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.


Señor Enrique said...

There used to be weekend afternoon square dancing open in Manhattan's South Street Seaport area. It was open to the public. Went with some friends once to check it out. It was fun :)

palma tayona said...

my brother and i have doing it for the past 7 years. several deaths, birthings and life changes have already happened and yet we're still at it.

i guess, until one of us drops, we're still going to do it.

yes, it is fun... very fun indeed.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a very neat painting! I'd say, one of your best works. Love it! And nice story that accompanies it. Really cool.

palma tayona said...

that was done, if i am not mistaken, sometime around 2005. i was digging through cd's and files and found it.

i can't find in my records the size though.

thank you rhodora

Ebb Tide said...

Very colorful and creative cowboy painting. Love lots of Western art and cowboy painting but yours is more impressive.

palma tayona said...

... and to think i don't even know how to ride a horse. :-)

squaredancing in the philippines has been going on since the late 60's, and there is a group that has been actively doing it. from one group, i know there are two more actively dancing and meeting every week.

Nance said...

just blog hopping. wow,your paintings are impressive!!! i wouldn't mind hanging one of yours in my office. when u have a chance, visit my blog ... it's fairly new.
click here

Sidney said...

You are a very talented artist.
If I am not mistaken it was Señor Enrique who introduced me to your work.
Wow! You are even doing children books!

Kiks said...

squaredancing is very popular among Filipino domestics here in HK. there are many variations and i like joining them when they start stomping their feet across the big street of Chater Road.

must be a different feel when you do it in a golf course.

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

the man on the canvas looks pensive and, er, unhappy.

does it reflect the mood of the one who painted it?

just asking.

have a wonderful new year palma.

from one of your biggest fan. :-)

Unknown said...

I tried squaredancing once in Fort Worth, Texas, in one of their honky-tonk bars. I probably looked like a hen...didn't get the hang of it.:D Your cowboy looks tired from all the squaredancing, i guess.

Ebb Tide said...

I love looking at your "Cowboy" painting again. I am fascinated by your vibrant cowboy. Haven't seen one wearing a colorful cowboy outfit and one who is heavey duty. Nice idea! Most Western cowboys wear the typical blue denim or brown leather hats.

palma tayona said...

@ sidney : i used to do children's books, or rather illustrate them. it was a fun a thing to do - to release from within the child.

but since i took up the brush and canvas and trained myself to be a gallery artist, the disciplines have changed. the way i view things have differed. but the wonder of capturing an image in my mind on to a plane is still the same. it still is "creation".

the children's books here, i designed them. the artists whose works were used to illustrate the story, they are wonderful indeed.

palma tayona said...

@ nance : i enjoyed reading through your blog as well and looking at the paintings. cheers!

palma tayona said...

@ Kiks : we do it indoors, not on the grass. and yes, it is quite fun. 7 years of doing i, can be crazy to some but for me and my brother, it's doing aerobics with costumes.

palma tayona said...

@ ruff: no comment for now on that. :-)

thank you for visiting again and nice to "see" you.


palma tayona said...

@ luna miranda : in a honky tonk bar hmmm... i had this friend, a venezuelan consul. he would join our squaredance before when he was in the country and he would regal me and my brother stories from the nudist camps he'd go to in the u.s.

i remember in one of his stories about a nudist camp in pennsylvania, they had a square dance. men, women and children in their birthday suits took part in it and he said they all had a great time. "but you better be careful when you hold somebody else or you'll end up holding something else instead of the other person's hand," he also added.

palma tayona said...

@ ebb tide : the women (and their husbands go for the ride as well) in our group can really be colorful. one woman actually has 45 petticoats! between her and her husband, they have amassed a grand total 65 square dance outfits. amazing.

but my favorite outfit of all, is of this husband and wife tandem where they have this costume i call "ronald mcdonald" inspired. the wife wears a huge yellow and red petticoat, her blouse and her husband's shirt is also in bright yellow with red polka dots. i always half expect the other mcdonald's characters coming in when i see them in the dance. :-)