Monday, 30 August 2010

New Blogger Profile Photo

Title says it all.

It's about time; I've lost a significant amount of weight (plus I believe I look better now :P) in the two years that has passed.

Same blogger, of course ;)


Cue Awesomest Weekend

Especially since I spent the four days of it with you :)

Pizza day with my grandma at my place. I love the fact that you jive so well with my family. It's a nice change, and I could definitely get used to that :)

Dinner at your place this time, and knocking back a couple of beers with your childhood friends really warmed me up. Nothing like conversations, some ice-cold beer, and Marty's vegetarian chips to seal the deal. Not to mention the bursts of conversation that your big brother and I had.

Breakfast with your friends: f-u-n. Of course, the fact that I'm their friend as well now makes me feel even better about this, and I appreciate that so much. Seeing your big sister very pregnant was cute. Can't wait to see the nephew in a couple of months!

Brunch was great; it was awesome to be capping off a crazy/beautiful weekend with you, PJ.

Safe to say we're both very happy.


Thursday, 26 August 2010

And So It Ends

It is, bar anything, my LAST academic day in De La Salle University - Manila.

It has been a rollercoaster ride - terrifying at the start, a wild rush during, and it's all over before you know it.

I'm happy. I'm sad.


Monday, 23 August 2010

Better, Not Bitter

I have things to say.
As an individual, as a performer, and most of all, as a dancer.

Dancing has been a pretty big part of my university life. Started in second year up to now, I have been BLESSED to have grown-up in my dancing in the underground dance community of the Philippines; exposed to the unspoken rules and regulations of the cipher (that dance 'circle'), appreciative of the difficulty in creating and imagining a choreography, and respectful of the established names in the community. I am so proud and happy, as well as thankful, that my beloved Skittlez is a regular name in the dance circuit.

Rivalries and competition can never be prevented; positively, they drive a crew to do better, to dance "higher, faster, stronger", and inspire members from both sides to be the best that they can be. In my crew, I try to inspire my members not just to be excellent dancers, but excellent individuals as well. Our competition back in 2007 with the crew Xtinction Agenda has certainly forged friendships with their members, as well as giving me inspiration to be a 'clean and precise' dancer, because they all are. That's the plus side of rivalries and competitions in the dance circuit.

On the flip side of the coin, negatively, they make crews call each other names, the members throwing dirty looks at each other, and when the situation gets out of hand, even the supporters are thrown in the fray. I know this. I accept this. I am a liar if I say I do not have moments of 'hatred' towards other dance crews, but in line with Skittlez motto of "ONE LOVE, CHYEAH", I remove this from my thoughts the moment I recognize that I'm being a 'hater'. My problem is when other individuals, or even other crews, hate without solid, rational reasoning, basing their opinions on hearsay and personal opinions. The black pot is calling the clean kettle black.

As a performer and a dancer, as well as having choreographed for my crew, I understand the immense effort in creating dance. It is a copyrighted property; an intellectual property of at least one person. It offends and hurts me to see somebody's intellectual property (and somebody famous, at that) used liberally for one's own selfish needs. This practice, known as "biting" all around the world, is probably the worst crime a dancer and a performer can commit, and it sucks that I witness this regularly. It is a sickness that must be cured, a cancerous tumor that inhibits freedom of expression, creativity, originality, and the development of young, talented individuals. I have had enough, but to speak up against it specifically would only warrant more beef than a McDonald's quarter-pounder.

