From Somalia to Antarctica

Oct 27, 2013 by


Coming out of the theater after watching Captain Phillips made me a bit dizzy from all the breath apnea brought about by the suspense of this new film rush. Director Paul Greengrass (of the Bourne installments) gives us a gripping perspective of the 2009 hijacking of the US container ship Maersk Alabama by the Somali pirates. Tom Hanks plays the title role and he succeeds in welcoming us back to our former consciousness of Hanks the actor: a brilliant one. For a while, we have been seeing Hanks in almost-random gigs underplaying his capacity in taking us to a huge cinematic experience until Captain Phillips the movie happened. As Hanks is a given in the “awesome acting” department, the guy who played as the Somali pirate leader Muse, Barkhad Abdi is a revelation. He is extremely believable in his portrayal and physicality, providing us with how we have always pictured out the Somali tribesmen. Abdi delivers a gut-wrenching performance of a guy who is confused, deceived by his own fate and struggling to abide by the dictates of the “bosses” in the piracy industry.

The film also offers a good view of the risks in seafaring for people like us Filipinos who hold the seafaring profession very close to our hearts. I think every Filipino knows at least one relative who is a seafarer; and with it is our shared knowledge of how hard these seafarers work for all the hard-earned fortunes they bring to their families. Beyond the unpredictable forces of nature that these seafarers face on a daily basis at work, they also have the human elements to deal with such as hijacking/piracy. Filipino seafarers are known to be excellent in this profession making our race a much-sought-after group in the seafaring industry. While the movie depicts the drama in a cinematic way, it ticks a part of us to appreciate our own seafaring people with respect.

Captain Phillips is a great watch. Director Greengrass does not portray the Somali pirates to be evil for the sake of being evil, but instead shows us that our circumstances push us to become our own deeds. At some point, my heart breaks for the Somali leader Muse, because clearly he does not know anything else other than stealing ships. We also feel for Captain Phillips and his crew because they had to go through the ordeal of a violent attack. Ultimately, we are made to realize that America can deal with these things quite efficiently, especially in protecting a citizen in hostage.


Moving from the warm climes of Africa allow me to make a plug for this upcoming musical that we’re doing supposedly set in the freezing region of the South Pole, Antarctica. Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus (CSCJ) is making a comeback in the musical theater scene with HAPPY FEET the Musical. That’s right, we’re doing the tapping with your favorite Happy Feet characters: Mumble, Gloria, the Emperor Penguins, the Chicanos, the seals, everyone! This is CSCJ’s offering to the Ilonggo theater-going community in preparation for their centennial celebrations. The show is going to open on December 9 at the CSCJ Our Lady’s Hall. Details of the show will be announced very soon. I have been invited to perform for the show as Ramon, the Chicano buddy of the adult Mumble. So I guess this blogsite’s going to be flooded with Happy Feet news from hereon. Ha-ha. I would love to see you all at the theater and be amazed at how we do production of a musical the right way.

It’s gonna be a boogie-wonderland cold Christmas for us all!



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