I’m officially a Hamilton Trash.

I’ve always thought those who get obsessed with musicals are a bit ridiculous. This is coming from someone who has only seen one musical (twice) in her life. So, yes, I’m unfairly prejudiced.

I love music. I really do. Musicals, however, are not really my thing. I did enjoy the musical “Wicked”, that’s why I saw it twice. I enjoyed listening to the soundtrack and I did get a bit obsessed for a short period. I didn’t get obsessed to the point of memorizing the lyrics to every song in the musical, though. I only knew about two or three songs – just the popular ones.

The first time that I got a whiff of the Broadway hit musical, Hamilton, was while watching The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The incredible creator, producer, and playwright of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, was a guest on the show and he was playing some game called “Wheel of Freestyle”, where he would do some “improv” rapping using the random words that Jimmy would throw his way. I thought he was pretty cool. That’s when I found out that he stars in the popular musical Hamilton, but that was it. I never spent any time Google-ing it or anything.

Fast-forward to a month and a half ago, in the weeks leading to the much-awaited Tony Awards 2016, I’ve been reading lots of stuff about Hamilton. There was much hullaballoo about it. Everyone’s been buzzing about it. It began to really pique my interest this time. James Corden, who hosted the Tony Awards, had this special edition of “Carpool Karaoke” and it featured Lin-Manuel Miranda. So I watched it, just for the heck of it, and that’s when I got instantly hooked.

They sang the opening song of the Hamilton musical “Alexander Hamilton” and I just found myself bobbing my head up and down, shimmying my shoulder, to that song. Of course, my impression of a musical about one of America’s founding fathers would be something extremely dull and boring. I was thinking it would be a musical with lots of slow, classical or jazz music and copious amount of historical facts that I wouldn’t be bothered to understand or remember.

I was completely wrong of course.

Lin-Manuel Miranda had successfully infused trendy and modern music with humdrum history. Hamilton the musical has every music genre that I absolutely adore – from pop to hip-hop to ballad to R&B, and even a bit of rock. Now, I haven’t seen the musical live and I sure do not have any knowledge of American history (for obvious reasons), but just listening to the soundtrack already turned my world upside down (pun intended ^^). I can’t imagine how much of a fanatic I would be if I actually saw the marvelous actors perform it live – right in front of my eyes.

I feel like the new generation was offered a wonderful opportunity to get hooked on American history, minus the dull history classes and exams, thanks to the Hamilton musical. It provided the most fun, exciting, enjoyable, hip and trendy history lesson ever!

Going back to the soundtrack, I couldn’t stop listening to it for weeks (after downloading it). At first, I just wanted to memorize the tracks “Alexander Hamilton” and “Guns and Ships” because I was so envious of James Corden singing (and rapping) along to them during that Carpool Karaoke episode with Lin-Manuel Miranda. I thought these are pretty awesome songs and I want to be able to sing and rap them too. I didn’t realize that I would get so hooked on the whole soundtrack and end up memorizing almost half of the songs. Okay, maybe just some of the songs.

Nevertheless, listening to the soundtrack has been nothing short of amazing. It was a priceless and inimitable experience for me. I’m not even American, but I was deeply moved and affected by each song in ways that I have not imagined possible.

I cannot possibly review the whole soundtrack in one blog. So, as much as it pains me to do this, I chose my top 5 tracks from the soundtrack. Now, I’m no expert here and I have no plans of critiquing or reviewing these songs. I’m merely sharing my thoughts and “fan girl reactions” here.

 

