Sayonara, Off the Wall

I’m closing down Off the Wall. I’ll be off the grid for awhile (I know I’d been for the past months). Nothing will be posted beyond this point.

I was thinking of creating an elaborate post to announce this but I decided to keep it brief and simple. A lot of life changing things happened to me lately and I find Off the Wall doesn’t suit my needs anymore. I have to let it go. Just like all the things, people, places I have to let go this year I have to say goodbye to this baby.

I’m not giving up on writing. I’m going to take a serious break from social media. I still plan to write but not anytime soon and most likely not here. I might create a new blog once I’m past with what life threw at me. I hope you guys will be there once I have that up. I’ll edit this post or create another one to announce the new site.

This blog will be 5 years old in less than a month, however, I won’t be able to celebrate that anymore. To all my readers for the past 4 years and 11 months, thank you for taking the time to read my little space in this side of the net. Thank you.

I’ll see you soon, friends. Sayonara.


Top Ten Habits I Picked Up in Online Gaming

I haven’t played a ton of games over the internet though I spent a lot of time in them whenever I play one. For the past three years, I’d been engrossed with various online games particularly MMORPGs. Some I played for a few weeks or months while there are others I played for almost or more than a year. I played with international players, foreigners and Filipinos (who lives overseas) alike, and local gamers. I was like a lost kid when I started being active in the online gaming community because it’s new and totally different from the activities I usually do. There are practices and prejudices in the gaming community just like everywhere else and there are habits that you’d eventually picked up in the long run or simply real life lesson you’d never think would apply in the gaming world. If you are asking me if it’s for the better, well, I don’t really know. *smirks*

Some of the games I played over the years. Ragnarok Online is at the center because it was the first MMORPG I played and it started it all.

10. Never trust anyone. Not with your in game money, hard earned items or account details. It’s up to you if you wish to share your account to people you’ve met online whom you’ve come to trust but you have to remember that anyone can betray anyone. [1] I’ve learned that the hard way. [2]

9. Be wary of scammers. It’s very sad to acknowledge but most of the scammers I encountered in different MMORPGs are Filipinos. That is why I avoid buying/selling/trading in game items with players I don’t really know. I can set up a shop where they can buy directly and vice versa if the game allows that, if not I stick to Auction House.

8. You’ll learn a new language. Including abbreviations you’ll only find in game. PUGs, Whisper, Raid, Party, Imba, OP, Guild Run, Resu, Heal, DPS, Tanker, Melees, NVM, Kick, Noob, IGN, AH. These are just some of the words I’ve learned in game. They also have this abbreviated sentences that they use in Public Chat that actually make sense if you are a gamer. Examples are “LF Tank/DPS/Priest 5/10 [DG’s name abbreviation]” and “WTS (Item) WM.”

7. Patience is a virtue. There are good players and there are annoying, like really, annoying players. If you partied with individuals who don’t listen or who are plainly hard headed, it’s an effing test of patience. If you’re new to the dungeon and aren’t familiar with the boss’ mechanics, listening to those who know is essential so if you get one who has comprehension issues, oh well, good luck to you. I can try a few times but if the cost of the raid is ripping me off, I’d throw in the towel and leave.

6. Leave your credit cards and Paypal account details in the deepest recesses of your brain. Translation: DON’T SPEND REAL MONEY. I don’t have the time to grind all day, seven times a week , in a game to get the items I want or upgrade the gears of my character through in game trading using in game money. If it’s something that can be bought in the cash shop, I would most likely load cash and get it. BUT. That is not a smart financial decision.

I. Must. Practice. Control.

5. Do not accept FB Friend Request(s) from people you don’t really know. Most guilds have their own groups in Facebook. I am not one who’ll create a second FB account to hide my real identity and join the group. So yes, I use my legit FB account to interact with these people in those groups. My account before is semi-public, anyone can add me as a friend but after so many random requests from people I don’t really know I changed my setting and only those who have mutual friends with me can add me as a friend. Although, I still don’t accept the request if I haven’t played with them for some time. [3]

4. Get to know the people behind the characters. Gamers will say that once they are logged into their characters, they transform into a different person. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t turn into superheroes nor they are bipolar, they just simply exhibit attitude they don’t normally show in real life. Like a shy person turns into a boastful, mean monster online or a real man pretending to be a lovely, helpless girl to get free items. I make it a point to talk to them beyond game topics. Yes, I ask them personal questions, really personal questions. Most of the time they are game in answering even the most embarrassing questions I throw them.

