Spaghetti is always a permanent fixture in the dining table of any Filipino family. It is fast competing against traditional Christmas and New Year heavyweights, lechon and fruit salad as the official holiday food. I must admit that I'm so used to the flavor that I'm already starting to hate it. I mean we do have to face the fact that too much of something is bad.

But I'm wondering, we Filipinos are Asian but with a Spanish heart and an American way of thinking. Ever wonder why this totally Italian food became our own?

Since when did we start becoming cheese-munching surrender monkeys and not the beer-gobbling grouch that we want to?

Spaghetti is an art form way back in Europe's bootstrap country, what I mean is that Piedmontese spaghetti is way much different than the Bolognese. So how much more if this cuisine is transplanted to a country with anomalous background as ours? Its totally an enigma to me!

Wherever you go, we have surrendered to the spaghetti but not without a fight. Spaghetti in the Philippines tends to be much sweeter and simple. Pasta, tomato sauce and hotdogs and you're set to go.

Ispageti as we call is a recent phenomenon because after all we are traditionally rice-eater. Though we had experience in the Chinese cuisine like pancit, spaghetti in the centuries before were still considered alien. I really don't know what contributed to the widespread adoration for this type of food but I believe its due to the growing trend of Filipino fastfood culture marked by the growing success of Jolibee.

When you say Jolibee, their spaghetti is the first thing it goes to your mind aside from their burgers and trademark Chicken Joy. As a Filipino living in the US, Kim can't resist the taste of ispageti and I myself can attest to that because I love good food. But sometimes I think that we have acquired more and more foreign imports and reinventing it as our own.

So I leave the question, Why do you eat spaghetti?

(In the picture: Anne Curtis / Wilma Doesn't)

We Filipinos are known for our brown skin because of our Malay blood that run in our veins. In fact, we proudly mention 'lahing kayumanggi' (brown race) with nationalistic fervor in our history books and Jose Rizal epitomizes everything Filipino. Even our concept of beauty that is Maria Clara is portrayed as the morena model of what a Filipina should be.

However, as our gene pool got mixed up with Caucasian blood (American, Spanish and European), our concept of beauty shifted as we began to appreciate 'white' beauty. The mestisa or 'tisay' has entered our vocabulary. And more and more Filipinos began to appreciate people with fair complexion than those 'kayumanggi.' Even brown-skinned Filipinos have even separate themselves with those with an even darker shade.

We are not racist but we are now in particular with skin color that we tend to discriminate those who are not 'white.' Even career mobility and growth are restricted to fairer skinned individuals. Media has even portrayed fair-skinned people as rich, successful and beautiful while those darker-skinned people as poor and rabble.

As we watch television, read the newspapers and magazines and marvel at the outdoor billboards all around, we are now obsessed with being white. No wonder our department stores are flooded with whitening products from soaps, creams, and powders. Our role models are prominently 'tisays' and 'tisoys.' Many of them are product of mixed marriage -- in other words, Fil-Foreign of different nationalities. Even women who post their profiles in social networking and dating sites prefer Caucasians over regular Filipino guys like me. That is why there are so many of these women with foreign fiances/flings. Just wondering why we prefer refined 'white' beauty while these middle-aged veteran/pensioner foreigners go crazy with exotic 'brown' beauty?

But we can't put the scapegoat status on white skin obsession because of cultural albinism and our colonial mentality but lets face it, our culture's standards of beauty now favor fairer and lighter skin. Can we blame why Marian Rivera is the new Maria Clara epitome even though she has foreign blood? Its the 'mestiza' madness that was ingrained in our three centuries of Spanish occupation, intensified by American education and packaged in modern corporate advertisement and marketing.

Our media reinforced the idea that whiter is better. We have become so vain that even 75% of all content inside a woman's handbag are cosmetics and 90% of it are probably skin-whitening-related products. Gone are the days when people worshipped Ate Guy as the woman everybody wants, then enter Ate Vi and the world was never the same again.

According to journalist Tina Arceo-Dumlao in her work "A White Shade of Pale: Skin Whitening Products in Asia," market research company Synovate revealed that "one out of five women in Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines and Taiwan feel they are more attractive with fair complexions." Significantly, the Philippines had the highest usage of skin whitening products in the countries being surveyed.

