Archive for May 26th, 2009

Four good-looking guys from well-off families. A poor but smart girl who is an easy target for bullies.  She fights back, she could hold her own.  An obedient child, takes family problems seriously, would do everything to make her family happy.

They say that Boys Over Flowers is the latest craze on prime time TV. Everyone is raving about it, everyone is talking about it.  It’s the Korean version of the original Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango.  I haven’t watched the latter much less the anime version of it so there is really no point of comparison.  Taiwan did a similar adaptation of this drama series a few years ago which catapulted the Taiwanese actors and actress into fame.  Remember Shan Cai? Dao Ming Se?  Didn’t they even come over and were featured as guests on Philippine TV?

For two straight days, Nissa and I played couch potato to the hilt.  She was on leave for a few days and she bought a DVD version of the series.  And in between taking care of my hyperactive 5-year old niece, we managed to finish the whole thing.  So relaxing to watch something like this.  It consists of 25 episodes, has good English translation except in the last two where it was obvious from the quality of it that they were just lifted from or just copied perhaps from the TV version.  Even the names of the characters were changed.

Boys Over Flowers is still being shown on ABS CBN.  I initially watched the two episodes last Sunday in a two-hour replay and the voice over is quite good.  But can you resist watching the DVD uninterrupted by several TV ads?

They are known as the F4. Why they were called such (it’s Flowers Four actually) still baffles me.  But never mind, the Korean actors are much too good-looking than the Taiwanese ones.

Meet Koo Hye Sun playing the role of Geum Jan Di, the fearless high school sophomore who was ridiculed, laughed at and bullied. She earned a scholarship in the most prestigious  school in Korea, where students are sons of owners of big conglomerates and grandson of a former president.  She is the hope of her family to make their lives better.  She is a lovable character and a good actress too.  She is the Korean version of Shan Cai.

Lee Min Ho as Goo Joon Pyo is very effective as the heir to the Shinwa Group of companies.  An arrogant, spoiled brat and the leader of F4.  He learned to adopt to the lower bracket of society when he met Jan Di and became her love interest.  With a mother as stiff as a pole, (the typical askance look, raised eyebrows, rigid stand) who would sacrifice her two kids in favor of the Shinwa group.  Joon Pyo could be charming at times, at most, he is full of angst, though in the end, he did become a very responsible individual.

Kim Hyun Joong is Yoon Ji Hoo, a Zua Ze Lei counterpart. He is, oh so good-looking. Of all the characters in this series, I like him the most.  In real life, he is a member of a boy band so it’s not surprising that he could play the violin, piano and could really strum the guitar.  He plays the best friend of Jan Di –  the soul mate, the guy who is always there, the understanding character who has a secret liking for the former but still managed to play the BFF (pardon the term) till the end.

Kim Bum as So Yi Jung and Kim Joon as Song woo Bin complete the four F4 characters. They also became best friends to Jan Di.

How could a Korean telenovela like this click to Filipino TV viewers?  Based on the previous Korean telenovelas that I have watched in the past, there is always that element of a love triangle but unlike the Filipino characters who play antagonist, being vindictive and revengeful, the Korean character plays the best friend, most of the time a shoulder to cry on and somebody who would wipe your tears away if and when you cry.  Are the stories realistic? Not quite, because the lead characters are always being portrayed as too rich, the elitist type who could do no wrong. The love interest is almost always portrayed as long suffering, belongs to the lower class of society and sometimes lead a hand to mouth existence.  The redeeming features of course are the lessons learned, that  triumph and success could only be achieved if the genuine desire to improve one’s lot is there.

Sometimes there are violent scenes which are only suitable for parental guidance but at least, they don’t show indecent exposure of body parts like they do in Mexican telenovelas (which I don’t watch anyway).  One thing I admire about Boys Over Flowers are the lovely scenery depicted in the series.  It was filmed in New Caledonia and in Macau.

All in all, this is something worth your many hours watching the 25 episodes. Be prepared for high drama for there are some scenes that really touch the heart.  It shows how important a family is and clearly emphasizes the importance of true friendship.  The musical score is very good.  I love all the songs and the music is oh so delightful, it fills the senses with wonder.

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If you think this is a review of John Grisham’s book, think again. My daughter Nissa brought this home from Palawan, a piece of bamboo about three feet long, probably filled with small pebbles or sea shells and sealed at both ends, with small holes all over. When it is overturned and the pebbles fall, there is a uniform sound like that of flowing water or a splatter of heavy rain. I was fascinated! It feels like having an inexpensive toy that you can play with. It surely is an ingenious way of making a rain effect. I don’t know if this is considered a musical instrument. They call it a rainmaker.

I have a wind chime made of various sea shells which I put in my garden. It was  a gift from one of Nissa’s friends. It also came from Palawan. When the wind blows, the shells create a sound like someone frying on a hot griddle. And this instrument reminds me so much of a cowrie sea shell that I used to play with when I was a child. Don’t you just love the sound of the sea when you place it close to your ear?

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Life in Our Neighborhood

Directly behind our house is a stretch of concrete road which is an undeveloped part of our subdivision. The people here in our place call it “the little runway”. Every morning,as early as five o’clock, you could see them dressed in sports attire either jogging or brisk walking or just simply taking a leisurely, unhurried walk. Sometimes, they come in groups, at other times, there are young children tagging along with their parents. It is a beautiful  sight to see. Last summer, the kids flew kites here, a sort of contest on whose kite will outlast the others.

I used to do my ten laps  a year ago, lately though, my early mornings are consumed tending  my small patch of garden. The funny thing is, the people here have now their own community of joggers.It’s kind of exhilarating to  take a walk early in the morning . I used to bring along my MP3 player or just turn on the radio of my cellphone  whenever I get the chance to join  them.

Life in our neighborhood has still that rustic touch, though it is in the middle of  the urban area. You can hear the sounds of tricycles at any time of the day.You can still enjoy exchanging hellos with your neighbor while doing your morning chores of watering the plants. Ortigas Center is just a mere twenty minutes away from our place.

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