3. Build rapport and establish relationships. The people you always play with online is like a network. They’re from diverse cultures. Making an effort to get to know them beyond superficial level in the cyber world will bring wonders to your social life. You’ll never know if some of them will be your real friends in the long run especially if you have met them in person. That is why I understand that some organized guilds require voice chat programs for their recruits. It’s one way to get to know the players personally because you to talk to them in runs you do. My guild uses RaidCall; we are encouraging the players to go online in RC but is not required. I also occasionally set up meet ups within Metro Manila or I meet the members I often talk to when I visit their home towns.

2. Create unusual IGNs. I am not brave enough to create crazy in game names. The best I can do is use food names as IGNs. I’d been using TwisterFries in multiple games. Some of the IGNs I’ve used are SariaBelle, TeaLemonade, CoffeeGirl and Cheesecake. Unique, funny and totally inappropriate IGNs are not my forte but I know many who love impossible IGNs. You want samples? Amoypekpek, Regla, TightKeps, SqueezeMe, Aktarub, BaklaAko, Devirginized, IAmaVirgin and PootAH. That is just a fraction of the unbelievable names you’ll see in game. I’d stick to food names, novel or movie characters, thank you very much.

1. Trash talking. Yes, I learned how to f*ck*ng trash talk. Thanks to my mentors Justin and Sase. However, I still can’t do it the same as my mentors do. I can’t and won’t trash talk players that are not my guild mates. I do it in jest and my guildies know that. It’s why they don’t take me too seriously if I start trash talking. But if a random player do that to me? I’d take a screenshot and file a ticket. I still and won’t ever tolerate trash talking. It’s a different matter if it’s Justin or Sase though. They taught me how to do that so I often practice it on them.

Here’s one party chat I had with Justin and Vinz in game. Please take note that I won’t be using our actual IGNs:

Justin: Pinutulan na ata nila akong net. Gagong Globe yan.
Alona: Gago, kapag pinutulan ka ng net dapat diconnected ka na ulol.
Alona: Tangina ka.
Vinz: Hahaha. Tumatrashtalk si Alona.
Alona: Oi si Justin nagturo sakin nyan.
Justin: Di ako nantatrashtalk ate.

That’s what Justin always say. But in reality? This is how he trashtalks:


See? Isn’t he angelic? He is extremely nice if you meet him in person though.


Many players who play online games have different reasons why they spend most of their time in MMORPGs. If you take the time to get to know them you’ll eventually know that it’s either they’re going through something or they’re using the game as an escape from reality. For some time, I had my reasons too. Lately it became a habit. I can still walk away from it but I’d probably visit from time to time. Because of the time I spend with this, sometimes my real social life suffer or there are things I have to drop to focus on this.  Probably the best lesson MMORPGs taught me is to find balance. I’m not just juggling work and life balance; virtual, social and personal time are also part of the equation. Right now I still do most of the things I love. I find time to write, read, travel, go out with friends, be healthy and work out. I gave up watching Asian Dramas not just because of this but also due to the fact that it eats a lot of my free time and you guys know that my free time recently is dedicated to gaming. I’m also waiting for new MMORPGs I want to try. There are many things I want to do. There are organizations I want to join. There are numerous changes I want to do in my life. It’s not question of if but a question of when. I don’t know when am I going to give this up. I know eventually I’d come into that but one thing I know is for sure, the relationship I build with the friends I made here will stay for a long long time.

[1] Quote from Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.
[2] Yes, I am still sour graping over the 80,000 zeny lost (stolen is such a strong word for a misunderstanding if you can call it such but I guess not really) in my Odin account in Ragnarok Online 2. It wouldn’t have been such a blow if I only spent time to get that. I am a paying player and I earned that zeny with items I bought from the cash shop which I sell in the Auction House.
[3] My posts are still filtered. So even if I accepted them as a friend they are still categorized under Online Games which is part of my exception list for too personal posts or status updates.

