Veritatem ab oculis meis.


The Phoenix Force

Posted by JR on May 01, 2013

Most of us are familiar with the concept of the Phoenix, wherein there is this bird, usually associated with fire, that is either reborn or causing rebirth. Some of its most popular incarnations are Harry Potter’s Fawkes the Phoenix, the Marvel Universe’s Phoenix Force, the Final Fantasy franchise’s Phoenix or phoenix pinion, and about a thousand other references in which resurrection is involved. Speaking of resurrection, the phoenix has been used as a reference to the resurrection of Jesus in the earlier days of Christianity.

I first encountered the Phoenix concept while I was watching the X-Men cartoons when I was in early high school. Before then I had absolutely no idea what it was or what it signified. I knew of the Philippine-based publishing house Phoenix Publishing, but I haven’t really cared why it was named as such. I was aware of Ibong Adarna, (and up to this day I don’t know what it does or what the story behind it is; I’m sorry, I believe I was absent in school when it was being discussed, my apologies) but that was as far as my knowledge of mystical birds would be; save for Moltres, Zapdos and Articuno.

Holy shit, it’s the legendary Pokemon (of the first 150)!

The Phoenix is basically the bird of rebirth. The idea stems from Greek mythology (doesn’t everything?), depicted as a bird that keeps on dying and coming back to life, pretty much like Professor Dumbledore’s Fawkes who ever so often bursts into flames and starts a new life. This is proof that earlier civilizations have experienced and clamored for a reset button; or simply recognized the need for a new beginning every once in a while.

In the Marvel Universe, there is an entity called the Phoenix force — a cosmic being that “seems to take interest in Earth’s mutant population” (from one Marvel character in Avengers vs. XMen). it is more popularly known as the fiery bird that consumed Jean Grey in almost all renditions of the X-Men, the force that drove her mad with power and in the end caused her need to die in the hands of Wolverine. The Phoenix force returns to earth in Avengers vs Xmen, where it targets Hope Summers (the next host), but is subsequently split into five, being absorbed by Cyclops, Emma Frost, Collosus, Namor and Magik. They bore the powers of the Phoenix until the powers consumed them and started killing each other. Ultimately the powers were transferred to Hope Summers, who knew what to do with it (guess what).

“We are the Phoneix” — nerdgasm, right there.

In the Harry Potter Universe, the one Phoenix in the whole saga that is referenced is called Fawkes, and he resides in the office of Albus Dumbledore. First introduced in the second book, The Chamber of Secrets, Fawkes was shown to have been frolicing around Dumbledore’s office and then burst into flames. Later on he is used by Dumbledore to escape arrest (and being sent to Azkaban). It has come out of its abode in three occasions (this is from memory, apologies if the data is wrong) 1. To deliver the Sword of Godric Gryffindor to Harry Potter in the Chamber of Secrets and claw the hell out of the basilisk’s eyes, 2. To sing a lament when Albus Dumbledore died, and 3. To bamboozle Nagini the Snake before she was struck down by Neville Longbottom at the final battle of Hogwarts. All of the scenarios in which Fawkes have been involved are marked with and end, and an agreeably new beginning.

Going out in style. He could’ve just disapparated (in the movies, this is possible, in the books, not even Dumbledore can apparate in and out of hogwarts), but no, a fiery bird is the way to go.

In most role-playing games, the Phoenix concept is used to bridge the gap between the 0 and 100% hit points of a character. It is used to “revive” seemingly dead players into their full states, to bring them back into the game.

And the phoenix applies  to our normal, mortal, non magical and non-fictional lives. It basically teaches us that for a new beginning to be set in motion, there has to be destruction, or on a lighter note, imbalance. The Phoenix bursts out and is reborn; so are our lives when we hit rock bottom before we return in full vivacity and vigor, ready to take our happiness back and make the most of ourselves. I may have rambled a bit too much up there, but I was trying to make a good point: that in the darkness of whatever adverse scenarios we are in, there will always be rebirth, a new chapter, a new beginning. The hope to reach that should not falter, and that the only thing that will cause it not will be death, the ultimate end itself.

I recently bursted out into flames, and from there a Phoenix force picked me up. :)

Systematic Neutralization

Posted by JR on April 15, 2013

I’d like to believe that emotions aren’t at all automated — that is, no emotional discharge emanating from a human comes untrigerred or unaffected by a small amount of control from its host. I’m not a behavioral scientist, nor a psychiatrist, an occupational therapist or a sociologist, or any other person involved with human interactions, specifically emotions, but I can personally attest to some matters I have been pondering over.

This afternoon my stranger asked me a question I’ve been anticipating for a long time. “Do you miss her?”. I actually didn’t have a prepared answer to this one question, no matter how long I’ve been expecting it; I just knew I didn’t, and that’s what I planned to say. “Surprisingly not,” I told her. “Why?” She asked again.