  1. “Alexander Hamilton” – Well, of course. If I hadn’t heard this song (sung by James Corden and Lin-Manuel Miranda), I wouldn’t have been interested in listening to the whole soundtrack of the Hamilton musical. I’m proud to say that I have memorized this song now (after listening to it nonstop, every day, for almost a month). Well, except for a few lines toward the end. What I love about this song is the simple beat and the very catchy, poetic lyrics.
  2. “Aaron Burr, Sir” and “My Shot” – At first, I thought this was just one song. I realized, after putting my player on “shuffle mode” that it’s not good to listen to them separately. It’s like a package deal – you cannot just listen to one song without listening to the other. I love the introduction of the main characters through “Aaron Burr, Sir”. This is where I first met my fave character, the flamboyant and debonair Marquis de Lafayette (played by the incredibly hot Daveed Diggs). I just love how the end of “Aaron Burr, Sir” quickly transitions into the beginning of “My Shot”. This song just pumps me up like I’m one of those revolutionaries! Every time I listen to it, it ignites something inside of me – a deep-seated fire of patriotism burning up and threatening to explode.
  3. The Schuyler Sisters, Helpless & Satisfied – Okay, I know I’m cheating here. Haha! But I feel like these three songs are interconnected. In “The Schuyler Sisters”, we get to meet the three amazing ladies who made the musical more colorful and feminine. Girl power, right? I just love that memorable (and meaningful) line, “Look around, look around, how lucky we are to be alive right now?” Whenever I listen to “Helpless”, my day just gets so much brighter and stress-free. This is the most uplifting and cutest song in the soundtrack. It showcases Phillipa Soo’s sweet voice as she sings about falling in love at first sight with Alexander Hamilton. It reminded me of those crushes back in elementary and high school – the ones that gave me that “butterfly in your stomach” feeling. The track “Satisfied” is Renee Elise Goldsberry’s solo, which revealed what a badass rapper and fantastic singer she is. It’s basically about Angelica Schuyler’s hidden feelings for Alexander Hamilton and how she saw him first. But Eliza Schuyler said “dibs” first. LOL. This love triangle is really very modern and relatable. Renee’s rap parts in this track are just phenomenal!
  1. You’ll be Back” – This is Jonathan Groff’s (King George III) solo where he does a little monologue “reminding the colonists that he is willing and able to fight for their love”. It’s one of the funniest songs I’ve ever heard. The morbid and cruel meaning of the words was hidden behind the lovely pop melody, which is VERY catchy. I just love singing that “da ra ra ra da” part!
  2. “Guns and Ships” – This track is simply AMAZING! I cannot find the right words to express my love and obsession for this rap piece. I’ve always had a soft spot for rappers, but Daveed Diggs is now MY KING. He was just perfect for the role of both Thomas Jefferson and Lafayette. Sadly, I still couldn’t rap some parts of this song. It’s just insane! I don’t know how Daveed Diggs did it. But I won’t stop until I can finally rap this song without getting my tongue tied in a knot.

I can now understand why Lin-Manuel Miranda decided to make a musical out of Alexander Hamilton’s life. His life can put even the most complicated Mexican telenovela and Korean drama to shame. If I could describe his life in one word, I would say “tumultuous”. He didn’t have just ups and downs – he had upside downs and inside outs too. What makes this musical phenomenal and beloved, aside from the splendid soundtrack, is the right combination of drama, action, romance, humor and, well, yes, history. It has everything for everyone.

So, yes, I can honestly say that this has ruined my life and I am a complete Hamilton trash.

The WICKED-est musical ever!


“Everyone deserves a chance to FLY~

And if I’m flyin’ SOLO,

At least I’m flyin’ FREE…”

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Not only was watching the popular Broadway musicalWICKED’ a dream come true for me, it was also one of the BEST decisions I’ve made (so far). This spectacular musical is definitely a must-see. People who missed seeing this should be ashamed of themselves. ^^

I really don’t think I can make a proper ‘review’ of Wicked. I think it would be blasphemous to do so especially since I missed 20 minutes of the show… L Yes, I can’t brag about watching the musical in its ENTIRETY. I watched it back when I was in Singapore and due to a series of “unfortunate events” a.k.a. my crappy sense of direction; I was late for the show.

ANYWAY. Right from the start – or at least the scene that I was able to catch – I was already awed by the grandeur of the stage – with all those props, set design, lighting and the characters’ fancy costumes. Galinda/Glinda’s voice was irritatingly cheerful and perky. She had that typically high-pitched voice that would make you want to pinch her or something. My seat was soooooo far away from the stage so I couldn’t really describe any of the characters properly. It was disadvantageous whenever there was a moment wherein they had to use facial expressions or gestures to convey their emotions – I couldn’t see it so I had no idea what’s going on. I just sort of laughed along with the crowd. Hehe. But other than that, it was not that bad watching it from afar. The voice quality was amazing and the music was just lovely.