The Breakup Playlist

I’ve only heard of this film a few days prior its opening day. It seems that the publicity of the film isn’t as grand like Olivia M’s Starting over Again or Jadoane’s That Thing Called Tadhana or maybe I am just not watching too much TV or I’d been holed up in front of my computer busy with EOS.

I don’t usually watch local films in cinemas but lately I find myself seeing some in its opening day depending on who directed and wrote it.  My movie buddy, who is a certified kaladkarin [1] friend, jokes that we’ve matured when choosing what commercial films to watch. One of the reasons I gave up seeing local films before is because I felt that the Philippine movie industry have not moved on from patweetum [2] plots and focuses heavily on the leads’ chemistry or popularity. For the past 2 or 3 years, we’ve been seeing the industry mature and slowly deviate from the norm. It’s not just in the big screen but we also have television series dealing with issues that aren’t normally being shown in nationwide television. Some of it worked, some did not, and others fared well. The point here is we now have a variety of shows/films to choose from that are not made out of a well received formula.

Type Her The Breakup Playlist

Star Cinema & Viva Films, 120 minutes
Released on July 1, 2015
Romance Drama

Watched on July 1, 2015

A story about an aspiring professional singer and a rock singer who collaborates in a song. As they work on their song, they start to develop feelings for each other.

Director: Dan Villegas
Writer: Antoinette Jadaone

Cast: Piolo Pascual, Sarah Geronimo, Rio Locsin, Dennis Padilla


I’ll be honest, the reason I got interested is because of Piolo Pascual. Come on, it’s THE Piolo Pascual. A superb acting is something that you can always expect with Papa P though sometimes it’s not reason enough to pay for a movie ticket. I can always wait a few months until a DVD copy comes out but what pushed me to spend money on it in its first week, technically first day, is seeing Sarah Geronimo do a more mature role compared to her previous blockbuster movies. Yes, SG had always been my guilty pleasure. Another push is the writer, Antoinette Jadoane. I haven’t seen EOP yet, her first collaboration with her real time beau, Dan—a shame I know given that it was such a big film when it came out, so I can’t tell if a Villegas film is worth seeing.

The movie started showing the couple breaking up and then jumping to the present for a talk about a possible reunion concert. It’s not the usual timeline we see in Pinoy Romance but I noticed that this new narrative is starting to be a trend which I think would be the new “formula” if this would continue to sell to viewers. I am hoping that won’t be the case because first, I am not a fan and second, I’m pretty sure people (actually more of me) will easily get tired of it. There is nothing wrong with non-linear narrative; it actually depends on how the director/writer executes it. I just don’t like the past-present or vice versa sequence because most often than not, I’m having a hard time dissecting if it was the present timeline or the past. Luckily in this film, they presented the chapters with titles similar with a playlist which basically where the title came from.

Piolo Pascual’s portrayal of a cocky, overconfident rock star musician is spot on. However, I feel like the role is not for him. It’s totally different from the last role he played on the big screen and it also shows the variety of roles he could act. It’s just that I see the musician role for someone like Sam Milby. Although I’m giving him applause on the groveling scene because no one can pull that off better than Papa P. Superb acting? Definitely. Rock star musician? No. Sarah Geronimo, on the other hand was a surprise. I said in numerous reviews of her films that she is my guilty pleasure but that doesn’t mean I don’t see how she acts. I hate her love struck roles in her “formulated” films. But seeing her on a much mature role that is not at all cutesy is a refreshing take in her acting repertoire. In all honesty, I have someone in mind who I think could pull off her role in flying colors but she did give justice to the role in her own way. What I don’t like in the emotional transition of the characters is that it feels unnatural. I know that the sequencing of the conflict as the story progress even with this kind of narrative is predictable but the changes in the characters didn’t really reach me in an emotional level. Yes, most of the scenes are perfectly executed but the emotion I was looking for wasn’t there. The actors deliver. It’s right. It’s there. But I don’t feel it. As for their chemistry, I’m not sure because I really didn’t look into that. I was more into how they attacked and presented their characters.

