5 Supposedly Bad Teen Fluff Films I Really Love

1. Center Stage

Okay so dance movies are pretty much their own subgenre of popular fluff, but they have genuine merit for the brilliant authentic dance scenes. Of course, this is all thanks to the Step Ups of the movie world. But go back a little, to this underrated gem of the year 2000, and check out an honest to goodness dance movie that just makes my heart flutter every time I watch it. Critics panned it (“There is no story!”), but I just love it so much! Maybe I’m a little bit biased ’cause I’m not all into street and hiphop dancing, but the dancing in this is so fresh and original, and the story’s just so sweet! Sure, there’s no Channing Tatum, but there is a Sascha Radetsky, and many other famous faces from the ballet world. It’s about a soap opera-fied American Ballet Theater life, with pretty young ones dancing, making bad decisions, but pulling through in the end. Haha. It’s a coming-of-age tale sprinkled with ~friendlove~ and some romance, set in a ballet school context. This is the dance movie for anyone who’s ever had ballet in their lives. Those class and practice scenes will just bring back memories (“not enough turn out,” “from the hips,” “popo in”)! Btw, yes, that is the girl from PLL and Suits. And yes, that’s Zoe Saldana. Doing all their own dancing. And in their first film roles. Watch!! 

Couldn’t find a better quality vid of this full dance, but the individual parts are up on youtube, go check them out PLEASE:

2. Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging


Now this one I think actually fared pretty well on Rotten Tomatoes and has a bit of a cult following. If you watch the movie though, it’s all pretty stupid and super tweeny. The story has ridiculous plot points like the token girl squad rating each other’s attractiveness at a sleepover, engineering awkward meet-cutes with boys, having to have the ~best~ birthday party at a club (um hi aren’t you 13? HAHA), and the lead character getting everything she wants in the end ahahaha. There’s even a supposedly pivotal scene where the main “villain” crashes the lead’s party and makes the love interest choose between them, right onstage. Yes. The guy (Aaron Taylor-Johnson when he was still purely adorable and not creepy), who happens to be “cool” and in a band, chooses the lead girl and kisses her with a spotlight on, in front of her parents (again, aren’t you 13??? Loool.). It’s a quirky movie, but its overall semi-campiness is what makes it stand out. I like how they kept the adult characters normal and decent, offsetting the ridiculousness of the girls. It was a smart contrast. :)) Disregarding the obvious generational dictation of the story (less reality more imagined, and based on what older people might think of young girls), it’s a fun little movie! Almost like a cartoon.

Why so many awkward friendship dance scenes zzz

3. What A Girl Wants

Oh, Amanda Bynes. Back when she was still an up-and-coming Nickelodeon breakout star with serious teen idol potential hahaha. This was her first full-length movie, I think. It had all the elements of a teen rom-com that was right up there with every other I-need-to-know-who-I-am-but-first-gimme-a-cute-boy-and-can-I-travel-a-bit-and-have-a-special-snowflake-cinderella-moment movie created in that time. There’s a bonus fresh-faced Oliver James as the main love interest, a refreshing London setting, British stereotypes, a Michelle Branch-laden soundtrack, and a delusional storyline about royalty! What more can you want?! Oh and can’t forget dashing Colin Firth who plays a Lord and steals the show dancing in tight leather pants. He later comes floating across a pond/lake into a garden party on a little raft. Almost wish he fell over and referenced a familiar P&P scene we all love hahaha. Extra points also for the Christina Aguilera-y title even if she has nothing to do with the movie. It’s a super cute fluff piece with an Olsen Twins-y movie plot but much better – perfect for the Princess Diaries set. Which I must admit includes me.

