Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Guess what?

Hmmmm... something's happening on this date. I'm pretty excited and I can't wait until this day comes.

Monday, April 28, 2008


My oh my! If Ella Fitzegerlad were still alive today, she'd be prancin' and scattin' the night away with this kid onstage. Such a wonderful and refreshing crooner this Charlie Green.

Oh, and another thing. His mother's Cecilia Sumargo, a native of Cebu. Methinks it's the Cebuano's musicality that simply made this kid... rock!

What do you think?


Sunday, which was basically yesterday, was pretty leisurely. It gave me some respite from the worries of having to move out. Relocate. Leave permanently. Go back where everything started.

Pagkahaba-haba man ng prusisyon sa simbahan din ang tuloy.

Yup, I am moving out of Pasay. In a period of a little over two months, I'd be out of the place I have begun to call home. I'm packing my things and heading back home to Manila where my travels began. It's really just a few minutes away but I feel like it's traveling across the seas.

I'd be leaving behind almost five happy, sad, joyful, mad, wild and crazy years in my adult life. Am I sad about it? Yeah. But at the same time, I feel I've a sense of a new adventure lying ahead. So, I suppose, I am also a bit excited. Whatever lies ahead, well, only Batman knows. :-)


In the meantime, I have been slowly getting rid of some stuff. Things I think should have another life in someone else's possession. Yesterday, I began the process of little-by-little, letting go of some "stuff".

I gave Neil (Sheila's boyfriend) a drawing I have kept for several years now. I was glad he liked it. Well, that's one thing I won't be seeing prancing about anymore every time I pass by it on my wall. Henlie also got one. That's two less works from my wall. It's my advanced birthday gifts for them.


I've also finally decided that this one should be taken down from my wall and placed in a gallery. It's a sort of "paean" for Andre and his troubles. Eventually, he'll move on - to a much better life, I hope.

I call this one "Blue Sky" (not the biscuit ha?). It comes in a nice solid black frame and heavy enough that if thrown on the head of a burglar, can thwart his evil desires of thievery.

It'll be available at 1/OF Gallery. (Yeah, shameless plugging again.)

I wrote the text beneath around February 2007.

Blue Sky
11” x 17”
pen and ink on acid-free paper

“I AM TIRED OF MY LIFE” is an oft-repeated statement of someone I know dearly. It’s a statement that I can’t blame him for mentioning.

He lost his house twice. He lost a chance at romance. He lost a niece and almost lost his mother who is now groping for her sanity. Now he’s battling for his life in a hospital. There’s not much of a happy moment in between these tragedies, and no matter at how much cheering up I or anyone can give him, his is a life full of it. One can even say it’s already his middle name or it’s an invasive twin attached to his side.

For the past few years he’s been battling a tsunami of emotions predicated by a proportional seesawing of his weight and the last time he gave a full and hearty laugh of joy is now but a distant memory for him. Months and days have been spent crying and cursing at the life he leads.

“When will this fucking hardship end? If this is God’s idea of a joke, then He’s much too cruel.”

I am left dumbfounded at the face of this person’s despair. I, who thinks life is hard enough trying to survive running after an elusive dream, merely have to look at this person just to humble myself.

“Do you know why the sky is blue?”

“Aside from a Yahoo commercial I have heard about why it’s blue, no, I don’t.”

“It’s His way of mocking people like me – prisoners of our own tragedies. It’s like you’re in a 10 x 10 feet prison cell, with nothing but rough bricks and bars around you. Then there’s this one small window high above and the only thing you can see is a tiny piece of blue sky. That’s Him saying, “You can only see this, but you can’t touch it.”

A few weeks have passed. The operation saved his life and I got this message from him, “Am okay. Got out of the hospital and my mom’s doing better. I guess I won’t see you for a while until I get to sort things out. Take care.”

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I simply cannot contain my anger towards those individuals who continue, with their ignorance and blatant unconcern, to disregard the basic right of an individual for privacy, respect and dignity.

I have seen, watched and read reports of these so-called medical "professionals" in the Vicente Sotto Medical Center scandal and what they have done is utterly deplorable.