Then I remembered the same thing I wrote down on my college notebook a while back: a one sentence recipe on how to forget a person that was so simple yet highly effective. It’s so simplistic you might even say “that’s how I do it too!”, and subsequently “that’s ruthless, evil, barbaric even!”. But this has been tried and tested for me for years, and I’ve successfully sedated emotions to the point of indifference in a lot of situations before with this. “Feed it negativity.”

There are a handful of significant conversations I’ve had in my life which brought a plethora of psychological bases of my character. Two of the most endeared are from my parents, one from each. My mother inadvertently (please note how this was not done intentionally, as this statement may bring a conclusion that is different) taught me the relativity of truth at a young age, and its subsequent purposes in life as a whole. One of the most notable applications of which is the establishment of a truth, regardless of the facts. Basically it’s called ‘belief’, not to be confused with ‘faith’ as that comes after. Will is the one of the universe’s (or multiverse, if you subscribe to the idea) most fundamental elements. Concocted with proper reason and sound logic, will can bring about a belief system that can be proven correct in any angle. So comes the saying “mind over matter.” And it proves true.

For one to forget a certain event, thing, or person (in this case I shall delve more into a person to explain my case), one must simply feed it negativity. Anything that has happened may be viewed in two or more completely different ways, hence another saying, “there are two sides to a coin,” and selective application yields results depending on what you will it to. For example, a simple memory of sharing a meal celebrating your graduation can be converted into “it’s mandatory; I was ready to go to bed that night; She left me in the plenary hall waiting while she had already gone without notice.” Feed it negativity, and a joyful memory shall be pounded into neutrality, or absolute negativity, depending on your desire. My desire in my endeavour a few months back was simply to neutralize left-over concerns, and not to eradicate the validity of a person’s existence in my life completely.

This is not to say that I continually operate on built-up beliefs; on the contrary, I only conjure this ‘skill’, if it be allowed to be called such, in times of necessity. I always try to keep a neutral mindset regarding anything, when that fails, I lose my control of things and let emotions partnered with little reasoning take over. Whatever comes out of it, I work around. I usually don’t like it when things like that happen; it makes me feel less controlling of a situation, and at times like that I muster all focus and mechanisms I can get to retrieve control. Feeding it negativity is one method.

From a psychological stand-point, this may be seen as an escape mechanism, and I would actually understand it being called that. I just don’t know what it’s called.

To end things, this is a quote from an apprehended Observer in the TV show Fringe (Season 5, Episode 5, ‘An Origin Story’). Spoiler alert to those who are close to seeing this season.

“You don’t even know what you don’t know. Emotions get in the way of judgment. Your assertion regarding the involuntary response of the body to physical threat was interesting but highly antiquated. In truth, there was a fly on the window and my cerebral cortex registered it, there was a small irregularity in my heart beat causing a slight deregulation of oxygen into my brain which in turn affected my oculo-motor nerve. This oculo-motor nerve is what caused my pupil to dilate. That’s what you picked up on. My observation of a fly. That you ascribed meaning to something that was not there, you saw what you wanted to see you believed what you wanted to believe, because that’s what your emotions do: they ascribe meaning to something that is not there; they fool your perception as to what is real. A dog does not smile, no matter how many times your mind might say that it does. You put together the device with your intuition, and your experience as an engineer. You simply needed confidence, so, you made sure you saw what you needed in my reactions.”

Post Note:
Remember how I said I lose my control of things and let emotions partnered with little reasoning take over? Well, this is one of those situations. Pfft.

Banana Based Wisdom

Posted by JR on April 10, 2013

I’m a fat slob. One of the reasons I grew to this blob that at I am right now is my childhood diet, which consists of my grandmother’s wonderful versions of Nilaga, Sinigang and Tinola — soup-and-meat based food that made me eat a lot of rice. After a filling meal there always was dessert, not the fancy ones though, just a plain, simple, native fruit: bananas.

My father used to bring home a stalk of bananas every day after work; apparently, they said, it kept me happy everyday, and at one point they could have sworn hearing me squealing like a monkey while eagerly peeling a banana. My mother called it “the poor man’s fruit,” and she kept on chiding my father about it (even until now), but I really appreciate the banana-filled table everyday. These days, bananas are as common as bread on our dining area, and any given day that there aren’t any, at least one of us would look for it.

Bananas are especially interesting because there is a plethora of different species of bananas. Most of them are unknown to us, and would even beg the question “this is a banana?”. Their species is a starchy one, and is primarily loaded with potassium. Their most commonly seen forms in the Philippines are the Lakatan, Latundan and Saba. Colors range from yellow to green to sometimes a little red-ish.

So why am I telling you about bananas?

I recently met a stranger who has been instructed in life almost the same way I was. She was told that a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure (yes, I just paraphrased the eatles. Get over it), and just like me, she kept the words close to her heart, and her mind. It was only logical, to work hard for what you shall deserve in the future; reap what you sow, and unless you were born with a platinum spoon in your mouth (gold and silver are just so overrated, even informal settlers have fine silver spoons you know), you have no choice but to work hard for it. I saw myself in this diligent stranger, I saw how I used to think, just a couple of years back. I would never intend to change her mind about it on my own terms, no, I would rather observe her go through it and learn, perhaps, how to deal with my personal dilemmas as well.