As an individual who has proudly done his best in developing, expanding, and representing Skittlez, I am also offended at us being called "bitter". There is nothing to be "bitter" about, and the facts speak for themselves. First, we are the longest-running active freelance dance crew in De La Salle University - Manila. We have been around since many of our critics were still in high school. Second, we pride ourselves in creating, conceiving, and performing our own, original choreography. We believe in showcasing our God-given talents, abilities, and skills, and we are truly able to say "that's OUR dance". Third, at the time of this blog post, we have thirty-seven (37) shows, performances, and competitions under our collective belts. That already shows how reliable we are at putting on great dance routines. Fourth, we are the only freelance dance crew that systematically develops homegrown Lasallian dancers, building upon preexisting skills, and teaching new ones whenever necessary. Fifth, we are the ONLY freelance dance crew that prioritizes academic excellence in all of our members, above even dancing skills. We are first and foremost students, then dancers. We generally don't just pass; good grades is our priority. Sixth, we know how it feels to be champions. We've been there way ahead; been there, done that. And we did it with our own choreography, with our own talents and skills. Seventh and lastly, when challenged, I believe that we are more than willing to express ourselves on the cipher and on the dance floor. I do not know any other Lasallian dance crew capable of really backing up all the talk with the necessary walk. We know this not out of pride or "bitterness", but out of recognition that we have God-given talents and abilities which we will use for each other with each other. If that means defending the history and name of Skittlez, then so be it.

We have no beef with anyone, I can say that for certain. What we have is respect for individual dancers and crews that have earned our respect, because they have earned and deserved ours. We will never be so arrogant as to teach respect; it is earned through hard work, built up reputation, and core principles that hold any group together. Yes, I am saddened by the things that are happening (Mildly flattered and greatly amused at the thought of several crews necessitating a combined effort against us on a supposed dance battle. Never occurred though. Pity.) such as the "bitter" presumptions and the intellectual property violations, but hey, I guess I'm just happy that in Skittlez, we know better. That is, and should be, enough for us. And it is.

When push comes to shove, we won't shove back.
We know better.
We were taught better.
We have a Lasallian legacy to safeguard. Far more valuable than wasting our time worrying about what individuals think. What is more important is that we have our principles, and we stick to them no matter what.

One love, chyeah :)


Friday, 20 August 2010

Dance Galore

So begins FOUR shows in two days.

Aren't we the popular crew :P
We also get to battle a "crew" (more like, three crews that combined into one) on Saturday. Freakin' awesome. I haven't battled properly in a while ;)


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

"Not So Minor" - The Aftermath

I came down with the flu, I've got a really bad cold, and my eyes are dry and bleary from looking at my laptop screen for ages. 6 hours sleep in 48 hours is not something I'm going to be trying again anytime soon, plus my left eye was irritated from my contact lenses. Can't wear them for too long, apparently.


Jason has been damaged by academic requirements.
For once, I cannot wait to finish up my studies.


Sunday, 15 August 2010

Not So Minor

The next two days are going to be fun *rolls eyes*

For courses that are considered "minor" ones, these are what we call "feeling majors"; low-unit courses that for some reason, have such heavy requirements in order to pass (or get an acceptable grade; 2.0 for me is rather low already). So here are my things-to-do:

Wika at Kultura
This is a culture course, and for reasons I don't want to try understanding anymore, my lecturer has an almost allergic reaction to students speaking in English in this class. As far as I can remember, English is a pretty dominant language in this country, and smatterings of it in class shouldn't immediately render its user crucified. Ah well. I've got to research on Maguindanao, an area in Mindanao, Philippines, and its culture, languages, and dress. Since I grew up in Malaysia, my lecturer seems to think I am an authority on Muslim culture as well. It's going to be tough.

It's been a while since my Prime College days (w00t), so I don't struggle much in this class. The only problem is compiling all the reports and journals in one go to submit. I just seem to put this off SO MUCH. Ugh. Anyway, we have a mid-term tomorrow, supposedly. Gotta study for that.

This is more like an environmental awareness course, and the personal portfolio thing (which purpose I can't understand) I am assuming is going to take several thousand words, is way too long and way too troublesome for a minor course. This will take a pretty large chunk of time.

Family and Population
Aside from reading an article on "Moving Young" (one can Google this), I need to make a Powerpoint presentation on effects of remittances to domestic economies and individual families in third world countries. Not that hard, but a little of a hassle.

Okay. Time to get started.


Monday, 9 August 2010

Skittlez Remix 2010 Competition Team

Title says it all.