Lets not forget that even politicians now endorsed skin whitening products. No wonder our skin obsession can now be transformed as a form of racism as we Filipinos inherently make fun of people with a darker shade of skin tone. In my stay in Singapore, Filipinos tend to brand Indians as dirty and filthy while associate African Americans as untrustworthy primarily because of our association with white American culture. Even former African-American serviceman Morgan Johnson, who spent time at the Subic Naval Base during its heydays, believe that we Filipinos have double-standards when it comes to people who are darker than us.

Mr. Johnson summed it in this way, "Actually, this is not racism in its purest form. Filipinos are not so much discriminating on the basis of race as much as mere skin tone. Philippine society is very much segregated by skin color. The paler your skin the greater the level of success is available to you. Likewise, dark skin is a fast ticket to the bottom." Though the word "negro" is already a taboo and a disparaging term, we still tend to call them as such. No wonder, they perceive us as racist.

I can't help but realize that we have become hypocrites because of their skin tones. Just read these real stories as to how Filipinos make them look like freak show animals. Its a shame, we need to rethink about who we are. Are we really racist?

In fact, colored people were once exhibited as ethnological curiosities in "human zoos" across Europe at the end of the century. Some Filipino ethnic groups like the Igorots and Aetas were even smuggled to Spain just fulfill the needs of the jeering crowd.

Do we want to be white? Or just be happy of what we are?

Final whistle 2-1, a Kuwaiti win. The Middle Eastern eliminated the Azkals in their home turf 5-1 on aggregate to move on to the next round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. The question remains, what will become of the Azkals now that it will take years of growing pains to become competitive enough for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Stephan Schrock may have scored a goal by half-time and things were looking good when Kuwait were down to ten men after a defender was sent off for a vicious tackle on Chieffy Caligdong. Unfortunately, they scored two more goals to end the Philippines misery on international competitions. Remember, Kuwait is a higher ranked team with tons of international experience. As mentioned in the previous blog, they were the only team to win a game in Australia so it is not surprising that they can manage to win on the road.

It is unfortunate that some Filipino "fans" are crabby enough to blame others for the Azkals failure. Of course, we want our team to win but we have to understand that there are teams better than us. We lost to a better team whether we like it or not! We simply crumbled in intense pressure.

Is it the end of the Azkal mania? I hope not. Do we have to end our World Cup dreams completely? Definitely not. As Manny Pacquiao would sum it up, "Aray n'yo, galing ko!"

Historical films and biopics are popular genre that directors and filmmakers venture because you know the story behind certain personalities and events. However, portraying a certain historical figure or important event in the past can always be big challenge not because of the research that has to be made but the possible controversies it may create.

During the Golden Age of Philippine cinema, we enjoyed classic films that helped us understand our history, culture, and even our own identity. After all, real people, places, and events are rich source of inspiration in movies. In this way, directors can help instill good values of honor and patriotism and shape our national consciousness at the same time.

These historical films do not just entertain its audiences but inform them about our rich cultural heritage and immortalize events that formed our country. Here are the greatest historical films in the history of Philippine cinema:

1. Jose Rizal the Movie (1999)
Considered to be the most expensive and highest grossing Philippine movie of all time, this Marilou Diaz-Abaya film portrays our national hero by showing the different sides of his human nature. Made in time for the Philippine Centennial, dramatic actor Cesar Montano can make Rizal proud because of his display of a wide-range of emotions during our national hero’s trying times.

2. Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon? (1976)
I’m not sure if people know about this movie but I managed to see this film on a Holy Week when I was a kid. Historical films like this is quite remarkable because it show how times change because Kulas (portrayed by Christopher de Leon) experienced how life changed from the last years of the Spanish colonial rule to the early beginnings of the American occupation. With an epic storytelling style, the classic film show how a probinsyano search for his identity in rapidly changing environment in parallel to the changing fortunes of the Philippines under different foreign rulers.

3. Dekada ‘70
Though not a Piolo Pascual fanboy, Dekada ’70 for me is one of the most notable films I saw that showed what life is like in the turbulent decades of the seventies. Under the shadow of Martial Law during President Ferdinand Marcos’ rule, you can see how an ordinary middle class family was affected from the changing political order and social climate. The counterculture and student protest movements also played a big part in the film that eventually test the family’s resolve to its limits.

