Why Are We Paranoid of “Musta Na?”

Disclaimer: Everything that is written is based on my personal experience and views.

There’s an ongoing joke on Facebook about correlating the word “Musta na?” to someone who’s about to ask for favor. Therefore, to avoid the pain of the consequences of being burdened to grant the favor— they simply avoid replying to the texts or chats.

What is so worrying about seeing the words “Musta na?” Partially, it’s because we’re in the age wherein communication have become one-sided since the growth of social media (socmed).

Before the socmed age, people take time to visit their friends and loved ones. They spent time reconnecting. There was a give and take in terms of the information that they shared. People are excited and sometimes very eager to know on what’s the latest about each other’s families. Today, everybody can just post anything that they want to share. So, it lessens the curiosity of the people. The “musta na” comment on your Facebook wall becomes the new “hi and hello.” Sometimes, it becomes the ice breaker .

In the past, you cannot hide your real economic status 100% when your friends or family visit. Hence, they don’t assume that you’re loaded when they feel that there is struggle in your daily life; they would rather let go of the idea of borrowing money or asking for favor. Today, it is easy to project to be somebody you are not so the words “musta na” make others nervous because somebody might ask for something that they aren’t willing to give.

People used to do “telebabad” for reasons like reconnection, getting to know each other, chismis, killing time etc. Both parties take time to communicate. Today, you can ignore a text message, an email or a chat and get back to it at your most convenient time. “Musta na” becomes a code wherein the recipient has the option of replying to it or not.

In the past, “musta na” is a symbol of one’s affection and concern. I grew up on it, I am still that person up to now. “Musta na” from family or friends do not intimidate me as I am vocal about what I can or cannot grant in case they ask for favor.

The Secret of the Greco Family: Andres

I have just finished watching “The Secret of the Greco Family” on Netflix. Initially, I was sympathetic to Andres Greco, and I felt that Dario deserved to rot in jail more than him. But after re-watching some of the mini-series’ highlights, I changed my perception of Andres Greco. 

Andres seems to be the good one if we are to compare him with his older brother Dario. His attractive looks and sports career leads him to date one of the most in-demand models in his country. His mother and his godfather Hugo adore him. But beneath his shy demeanor is a character that is comparable to his psychopath father Aquiles. 

  1. Just like his father, he does not respect the church or the disciples of the church. Aquiles hears the mass with his family but his facial expression tells that he is just doing it for the sake of not being exposed. In one scene, Andres stands in front of Sabrina’s friend (a nun) with only his shirt and underwear. He smirks when the nun feels uncomfortable. 
  2. Andres appears to be scared of Aquiles’ idea of kidnapping the rich kids in their community yet he easily gives Gael’s name when his father asked him about the prospect. On the contrary, Dario wonders why Andres picked Gael to be their victim when he finds him a good person.
  3. Aquiles lives a double life with that of a good family man on one side and a psychopath on the other side. He projects a good image to Martha and their daughters Sabrina and Abril. Manuela believes that Andres is a good man, she’s even waiting for the marriage proposal. But without her knowing, Andres banged Gael’s girlfriend Paula. 
  4. Their sisters Sabri and Abril are closer to Dario (who’s supposed to be the black sheep) than to him. Dario is even protective of Abril.
  5. In their daily conversations, Dario discovers that Gael is a good man and he can’t understand why Andres picked him as their victim. On the other hand, Andres has the audacity to go to Gael’s family to scoop information about the kidnapping. 
  6. Dario feels bad for their last victim, an old woman, while Andres seems to enjoy intimidating her. 
  7. I don’t remember Dario taking off his mask in front of their victims but Andres either gives hints or on one occasion, takes off his mask before the old lady. In short, Andres anticipates the destiny of their victims.

Fernando Colunga’s role as a psychopath father is different from how I first saw him as Thalia’s on-screen partner in Maria la del Barrio. I love how he evolved as an actor— you would surely hate him in this Netflix series.

Pan Resort and Hotel in Abucay, Bataan

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Bataan, why not try Pan Resort and Hotel in Abucay? This is a three-star hotel and it’s a good place to stay if you want to go swimming. Pan has a kiddie pool with fountain and an adult pool to offer. The pool water does not smell of strong chemicals. On the left side of the area are the tables and chairs with curtains as partitions. There are electric fans and power outlets available. The grill area is just nearby but since there’s only one of it, you would need to wait for your turn in case somebody uses it ahead of you.

The shower and wash area are clean though they can still be improved by replacing some worn-out fixtures. The patio leading to the hotel has a sign reminding swimmers to dry themselves before going there or they’ll risk paying PhP500 as a fine. The downside of the pool area is the absence of lifeguards in case of accidental drowning. There are no floaters for rent or for sale so if you’re not a good swimmer, please stay on the shallowest part of the adult pool.

Check in time is 2:00 PM and check out time is 12:00 noon the next day. Swimming is free for hotel guests while non-hotel guests have to pay PhP200 for the swimming entrance and PhP700 for the cottage. While waiting for your check-in or check-out, you can stay at the small hotel lobby. On the right side of the lobby is where they serve complimentary breakfast from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM.

