Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Both hands heavy with canvas, brushes and several paints I bought to re-stock my art supply, I was making a short cut through National Bookstore in Greenbelt when from the corner of my eye I saw a familiar book. I got close to it and to my surprise, it was an old publication of children's stories from Tahanan Books where I did an early illustration way back in 1998. It was also the same title which I don't have a copy of.

And here it is.

Oh, pardon me for posting the pages as jpegs. Since I was too lazy to re-type everything, I decided to make a pdf file out of it. However, I couldn't figure out how to link a pdf file here. Dang!

Note: TSINELAS NI INOY was written by Renato Vibiesca. The story won First Prize in The Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards in 1996. It is part of ANG GINTONG HABIHAN, an anthology of award winning children's stories published by Tahanan Books for Young Readers in 1998. They're selling it for 295PhP at National Bookstore.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Wiping away the mottle of gunk from my eyes and still shaking my brain out of its drunken stupor, I tried to read the text message that woke me up this morning from Delan. "Read today's edition of Manila Times. It's about your exhibit."

A few minutes after, a few splashes of water on my face and a gargle, I stepped out to buy the paper from Bong, the friendly Chinoy down the street who sells race track results, komiks, old candies, soft porn and the ubiquitous text loads.

"Bosing, nakita ko sa Manila Times paintings mo ah (I saw your paintings on Manila Times)," Bong flashed his coffee-stained smile and disappearing eyes at me as I approached his stand.

"Talaga? Buti ka pa. Ako, di ko pa nakita eh (Really? I haven't seen it yet)," I said.

"Heto oh. Huwag mo na bayaran. Libre ko na sa iyo (No need to pay. It's free.)," he offered as I was about to give him 20 pesos to pay for the paper.

"Pa-load ka ba?" he asked.

"Sige. Singkwenta. Alam mo na numero ko. Mamaya na lang pagbalik ko yung 30 ha? (Yeah. 50 pesos. You know my number. I'll return with the 30 bucks later ha?)," I told him while giving the 20 pesos I had.

When I got my load and about to walk away, Bong called out, "Sikat ka na ah. Huwag mo ako kalimutan (You're famous. Don't forget me.)"

I just smiled.

When I got back to my apartment, I made some coffee, sat down at my desk and read the article. This is what I saw...

... hehehe, sarap ng feeling!


Anyway... I have to remember to pay Bong the 30 pesos I still owe him when I go down later.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I call this my own little "PROJECT NOTEBOOK". A collection and/or repository of sketches and drawings that I'll be building up in the next few weeks or months that will record thoughts, ideas and inspirations blah, blah, blah...

Okay. Enough said.

It's the product of one afternoon of just doodling (instead of finishing a long-delayed painting languishing on the floor) on the pages of a nice little black-covered sketchbook (I call it the "English moleskin") given by the most talented artists I've personally met, known and admire - Emong and his wife Plet.

So, well... wala lang. :-)
Here's four of them I did in a couple of hours.

(the sketchbook: 8"x6", pen and ink)


20" x 24"
acrylic on canvas

"We'd turn on the radio to full blast, take the coconut husks and scrub the floor with it until it's so clean you can see your reflection," said Drew between mouthfuls.

“That’s pretty interesting. How often do you do that?” I asked while I dipped the big spoon into the bowl of rice for my second serving.

“Oh, almost every weekend. It’s like our bonding session. The two other girls I live with, we’ll just be in our undies and clean the whole apartment while shaking or singing along with the music. We like Madonna’s Like a Virgin. It’s fun.”

“The three of you?? That’s cool,” I quipped while I stood up to reach for another piece of adobo. “I think I outdid myself this time. I like this adobo,” praising myself.

“Yup. The three of us,” Drew said.

I had to add, “Wow, like the Vestial Virgins.”

“Hahahaha… Kuya naman,” Drew laughed at the thought.

