gregorio del Pilar to reveal all the imperfections of the 24-year-old boy general.

It’s personally more difficult because Del Pilar is one of the Philippine heroes I grew up admiring, not only because of his legendary last stand at Tirad Pass, but also because he was a Bulakenyo and the Liberator of Bulacan, my home province on my father’s side. I grew up in Manila and would only visit Bulacan to go to the houses of my grandfather and other relatives, but I identified with the province and was proud of its contribution to Philippine history and, yes, Philippine cuisine.

What this film, the second after “Heneral Luna” in a planned trilogy of biopics of Philippine heroes, succeeds in doing is showing that the famous boy general truly was a boy. A vain, gullible, womanizing, flamboyant, and egotistical boy who was blinded by his loyalty to his own hero, the first Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo. He was known as the President’s favorite general, and as his hatchet man, who committed despicable acts against his fellow Filipinos for the sake of the President.

We watch Goyo as seen through the eyes of others and through his own eyes, as he begins to question why he is doing all this, and what he is fighting for. Is he fighting for his country? For his principles? For the President? For his friends? For his men? For the woman — or women — he loves? For himself?

We see the journey, the slow transformation from boy to man, from hero to human, but the film doesn’t cheat us with a neat ending, or any redemption. The hero dies, and it is not even a heroic death. But maybe, just maybe, in choosing to make a last stand that ultimately proved to be in vain, the boy general found some peace in knowing what a man must live and die for.

“Goyo” doesn’t answer our question about what it means to be a hero. Instead, it invites us to ask these questions in the first place, and be critical of our tendency as Filipinos to be blinded by hero worship and idolatry, and to be swayed by personalities rather than principles.

I loved “Heneral Luna”, but I like “Goyo” even more and think it’s the better film.

“Heneral Luna” made us feel. “Goyo” wants us to think.

What should you give a f*ck about?

Mark Manson’sThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” is a wonderful — and wonderfully foul-mouthed — book that everyone should read.

Here’s an example of the book’s insights:

“If we follow the ‘do something’ principle, failure feels unimportant. When the standard of success becomes merely acting—when any result is regarded as progress and important, when inspiration is seen as a reward rather than a prerequisite—we propel ourselves ahead. We feel free to fail, and that failure moves us forward.”

This book is brutally honest, insightful, moving, and hilarious at the same time. Here’s to living a life where we feel free to fail, and where we give a f*ck about fewer but more important things.

Bless the Maker and the new Dune movie

As a fan of Dune, (well, of the original trilogy. I hated God Emperor of Dune), I’m really hoping the Dune remake will be awesome.

I’m really excited by the cast they’re assembling for this new Dune movie, with Zendaya the latest one who is reportedly in talks to join.

If the deal pushes through, Zendaya will join a powerhouse cast, indeed.

Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson will co-star as Chalamet’s parents, while Stellan Skarsgård will play the film’s antagonist, Baron Harkonnen, and Dave Bautista will play his murderous nephew. Meanwhile, screen legend Charlotte Rampling will play the Reverend Mother Mohiam, who can divine intentions, suss out lies and manipulate people’s emotional states on behalf of the emperor.

Should her deal close, Zendaya would play Chani, a strong young woman with whom Paul shares a deep connection. She plays a large part as the story unfolds, and may even take on a larger role in the next Dune film — should this one merit a sequel. Remember, Villeneuve is an ambitious filmmaker whose Blade Runner 2049 was also supposed to spark a franchise, to no avail.

How about you? Are you looking forward to the Dune remake?