Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Last of King Alfred

The last week gave us two of the most anticipated moments in movie and TV history: Avengers: Endgame and The Battle of Winterfell in Game of Thrones. But then, both of them gave me X-men: The Last Stand vibes. Because the films only allowed for a few seconds to mourn the deaths, I barely got to feel anything. It was always... almost; not even a tear for dear Tony Stark or Theon Greyjoy.

But because of this momentum, I craved for anything 'super hero' or those set in the middle ages. This brought me back to The Last Kingdom Season 3, which I've followed since 2017. I watched the first episode of season 3 upon its release last year but was put off by Skade, an annoying sorceress.

The Last Kingdom Alfred Uhtred Season 3 Episode 9
King Alfred (left) having his peace with Uhtred (right).

King Alfred had me bawling from the moment he had his one-on-one talk with Uhtred until (yes, the tears embarrassingly kept coming) his death.You see, Alfred is a very proud man, of his status, intelligence, knowledge, and faith. And these two clash all the time, mostly because of their inability to accept a culture or religion different from theirs. Yet in this long, quiet scene with Uhtred, a very weak Alfred humbled himself, admitted his mistakes and apologized, though not without getting something in return, which stays true to his character.

The Last Kingdom King Alfred Dying Scene
It was always for England.

His was a very slow death spanning three seasons; and he would have wanted to have died earlier if not for his fear of leaving the kingdom without someone to protect his legacy and continue on with the dream of a united England.

The Last Kingdom Uhtred He was my king.

"He was a man I loved and despised, but it was never less than an honor to serve him." - Uhtred

Just like Uhtred, I go back and forth between love and 'hate' for Alfred. Sometimes I would question his decisions. But as what Uhtred said to Brida, that love will always be there. The two men were like yin and yang, complete opposites who share a complicated bond. If you have not seen the show, it would be worth a try just to see the dynamics of these two characters: on the one hand an honest, skillful warrior, and on the other a shrewd and pious, frail king.
"You may dislike me, hate me if you wish, despise me at times. But love is immortal. It goes on." - Uhtred to Brida

David Dawson was perfect as Alfred. I will surely miss his presence on the show.

P.S. Before The Last Kingdom, I tried watching Vikings again, but finally gave up after Season 2 Episode 1 when Lagertha left Ragnar.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Quiet Tours Youtube Channel

Some of my favorite TV shows to watch are related to travel. There is always something relaxing about travelling videos. Back then, when it was still shown locally, I closely followed the Amazing Race and discussed passionately with my classmates. But what really gives me great satisfaction is a handheld walking or guided tour, with or without talking. These kind of videos give me goosebumps on the head --- if you know ASMR, then you know what I mean.

With the rise of YouTube, I have found several kindred channels and have benefited from them especially on chaotic times. I've decided that if ever I make a YT channel, this will be the first one on the list. So this year, three days after purchasing a GoPro, I filmed my walk to Shrine Hills where I attended a recollection, then uploaded it to Quiet Tours.

In a way, this might be a hobby that will make me go out more since I work from home; and walking would be my exercise. Aside from that, it will also be one way to document the places in and around Davao City. And lastly, I would be forced to learn video editing.

Currently I am working on my second walk --- around Victoria Plaza, the first mall in Davao City, and was recently acquired/managed by NCCC.

Please visit my YouTube channel Quiet Tours, and subscribe for future videos.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Dada Stories: Born with the caul

Dada Stories born with the caul nephithyrion
Dada as a baby
My father was born wearing a helmet --- with the top half of his body covered in some remnant of the amniotic sac. This is called a "caul" birth; caul refers to that "piece of membrane that can cover a newborn's head and face" (Wikipedia).

Because this kind of birth occurs rarely, surely there are many superstitions surrounding it, and it will differ in various cultures.

During that time, it was common to give birth at home. After my father was delivered, it was believed that the midwife took the caul and used it in gambling --- most probably sabong or cockfighting. According to my late grandmother, my father would turn gray one moment, then recover the next, and this would happen repeatedly for some time.

It was also believed that people born with the caul would turn out naughty and invulnerable, incapable of empathy. (I cannot help but think this describes a psychopath when I was told this story. The Cebuano terms my father used were momaldito, makublan, dili basta masakitan). So grandma went to a mananambal (healer/quack doctor) and asked for a counterspell. Thank goodness Dada grew up a very kind man.

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Dada Stories will be a series of interesting tales, real or otherwise, that my father loves telling.