I can vent my anger the only way I know how.


Friday, April 25, 2008


pen and ink, and acrylic on paper
16" x 28"

Angel with Flower/ Angel with Guitar
pen and ink paper
11" x 19"

It's been several days and all I can think of were angels, angels and more angels. I think I've already done two dozens of these winged creatures. And I've been enjoying making them.

I have no story for these angels I've done. They're all out of a whim.

Well... hmm, not entirely true though.

It did start out from something. All these angels I've been doing for the past few days (the reason for my being so quiet in my posts) were inspired from a little story I wrote a year ago. I am re-posting it here including the FIRST ANGEL I EVER DID. Makes my eyebrow rise up at how different my angel looked like.

Oh, and these angels are available at 1/OF GALLERY in Serendra. That's one shameless plugging. :-)


An Angel
Size unknown


"Hehehehe... Hehehehe..." It was a high-pitched laughter that made the hairs on my arms stand on end when I heard it from below my stairs just outside of the iron door. I stopped in my tracks before unhitching the lock listening if it was just the malevolent wind that carried the sound to my ears. Or maybe it was simply my imagination running amuck, having spent the night in a cold, wet room with not even a single light bulb working. Or perhaps it was the rainfall making its dancing prattle heard over the din of an occasional jeep or tricycle passing by.

With a noisy bang and a thud, I opened the gate. I poked my head outside cautiously into the cold, grey, wet and windy morning. I don't spy any of the usual "cart people" that would park their mobile homes the night before near my doorway. In fact there was no one on the sidewalk at all. "Hehehehe...", I heard that laughter again. I looked to my left and there "it" was. Huddled almost unrecognizably on a pile of soggy newspapers and corrugated boards was a dark brown figure of something like - a human. I looked more closely and "it" began to move. It was a boy - a boy of no more than fifteen.

With big wild eyes, his hair wet and curly, he was naked to the bone. He looked at me and for a brief moment our eyes locked. Then I realized it wasn't me he was looking at, he was looking through me.

"Hehehehe..." he laughs again. I saw his fingers holding and twisting a piece of chord on his chest. Then his hand moved on to his shoulder to something which the chord seems to be attached to something on his back. It was a pair of white-feathered wings.

I have seen these kinds of wings before. I remember seeing them on children playing angels during Easter when they were used by priests to re-enact the moving of the veil from the Mater Dolorosa marking the end of the virgin's mourning. But unlike the clean white feathers worn by these "angels", this young boy's wings were sullied. Wet from the rain, some of the feathers were already clinging to his back. He pulled himself up, knelt on the pavement on top of his mass of soggy lumps of papers and corrugated boards, and taking the wings by his hands he started to wipe the feathers one-by-one, picking the mud and dirt.

I stood there watching the whole time as he carefully did this cleaning. A few moments into this chore, he stopped and looked at his wings. Satisfied perhaps with what he's done, he crossed his arms and started to shiver from the cold of a sudden gust of strong wind and rain that pelted his thin brown naked body. Like a rude awakening from a dream, I too felt the sudden cold.

I closed the gate and rushed inside thinking I should get something for this child to warm and dry him in this cold morning. I would eventually cajole him to come inside, warm some soup left over from last night and perhaps ask him from where he comes from, his folks, where he lives. From a pile in an upstairs room I took a thick newly washed sheet, enough to tempt anyone to wrap himself in. I also took a piece of bread to perhaps, at least, to nudge him to eat. With this booty in hand, I went downstairs again to fetch the child from the cold.

A few steps from my gate, I heard the howling of the wind like a deep angry moan. The sudden thrash of the rain was already loudly hitting my closed gate like a million tiny drumbeats of miniscule warlords trying to invade the warmth of my shelter. I opened my gate and again poked my head outside. I don't see the child from his perch. I looked on the other side of the doorway and neither was he there. I walked beyond my gate thinking perhaps he went further down the pavement. I could see him no more. Strangely too, on this normally busy street, not a single soul was in sight.

