Winner: Congratulations to Sj Perez for winning the Mockingjay tickets!

I actually did the random drawing yesterday midnight. I just didn’t have the time to actually post the result, so this is a day late–

"Mockingjay Screening Winner"

Without further ado, congratulations to Sj Perez for winning the two tickets to the Mockingjay screening.

I had to disqualify two entries because they came from people who already joined. Or from the same IP address, with the same surname (or the same e-mail account, or the same profile picture) as I felt it would be unfair to those who only put in one comment.

Sj Perez, do leave a comment here on how I can contact you (e-mail first, preferably, as it’s not safe to just post your mobile number online for anyone to see) so I can hand over the tickets to you!

Thank you for everyone who joined. And congratulations again, Sj!

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Merry Christmas, 2013!

"Merry Christmas"

I’m giving away a Starbucks planner!

Why? Because ’tis the season of giving. Also, it’s been a while since I last gave something away.

So what do you guys need to do to get the planner? Watch a Metro Manila Film Festival entry, and convince me that it is the film I need to watch to complete my five entries of 2013. Take note that I am already planning to watch My Little Bossings, Kimmy Dora the Prequel, Kaleidoscope World, and Pedro Calungsod. I just need one more film to complete my five. The most convincing entry will win the Starbucks planner, along with a surprise gift.

You can give me your recommendations by commenting on this post, or by commenting at the Taking a Break fan page over at Facebook.

The contest is only open to Philippine residents. And the winner will be notified on January 3, when I upload my last MMFF post.

Taking a Break: First Anniversary

"Taking a Break Blog"Okay, so I was supposed to do this yesterday, but I was incapacitated because of work backlog and a mother-of-a migraine.

First on my agenda is to announce the winner of my gift certificate giveaway. I don’t have a screencap of the randomizer thing I did on Randomizer.Org but the result is: Aaron Vincent gets the PhP500 gift card from Fully Booked, and Isaw08 gets the PhP500 gift certificate from National Bookstore. Now, the question is: how do I send the prizes to you? Just send me an e-mail to let me know.

I thank all four of you who joined.

Second, I thought it would be nice to look back on the stats of the blog to see which posts garnered the most attention. So I did. And here’s my Top 10 posts–not including the “Home” and “About” pages, and the giveaways:

  1. Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan (4,384 views)
  2. Pak! Pak! My Doctor Kwak! (2,298 views)
  3. Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote (1,454 views)
  4. Machete (402 views)
  5. The Best of True Philippine Ghost Stories (325 views)
  6. Afraid: The Best Philippine Ghost Stories (243 views)
  7. The Lost Hero (194 views)
  8. Trudis Liit (182 views)
  9. Naermyth (181 views)
  10. Shake, Rattle and Roll XII (139 views)

So out of my Top 10, I have three movie blog posts, two television blog posts, and five posts about books–four of which are Filipino books. Come to think of it, out of the Top 10, only The Lost Hero isn’t a Filipino-related blog post. I guess that says a lot about my readership. As does my stats, because only three of my blog posts actually exceeded 1,000 views.

Will these results change how I pick books to write about? Heck, no. I’ll continue to write about books I want to read. But this does give me a good feeling about the future of Filipino books, because there are people out there who are curious about them.

As for stats, as I said before, I didn’t start this blog for stats and I won’t change that perspective. I like having an outlet, an escape from my regular life, and this continues to be that for me. But as this blog is one year old now, I have come to learn many things about blogs that aren’t an online diary/journal. So do expect a few changes in the way I write.

Giveaway: Autographed Pacific Rims Paperback

"Rafe Bartholomew poses with a paperback edition of Pacific Rims"Happy Independence Day, Filipino readers!

Though, that’s not what this blog post is about. I’m actually writing right now, amidst deadlines and other home works to tell you who won the autographed copy of the Pacific Rims paperback I got from last month!

So, as you all know, I said I was going to use a randomizer thingamajig when I got round to having to pick a winner. And Random.org, the website, pointed another website out that simulates drawing straws. And I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to use that instead? Also, I really hate drawing straws because I always feel bad for the person who draws the short straw. Well, this time, the short straw is the one that gets you an autographed book, and without further ado, the person who (cyber-)drew the short straw is:

RUBY E!

Can you feel my excitement? No? Umm, well, that’s probably because you can’t see me. And I think my excitement would be drowned out by Ruby E’s excitement at having won this thing. So, uh, yeah.

"Pacific Rims" winner Ruby ERuby E, I’ll be sending you an e-mail in about a couple of minutes after I post this thing on my blog so we can talk about how I’m going to be sending you the book. Details like that.

Also, I want to give you a head’s up that if you don’t respond to my e-mail within a month, I’m going to draw another winner. Why am I writing this down here? That’s just in case my e-mail doesn’t get to you, you can e-mail me to tell me so! Also, in case you’ve lost interest in this raffle, someone else could benefit from you deciding not to claim the prize. That’s fair, isn’t it?

So again, congratulations Ruby E!

To everyone else who joined the raffle, I still have another ongoing raffle here at Taking a Break—to celebrate my blog turning one year old! And thank you for joining!

Giveaway: Taking a Break Anniversary

"Taking a Break Blog"Hello blog readers and visitors!

June 2010 marked the beginning of Taking a Break the blog. I actually only had one post during the blog’s first month on cyberspace, but I’ve since written more than a hundred posts.