4. Aguila (1979)
This three-hour historical epic that starred the late Fernando Poe Jr. and dramatic actor Christopher de Leon is one of the greatest FPJ films I ever watched. It may not be as popular as his other successful films but Aguila somehow serves as an entire chronicle of the Filipino people’s collective historical experience. It covers the 1896 Philippine Revolution to the widespread student protest movements of the seventies.

5. Sakay (1936 and 1993 remake)
Dramatizing the life of the last Filipino revolutionary to surrender to the Americans was the Lamberto Avellana film Sakay, where Leopoldo Salcedo played the lead role. About sixty years later, Julio Diaz picked up the role of the supremo in the Raymond Red biopic of the same name.

6. Lupang Hinirang (1973)
Some may say that it is a propaganda film commissioned by President Marcos but this star-studded film is no doubt one of the greatest historical films ever made. It is a montage showing a slice of our glorious past as portrayed by greatest thespians of our time like Eddie Garcia, Caridad Sanchez, Hilda Koronel, and Alicia Alonzo. The film showed how life during the Spanish colonial era was simple and peaceful. It also focused on the oppression and injustices made on the local people by the corrupt government and church institutions.

7. Urduja (1974)
This biopic of the most controversial figure in Philippine history can be considered a pioneer in portraying a woman as a lead character in historical films. Usually, male historical figures are portrayed in various films that were made. The beautiful Amalia Fuentes played the legendary princess wherein not only she showed her female elegance but her strength of an Amazon.

8. Oro, Plata, Mata (1982)
Two haciendero clans in Negros were torn apart by social changes, family intrigues, and the Second World War. Directed by Peque Gallaga and includes award-winning actors Cherie Gil and Joel Torre, this film is composed into three sub-stories that highlights the families' intertwining lives, associations, and affairs during three critical periods.

Heroes always have sidekicks to support them because without them, heroes would never defeat the villain without the help of their trusted buddies. In Philippine cinema, we tend to overlook the crucial role of the supporting actors that help our heroes when they are in grave danger or in an uncomfortable situation.

Batman always have Robin. The Lone Ranger have Tonto as his partner. Sherlock Holmes gets assistance from Dr. Watson. Don Quixote teams up with Sancho Panza. Here are the greatest Philippine movie sidekicks of all time:

1. Dencio Padilla
When talk about movie sidekicks then you always refer to Dencio Padilla as the typical lead supporting cast. Without him, Fernando Poe, Jr. would get beaten up by Max Alvarado or Paquito Diaz and his henchmen. Always loyal to FPJ to the end, Dencio always provide comic relief when the going gets tough.

2. Panchito Alba
In Dolphy's long and illustrious career, the late Panchito Alba (Alfonso Tagle, Sr. in real life) has defined his comic legacy. Without Panchito, Dolphy would never reached his stature as the King of Philippine Comedy. Much like the Filipino counterpart of the Laurel and Hardy fame, Panchito and Dolphy are famous for their English-Filipino song translation routine.

3. Palito
This thin-reed statured actor, the late Reynaldo Hipolito in real life, is always on the bitter end of slapstick comedies of Dolphy and other comedians. He played well of the role of a sidekick that is always get harmed by hero and villain at the same time.

4. Babalu
Known as Pablito Sarmiento in real life, Babalu is another Dolphy sidekick known for his enormous chin. As part of his comedic charm, Babalu's chin is always the center of all gags. He was said to be discovered when he served as Panchito's driver where his natural knack for telling jokes was known. He debuted in the television show “Buhay Artista” and since then he starred in countless comedies in films and television shows.

5. Rene Requestas
The most popular comedian of the nineties, the late Rene Requestas looks like a homeless dude because his crazy hairstyle and toothless grin. His impeccable timing and humorous delivery has made him famous thereby earning him his own movies and teamed up with fellow comedian Joey De Leon. His role as Chita-eh as sidekick to Starzan (played by De Leon) became synonymous to him.

6. Redford White
You may mistake him as someone with foreign blood but actually, he (Cipriano Cermeno II in real life) has albinism. Redford White first came to prominence in the late seventies for his supporting role in the sitcom Iskul Bukol. For the rest of the 1980's, scored hit comedies that culminated his partnership with Eric Quizon in Buddy en Sol.

