Archive for December, 2010

Movie Review: RPG: Metanoia

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 30 - 2010

There’s a lot to like in Thaumatrope Animation’s first film, RPG: Metanoia, the first full length computer generated animated film to be both created and commercially released in the Philippines. It’s also the first animated film to be produced in 3D, but since I only caught the 2D edition (not a huge 3D fan anyway), there’s not much I can say about that aspect of the film.

What I can say is that it’s a pretty good movie (note the absence of the patronizing “… for a Filipino film” addendum) that those of a specific target audience will enjoy–if they can get beyond the film’s implied message, but more on that later. You can find a plot synopsis at the Wikipedia page, so let  me jump straight into the review.

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The 2010 Philippine Spec Fic Review Roundup

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 30 - 2010

This post continues my 2010 roundup of reviews that may be of interest to Rocket Kapre readers. A few days ago I posted my list of 2010 komiks reviews, whether or not the komiks were speculative in nature. Today I’m doing the same for reviews that came out this year for books by Filipinos in the fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres (regardless of the publication date of the book – it’s the date of the review that matters). The list is much shorter than that for komiks, but then, there are fewer works of prose speculative fiction than there are komiks. I do hope that this changes in the future, both in terms of content and commentary, but I’m heartened that we have a very active book blogging scene here, and Chachic over at Filipino Book Bloggers notes when someone has reviewed a local book. With due respect to Bob Ong, I believe that both reviews and critiques (two different things, really) play a part in both improving the quality of fiction and increasing public awareness of a book, something which is very helpful to writers who aren’t residents of the bestseller lists. All of the book bloggers and reviewers I’ve met do what they do out of love, and I agree with Marianne Villanueva when she says that every review is a service. I hope that those who provide these services, whether they be bloggers or academics, receive more respect in the future.

Now, on to the list. As always, if I missed anything, please let me know in the comments section.

Bewildering Stories’ Mariner Awards 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 30 - 2010

Bewildering Stories just held their Annual Review and released the list of Mariner Award winners for 2010, which includes stories by our very own Filipino authors Dean Alfar (“In the Dim Plane“), Nikki Alfar (“Adrift on the Street Formerly Known as Buendia“), and Elyss Punsalan (“Pursuit of the Litaniera“). Check out their stories if you haven’t already, as well as those of the other award winners. Congratulations to Dean, Nikki and Elyss!

The 2010 Komiks Review Roundup

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 28 - 2010

Christmas is over and the year is winding down, and I thought this week would be a good time to roundup all the reviews of komiks and Philippine spec fic I could find from the year that was. I decided to start with komiks because there were, or at least it seems to me, a great number of komiks reviews this year as compared to previous years. When I was handed editorial duties for Pinoy Pop, one of the first things I did was pester Gerry Alanguilan for an interview to discuss his post “The Need for Serious Criticism“.  The result was the two part “The Levels of Komiks Criticism” (Part 1) (Part 2) and while Pinoy Pop isn’t a going concern anymore, I still believe that a vibrant community of vocal and critical readers is essential to the development of good komiks. I understand that many creators do what they do out of love, and certainly there are ways to be critical without being mean-spirited, but we all need to accept the fact that if you put something out there for public consumption, you need to be able to take the good with the bad.

I’ll continue to do what I can from Rocket Kapre and in other venues, and I hope more readers decide to critique komiks in the future. For now, however, a shout out to all the reviewers who took the time to put virtual pen to virtual paper, and to all creators who never cease trying to better themselves.

Here’s my list of online komik reviews for the year 2010. As always, there’s no way for me to ensure that this is comprehensive, so please feel free to add any I’ve missed in the comments section:

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Readers, Writers, and Marianne Villanueva

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 23 - 2010

In the two years or so since I began to consider myself to be an actual “writer”, one of my greatest pleasures has been meeting and conversing with others who shared my passion. This includes both other writers (and I owe a debt to Kyu, Mia, Joey, Karl and Carljoe for being the first ones to lure me out of the comforts of my home for these conversations) and readers (such as the Filipino Book Bloggers), because every writer must also be an ardent reader (in desire, if not in practice, due to time’s tyranny). There is, I think, often a strange and awkward silence between Filipino readers and writers, like childhood friends who have grown apart and then meet again, neither wishing to probe their earlier shared joys for fear that the other will think them juvenile. A sad state for two groups that should be locked in a symbiotic relationship.