In passing, however, a sudden burst of my idiosyncrasy arose and I let go of a statement that I never thought would come from me. Amidst a not-so-escalated discussion I blurted out an analogy,

Wag mong hawakan ng mahigpit ang saging sa isang bahagi lang. Pag hinigpitan mo ang hawak mo sa iisang bahagi, madudurog at masisira ang saging. Hawakan mo ng dalawang kamay ang buong saging para hindi ito masira, at mapanatili itong maganda, maayos. Parang buhay.”  (Don’t press on one part of the banana too hard, because when you do, the banana gets mashed and is ruined. Hold the banana with two hands to keep the banana nice and intact, just like life.)

After texting her the preceding statement, I got hung up on what I just said. I can’t believe it came out of me, and I can’t believe this stranger pulled it out of me. Still it made me think, and the analogy still made sense. Focusing too hard on one aspect of one’s life leaves the rest of it open to being mashed, ergo we all need to chill and level, even everything out into a nice balance, so that we don’t lose control of certain areas of our selves.

Image from

And now I’m off to the creamery for a banana split.


I just noticed how this whole analogy thing, when thought about, becomes a double entendre. For what it’s worth, it applies to both connotations. :p


Posted by JR on March 18, 2013

So at one point in time I fancied myself a filmmaker. This is my only full-length short film, my obra. I want to recreate this, and make it better, with more depth perhaps. Someday. And I’d still go with the same cast. Mariel Cui does it like a pro, and you’d actually think she’s like this in real life; she’s not. Haha! Hope you guys enjoy it.

The poster:

Read the “script”. Lol :p

My Video Production (VIDPRD2) Final under Mr. Frank Mamaril
The film follows Cara Ortiz, a temperamental, overworked and perfectionist indie film director making a sequel to Lino Brocka’s “Insiang”. She later on reveals why this is such a big thing for her.

(c)immortalconcepts / JR Manulid 2009

Mariel Cui as Cara ortiz
Richard Benson Jorge as Jorge
Michelle Literal as Michelle the Make Up Artist / Set Designer
Elizabeth Guina as Elaiza the Bestfriend
Jess Martin San Juan as The Kidnapper (on set)

Produced, Written and Directed by JR Manulid

Special Thanks to

Creative Consultants:
Mr. Frank Lloyd Mamaril
Ms. Carla Payongayong
Ms. Princess Dawn Mercader


Posted by JR on March 13, 2013

Organic is a word commonly used in departments like biology, medical sciences, and food. I’m too lazy to cop the dictionary definition, but in general, organic means anything that arises from living organisms, or anything part of a whole (ergo, organs in our bodies).

Analytics logo

Until I entered the world of back-end internet, which is operating a website no matter how simple, and until I learned how to use google analytics, the word organic has been stuck in my head as defined above, nothing more, nothing else. I started using analytics back in college when we were taught how to read data from it, and I encountered the word again, but this time it was related to searches, landings and redirects. That was the first time it occurred to me that the word can apply to a lot of other things.


A few months ago I was touring New York on foot with my cousins, parents and aunts. One of my cousins, a veritable health-nerd (Dude, just laugh this off :p), made it a point to search for “organic” food all over the place. The morning of my birthday we all went out to get her sister’s new phone, and then breakfast. We found a nice french restaurant somewhere down 2nd Ave, and my cousin got all giddy with the plethora of organic food available. It sort of just picked up, the joke, that anything she touches should be organic; organic bread, organic butter… organic water. “Organic” went on to be the whole trip’s comic relief. To this day we still tease her with it (I believe that at some point she got ticked off by it). Back in her home town, while we were on a road trip to Burbank, I finally asked her what she actually meant with the word. She said “Simple. Anything that doesn’t involve unnatural methods of cultivation, which means no pesticides, no growth chemicals, no mass production stuff.”

Organic BreakfastOrganic Breakfast
“even the butter is organic!” | My cousin’s organic breakfast. Lifted from her blog, Backyard Destinations

For the past day I’ve been talking to this stranger I met yesterday. The whole experience was refreshing, considering the “stranger-ness” of both parties; more than your average new friend / acquaintance, we started talking as if we’ve known each other for quite a while. Bringing the conversation up to a proper pace wasn’t so hard, and I had hardly noticed it happening, and before I knew it we’ve been talking through the first three hours of the morning. The cool thing about this is that the exchanges were very organic, so natural that there weren’t any dull moments, no awkward pauses or silences.

Pushing it too hard

Newton's Apple
Nature at ts core

The whole scenario actually took me out of the box for the first time in three months. See I’ve been boxing myself in (as I always do) with what I thought worked recently. I realised that I didn’t have to push it too hard when I’m trying to go back to the social world; friends come naturally, as they always have. No outside pressure, no artificial cultivators, and just as organic as Newton having an apple drop from a tree to his head. As organic as gravity.

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