After a week of nail-biting suspense, internal debates, and much agony, this year's power-packed competition team is ready to rip the dance floor. Announcing the Skittlez Crew Remix 2010 team. Possibly the strongest team ever fielded by Skittlez.

In alphabetical order:

Cesca Rivilla
Remix 2009 Team
Skittlez Crew ID #109 Head

Cheng Ortaleza
Remix 2009 Team
DLSU UAAP Dance Team Member
Skittlez Compet Team Dance Head

Elana Cabrera
Remix 2008 Champion Team
Remix 2009 Team
Skittlez Crew Choreographer
DLSU UAAP Dance Team Member
Skittlez Compet Team Skills and Stunts Head

Gayle Penaranda
Former LSDC - Contemporary Executive Board Member
Fresh Fam
Skittlez Crew Choreographer
DLSU UAAP Dance Team Member
Skittlez Compet Team Stylist

Jake Go
Remix 2008 Champion Team
Remix 2009 Team
Former DLSU Animo Squad Compet Team Member
Skittlez Compet Team Skills and Stunts Head

Jason Cruz
Remix 2008 Champion Team
Remix 2009 Team
Former DLSU Animo Squad Compet Team Member
Fresh Fam
Skittlez Crew Choreographer
Skittlez Crew Fitness Coach
DLSU UAAP Dance Team Member
Skittlez Compet Team Skills and Stunts Head
Skittlez Compet Team Leader

Johann Sison
Skittlez Crew Choreographer
DLSU UAAP Dance Team Member
Skittlez Crew ID #110 Head

Lily Mae Cua
Former DLS-CSB SBDRC Member
Remix 2007 Team
Remix 2008 Champion Team
Unschooled Dance Crew
Skittlez Compet Team Stylist

Nicole Carlos
Remix 2007 Team
Remix 2008 Champion Team
Remix 2009 Team
Skittlez Crew Choreographer
DLSU UAAP Dance Team Member
Skittlez Compet Team Dance Head

Paulo Buenaventura
2009 Philippines' World Hip-Hop International Varsity Team Member
2010 Philippines' World Hip-Hop International Adult Team Member
Legit Status
Skittlez Crew Head Choreographer
Skittlez Compet Team Overall Dance Head

Richard Ong
Skittlez Crew ID #109 Head
DLSU UAAP Dance Team Member

Rocky Estallo
Skittlez Crew ID #108 Head
Funk Community
DLSU UAAP Dance Team Member

Lord, thank You for all of the names mentioned above, their massive strengths and talent, and the gift of dance. We believe that You guided us well in selecting the twelve dancers above to represent You and a dance crew that has grown into a community. We pray that you continue to allow us to exhibit true Lasallian values, not just as blessed and gifted dancers/performers, but also as individuals.

Skittlez, we will represent all of YOU well, that much I can promise.
Wish us luck and blessings. It's a heated competition this year. :)

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Sunday, 8 August 2010

Step Into My Shoes

Everyone wants to be a leader.
Not everyone wants the responsibilities and hard choices that come with it.

I've been leading my dance group for over a year, and in that year, we have seen massive expansion. From 10-12 active members to almost 30 now, it's been sweet success in terms of developing young dancers into respectable individuals. It just really sucks when the complaint department truck dumps its contents in one go.

Every time there is a "board meeting" (for lack of a better term), I am heavily criticized on being "hard", "harsh", and "acting like a king". It has reached a point where I just simply do not give a flying rat's bum anymore about these opinions, knowing that I can defend my actions pretty well.

First and foremost, there is the issue of discipline. The crew has reached a point where the sheer amount of members and show requests are pretty overwhelming, and as much as I'd like to be friendly ALL the time, an obvious lack of discipline within an organization (yes, we ARE an organization in all but name) is counter-productive and highly inefficient. The gentle "come on guys let's get this done" approach does NOT work, but as experience has shown me, the "bad cop" routine DOES. Hate me for my approach and gripe as much as you want, it is undeniable that things get done. Dancers, without discipline, are simply another bunch of hobbyists, and individuals, without discipline, will never be anything in life.

