“Everything Is Love” is Jay Z and Beyoncé’s declaration that they have arrived

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Source: Beyoncé / YouTube

Everything Is Love, the latest album from the most influential couple in the music industry, is the most fitting ending to what could only be hip-hop’s most powerful trilogy.

As outsiders in a relationship, we often measure a couple’s compatibility by their ability to be successful both as individuals and as a unit, by their ability to tread that thin line between growing together and growing apart. Jay Z and Beyoncé seem to have perfected that formula: one is the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame while the other is the world’s greatest entertainer. This, of course, was before we realize that even with their degree of success and the amount of money they gross, they are also mere mortals like us who get cheated on, abandoned, and heartbroken.

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The choicelessness of President Duterte

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Source: Presidential Communications Operations Office

In between the expletives and taboo words that Rodrigo Duterte has said over his tenure as the most powerful man in the country, there is a phrase that is worth noting not because of its profanity, but because it indicates so much about the President’s personality.

“I have no choice.”

Those four words have cropped up in at least five of his speeches, and almost always in the context of making political decisions. It’s a phrase you would not expect to hear from a leader, especially on issues between life and death, between peace and violence, even between democracy and martial rule.

In May last year, Duterte decided to declare martial law in Mindanao as soldiers and terrorists fight for the city of Marawi. He said in a visit to Iligan City, “I hope [at] the soonest time, you will find a new heart to forgive my soldiers, the government, even me for declaring martial law. I did not have any choice. They are destroying Marawi.”

That declaration was later extended to last a year.

When the president decided to bring the participation of the Philippine National Police back to the drug war despite records of brutality, mishandling of evidence, and even murder, he reasoned that he has no choice, as drug-related cases continue to worsen with the absence of the agency.

The order stood, mightily–even though evidence pointed to the police force killing a Korean businessman named Jee Ick-joo inside its headquarters, even when a CCTV footage showed policemen carrying the lifeless body of a Kian delos Santos, 17-year-old boy, who would eventually become the eventual poster boy of the war on drugs.

Most recently, the outspoken 73-year-old has implied the same reasoning in obeying government officials. He said, “even if you choose a son of a b**** president, if he is chosen by the people, we can’t do anything. We’ll just bear it and obey him.”

All this almost sounds like an act of surrender to what is inevitable. It’s as if things were bound to happen the way they did.

Is it really possible for a person to run out of possibilities, moreso, for a leader to believe that there is such a thing as choicelessness?

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Kendrick Lamar just won pop culture its first Pulitzer

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Kendrick Lamar just won the Pulitzer Prize for music for his latest album “DAMN,” making him the first hip-hop artist to have won the prestigious award. This historic feat is so immense for no rapper has ever been nominated, let alone regarded as a serious candidate.

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Thoughts on The Weeknd’s “My Dear Melancholy,”

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Photo credit: Apple Music

Abel Tesfaye, popularly known as The Weeknd, recently released a six-track album called “My Dear Melancholy,” to the surprise of fans. With what people know from his public life and from the lyrics it contained, this latest album has been Tesfaye’s outlet for his emotions after two failed relationships with Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez.

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Tonight, I decided to tell myself that I will never be depressed again. I will never feed on this temporary abyss, and turn it into a novel, or a poem, or an intricate piece of lie to recite in front of a mirror, over and over again.

And tonight will not be like any other night, for this night will not fail to end. I will sweep my sorrows under the rug, and stomp, stomp, stomp, until all I can see are dust and particles lost in the shadows of the pitch-black night.

I will not wait for someone to hold me, until I learn how to hold, and console, my self.

And in my bed I will dream in color, in Vincent Van Gogh hues, and he will remind me, while he holds his bleeding ear, that from his insufferable life he drew that starry, starry night, and that sunflower, and that beautiful portrait of a man.

And I will wake up, not in the middle of my slumber, but in a blissful morning that smells of lilies and poppies and sandalwood. My eyes will burn from too much sunlight and my temples will hurt, but I will welcome the warmth and let it dry my wounds.

Because today, sadness will not kill me. I will kill it.

beaches and trucks

There was a time when we drove to La Union and all we had were the clothes on our back, some cheap change, and my camera. Back then, we were as hungry for adventure as we were for one another. We would occasionally throw away our responsibilities and deadlines to the curb and shut down the world that didn’t seem to give a shit about how we felt. We would go off the grid and nervously laugh about how fucked we would be the moment we return to our real lives, but we go on anyway. We were one another’s ride or die.

There was also a time when we had a huge fight over a bath towel. I used mine as a mat while sun bathing, and when I went back to our room you were furious. I laughed, of course, and that infuriated you more. You explained that bath towels and beach towels are different, but I just stopped listening after I saw you standing there with one hand in your hip, and you were wearing this beautiful yellow one piece bathing suit. I interrupted you, mid-argument, to tell you that I should not have gone out since the sunshine is already right here in front of me. You tried to stay mad, but you ended up laughing. You told me I was stupid while you remove my bath towel in my hand and replaced it with a beach towel, while calmly explaining, again and again, their differences.

That was how I defuse you – make you laugh, drop some corny one-liners until you forget about the things I lack, the things I didn’t do and should’ve done – but I realized what I was doing was no different than covering a manhole with a cardboard box.

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Greenwich gets a makeover from 46-year-old millennial

President of Greenwich, Albert Cuadrante
Greenwich Pizza President Albert Cuadrante

For Greenwich Pizza president Albert Cuadrante, being young is a state of mind.

Having been previously the vice president for marketing of Jollibee Foods Corp. where he was among the younger executives, Cuadrante now leads the country’s leading pizza and pasta chain in a room full of millennials, and yes, that includes himself.

“I consider myself a millennial,” the 46-year-old said. “Greenwich is actually very dynamic, very energetic, and very fun. Nakakabata (It makes me feel young).”

Cuadrante’s unmistakable alacrity to embrace latest trends and the social media has completely transformed the pizza chain from a family-friendly fast food restaurant to a modern-day pizzeria for young adults—and it has proven to be a successful strategy.

In just four years since he took over in 2013, Greenwich revenues kept growing and has been expanding its reach in the country with an average of 30 new stores every year. To date, it has over 300 branches nationwide.

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Phoenix 2017: Better than the first

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In true Filipino fandom fashion, fans went berserk during the concert of the French indie rock band Phoenix in Manila at the Kia Theater, their second in the country. Some were even driven to tears from such a spectacular show which second timers described as “better than the first.”

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Dunkirk is a beautiful struggle

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Christopher Nolan’s latest movie Dunkirk is said to be the biggest feather in his cap, and I am not going to argue about that. If anything, his first foray into non-fiction proves that his talent goes beyond fucking the mind. He can, without any pretense, also offer an experience that does not only linger, but stays to become a part of who you are.

The discomfort and anxiety that have becomes staples in his films are still there, but so are feelings of hope, fortitude, and a ceaseless will to live. This may be Nolan at his best – in full control of his craft, showing a relentless picture of the intimacy of war even in the remotest conditions.

Maybe, this really is the best Nolan film ever made.

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