I walked back to my door, back to the embrace of my own home. I passed by the spot where the boy has left the remains of the newspapers and the soggy corrugated boards he knelt on. And amongst the heap, as the pouring water from a roof spout was slowly washing away the soggy pieces of paper lumps into the canal, I spot a few wet feathers from his wings shaking in the wind.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


This is one of those "I couldn't resist but put it" moments.

I grew up on Kermit The Frog - so I love him. I envy Tery Fator for being able to sing with THE FROG. He even did it as James Taylor. Now that rocks! Wooohoo!!

Oh, and the chickens are way too cool.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


"Fuego, Agua, Aero"
each measuring 15" x 15"
pen and ink on paper

"The four ancient elements... hmmm, that's cool no?" I told Steve one night when he saw the first piece I called "El Fuego" or The Fire. That was 2006, and the piece was finished 2005.

Last 2007, I finished "Agua" or Water. And then this year, I placed the final strokes on "Aero" or Air. I wonder when I'll start doing "Tierra" or Earth.

"Don't you notice something? Like it takes me a year each to finish one of them," I told Steve last week.

"It's a labor of love. Besides, It's very interesting when my visitors see that I add a new one beside it every year," he replied.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Some anonymous person (thank you anonymous!) sent me this trailer for the movie PLONING. I saw it. Read through the movie's site again and now I totally, and SHAMELESSLY have to admit - I am giddy with Juday.

I surprised myself. I am actually excited to see this movie and it will be my first time to see another commercially-produced one after that Kris Aquino "Happy Together" thing.

Now, I wonder how big the popcorn boxes are in the cinemas these days.


My Morning Coffee
20" x 24"
pen and ink on paper

“Hey Dan! I read on this blog that Robert Duffy is here!”

“Who?”, I asked J on my mobile while I was stirring my regular one teaspoon of black coffee and two teaspoons of brown sugar to jumpstart my still wobbly brain. I hate mornings like this when I lack sleep and I carry around myself like dead weight on a cool cloudy day that whispers into my ears that enchanting word “sleep”.

“What do you mean “WHO”? Robert Duffy. The business partner of Marc Jacobs. You don’t know him? Ano ka ba?” she exclaimed in a high-pitched irritated voice – too irritating for the ear on a morning like this.

“Oh, yeah. That’s nice”, I was trying to sound chirpy though the only thing I can manage was a throaty, crackly voice. Something was stuck in my throat that I needed to expectorate on the kitchen sink. "Haruuumph!! Chraachtooee!"

My coffee in one hand, I walked heavily towards my living room still clutching my mobile to my ear.

“What time is it?” I asked her.

“Six,” she quipped.

“So, what about this Duffy guy,” I grunted.

“They’re finally going to open a Marc Jacobs store in Greenbelt 5. Eeeek!! I am soooo excited. I can’t wait until it opens. I want those bags and those dresses and those accessories. Hear oh. I am palpitating,” she squealed.

For a few seconds there was silence on the other end. I tried to imagine, in my half-awake state while sitting on the floor naked with a coffee mug, that this crazed woman was clutching, prayer-like her mobile to her chest making me listen to her thumping thump-thump beating heart.

“Oh, sige. Gotta go. When the store opens, you accompany me ha? Byeiii…” and she bids me goodbye in my own dazed silence, in that morning, on the floor, naked with my coffee mug in my hand wondering… Marc Jacobs who?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Patterns: Metaphors of Life

“I wanted to recapture the essence of what it is that made me paint in the first place, so I went back to being personal in my subject matter. Patterns have been a favorite subject of mine, as we are reflections of guided habits, as natural as eating at a certain time, breathing, birth and death, we all must conform to the natural timing of the world ...”

In every facet of living, being creatures of habit, we follow certain patterns that guide us – from the continuous rise and fall of heavenly bodies that give us directions of time and space, to the rhythm of the tides that directs our movements, and even to the beats of our hearts that tell us what we feel or our physical state. These patterns that exist intrinsically in our nature and lives have become the main focus of this artist’s interest.