Activity on the blog has pretty much been based on how frequently I posted. Which is okay by me. I mean, I’m not courting readers. If people are interested in reading what I wrote, and they comment, that makes me happy. If people don’t–well, I’m not doing this for other people.

Taking a Break is the blog that forces me to take a break. And sometimes, we need things like these to help us breakaway from the monotony of our lives.

And to celebrate my first year of “taking a break,” I want to say thank you to my regular visitors, and those who pass by occassionally–by holding a raffle!

I have two prizes that I will be giving away on June 29: a gift card worth 500 pesos from Fully Booked, and another one from National Bookstore. All you have to do to be part of the raffle is to post a comment on this blog entry telling me what you think of my blog, what my strengths are, or what I need to work on. Or all three, if you’ve got a lot to say. (If the randomizer picks a non-Manila resident, we’ll talk about how I’m going to send the prize to you.)

So what do you say?

By the way, the giveaway for the autographed copy of Pacific Rims is still ongoing, if you want to join that one instead. Or too.

Event: Pacific Rims Book Signing

"Rafe Bartholomew listens to a question from an attendee"Back in October of 2010, I wrote about Pacific Rims here on my blog. I gushed about it, to be perfectly straight with you. And I felt disappointed (in myself) that I didn’t attend any of the Pacific Rims-related events that Fully Booked and National Bookstore had held during the book’s release. Then again, when said events happened, I didn’t know if I was going to like the book or not. I hadn’t read it yet.

When I found out about National Bookstore’s Book Signing event for the release of Pacific Rims’ paperback copy, I knew I was going. It wasn’t even a question. I knew I was going to make time for it.

So Saturday, May 21, found me at Booksellers in Ortigas, at the book-signing event where author Rafe Bartholomew shared what his next plans are, and how much has changed in his life since the book came out. Spoiler: not much.

Rafe Bartholomew, contrary to his acting stint in Bakekang, is fun to watch live. He conveys his thoughts well—if a bit lengthily. That’s not a criticism, it’s just an observation—by a few people at the event, including me. One attendee, in line to have her book signed, commented that it was great that Rafe was conversing with everyone in line for an autograph—if only he didn’t take 20 minutes to answer each question.

I had my chance to speak with him too. I was planning on telling him how much I enjoyed the book, even though I wasn’t a fan of basketball—and then segue into a couple of questions about his chapter on Philippine show business. But for some reason, my mind went blank. I managed to ask about his acting stint, with a bit of (what I felt was) an accusatory tone. Rafe was nice about it, but I felt like kicking myself. If, by chance, Rafe is reading this: I’m sorry if I sounded snooty. And I really like your book.

The lesson here is: if you’re having problems putting your thoughts to words, not speaking would be the best option.

What’s done is done though, so instead of wallowing, I’ll give a short summary of what was said in the event instead:

First, Rafe Bartholomew is back in the Philippines for a short series of documentaries that will be aired at National Geographic sometime soon. He’ll be in the Philippines until the end of the month, which is sometime next week.

"Rafe Bartholomew poses with a paperback edition of Pacific Rims"Second, he’s been offered a job as a researcher, with the option of writing, for a sports-centric website. I forgot the website, but I do have it on video, which I will put up as soon as I can. Rafe also mentioned that he’ll continue with his own blog; and that he has sent a proposal to publishers for another book. From what wasn’t said, I think it has nothing to do with basketball, or the Philippines.

I’d still pick it up when it gets released though. Whatever it is.

Third, Rafe got to play with some of the PBA legends when he went back to the United States. And most of the feedback he’s gotten for the book has been positive. Though, he said, there were a lot of questions from people of why he chose to dog Alaska instead of Ginebra.

Honestly, I found it weird when people started asking Rafe about stuff that gets covered in the book. Like the “Why Alaska?” question. That is, until I found out that around half of the attendees haven’t read the book. Oops on my part.

Before I end this post though, I have something for my readers: a free (and autographed) copy of Pacific Rims!

Since I liked the book so much, I thought I’d buy a paperback copy to giveaway. To win the book, all you have to do is comment on this post saying you want the book. Oh, and promise than when you do win it, you’ll give me your mailing details so I can actually send the book to you. That’s pretty much all I’m asking.

So do you want the book?

I will pick a winning comment using a randomizer (or whatever you call it) on the morning of June 12.

giveaway: cat’s trail

"cat's trail" by elmer and maria cornelia damasoCAT’S TRAIL is the story that follows airee colette, a well-known thief in the world of memeria. spun off from the CULTURE CRASH comics, CAT’S TRAIL REWIND and CAT’S TRAIL SPOTLIGHT hope (or at least, I hope) to continue the story that was cut short a few years ago.

last month, i bought three sets of CAT’S TRAIL issues (and book). one, i’m obviously keeping for myself. the second one, i gave as a christmas gift to one of my closest friends. the third one, i decided to give away to one of my readers.

that post had gotten three entries.

since i didn’t ask any thought-provoking questions, or ask for recommendations, i did not have any basis for choosing my winner. instead, i used random.org to decide which of the three people who left comments should win the set i’m giving away.

without further ado, random.org tells me that the winner is: Geoff!

i’m sending you an e-mail (after i post this) on how you can get your prize.