The product placement is another thing that I wish commercial films should forego. Come on, I can read that in the ending credits (fine, not everyone stays until the ending credits) but do I have to see it in the film more than once? It’s very obvious with popular artists whom we see almost every day in national television with their commercials. Why do I have to see it in their films as well?

The musical score of TBUP is the highlight of this film. I find myself singing “Paano Ba Ang Magmahal” after watching the movie and then adding the album in my To Listen queue in Spotify. It does give you a serious case of LSS. I also like how they incorporated the songs in the story as Trixie and Gino’s relationship blossomed. Yes, it seems that they had too many musical scenes in the movie which I think is typical for Star Cinema, it’s tedious at times but I’d say they really have a good soundtrack. I’m not very familiar with the Pinoy rock scene because it’s not my genre. I asked Louie if the timeline is correct since there was a period a few years ago when alternative Pinoy music was the “in” music. I wasn’t just sure if it was in 2009.

Overall, The Break-up Playlist is a good film. It’s not a superb film that would leave you flabbergasted for a few days but it’s enough to make you say you didn’t waste Php240 and 2 hours of your life. If you are looking for a different type of romance that is not too big on the comedy or romance bordering to romanticism with unrealistic romantic gestures and a public embarrassing denouement, you should watch this. It’s a down-to-earth film that focuses in the relationship, the reality of the music industry without the glitter and screaming fans, and all the feels.

Mediocre: I can tolerate it but I want more!

Mediocre: I can tolerate it but I want more!

4.5 Drama Awards – Worthy of my praise.

4.5 Drama Awards – Worthy of my praise.

I would have rated this higher if they didn’t end up together, like really together. It would have been more realistic if it’s open ended not that I loath happy endings. I just feel that forgiving each other and patching up without being together immediately is a better ending for this story.

Since we have Antoinette Jadaone as the screenwriter, I won’t miss sharing the best lines I liked in the film: (source:

On forgiving yourself:
“Sa tingin ko, kailangan mong magpatawad. Hindi para sa kanya, ha. Kundi para sa sarili mo. Kasi hangga’t hindi ka nagpapatawad, andun ka lang sa past, sa part ng buhay mo na masakit. Isipin mo umiikot ‘yong mundo, tapos ikaw asan ka? Andiyan ka pa rin.”

On being happy for someone:
“‘Di mo ‘ko mahal, Gino. Ang mahal mo lang ‘yong sarili mo. Kasi kung totoong mahal mo ‘ko, magiging masaya ka para sa ‘kin.”

On being selfish:
“Mabuti nga magbilangan na tayo, para malaman mo, mapansin mo man lang, sa ating dalawa sana magbigay ka naman. Huwag ka lang puro tanggap nang tanggap, mahal kita pero nakakapagod na.”

Other Reviews:
Pinoy Movie Blogger
my reel thoughts

[1] Someone you can tag along somewhere without any arguments. A person who is always on the go.
[2] Uberly sweet, romantic, cheesy plots that would make you puke.

Embracing the Waves

This travel with Power Rangers is long overdue. It took us two freaking years of planning before something materialized. It’s not because we are picky with the places we want to visit, it’s simply because our busy schedules won’t meet. Imagine how happy we are (especially Tina), when FINALLY we are having a trip together, albeit not with JL, still a milestone for this group.

A busy, full of activities day one.
We first had dinner at Chili’s at SM Megamall as a post birthday treat of Tina and Beejay. JL, Monique and Angus came. Little Allie (Monique’s baby girl) also dropped by. The food and company is great. We laughed, eat and laughed some more over the silliest of things and of course we can’t avoid talking about books and the book club when you are with this group. It was a reunion of some sort for Mae and Beejay who haven’t seen each other for a year. After dinner we stayed at CBTL to wait for midnight but later on decided to stay at Beejay’s place. What made that little impromptu detour memorable is that no one ever thought that Tina and Mae would step foot in his house again.