“I think you should give yourselves a name. Hmm, how about Tatlong Maria?” I proclaimed.


“And maybe I can invite the three of you to clean my apartment,” I winked naughtily. “Don’t worry, I’ll cook this adobo again for the three of you.”

“Hahahaha, Kuya talaga…”

*note: Dang! I should take a picture again of this work. the blue ground isn't blue. It's torquoise green for pete's sakes. Aaaarghh...

Friday, January 25, 2008


Hmmm... I found this video that, well, uhrm, summarizes many conversations I have had before with other artists.

Nobody really needs to know, but it usually goes on like this...

Stewie and Brian "How's the novel?" (just change the word "novel" to "painting")

... I just couldn't resist posting this here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

... and still more SNAPS!

I got some more pictures from Drew who took these photos from that night. As I've mentioned I am posting a few more here. Thanks Drew!

This is 1/OF GALLERY.
It's a small intimate space on the second level of an open-spaced mall in a newly rising "city" in the south. The gallery is also a great place to hang out on afternoons when you find yourself doing nothing. Just sit at the table in front of it, poke your head at the railings, point at the people walking below with your lips and you can trade gossips about the interesting personalities that pass by... or simply smoke your cigarette and wonder what's for dinner.

... and that's the poster.

...and that's how it looks from outside.
Small space no? But big enough.

Jucar Racquepo and Friend (James?)
Snapped here talking to fellow alumnus/artist from UP.
Companions in art and (hic*) comrades too with bottles of beer in hand at Magnet Bar. Hehehe... one of these days I'll get the courage to do some sing-a-long at that place.

High School Teacher
Dig this! Chang, my high school geometry teacher was there with her husband Arnan, an old high school friend. :-)

Flower Vendor (For Diego) and Babae sa Pier
My own tribute to Rivera. I haven't written anything about this piece... yet.

A Boy and His Turtle
Another piece that I haven't really written about yet.

The Little Artist...

... and two peas in a pod.
Ryan, who just flew out of the country and dropped into Vietnam (Good Luck there Ryan!) and Drew, the hairiest bald guy I've known. He's like the brown Sasquatch, hehehe...

Present and Future :-)
I got this from Don Alano.
That's him in the foreground - the son and that's his father beside the flowers. ;-)

Well, that's the last of it. In a few days time, the euphoria will die down and life will go as it is, was and farther down the road, hopefully a better "will be".

Friday, January 18, 2008


I generally don't like having my pictures taken.
But this is different, I had no choice.
So, here it goes.
Some pictures from that night.
(Thank you Christine and Ted for the photos)

Shameless plugging: the shirt I am wearing is available at
I'll have the other images in my exhibit placed there soon. Check it out!

A couple of hours before the opening
Notice the beautiful blooms by Teddy.
When he found out that callas are a personal favorite, he used them for the show.

Early Birds!
Mom and Mama Ching
At the back is Anna from Singapore.
Karen the dentist below my apartment and

Vicky, the woman who shrieks from below. She's my morning coffee.

Two Bald Men (and a woman)
The Alano couple - Danny and Jay

Twosome Coo-some
Newly weds - dear friend Romano and his lovely wife Jing.

MI BODA on the window
The frame is one of my brother's creations.
I love how he used red.

An old friend
High school friend Dennis a.k.a. Siopao

Friday and friends
Better than Thursday and lived more than Saturday :-)
That's Dru with his back staring at the Man on a Red Bike.

Cool Guys!
Melo, John, Lew, Junand Jerry , who never fails to crack jokes at even the dullest moment.
Good friends all.

Bald Man Giving Thanks
Far left, that's Gigo and his wife Alyssa, Gary and Chrissy.
The Ambassador of Turkey and his wife.
Melo, John, Lew and Jerry.

Bald Man Talking
Talk, talk, talk with Nelson and Rico

...and still talking.

Neil, Bonen, Uriel, Sheila, my Brother (slightly hidden), the Bald Guy,
Lali, Jing, Ben and Dave.