The rooms are okay for a three-star hotel, just pick the poolside area for better view. The bedsheets, comforters and pillowcases are clean. Toiletries are available except a bathroom tissue; I am not sure if they ran out of it. Gerry’s Grill is the nearest restaurant while 7-11 is just across the road.

They have a lean staff so I’m thinking that this would become an issue if the hotel and the swimming area are fully booked. So far, the ones that we encountered are courteous and helpful.

Pan Hotel and Resort’s nearest accessibility to Balanga main road is through the EGSA.

For the photos, kindly check this out.

Oro Plata Mata on Netflix

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Oro Plata Mata is a 1982 film directed by the late Peque Gallaga. It’s a wartime story of survival and conscience where a test of one’s loyalty is clearly conveyed.

The oro (gold) represents the times of plenty which is shown during the opening part of the film where guests in their beautiful clothes attend the 18th birthday of Maggie (Sandy Andolong), one of the señoritas in the Ojeda household. In one scene, Maggie comforts her younger sister Trining (Cherie Gil) when the latter received her first kiss from her childhood sweetheart Miguel (Joel Torre). She tells her that kissing is part of the relationship and admits that her boyfriend Ramon has kissed her, too. Their talk is interrupted by their mother Nena (Liza Ojeda) who tells Maggie to entertain her visitors. At the living room, a close family friend Minggoy (Jaime Fabregas) announced the coming of age of Maggie on behalf of Don Claudio (Manny Ojeda) when the clock hits 12:00 AM. Everyone is having fun until they receive the unfortunate news about the sinking of the SS Corregidor which some of the guests’ sons are into. The party is cut short thereafter.

The plata (silver) represents the changes in their lives, the adjustment period. Used to the luxuries in their mansion, Maggie complains about the dish served at the Lorenzo mansion. Inday Lorenzo (Fides Cuyugan-Asencio) scolds the cook in the typical Filipino trait of always being hospitable towards our guests. Of course, the Ojedas stay in the Lorenzo mansion is not as short as they thought it would be. When they realize that the war will take longer than expected, reality catches up to them. Two more friends Dr. Jo Russell (Maya/Mitch Valdez) and Viring (Lorli Villanueva) take refuge in the Lorenzo mansion.

The start of the mata (death/misfortune) phase is predictable from the point of view of an onlooker. Inday does not trust her foreman Melchor (Abbo dela Cruz) but continues to let him stay anyway because he is competent. Don Claudio continues to support the revolution and reminds them that his hunch about the Japanese invasion was right all along. The Hacienda Lorenzo provides all of them with safety and peace of mind but that is short-lived. When the loyal servant Nana Tating (Mary Walter) fails to come home after looking for Don Claudio in the sugarcane field, they know that something is not right. The burning of the sugarcane field happens later that night prompting Maggie to check the horizon using Miguel’s telescope in the tower. Dr. Jo adjusts the lens and peeps through it and from there, she sees the city with Japanese trucks in tow.

Whoever burned the sugarcane field is not shown in the movie and the disappearance of Nana Tating is not explained as well. I have a feeling that Melchor has something to do about it and maybe Nana Tating discovers his plan.

The group moves to the hidden forest lodge that the Lorenzos own. This is the part of the film where each character’s dark side appears.

-The sibling rivalry between Maggie and Trining for Miguel’s affection.

-Dr. Jo is helpful and logical yet she doesn’t care who to sleep with as long as her sexual needs are met.

-Viring cares about her jewelries more than anything.

-Miguel is a wimp.

-Trining is not loyal to Miguel.

-Melchor has a twisted mind.

-Hermes (Ronnie Lazaro) disrespects Miguel when he had a sexual relation with Trining

The forest lodge is meant to be their sanctuary but the opposite happens. Melchor shows his true colors and justifies his robbing of Viring’s pieces of jewelry as a form of payment for his services. It is for this reason that I thought that he might be the one responsible for the burning of the sugarcane field because of his grievances against the Lorenzos. When Inday fires him, he comes back with a gory vengeance. For some reason, Trining willingly goes with the bandits despite her mother’s pleading.

In retaliation, Hermes and Miguel attack Melchor’s territory. Trining is hesitant to be rescued. The duo kills all the bandits. In one scene, a young Kuh Ledesma who plays the diwata kneels before a bewildered Miguel who does not have qualms about pulling the trigger.

The oro period is shown again during the engagement dinner for Maggie and Miguel. The war is over. The house looks cramped and the walls are untidy. The foods are not as extravagant and overflowing as during Maggie’s debut. Everyone seems to be moving on from the trauma of the war. We see Carlos/Charlie, Don Claudio’s former accountant, now chatting with the elite group. We learn that the adopted Emilio becomes the sole heir to his family’s wealth—and he is now ready to reveal his sexual preference. We feel for Ramon, Maggie’s former boyfriend because fighting for the country leaves him an invalid. We can’t help but sympathize with Don Claudio when signs of advanced aging disallow him from recognizing his granddaughter. Trining’s coping mechanism is forgetting whatever happened during the war yet acknowledging that that period led them to become animals. On the other hand, Nena appears to be ready to fall in love again when she gamely danced with Charlie.