This is why the success of the informal meet-and-greet with Marianne Villanueva (“The Lost Language” and next year’s “Flight”), graciously hosted by Triccie at the Libreria Bookstore at Cubao X, fills me with both joy and optimism. The informal nature of the event (and the venue–I can’t imagine a formal affair that could survive the relaxed atmosphere of Libreria unscathed) allowed an actual conversation between the readers and the writer, one free of any hint of self-conscious marketing or PR. Of course, most of the credit here belongs to Marianne, who is an author who seems uniquely suited to this kind of meet-up: she is warm, candid, gregarious, and genuinely interested in other people. I remember exactly the moment where my anxieties were laid to rest: when, upon hearing Blooey and Honey’s first names, Marianne whipped out a small notebook and began writing them down with evident glee. For all that we learned from Marianne that afternoon, a woman who has a plethora of experiences in the publishing and literary spheres both here and in the United States, she was as intrigued by us as we were by her, and that made a big difference. Marianne did more than sell some books that day–she built new relationships. I hope that in the future, more of us writers can do the same–especially those of us writing genre fiction.

I’m glad that everyone else seems to have had as much fun as I did, Marianne included. Here are posts on the get together from Jason, Chachic and Blooey, as well as a post from Marianne where she answers a few questions that she didn’t have time to address during the meet-up (in the process demonstrating once again her willingness to engage).

Thanks to the book bloggers, and the Flippers, and everyone else who was able to join us last Saturday (including author Danton Remoto and Anvil’s Karina Bolasco) . Let’s do it again soon ^_^

[Title image by Honey and her husband. Great work guys!]

Eliza Victoria in Stone Telling #2

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 22 - 2010

Stone Telling is an online speculative poetry magazine, released quarterly, and the second issue has a poem from our very own Eliza Victoria. You can read her poem, “Archaeology“, and the other contributions, for free at the site. She also participates in a roundtable discussion. Congratulations once again to Eliza!

Rocket Kapre’s Budjette/Kajo Interview in the Inquirer

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 18 - 2010

Today’s 2BU Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer has republished, online and in print, my post National book Award interview with Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo. Glad to see the Trese creators getting more much deserved exposure–though I do wish they’d spelled my name right ;)

Philippine Robots in Action

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 13 - 2010

As I mentioned last week, the House of Representatives (or at least the lobby of the North Wing) got a dose of science during a three day visit from representatives of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), our student representatives to the 7th World Robot Olympiad, and a pair of home grown terminators robots, who were more than willing to show me their evident superiority moves. Well, actually the robots ignored me, but luckily their human attendants were more gracious, and allowed me to take a few videos with my N8.

Nerrisa Nicolas, one of the team of high school students from Dr. Yanga Colleges Inc. who brought home the gold medal at the 7th World Robot Olympiad, gives me a demonstration of Pnoy (note the glasses), the multi-lingual tourist robot who helped them bag the gold. She tells us what materials he’s made of (you may be surprised), how long it took to create him, and what he can do–make sure you stick around until the end of the video for a ‘dawww…’ moment (well, for me at least).

More videos, this time with Larry Labuyo, after the cut.

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Ian Balba’s Scuptures of Philippine Mythological Creatures

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 9 - 2010

Over at the Trese blog, Budjette Tan has (NSFW) images of the amazing sculptures of Ian Balba. The sculptures apparently come from Balba’s college thesis on Filipino Elementals or folklore creatures. Balba has a good eye for interpreting the creatures of lore in a way that would still cause nightmares for the modern man, and I can’t wait to see more from this talented young sculptor. Included in this first “Underworld Creatures Gallery” are the aswang, bakunawa, balbal, bangungut, bungisngis, mamaleu, mangkukulam, mantahungal, marcupo, nuno, pugot and sigbyn.

EDIT: The second gallery has just gone live.

Traveling Science Centrum at Congress

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 8 - 2010

It’s always an odd but welcome event when my Rocket Kapre work overlaps with my day job. When arriving at the Batasan Complex yesterday morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Science Explorer Bus in the driveway. It turns out that the Traveling Science Centrum Exhibit of the Philippine Science Centrum was at the Batasan for a three day stint, with installations and workshops aimed at imparting to children a love for the sciences (or at least for weird spherical objects).

And what better guests to bring when visiting our present political overlords than our future overlords? Yes, robots were in the house (or, in this case, the House).


This is Larry Labuyo, who helped Team Lagablab (students from the Philippine Science High School) nab the “Highest Rookie Seed Award” and “Rookie All-Star Award” at the 2009 FIRST Robotics Competition.


Meanwhile, this robot with the rather recognizable glasses is called–you guessed it–Pnoy, a tourist robot who (along with students of Dr. Yanga Colleges Inc.) brought home the gold medal at the 7th World Robot Olympiad held here last month.

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Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.

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