Secondly, there is the issue of leadership per se. Ever since I can remember, I hate inaction. The mere thought of seeing a group of individuals standing around wondering what to do next sends shivers down my spine; it's a waste of everyone's time and effort, plus standing around burns next to no calories :P Anyway, I take it upon myself to get things moving, to get things up and running when no one else is doing it, and for the past year or so, it has worked wonders for the crew. If taking the initiative to be an example of pro-activeness makes me a tyrant to the eyes of some, then so be it. I believe that I must put first the welfare and organization of the crew and its individual members before my own feelings. Why? Because that's what a leader would do.

Finally, there is the issue of hard choices. It is true, when no one has the frame of mind to make a difficult choice, it is the one who leads (or seems to be leading) who has to make the call. When the call is right - which could be most of the time - the call-maker's contribution is oft forgotten. When it is wrong, however, or hurts others, then the call-maker is crucified. I have learned to roll with the punches, since I actually understand the parameters on which I based my decisions on. From 22 years of actually living life, it's a little more honed than the average Joe's gut instinct.

So there. A post not so much a rant, but as a defense to the MANY critics springing up well within the group I have called a 'family' for over three years. I have learned not to take offense when criticized and ragged on, because I know that no part is greater than the whole. I love this crew more than any group I have ever been in, with the small exception of the Free2Be band (I miss you guys), and I am very honored to be in it. Many of the members call me "papi" or "daddy", and I try to live up to that title. It may offend some that I act like a boss sometimes, but in cold, hard truth, sometimes I really need to be.

Even families have organization.

Checking attendance. Crew conditioning. Delegation of message groups. Punishment and reward system. These are all things I am criticized on, and quite frankly, the criticisms are highly immature. All of those new things in our system, love them or hate them, tune the crew like the proverbial well-oiled machine. None of those benefit any individual, but the group as a whole.

"To lead, one must have been led."
Jesus certainly knew what He was talking about.

And here is a fun trivia:
None of the critics have ever inquired about how easy (which it isn't) or difficult the job is, and none of them have ever come up to me asking for responsibilities. It's so ridiculous, I'll just smile :) And they wonder why I delegate tasks? ROFL.

Fun and games, even in a family, must always be tempered with restrain, wisdom, and discipline. That's good enough for me. I hope that's good enough for your next "daddy", my very beloved crew.

"You only get what you put in", I always say.
Put in everything. YOUR crew deserves it.


Saturday, 7 August 2010


It's a Saturday, and since I've got no plans for the entire afternoon, I think I'm going to see some movies. I check my movies folder to see which ones have finished downloading and I have..

Casablanca (1942)

Dune (1984)

The Godfather (1972)

Let's make the very safe assumption that I'm a very HAPPY camper today. :D


Day 60

It's been a great adventure so far.
Let's have many more.

Way more. :)


Monday, 2 August 2010

A Little Peek

Haven't seen you since last week.

Catching you for a couple of minutes outside your classroom?
Absolutely priceless.


Blog Revamp

After more than a year as The Black Skittle, I have revamped my blog layout and looks for a fresher, simpler feel. I think it better fits the way I like my things organized.

Hopefully, you, my readers, like it as much as I do :)
Thanks to blog layout designer Tina Chen for the layout.


Sunday, 1 August 2010

The Rats Are Out

Formspring, that new "social networking" website, is, upon analysis of its function, form, and usage, is a tool for cowards.

Anything that allows an insane amount of anonymity over the Internet in order to pry information from another person is nothing short of cowardice and is subject to the malicious intention of many people seeking to hide using Formspring's anonymous function.

I'm glad I don't have one.
Why should I tolerate sensationalist cowards?

Life Rule:
If you cannot tell something to a person face-to-face, it's probably not worth saying, or one has malice intended or guilt hidden.

So say or ask what you need personally. Every human being deserves that much.