If you haven't seen it yet, I am shamelessly, unabashedly and eagerly inviting YOU to visit 1/OF GALLERY, 2nd floor of Shops at Serendra, Global City, Taguig.
It'll be there until the 25th of January. Thanks!!

Monday, January 14, 2008


a crazy day by the bay
photo taken by Nelson Agustin

Yes! Today's the DAY.

Later today will be the opening of my FIRST ONE-MAN SHOW of paintings and to put it bluntly - it's scaring the hell out of me!

I know this might sound corny, but I'll do it anyway. I know these people read my blog and to you, I give my deepest gratitude:

My brother, through thick and thin has always been there. I love him dearly. He's my best friend.

Mama Ching, my second grandmother. I've given her some headaches but being a grand lady that she is, she never showed it. And her sister ML, another grand lady of squaredancing. To both of them go my utmost respect.

Gigo and Delan, two crazy individuals who, through hard work and a dogged pursuit of a dream are both making marks in the exciting world that is Philippine art.

Arthur Dizon, hello there in Chicago! Your friendship and support meant a lot to this crazy artist.

Andre Garra, your biting remarks... I would miss them tonight. (He's currently in the hospital recuperating from some stitches.)

Sheila, a woman, a mother, a lover (not mine!) and a dear friend; and Ben who I always pray for to have peace in his heart.

Teddy Manuel, whose gift of blooms simply awed me.

Lali, thank you dear beautiful lady for the words.

1/OF GALLERY and CANVAS, you Rock!

My parents, the bedrock of my brothers and I.

Wiggy, Deus, Zach, Marlon, Lyra and Jyra - the angels.

To all my friends who will be there... Maraming Salamat! And to them who are now in the embrace of Our Lord, I know you're out there - somewhere (or perhaps reading this in a cybercafe in heaven). Thank you and my prayers to you.

See you later!!!



Though this one came a bit late, I would like to thank Senor Enrique for posting in his blog the announcement for my exhibit. Mabuhay SeƱor!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


9” x 12”
pen and ink on paper

Nelson's Office

Nelson, an old friend from college, came home to the country with Norman to celebrate his birthday. It was planned months ago and I was pretty excited to meet him and talk about how things have gone through with each of our lives. I had thought of giving him something a bit more than the usual bottle of wine or perhaps a really nice shirt to remember the country he left behind for a life in Canada.

But things can happen in between. Tragedies and even fate can intervene with ones plans. When the day came and I received a short message that he is here, I thought, "Oh shit. I have nothing to give."

I dug through my pockets. I only had enough for bus fare to go to where he's staying and back home, and nothing else.

I ended up rummaging through my piles of drawings and picking a nice one for him.

"Damn, I just hope he likes this measly drawing. I guess - and I hope - this'll do as a gift," I was telling myself as I tried to carefully wrap the drawing with some brown paper and a ribbon recycled from a gift wrap of two years ago.

I gave it to him when I arrived at his hotel room.

We met our other friends.

We talked. Laughed. I cracked some Canadian jokes to Norman's delight.

It was good, really good to see an old friend.


I received this in my email today:

Hi Dan,

Here’s a view of my little (cluttered) office space, with your drawing on one wall. ;-) Thought you might appreciate this.

Hope you’re well, and good luck with your exhibit. I’m sure sisikat ka na (wag mo kaming kalimutan, ha?)


Monday, January 7, 2008


dimensions unknown
acrylic on canvas

“Heeeee-haaaawww!!” shouted Rome.

“NO! We don’t do THAT,” I complained. “We dance, do the do-see-doe and other calls but we don’t hee-haw like that.”

“Okay. So I guess you just ride your horses and do a John Wayne huh? Hehehe…”, he chided.

“Silly,” I remarked.


It will be seven years since my brother and I have been doing squaredance.