Chapter 12: The Haunted- Documents

“Pasensya ka na, naharang ako ng kakilala ko,” nagulat pa ako na nasa tabi ko na pala si Rupert.

Napatingin siya sa diyaryong binabasa ko at napakunot ang noo. Ibinaba ko ang diyaryo at tinignan siya.

“Don’t tell me you’re reading a newspaper from almost two decades ago?” tanong niya. Seryoso siyang nakatingin sa akin. Mata sa mata, nagpapatigasan kung sino ang mauunang ibaling ang tingin. Sa bandang huli ay siya ang sumuko, tumingin siya sa malayo at parang nag-iisip. Matagal na panahon man ang lumipas, alam na alam ko kapag may bagay siyang ikinababahala. Sa isang banda ay naging pagkakataon ko din ito para sulyapan ang mukha niyang tila lalong pinaganda ng panahon mula sa ilong na parang nililok, mga kilay na akala mo ay pinasadya, mga matang nangungusap at labing parang handa laging humalik.

“Baka sakaling may mabasa akong interesting. May sarili kayong balita, di ba?” patay-malisya ko namang sagot.

“Sabagay, dati ka nang mahilig magbasa ng diyaryo. Pang-matanda, yan ang panay kong sinasabi sa ‘yo noon,” may ngiti na sa labi niya, nagbibiro.

“O, meron naman palang naligaw na balita dito. Nag-ribbon cutting si Mama Tam sa jewelry shop na binuksan sa bagong mall malapit sa SLU,” itinuro ko ang litrato ni Mama Tam. Saglit na tinignan ni Rupert at napangiti.

“January 1998 yan. Ambilis ng panahon. Ganun na din pala katagal,” mahina ang boses niya at parang ayaw ipadinig maski sa akin.

Tumunog ang cellphone ko. Maingay. Nagtinginan ang mga estudyante. Mabilisan kong kinuha sa bag ko ang cellphone at saka lumayo para sagutin ang tawag ni Jim. Nangungumusta lang siya at siguro ay nag-aalala. Sinabi kong nasa library ako pero hindi ko sinabing may kasama ako. Pagbalik ko sa table ay hawak ni Rupert ang isang botelya. Namula ako.

“I’m surprised na meron ka din neto,” sambit niya. Hinablot ko ang botelya at inilagay sa bag. Hindi ko siya sinagot. Nagmamadali akong isinoli ang diyaryo at saka walang lingon-lingon na lumabas ng library.

“Ano’ng problema mo?” pahabol na tanong ni Rupert.

“One hour na di ba? Pwede ko ng kuhanin ang TOR at diploma ko,” dire-diretso naman akong bumababa ng hagdan.

“May masama ba kung malaman kong nagte-take ka din ng gamot na yon?” tinumbok niya ang kinasira ng araw ko.

Natigilan ako. Hindi ko siya sinagot. Dahan-dahan naming binaba ang mataas na library building patungo sa Registrar’s Office.

“Ninong!” napagawi ang tingin namin sa direksyon ng nagsalita. Isang estudyante na hawig na hawig sa pinakamatalik na kaibigan ni Rupert.

“Oy, Ced!” ibinigay ni Rupert ang kamay niya at nagmano ang binata. Napatingin ito sa akin at ngumiti.

“Ced, hindi mo na maaalala ang Ninang mo? Sabagay, baby ka pa lang nung huling magkita kayo,” iminustra ni Rupert na pagmanuhin ko si Ced na siya naman niyang ginawa.

“Ninang?”

“Leona. Hindi mo na talaga ako matatandaan dahil baby ka pa nung umalis ako dito. Kumusta na si James at Trina?” namangha ako dahil hulmang-hulma ni James ang panganay niya.

“Nasa bahay po si Mommy. Si Daddy ang panay kasama ni Ninong para sa…”

“Ced, pang-merienda mo,” inabutan ni Rupert ng isang libong piso si Ced. Tuwang-tuwa naman ang binata. Kumuha din ako ng isang libo at ibinigay sa kanya.

“Thank you, Ninong, Ninang. Selfie po tayo?” napagitnaan namin siya at nagpaunlak ng selfie.

“Tell your dad that we will drop by your place one of these days,” kumaway si Rupert sa paalis na si Ced.

“Para akong nakakita ng clone,” pagbibiro ko. Natawa din si Rupert.

Sa Registrar’s Office, si Rupert na ang kumuha ng TOR at diploma ko. Napabuntung-hininga ako dahil sa loob ng mahabang panahon, ngayon ko lang nakita at nahawakan ang bunga ng pagsisikap ko noong nag-aaral pa lamang ako.