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Elphaba/Elphie was such an out of this world character. Whoever thought of her was so clever. I think, in essence, most of us can see Elphaba within us. We all know her story. The one who doesn’t conform to the society, the one who looks, talks or acts differently, the one who doesn’t have that many friends, the one who dresses weirdly – that one person who is considered an outcast just because she IS different. This musical showed us how the society deals with people like Elphaba. It tackles the underlying issue of ‘beauty’ and popularity – how people treat someone who doesn’t have blonde hair, fair skin and pretty face. Let’s face it our society and the world that we live in, in general, created this ‘concept’ of what is beautiful and what is not. Going against it would make you a non-conformist and probably an outcast. Glinda is the pretty and popular one just because Elphaba is green and well, yeah, she’s just so green and eccentric.

What I love about this musical is the fact that every scene is just as amazing as the next one. There is never a dull or boring moment even when it comes to the supporting characters’ ‘time to shine’. Moreover, the story is simply wonderful. I love how it divulges the ‘prequel’ of the Wizard of Oz – a story that I’ve come to love ever since I was a kid. The fact that it tells the other side of the story and how some of the characters came about – like the scarecrow, the tin man and the cowardly lion, makes it even more compelling! It did not just focus on the story of rivalry and friendship between Glinda and Elphaba, it also tackles various aspects of their lives – their school, family and love lives. Fiyero was such an amusing character and so was Boq – the munchkin boy. ^^ I also like Nessarose’s addition to the cast because she humanizes Elphaba in more ways than one. As her weak and disabled sister, she creates a soft spot in Elphaba’s heart and incites empathy as well. The fact that she is connected to Dorothy’s mysterious red dancing shoes was such a pleasant revelation as well.

Each character in this critically acclaimed musical is as likeable and memorable as the others. It would pull you closer to the edge of your seat and leave you breathless. The performance level of the actors was so high and the overflow of emotions was simply overwhelming.

My favorite song was, of course, Defying Gravity. I just love how apt this song is to Elphaba’s ‘breakthrough’ moment. That performance gave me goose bumps and I cried. Well, not really CRY as in sobbing hysterically. Tears just started falling out of my eyes and I couldn’t control it. It was such an awe-inspiring moment and it made me so emotional. Fiyero’s “Dancing through life” number is my second fave. The lyrics speak the truth and I could so totally relate to it. His heart-melting voice was a plus, of course. ^^ Third would be Glinda’s “Popular”. I find myself singing this over and over in my head. I just love her iffy and high-pitched voice and the song symbolizes the start of Elphie and Glinda’s friendship.

One scene that I wouldn’t forget, aside from the Defying Gravity moment, was when Elphie made the red shoes for her sister Nessa. It was such a beautiful but heartbreaking moment. A dialogue that made an impact on me was one of the hilarious ones and it goes something like this:

Glinda to Elphie: Fiyero has been thinking lately… and that got me worried.

Fiyero to Elphie: I’ve been thinking lately…

Elphie: *sarcastic & flat tone* Yes. I’ve heard.

I also like how free-spirited and sometimes a bit dumb Glinda seems to be. She likes inventing new words like when Elphaba said something rude to the Wonderful Wizard of Oz; she was like “She didn’t mean any disrespectation…” I kinda imagined Ashley Tisdale playing this part, actually. ^^

I’m over the moon that the first ever musical I’ve seen in my life is not just the best but the most extraordinary and wicked-est ever. Everything about is simply spellbinding and completely riveting. I would watch this musical more than once if I could. Next time I’ll make sure to sit near the stage of course, to enjoy it even more than I already did. ^^