7. Ritchie D' Horsie
Filipinos have always this affinity for people with unique physical deformities including those having disproportionate teeth like Richie D'Horsie, Ritchie Reyes in real life.

8. Amay Bisaya
Considered as the sidekick of sidekick, Amay Bisaya is a Dencio Padilla protege that plays prominent roles in FPJ movies as the usual guy who get whacked first by the bad guys. His extreme loyalty to the hero is commendable despite the enormous pressures he goes through.

It is always been said that the most heroic characters in film is always paired with the most feared and hated villains of them all. In Philippine cinema, movie villains or kontrabida play the crucial role in transforming the simple lead character into a heroic one. These bad boys have forever captured our imagination because they are cold, heartless, and merciless.

However, at the end of the film, the hero will always find the strength and will power to use his special skills to foil the enemies’ plan and defeating them in the end. We are on the edge of our seats as the hero gets beaten by the kontrabida but jump in joyous celebration as he makes his ultimate revenge.

We rejoice at the hero's final triumph over evil thereby assuring ourselves that the hero once again saved the day knowing full well that in real life criminals and their henchmen are not always punished and brought to justice. But just the same, we heave a sigh of relief seeing the hero reunited with his love interest and his murdered, raped, abused relatives finally avenged. Here are the ten most hated villains in Philippine movies:

1. Paquito Diaz
Love him or hate him, this half-Mexican American Francisco Bustillos Diaz has made villainy his middle name as he transformed himself as one of the most hated man in Philippine movies. Under the screen name of Paquito Diaz, he played serialized roles of all the vilest and despicable criminals in society. Yet in real life, he is not the man that you think he is. Despite that, he never became type casted as the ultimate villain because he ventured into comedy as well. He remained to be one of the most popular actors in a career spanning four decades.

2. Max Alvarado
Gavino Maximo Teodosio in real life, this is the man that we always love to hate because of his endless portrayals of Fernando Poe’s evil villains. He is best known for his role of Lizardo in the Ang Panday movie and he also portrayed countless criminal and henchmen roles in the past. This mustachioed bad guy has captivated the hearts of moviegoers that it is even said that some people would fire their guns on the screen when FPJ is in deep trouble.

3. Eddie Garcia
Simply called “manoy,” the Bicolano Garcia always play a corrupt public official or rich haciendero that always oppress the people. He may be considered as the villain with a diverse personality in the roles he played. No wonder Garcia has able to reach a long career in the old, worn out staple of action films.

4. Dick Israel
Though not to be categorized as a head villain, Israel is considered as the ultimate henchmen because he always serves second in command to leading villains like Paquito Diaz and Eddie Garcia. He is the ultimate nemesis of the hero’s sidekick like Dencio Padilla.

5. Johnny Delgado
This guy reminds me of Forrest Whitaker with weird sense of humor. This man always plays the crooked politician or shady underworld leader. Later in his career, he ventured into more serious roles as a father figure rather than the crime boss with a menacing laugh.

6. John Regala
When I see his face, there is the bad guy image written all over him. He plays his role well as a hired gun or a professional assassin.

7. George Estreegan
He is the women’s worst nightmare because he usually portrays the vilest sexual predator and sadistic rapist all in one.

8. Rez Cortez
Sometimes a loyal and a turncoat, this guy always makes me mixed up with Dick Israel as the ultimate henchman.

9. Roi Vinzon
When it comes all out action scenes, Roi Vinzon is the name. Unfortunately, he plays the bad guy roles all the time as he serves as the ultimate villain when it comes to action sequences against Robin Padilla or Ian Veneracion.

10. Romy Diaz
A least-known brother of Paquito, Romy Diaz is known for his evil and sometimes maniacal laugh that may perhaps make other bad guys look like little boys. He always accompany his brother as a loyal henchman.

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Me and my buddy had an awesome lunch and when I checked my watch, we still have less than 30 minutes left for lunch break. We decided to head to the arcades and try to cash in some tickets just for fun. We found some arcade machines with tickets left uncollected so I decided to collect it for myself so that I would have enough points to get a lovely stuffed animal for my girl.

Then my friend decided to play a game with one of the arcades. Put your coin into the slot and hope it will push the coins below so that you can get tickets. Unfortunately, we realized that it doesn't spew out tickets that we hope for and our coins were wiped out without a single ticket won.

Moral lesson? Never take out tickets that you never paid for.

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