Whenever it made you really want to visit London.
London forevs <3

 19 Times

4. On The Line

This probably has more to do with how I AM A TRUE AND LOYAL NSYNC FAN and will not let anything they’ve done pass (except maybe the first album hahaha). That golden age of bubblegum pop still has a special place in my heart and Nsync/Britney/BSB still gets regular playing time in my iTunes. I don’t even remember the whole story of On The Line, but I remember that it’s when Lance was still pretending to like girls and tried his hand as a leading man to Emmanuel Chiriqui. I remember he had that quiet/sensitive/more serious image that Nsync fangirls branded him with, which he played up in this romcom attempt lols. In the movie, I think he was an ad exec that had a viral story in the newspaper that helped him get the girl? And there’s a thing with a train station. You actually see a pretty good Joey Fatone in this who obviously can do more than just sing/dance as a secondary Nsyncer on stage. Some “behind the scenes” takes include Justin Timberlake playing a gay makeup artist, fixing up Lance Bass. Must-see in the after credits hee. It’s funny that the whole movie was marketed more through the official album filled with Nsync, Mandy Moore, Britney, other 90s popstars, and an odd sprinkle of some Al Green, more than the actual story and movie-ness of it all hahaha. It was just the perfect fluff film for the late 90’s-early 2000’s MTV generation.

~I’m layin’ it… ON THE LINE to show you, I’ll never let you goooo~

5. Crossroads

OH ditto everything the previous line. But this is better than On The Line. Because Britney forever and always.

*All images and videos from Google and Youtube.

“That’s offensive.” #progressive #cool

I wonder if there’s a sort of reverse feminism now where if you’re a ‘pretty girl’ with conformist looks/style/interests, you’re shunned, haha.

They said it best on the 21 Jump Street revamp:


Now, the cool thing is to be different. You’ve gotta care about stuff. You have to be more tolerant. You have to be deep, perceptive, insightful. And all the time, okay? “Unique” opinions matter most. Just as long as you’re doing or saying something “different” from everyone else, you’re in.

In a sense, yes, it’s great and all because it sheds light on real issues and matters that people used to just brush off and not even think about. It’s brought them to the forefront with each thing’s importance not getting minimized anymore. But then it’s also created a culture where people pretend to care and understand even if they really don’t just to be part of the conversation and to fit in (is this a byproduct of our Internet/social media life? *gasp*). It’s just a redefined ‘cool’ and you end up back at square one. When you “care” about an issue, does it seriously affect your… being? When you complain about environmental abuses, do you personally segregate your trash at home or have that natural, primal aversion to even throwing a piece of paper on the street? As in you physically can’t. Is it really an improvement in maturity and thought when, really, all you have are droves of people riding on? Where’s the progressiveness in that?

I wish people would stop being overly political/intellectual about things just for its sake. All this “That’s offensive” or “I accept this, BUT [caveat in opinion]” talk is annoying. If you’re just genuine about what you think and feel and believe, without any affectations and without being disrespectful, that should work fine. Congratulations, you are not a failure as a human being. Relax. Look at Magic Mike XXL. It’s a no holds-barred movie about male strippers entertainers that could easily spark comments on morality, male objectification, homosexuality, drug use, blahblahblah… But if you watch it, they expertly skid over all those matters by producing just an honest, fun, purely entertaining show. It might even be warmhearted and endearing, lol. There is surprisingly nothing rude and “offensive” about it (unless you’re easily appalled by cheeky gyrations and pelvic thrusts) and I’m still trying to understand how they managed it, hahaha.

But yeah, so how do we go back to being real about what we care about?

How to Batulao (when you’re a total newbie)

The last time I did some solid hiking/climbing was this one and ONLY time I did it– way back 2011. It was this intense 5-day pilgrimage during World Youth Day, moving from town to town, trekking through mountains, hills, and loooong remote roadways. A collective distance of over 100km. Yup. And it took me 4 years to recover hahaha.

Obviously I really don’t do this often and I’m not in the best shape, lol. I’m no mega adventurer but I do get these surges of enthusiasm to take it on once in a while. So this time, when the itch came around and an invitation to go and try Mt. Batulao coincided, I thought… Game!

(c) Sheena Tengco
(c) Sheena Tengco

SO, Mt. Batulao is in Nasugbu, Batangas, a quick 2 to 3-hour drive from Manila. Just go the same route as Tagaytay and follow the road to Nasugbu. Look out for Evercrest golf course along the road as this is the jump off point for the trek.

I went with my brother and a bunch of his friends. All of us were newbies who had little to no experience! We just did all our research online, through blogs and other sites, trusting that this was gonna be a chill minor climb good for beginners. We set off early morning, reaching Evercrest at about 7am. Lugging our backpacks lightly packed with essentials, we just looked for a guide to hire for the day and then were off!