^ My ticket~ 

A short synopsis for those who have no idea what I’m ranting about here. ^^

Wicked The Musical, takes you through the life journey of two girls (witches).One is born with the emerald green skin, is smart but hugely misunderstood. Other is beautiful, determined and appreciated by all. The two had extremely opposite personalities yet become friends. They ended up having a Love-hate relationship while living together as college roommates. The story of the musical is based on bestselling novel by George Maguire and is a re-imaging of classic story by L Frank Baum “The wonderful wizard of Oz”. It takes you through the land of OZ from the perspective of a Wicked Witch. How she finds the world around her, people’s reactions interpreted by the person who is dejected by all and the way she deals with everything. ~ source: http://www.wickedthemusicalticketsonline.com/about-wicked.html

 picture source: toonaripost.com and goingplaces.sg 

My Wicked Weekend in Singapore

It was indeed the WICKED-est weekend I’ve ever had in my entire 25 years of life on earth! Three of my dreams came true while I was in Singapore. I’m still spazzing like a crazy fangirl right now. It was such a great adventure and experience for me and it still seemed so surreal.

First, I was able to travel to another country. That was such an accomplishment for someone like me – an independent young woman in her early 20s who’s living away from her family and who’s only been working for merely 2 and half years. Moreover, I barely have 20k in my bank account. I still can’t believe I was able to do it. I was hesitant at first of course. I jot down all my expenses and my savings and computed again and again until my head hurts from all the numbers. My main purpose of traveling, at first, was to watch the Super Junior concert in SG. But that would mean I have to spend more because of the ticket prices. So in the end I canceled my plans and told my friend (who was the one pursuing me to go with her since she’s going to watch the concert as well) that I have to bail out for now coz I’m not yet financially ready’.

But then, last January, just before my birthday, I woke up one afternoon and checked my twitter. The said friend was still insisting that I come with her since another friend of ours is also coming with us and her RT flight from Clark only costs about P3,800 only. I dunno what went over me. It was definitely an impulsive decision. I just said “Okay, GO.” After realizing that I cannot be absent for two days from my two part time jobs, I re-booked my flight which made me spend more money than I intended to. T_T Damn you work! I had to buy another P2,500-worth ticket for Saturday early morning instead of my orig RT ticket which was Friday noon. Furthermore, instead of departing from the airport which is nearby my hometown (around 5 hours by bus), I had to go all the way to NAIA airport in Manila (around 8 hours by bus). Just thinking about all those traveling involved exhaust me.

It was my first time flying International, mind you, so I was absolutely terrified and keyed up at the same time. I have no idea what to do first and where to go. Good thing I have my friend with me. ^^ So our flight was at 6:20 AM and we checked in at around quarter to five. I traveled in NAIA 3 before but that was domestic, my flight this time is international and its in NAIA 1.

I just have to say, there are three things that I am totally NOT looking forward to the next time I travel.

  1. The grumpy and snooping immigration officers. They don’t smile, they’re so damn stern and serious. Get a life. You’ll get old soon guys. Especially the ones in SG. I was unfortunate enough to get the grumpiest and snappiest of them all. It was this old man who kinda looked gay to me. The other I.O. (immigration officer ^^) called his attention, so naturally, I turned my head to look at her as well. Then, in a SNAPPY and ANGRY voice, the I.O. in front of me said “HEY! HEY LOOK AT ME! YOU LOOK AT ME NOW!” I was taken aback by the attitude. Chill, dude, I’m not impersonating someone and I’m totally not avoiding eye contact with you. I just couldn’t bear looking at your BB Cream-ed face. 😄
  2. The damn embarkation card. My friend and I were making fun of someone (I’d rather NOT namedrop ^^) for taking a long time in answering the embarkation card before. We thought, “How stupid could he get? It’s so easy to fill up.” But we were wrong. Well, for first time flyers it is kinda confusing in some way. And there are actually lots of info to be provided. Like my passport number, date I received the passport, date it will expire, the address of the person I’m visiting abroad and some other info that I couldn’t think of right then and there. I had to check through the papers that I have with me and take a peek at my passport for that. It was kinda stressful. Haha. To our chagrin, we needed to answer ANOTHER card, this time a disembarkation one, before we land in SG. Wow. Just how many embarkation cards are there?
  3. Gigantic American seatmates who snores LOUDLY and who seemed to have halitosis. Yes. Unluckily for my friend and I, we were put in the same row as this humongous American who sat in the aisle (coz I have the window seat ^^). So we have to get through him before we can visit the loo. I had my mp3 on and I was trying to get some sleep during the three-hour flight but I could still hear him snoring REALLY loud. If that isn’t enough, I could smell something stinky coming from him from where I was seated. UGH.