Yes. Squaredance… where men wear cowboy hats and boots, dress up in plaid shirts and have their fingers slide into these wide belts with big metal buckles. The women don on dresses that are a bit more colorful – collared, plaid blouses with fringes, boots and yeah they wear petticoats. To do a squaredance, there must be four couples or pairs – male and female. Then there’s a caller – or one who calls out the steps.

“What’s your group called?” asked Olive, one night when I taught a group of friends four years ago how to do it.

The Manila Hoedowners Club,” I said.

“So, do you get to ride a horse and wear spurs on your boots?” asked Nelson.

“We don’t have HORSES,” I said.


We slowly filed into the chapel where PL’s ashes are interred. His ashes were in a white urn with golden trimmings on top of a mahogany table that served as an altar. Beside it was a big photo wearing a somber stare and had a black frame.

“That’s the picture I framed,” my brother whispered, and motioned with his lips towards PL’s picture.

“Didn’t you get goosebumps while you were doing it?” I asked him in a hushed tone.

“Yeah, I did,” he said.

“And to think that we used to see him in the squaredance sessions doing the more difficult calls,” I added and my brother nodded.

We walked to the front pew and said our condolences to his wife M.L. She was wearing her silver tie clip, the same kind that PL used to wear when he’d go squaredancing.

The tie clip was a horse’s head.


Note: The Manila Hoedowners Club is the first squaredance club in the country meeting every weekend at the Manila Golf Clubhouse.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


18" x 23"
pen and ink on paper


In a bar, down south near the gallery where I would go in some days of the week, I found myself sitting alone holding a bottle of red horse while waiting for my friend who’s always late.

“Hi man. Sorry if I mistook you for a bouncer a while back,” the guy said as he took the empty seat beside me at the bar.

“It’s okay. I am used to that. That wasn’t the first time,” I said.

“By the way, I’m Stephen” he introduced himself and raised his hand.

“Nice to meet you,” I acknowledged and shook it.

“So what do you do?” he asked.

“I paint. On canvas. I’m a painter.”

“Really?? Wow. A big, tough guy like you? A painter, hanep man, first time I meet a painter that’s big like you, hey, you work out? I like your chest,” he said these with hardly making a pause as if I’m some sort of oddity a child discovered.

“Uhm, thanks,” I quipped, as I was becoming uncomfortable with his questions.

“By the way, lemme show you something pare,” He stood up from his seat and with one fluid motion, he lifted his shirt and stood there exposing his upper torso while I was sat there dumbfounded.

“I have a nice chest and set of abs no?” he asked me with a note of pride.

“These are not really wholly mine. A little nip below the chest here and a little lipo and lot of hours in the gym and you can have this great look.”

“Cool,” was the only thing I can say.

Then from across the bar a man called out his name.

“Hey man, have to go. Nice talking to you. Maybe next time, we meet again ha,” he took a last sip from his beer, tucked his shirt and sped off.

“Do you have any idea who that guy you were talking to?” said my companion as he came in from behind me.

“Nope, I don't,” I told him as he took the seat left by Stephen.

“He’s one of those guys in that all-male sexy group P…..! You hardly go out eh. You’re like a hermit.” he exclaimed.

A few weeks later, while I was flipping through some showbiz sites, there was Stephen -in all his naked glory with a little piece of cloth they call “swimming trunks”. Up to now, I still wonder why he bragged about his chest to a complete stranger in a bar.



“That is SO GROSS!” shrieked Andre. “Why do you have to draw little cherubs flying in and out of the groin of some headless torso? Are you depressed? Do you want to chop your head off or something like that?” he badgered me while he rummaged through his bag for his toiletries.

“Of course NOT. Though I’ve thought about it before, but I’m not too depressed yet to do that,” I hollered at him. “It’s based on some foreign news I’ve read before. It’s about this male model who had plastic surgery to enhance his chin (or was it ear?). He wasn’t too happy with the result because of a little nip that left a tiny scar. So, he killed himself.”