The group at the first rest stop. (c) Sheena Tengco
Our super maaasahan guide, King! Notice he had nothing but a trusty pair of well-worn rubber slippers. He goes up and down the mountain at least 2x a day. No biggie. (c) Sheena Tengco

The first hour or so went easy enough. We were psyched to find out that it was a great day to go up because it was the mountain’s “anniversary.” There was free food at one of the camp sites in celebration and our guide, King, said we could be there right in time for lunch. Yay!

It’s no wonder why Batulao is one of the more popular day hikes among mountaineers. I can see how it can be relatively easy (operative word: relatively) if you know what you’re doing.  The views are incredible as well. You get a choice between the old and new trail for your ascent and descent. This varies in difficulty. We went up the new trail then went down the old as this was the most advised for newbies.

The new trail is a quicker but narrower path, so walk very carefully and just try not to look down on either side. It’s an easy drop down, nyay. Here you go through the up and down “spine” of the mountain to get to the summit more directly. This also has the more picturesque views of Batangas on both your right and left side.

IMG_7674Just a short way before the summit, I got cramps!!! A little bit of panic, but thank goodness for our guide and the kindness of people along the way. Some would lend you a hand–literally–or direct how to grab hold of rocks/plants or where to put your feet. We even met some students from our old university, members of the mountaineering org, who helped us and gave tips (thanks for the hydrite & salonpas, LM guys! haha). Pretty cool when strangers help each other out. Common practice along the way was to warmly greet fellow climbers “Magandang umaga/hapon (good morning/afternoon)!” or “Ingat po (take care/be careful)!”

We reached summit at around 11am, which gave us a beautifully clear and bright 360-degree view of the area. Awesome. This country’s natural beauty never fails to amaze me. Beaches, mountains… the Philippines is gorgeous.


We stayed there for about an hour, then started going down the old trail. Supposedly, this was easier because there were more rocks to hold onto and step on… but it was super challenging. This was where plain courage came in, hahaha. Even if you wanted to quit, you knew you just had to do it. Otherwise how will you get down?? Lol.

After the initial rappel downward (long rope, rock wall… fun!), things got steadily more difficult. The soil was much looser and it was getting really steep. We ended up climbing down on our butts for a huge chunk of the descent! It was kind of scary, especially with the dust flying everywhere and seeing how easy it was to fall off. :-s We would slide a bit at times just to get through. There were about 3 or 4 steep, rocky inclines to pass before getting to the trail where you could walk normally back to base camp. Of course we were very tired by the time we got there so we had to stop at every rest stop along the way. We were also quite sunburned– Batulao doesn’t have much trees so you’re very exposed. Had to be really patient and positive, hahah. And well, at least I got a tan. Lol.

I guess you have to really think it through when you do something like this, and make sure you’re fit enough to do it! Never over-exert yourself. Take your time if you have to, and just have fun along the way.

Overall, it was worth it!

Tips at a Glance:

  • What to bring: Water, a change of clothes, lunch, valuables, sunscreen. Pack light!
  • What to bring money for: Parking (P100 for the day); Hiring a guide (P300-400); “Registration fee” for ascent & descent (P20 each); Fresh buko juice (P40); Gatorade/Mountain Dew/water (P50); Bath for at the end of the hike (P25)—> makeshift bath area at the jump off point! :)
  • What to wear: Decent rubber shoes w/ good traction or proper hiking shoes (much better!); comfortable workout clothes (leggings/shirt/climbing shorts or pants)—> I wore a dry-fit shirt and simple gym shorts with long football socks, cycling shorts, and a sportsbra. Did me well! But my shoes broke. :| Use good shoes!
  • A walking stick would be useful
  • How long does it take: 8 hours max (going up, stay at summit, going down, rest stops along the way) Many have done it for half the time though, haha.
  • Difficulty level (for non-mountaineers!!! haha): I dunno, 5 or 6/9? Not much frame of reference haha but it felt pretty dangerous.. If you’re an absolute beginner who doesn’t have a very active lifestyle, don’t believe internet reviews that say it’s just a 3 and perfect for beginners. Still takes EFFORT.
but yeah, i’d do it again in a heartbeat!