The first thing I did when I set foot on the soils of SG was… SMILE. I want to enter and leave the country with a smile. ^^ The weather was pretty much the same as the Philippines but it was much tolerable. What I noticed the moment I got on the SMRT (their subway train which, by the way, was simply fantastic and very helpful) was the fact that SG has such diverse set of people and culture. It was like the melting point of mixed races and nationalities which are poles apart. Indeed, it was sort of overpopulated by Filipinos, but other than that there were like 5 other dominant races – Singaporean, Bangladesh, Indian, Chinese and a bit of Japanese as well. It was so amusing that it felt like I was in a United Nations conference or something. 😀

One thing I love about this country was how progressive and advanced they are. Particularly their transportation system. I was so amazed by how disciplined and organized the transportation system was.

They have this EZ Link card that can be used for both bus and SMRT (and even at McDonald’s and 7-11). My cousin, who lives there, even told me that one time she left the house with nothing but that EZ Link card and she was able to eat and get around the city with no troubles. Imagine that! I love tapping out that card in the subway turnstile and before and after I get on a bus. It was very convenient and pretty cool for me. ^^

I really envy their country for having this structured system, which is why there is less traffic in the streets. It also makes the people more disciplined because they cannot just ride or ‘alight’ a bus anywhere and anytime they want to. They really have to wait for the specific bus with specific route at specific bus stops. If they missed the bus going to where they are supposed to go, they have to wait for the next bus with the same route OR find another route. It was so beautiful. Haha. I’m so in love with their transportation system.

EMBARRASSING EXPERIENCE ALERT! Well it was more like humiliating. ^^;; My first time to ride the bus, we were in a hurry coz the bus was about to leave so we ran after it. I was the last one to get in and in my haste I forgot to tap out the card. I also forgot what my friend told me about the people using “Hello” as a substitute for “Excuse me”. So I just walked inside and ignored the driver who was “Hello-ing” me. 😄 My friend told me that I forgot to tap out so I have to go back and do that. ^^;; Talk about embarrassing.

Another thing I like about their buses and subway trains are the ‘RESERVED SEAT’ part for the elders, pregnant women, children and disabled. I know we also have that in the Philippines but the ones in Singapore seemed more legit and people seemed to really avoid this seat. I felt uncomfortable when I sat at it once even though there were no elders or pregnant women around whom I had to give it up to.

On the upper deck of the double-decker bus ^^

And OMG the DOUBLE-DECKER bus! I was literally jumping up and down when I saw that and I couldn’t wait to ride on it! It was totally a ‘dream come true’ when I finally got to ride in one – it felt like I was in Harry Potter or something. ^.^  I really, really wish our bus system gets upgraded. Actually, I wish they’d give the transportation system a face-lift. That way we can avoid traffic, road accidents and people would not cross the streets anywhere and anytime they like.

THE FOOD.

Like I said, this country is so diverse that you can also find traces of other nationalities in their food. There’s a variety of choices so you won’t really get tired of the old Singaporean food. But of course I had to try out some of their famous meals. Chicken rice and Pepper Rice were both sumptuous.

Chicken Rice + Chestnut Water~

^ Chicken Rice~ 

 ^  The Indian Prata – pancake bread with different curry sauces

 The latter was kinda spicy for me though. I wanted to try some of those Indian Prata but they were out of stock when I ordered it. 😦  I noticed they have lots of noodles; there was even a stall in the food court where you can pick a variety of toppings for your noodles. I’m not a noodle person so I didn’t try any of that.

 ^ Pepper Rice

 

I tried one of their drinks called CHESTNUT WATER and I loved it! ^^

I found this really cool parody of the Philippines’s JOLLIBEE fast food restaurant. It’s called JOLLIBEAN. Haha. They sell some bread and flavored soybean shakes. I tried it and it’s pretty good. 😉

When it comes to houses, they are quite organized as well. They don’t have a lot of real ‘houses’ – like Desperate Housewives-type of houses. All you can see are apartment complex and I love that setting. It was just so organized. OKAY, I gotta stop comparing it to my country… hehe. I just really hope that by the time I have my own family, my country would be as progressive as Singapore.