Dinner at Chili’s. (c) Atty. Monique


Going up. (c) TIna

We went to Partas Terminal past midnight and boarded the bus going to Vigan at around 2AM. The travel is for 6 hours so it’s more convenient to travel at night or early in the morning so you can sleep during the trip, just remember to wake up when you’re nearing your stop because you might miss it if you oversleep. We arrived at Sebay Surf Central at 8 in the morning; however, the hotel’s check in time is still at 2PM. We want to eat breakfast, get ready for the beach and start the vacation immediately so we paid the early check in fee for Php500. Ranee arrived in time for breakfast. She’s the only one who didn’t travel with us because she’s coming from Pangasinan which is just a few hours away from La Union. We ate at Fat’s Bar ‘N Grill, a beachside restaurant where all of us ordered Longsilog when we knew that it’s Vigan’s Longganisa. After we filled our tummies, even if it’s just a few hours before 12 noon, on to the beach! Who cares about sun burn? We need to feel the beach ASAP!

We had lunch at Urbiztondo Grill House where they serve home cooked Filipino meals. If you don’t want to go far away to eat, this place is good since it’s just a few minutes walk across the resort. They serve mostly Ilocano dishes so you should try some of the viands that you can only find here. Of course, pinakbet is a must. Every town up north has their own version of cooking pinakbet so if you’ll travel to different towns in Region 1, always include that in your to-eat-meals. We had tea after that at MoonLeaf Tea House a few blocks from where we ate. We enjoyed goofing around the café and then took some awesome solo shots and spent an hour talking about nonsense. Tsismisan [1] is something that we will never ever grow tired of. We are enjoying a few hours of doing nothing because after that we’ll go surfing. Why go to a surfing central if you’ll not try it, right? It’s the first time I surfed and I tell you, I fell in love.

Mind you, an hour of surfing is equivalent to a couple of hours in the gym. It was fun, exciting and difficult the first time you do it. You’ll fall trying to balance yourself on the board numerous times, you’ll make mistakes, and you’ll feel frustrated at one point, but the feeling when you are already riding the waves? Ah, it’s worth all the pain and effort. We had dinner at Sea Nymph Café, a nearby food place from the resort; it’s also a beachside café. After that we went to El Union for some coffee and a serious chat. We all fell in love with El Union’s s’mores. You should not miss this one if you visit San Juan, La Union. It’s a chocolate haven, I promise you. We spent a few hours at the beach, too bad bonfires are not allowed, listening to good random music while nursing a beer and talking of what we want in the next five years.


A subdued, ready to go home day two.
I spent the morning walking along the beach, barefoot, savoring the morning breeze while the sun isn’t fully up yet.  The calming sound of the waves hitting the shore clears your mind and makes you enjoy the beauty in front of you. I tend to over think yet that feels like, I can’t think at all. I had coffee with Mae and even if we don’t want to hit the beach because of body pains from yesterday’s surfing, we can’t say no to Tina. We spent the rest of the morning in the waters, trying to survive the angry waves while letting out all the #hugot lines about waves we can think of.

We had brunch at Gefseis Greek Grill and went home at 12 in the afternoon. It was another 6 hours spent sleeping on the bus.

The last time I step foot on a beach was in 2011 with the book club friends in Alabat Island, Quezon Province. I wasn’t even considering coming to this trip. I’m glad I came. It was the breather I was looking for weeks before this trip and finally feeling sand beneath my feet and the waves after 4 years.

Travel Details:
Here’s a simple breakdown my expenses for the trip:


*because it took me a while to document this trip, the expenses are approximate (near the total price though. I think I still have a hundred something remaining when we came back. The money I brought was exactly Php 3500.*

Aaron, Mae, Beejay, Ranee, Alona & Tina
Sebay Surf Central, Urbiztondo, La Union
March 28-29, 2015

Fat’s Bar ‘N Grill
Urbiztondo Grill House
MoonLeaf Tea House
Sea Nymph Café
El Union
Gefseis Greek Grill

* All images in this post are owned and edited by Alona unless otherwise stated.
You may view the images in high resolution here.