“Wow, the vanity of some people. Imagine? Going all the way to doing that for mere physical beauty?” he pondered. “Anyway, I’ll have to take a bath before I go to my shift tonight. You still have water in your shower no?”

“Yeah, it’s enough even for an elephant,” I answered. As he turned towards the bathroom, I saw a couple of packets fall out of his toiletry bag. I picked them up and asked, “What are these?”

“Oh, they’re my whitening cream and moisturizer. I put that on every time I take a bath,” he said as he took the packets from my hand.

“But aren’t those for women?”

“So? It’s not only women who need to be beautiful.”

With aplomb, he took his towel and went into the bathroom.

Friday, January 4, 2008


24" x 30", acrylic on canvas
12" x 17", pen and ink on paper

Tonight, coming home from Luna Street from my regular haunt in front of Pasay Chung Hua Academy, I saw a very thin girl. No, not a thin girl but a "stick thin" girl. She seemed to be one of those young waifs I'd see scurrying along the streets of Pasay at night poking at the garbage and hoping to find their next meal. She looked so "unnervingly" familiar.

I passed her and she looked at me blankly. She was in a ragged skirt skipping and hopping on a rope. Beside her was an old woman rummaging through a pile of garbage with a short blunt stick. The old woman was selecting, as I could see in the dim light, through a pile of what seemed to be thrown holiday contents from someone's refrigerator.

"HOY! P**a kang bata ka. Itigil mo na yan at tulungan mo ako dito. (Stop that and help me with this!), was what I heard the old woman shout to the child in her feeble voice as I walked on towards Taft Avenue.

When I got home and sat in front of the computer to read some emails, the little girl's image kept on pounding in my brain. Then it dawned on me.

She was the Jumping Rope Girl I saw about a year ago gingerly jumping with her rope. I rummaged through some past posts and saw this one long buried and forgotten...


March 06, 2006

This morning I sit by my window looking out. The whole street was alive with cars, jeeps and people hurrying to places where they should be. It's just another Monday - the start of another week and I have my coffee with me. My eyes still smarting from the bright morning sun, I need a few more sips to ease myself to being fully awake.

Then I saw her across the street below. She could be around 7 or 8 years old - a little girl I have seen these past few early mornings playing in the same place at the parking lot of the bank across. Today I see that she's skipping on a new rope. "Plat... plat... plat..." even above the din of the cars honking, I could hear her rope hitting the sidewalk cement. Oblivious to things around her, she would just hop on one leg, keeping perfect time to her rope hitting the ground. Like the cadence of a marching band, the child can keep her rythm as steady as a clock.

I am just amazed to watch her, early this Monday morning.

How time flies...

Thursday, January 3, 2008


15" x 15"
pen and ink on acid free paper

Dear *******,

I initially wanted to send this to you privately but... what the heck. I simply decided to make this an entry here in my blog.

People who know me well will tell you that one of my pet peeves (aside from being called "Kuya" by people I absolutely have no blood relations with) is when total strangers come up to me and say, "Hi, can you paint me nude? For FREE ha?" or, "Hi! Can I have one of your sketches or better yet, can you give me na lang one of your paintings. Sige na PUHLEEEZ??", and then would proceed to give me the most doe-eyed expression they can muster. They ask me these without the temerity of even giving me their friggin' name!

What I will say here is something that most artists, deep within the deepest recesses of their minds and guts would want to say but are either too polite or too timid to tell when confronted by these “requests” or anything similar to what I wrote on top.

"Ano ka? Sineswerte?"

Like all of us who try to eke out a living, us “artists” are no different from those who clock in 8-hour daily shifts. We actually earn from what we draw, dance, sing or sculpt. It even takes a whole lifetime to perfect these skills. Some even die without seeing the rewards from the fruits of their life's labor.