Bless the people who’ve got your back

Just finished re-reading one of my favorite childhood books – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – and got washed over with feelings because of this:

“…I’ve got to track down the rest of the Horcruxes, haven’t I? That’s what he wanted me to do… then I’ve got to go after the seventh bit of Voldemort’s soul… and I’m the one who’s going to kill him…”

“We’ll be there, Harry,” said Ron. “…We’ll go with you wherever you’re going.”

“No–” said Harry quickly; he had not counted on this, he had meant them to understand that he was undertaking this most dangerous journey alone.

“You said to us once before,” said Hermione quietly, “that there was time to turn back if we wanted to. We’ve had time, haven’t we?”

“We’re with you whatever happens,” said Ron.


If you have a Ron/Hermione in your life, really, you’re truly lucky. There is nothing like real, honest friendship.

What’s my age again

Not too far back I wrote a positive, peppy post about turning a year older. But a few months in, and with the year about to end, I’ve come to realize that, really, nobody likes you when you’re 23. It’s just a very weird time.

1. Your being ‘college clingy’ is kinda sad. It’s been almost 2 years since college, but when you’re still not quite over it, it’s difficult. Maybe the all-nighters, finals, oral exams, yeah, but the novelty of living in that safe little bubble where everything is just possible and you’re basically free to do anything you want… that’s what still reels you in. I once said that graduating feels like breaking up, haha. It’s a big change that you just have to do.

2. You have so much more to let down… despite the apparent menial nature of things haha. In college it was much easier to fail and get back up again without feeling too bruised by the circumstance because it was just yourself you had to make it up to. Now, so much more is riding on whatever you do. You don’t just let yourself down; you let others down if you mess up. And you’re bound to mess up, ’cause you’re new to it all. I guess it’s why they say the things you take on at this time of “growth” is what ‘builds character.’

3. Making/keeping friends is hard. At this point, you have your different groups of friends established. Childhood friends. Highschool friends. College friends. Work friends. You have different important experiences with them that will bond you forever but the closeness won’t always remain. You’re lucky if you have a particular group constantly there but sadly it won’t be the same with most of the others. And you can’t really blame people, especially at this time when everyone is branching out and “collecting” experiences. Again, growth.

4. Your love life’s DOA. To quote The Rembrandts. Hahaha. Some at this age are already in serious, steady relationships but most others are going about single (and happy and free lol). It’s hard to get with someone because guys older than you are either too “grown up” or are only looking for, uh, one thing, and then guys younger are probably still in college so they have an entirely different world from you. The guys around your age… Well, they’re just malabo. They don’t know what they want. And you never know what they’re thinking. Haha. It’s not really a bother until you keep getting “Ha?? Bakit wala kang boyfriend?” questions at family reunions, random work convos, hangouts with old fam friends… Ugh. Gimme a break po, haha.

5. You’re too young and too old at the same time. Your professional resume pretty much reflects the reality of your life. You’ve done many things by now, but not a lot counts for much when you take in the bigger picture. At least, not yet. You can’t keep clinging to past experiences you felt were actually significant because when it comes down to it, they were pretty juvenile. You just really need more experience. But that doesn’t come easily either given how you’re stuck doing the little things since you’re not that trusted yet to hold much more. And you don’t know how to handle them yet anyway. But how do you learn?? Hahaha.

6. There are weird new battles you have to fight. Won’t get into specifics, but I’ve learned that you can find yourself pinned up against certain things you don’t really care much for but have to fight against haha. It’s ridiculous and annoying but you have to stand up for yourself because nobody else will. Welcome to the real world baby, it’ll all say. Lol.

Bonus #7- you end up constantly evaluating your life and the choices you make. You put this incredible amount of pressure on yourself when all you really want to do is watch Friends and Gilmore Girls reruns, hang out into the wee hours of the night with your friends, feed your emotions with berlin-artparasites posts on Facebook, and answer Buzzfeed quizzes.

Hahahaha. Sigh. Actually, maybe we should just stop fixating on age altogether. Would probably do the soul some good.