FIRST DAY.

We went to this upscale and high end place called DEMPSEY HILL. Nothing much to see over there. Unless you’re blond and you have a Ferrari  or a mini-cooper or something. ^^

We had fun at Ben and Jerry’s though. The root beer that I ordered – which really looked like beer – totally quenched my thirst. I hated the weather that day. It was cloudy but for some reason it feels muggy and I was sweating.

After that we started ‘mall hopping’. The malls were pretty cool but I wasn’t really that amazed once I saw the inside. Of course the façade was fantastic, but inside, it was just like any other shopping mall. I kinda got tired from all the walking so I felt a little grumpy and moody by the end of the day.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE SHOPPING and all that but I can only tolerate much. PLUS, I didn’t really go to SG to shop. If I’m gonna buy clothes, shoes or bags, I’d rather visit my favorite secondhand stores in my city. ^.^ Plus, everything is expensive in SG. I couldn’t really complain to the people I’m with coz I’m just a ‘visitor’ and I have no right to do that.

Kaya - Singaporean spread~

ANYWAY, we shopped at FAIR PRICE before going home. That place was heaven! The chocolates, the multi-flavored Yakult and Cream-O, the NUTELLA ^^ and loads of food and stuff with cheaper prices!

SECOND DAY.

The following day, we were supposed to go to the Chinese-Japanese Garden early in the morning but we didn’t realize that the sun shines a bit later in SG. It was already 7 am and it was still dark outside! Same with the sun set, 7 pm was still bright outside. So we woke up kinda late and we just went to church. YES. I went to church. ^^;; Moving on, we went to another shopping mall (YAY…) but this time I kinda like it because I saw lots of nifty and pretty cool stuff. There was this stall that sells some pretty awesome flash disk drives with various designs: credit cards, finger, banana, animals, cartoon characters, mini-cakes and candies and other really cute things. I also got inside this shop with lots of KPOP stuff and of course I was just ecstatic. 😀

After that I had to run over to the Marina Bay Sands Theater to do something I’ve never done before – WATCH A MUSICAL. ^________^ Yes, finally I can say that I’ve seen a musical and one of the most wonderful and amazing musicals at that. It was this Broadway musical called WICKED. My spazzing and review of that deserves another blog post which can be found here.

I didn't get to see this majestic whirlwind of water in the Marina Bay but my friends recorded it ~ ^^

My dream of riding those ‘gondolas’ inside the Marina Bay Sands mall didn’t come true though coz we didn’t have time for that and it costs $10, I think. But I took some pictures. 😀 I wasn’t able to see some of the more magnificent parts of that place but I was able to enjoy my time there. ^^

THIRD DAY.

Sentosa Day. It was one great trip to wrap up our last day in SG. Although I had no intentions of going inside Universal Studios (coz it’s too damn expensive) I have to say it was definitely worth it.

 ^ Reese’s!!! MY FAVE~ 

Strolling around Hershey’s World and Candylicious felt like stepping into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. It was just amazing with a capital A.

 ^ Lotsa lotsa JELLY BEANS~

We had a fun time over there but we couldn’t really visit the other tourists’ spots in Sentosa like the Merlion thingy coz my other friend and I need to catch our flight back to the Philippines. It felt sad to leave just like that but all things must come to an end. We bid goodbye to our friend and went back to Changi airport.

^BTW, I love the escalators in the subway! They would eat you up and spit you out so quickly you’d pick yourself up from the floor afterwards. Haha. They’re so freakin’ fast! Like, really FAST. So you really need to watch your step and KEEP LEFT if you are not in a hurry coz the right side is the ‘express way’ where people who are in a hurry zoom past. ^^ It’s pretty cool once you get used to it.

 ^ My last peek at SG.

And that’s the end of my wonderful, WICKED, weekend in SG. The ending was quite simple but it was magical and memorable for me. I would love to go back there but I don’t think I can do that anytime soon. I probably have to work my ass off and prepare a lot of money. 😉