I admit, unless the works are mediocre, these products of our imagination are indeed expensive. Why? Blood, sweat and tears pour into these imaginative creations. When a painter or sculptor exhibits his works, it doesn't mean it's a mere 'brag-o-rama' sort of exposition where he shakes his balls for the whole wide world to see... and ends there. There's actually business that happens behind it, which the public doesn't necessarily have to see nor even know about. Monies, fortunes and even reputations are traded for the best art.

The beneficiaries of these are not only the galleries that exhibit the works, the promoters who make all these press releases, the managers who take care of the artist and his career, but in the end, the artist himself. In a much wider picture, another beneficiary, through time and how well the artist was able to encapsulate the thoughts of his community into a quantifiable expression, would be the culture to which his work adds on or improves upon. Every single piece done by a career artist is unique, well thought of, has value and in many cases, seen as an investment.

So you see, it isn't just a doodle that an artist would give out to every Tom, Dick and Harry he meets along the street - unless if that is the thesis of the artist's work. It is a well-structured business where every piece is traded for with something of pre-determined equal value to acquire.

Here's a little fact that many neglect to know. Serious artists don't necessarily make "give-aways" of their works the way Mcdonald's or Jollibee do with their freebies as part of a marketing gimmick. A lot of times, the artist or his family, when he’s long dead and gone, would keep many of the works for varied personal reasons. Ergo, unless bought, it is difficult to part with a work as a token. Think of it like having a child. Now, how often have you heard of any person who would give away his child the way he'd give, say bananas to any passing monkey?

It even took me more than ten years before I actually gave a very close and dear friend a sketch of mine.

An artist needs time, an actual relationship and a good, meaningful reason to give away something he/she created without the presence of any physical barter. We don’t buy our thoughts or ideas the way a Hermana Mayor would buy gold-foil wrapped chocolates from the supermarket and toss it to the town children during fiesta.

My suggestion, if you would like to have a “free work” from some artist who’s into what he does on the long run… befriend him or her first. Be close to that artist and establish some form of rapport or relationship. Paul Gauguin made his best works using his Pacific Island mistresses as his models. Jose Joya drew some of his boy lovers and their naked images are now preserved for posterity. Frida Kahlo gave Trotsky one of her works after they had a short affair. I even know a thirty-something artist who’s now based in Hong Kong and making waves with his angst-ridden drawings of his father with fangs. He gives away his drawings and sketches to every lover he invites under his sheets, or above the kitchen sink.*

Who knows, di ba? If you start befriending a career artist with an excellent body of works and have good relationship with that person, you wouldn’t have to run away with one of his/her works. Heck, he might even hand it to you with a brass band to accompany it.


*I know that my examples are a bit racy. I am not looking for a lover to give my sketches or devote a painting to. I just used them to illustrate a point.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

LIVING/Stories - Exhibit

January 1. First day of the year. New beginnings.
This'll be the first day that will countdown towards my first one-man show.

I've officially begun to be jittery.

(Oh, and my brother - the father of Wiggy and Deus - is the one doing the frames. Shameless plugging.)

"… the most interesting part of my adventures is when it allows me to see things I thought I have buried for so long deep in my memories. One-by-one, I have to exhume these memories, these thoughts and "tell them" visually. It will take a lifetime of work to do that and I'm not really in so much of a hurry. Though I have to admit, some of these memories can be quite scary, the same way as some of them can be quite exhilarating." - July 21, 2007

On the 14th of January, Palma Tayona opens his first one-man show of paintings in a show titled LIVING/Stories. Known for the robustness of his images, the artist features some of the works done during the past two years.

Featured in his exhibit are several of his works that the artist would write about in his blog. His images, much the same way as his stories, have an innocent and light-hearted sentiment which are both a pleasure to see and read.

opens on January 14, 2008 at 7pm and will run until January 25. it will be held at 1/OF Gallery, 2 nd level Shops at Serendra, Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila.

For details call 9013152 or email at

You could also visit or