It is intrinsic for she follows her own rhythm. Every mood and color that she evokes in each work is a pattern itself from her life and being, from the way she painted the differing colors and pathways of her days as evinced from her renditions of the times of the day in Midday, Twilight and Dusk, to how she sees seasons change in Spring and Sunshower; to even the textures of her environ Good Earth, Savannah and Celadon. It is through the rhythmic patterns of her works that the artist invites us to engage in her discovery.

“Patterns are indigenous to daily life like maps, they guide our hearts, and movements, and inner clockwork, defining our personalities as they endlessly repeat and over lap.” *

What becomes more engaging in the artist’s works is the way she divides her patterns and rhythms into sections that when re-arranged, a new symphony arises. Attributable to the artist’s graphic design aesthetics, she manipulates her patterns in a way that gives freedom to the viewer to re-compose her images and yet never losing the visual beat that she has created.

Ground Upon My Feet
is purely reminiscent of the changes that undergoes the ground beneath us and how nature changes herself on a regular and dynamic way. The artist creates these same patterns on planar strips that when visually re-assigned can create new meaning and yet manages to still maintain the same dynamic rhythm.

Patterns are indigenous to our daily lives, yes. And so is change. Metropolis approaches this theme to the hilt. Change the position of the visual “roads”, create new environs, and yet it is still one whole living breathing city.

“…I painted with conviction the only way I know how to - from the gut. With every canvas, you will be partnered with for a certain time, there is a rhythm. And as sure as we decide what to do with our lives each moment, we forge our paths only to be seen, as we look back in memory and account for the things we have done in the past. I started my paintings with the long canvasses, and entitled it appropriately as “Pathways”. It seemed appropriate during that time as each painting was a revelation of each facet of my personality. Each of it was a discovery, and the summed up total was in fact, a pattern.”

The artist’s usage of smaller canvases to make up a whole is in essence what we are all made up of – bits and pieces of experiences, stories that are told and unfold each day. Metaphorically, the re-arrangements, breaks and repetitions of these patterns become bars in a sheet of music that separate each movement from one another and yet cohesive as one big lyrical arrangement. It is the artist’s parallelism of a song from the life of a young woman living and exploring the wonders of a so-called life.

graphic design (living ornament), MFA Maryland Institute of Art


Written by yours truly and published in Manila Bulletin, March 31, 2008.

This was written for my artist friend Marga Rodriguez who's having her
first solo exhibit Patterns: Metaphors of Life at the Renaissance Gallery, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City, Philippines. On April 11, 2008, 6pm. The show runs till April 21. For details please call: 637-3101.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I have to admit, I am no lover of the current crop of Pinoy films being produced by commercial filmakers. The last commercially-produced film I have watched was Kris Aquino's "Happy Together" and was not entirely "happy" about it.

Perhaps as a reaction to the dullness and un-inventiveness of commercial film producers, the past few years have seen emergence of a new breed of surprisingly quite good independent filmakers. Is it a sign that Filipino movies are going to a different direction and that finally, these film makers are actually realizing Pinoys need better and "meatier" films to watch? Or is it a slow, but steadily building, reaction of a creative community that realized, "Hey, we're getting sick and tired of these producers making formula movies using copied and hacked Hollywood scripts."

Whatever reason it is, I am happy (not in a Kris Aquino happy way) that I do get to watch these excellent indie movies when I have the chance to.

And speaking of indie movies, which is really the whole point of this entry, I chanced upon an online promotion of this new movie that'll be shown at the end of this month. It's called PLONING (click here). From what I have seen on their site and the trailer, it seems to be a good movie. It stars Judy Ann Santos who, incidentally, is also one of the producers.

At first, I laughed at the name. To a Tagalog's ear, the name is as queer as Tekla, Kurdapya or Pokwang. Then I googled more. Turns out it's a lovely Palawan ditty. (I take back what I said. The name now has a pleasant ring to it.)

I googled further and found this lovely trailer for the movie.

Sigh, with this summer heat, how I wish I am in Cuyo right now and humming the tune of Ploning.