Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I got an email from Sandy of The Reading Room (it's a quaint little shop in Cubao X which carries these wonderfully quirky things) and she asked me if I'm interested in hanging a few pieces at HALO Restaurant. I figured that I love Cubao X so much when I did that art fair thing in October that I immediately said, "Yeah sure babe".

So, I got to be introduced to Halmen, the wonderful lady who owns the restaurant. We talked and she showed me her place's walls (which I immediately felt very comfortable with considering my huge buttocks don't exactly fit well on the tiny seats meant for smaller frames); and on Saturday, December 20th... I'll be hanging some of my smaller works on paper and maybe a couple of paintings in that lovely, quirky and soulfully intimate restaurant.

I am still figuring out exactly which of the smaller pieces I'd hang in Halo Restaurant since I am in the middle of doing some huge works for another bigger exhibit next year (this one's going to be pretty exciting). However, digging through my works I thought I might as well let this one go and have it hang properly on another person's wall. It's about three of my four nephews.

I'll be posting in a few days more details about the exhibit on the 20th. In the meantime, I am re-posting this old one below.

33.5 X 24.5 cm
pen and ink on acid-free paper


“Hello”, the gruff voice of a young teenager answered at the other end of the line.

“Who’s this?” I asked.


“Wiggy? Is that really you?”


“Yes it’s me Tito Dan.”

“Goodness, you sound very different. You sound grown.”

“I’ll get Daddy.”

He’s eleven and a half years old and already he sounds different and grown. It was only a couple of years back when he and his younger brother Deus would jump me by surprise from behind the door every time I go inside my brother’s apartment. Though, I am a big and strong person, it can take its toll on my back to have two urchins clinging on to me like two wriggling chimpanzees

“Nirarayuma ako kay Zach pag nagpapakarga siya sa likod ko.” (I’m getting arthritic whenever Zach hangs on to my back.) I once heard him complain of his baby brother.

I smiled. Now it’s his turn to have a small chimp cling on to him.


“TITO SHREEEK!”, shrieked my ten-year old nephew Deus.

“Will you quit screaming into my ear? You can speak in a normal tone you know.”

“You promised the Game Boy Advance II. Have you already bought it?”

“It’s still a month away from Christmas. I promised you’ll get it on that day, did I not?”

“Yeah, but did you remember? I want a black one with casing. Get the Advance II because it has a much better colored screen. It has better graphics, better sounds. And get me those games like Harry Potter or Superfriends edition, or you can get the WWF wrestling games or Super Mario.”


“Yes Tito Shrek?”

“Quit calling me Tito SHREK and you’ll get your Gameboy Advance II – a day before Christmas.”

“Yes, Tito Dan”, and I saw a sweet cherub-like smile flash on my nephew’s face.

A week after Christmas, my brother called to tell me that Deus has already reached level four on The Fantastic 4 game on his brand new black Gameboy Advance II with its sleek black casing.

“Cool”, I gladly remarked.

A few minutes later, I received a text message from Deus and it read, ”Thank you so much for the Gameboy Advance II. I truly enjoy it. You’re cool TITO SHREK.”


I have been doing a series of little bald fat boys and so far, I have done more than thirty of these small works. Some of them are small paintings while the others are pen and ink drawings on paper – all of these were inspired by a little child. His name is Zachary.

A little bundle of one year of padded flesh that trundles along the floor like a drunken Japanese midget every time he hears his favorite purple dinosaur’s tune, Zach, as we fondly call him, carries more attention upon him than a firecracker popping early in the morning. He laughs. He giggles. He wiggles his buttocks with wanton delight, making us adults around him prod him more in his antics. He’s simply adorably cute as all babies are.

One time, my brother’s wife was berating Zach’s older brother Deus for a mischief he’s done. Being badgered by his mother, the latter was avoiding her gaze and turned the other way. Zach, with legs spread apart like a sumo wrestler stepping into the ring, walked towards his brother, turned Deus’ face towards him, pointed his finger at him and started to berate him in his baby googly talk. At that moment, a mother’s anger turned into laughter.

The day I gave my brother two of the paintings of the bald fat boys was the day that Zach knew who inspired the works.

“Tol, tignan mo si Zach.” (Bro, look at Zach), said my brother as he pointed towards his son trudging towards the hanging works.

“Kanina pa niya ginagawa yan. Hinahalikan niya mga painting mo nung mga batang kalbo. Hehehe, alam nga niyang siya yun” (He keeps on doing that.. He kisses the paintings of the bald boys. He knows they’re him.)

Zach gingerly reached up to the hanging paintings, touched them and kissed the image.


rye said...

wooohooooooooo!!! another avenue to showcase your talent... congrats my friend.

it's a good thing that you are considering hanging "the boys in my mind", i was actually looking for this one when you had your exhibit. not only because of the painting per se, but because of the story and the love behind this piece.

- bertMD

wait! have i misread the entry? you are "letting this piece go", you're selling this or your're giving it away? i was hoping to see this piece pa naman :(

Anonymous said...

if it's about 3 of your 4 nephews, then who's the fourth guy in your mind????

palma tayona said...

@ bertMD : i will be exhibiting this at Halo. :-) so, it will be up for sale.

hope to see you there. :-)

palma tayona said...

@ Anonymous : the 4th one was supposed be Marlo. He's the eldest of my nephews from an older brother. when i was writing this post back then, it was late evening an I fell asleep in front of the computer. when i woke up, i somehow couldn't get it together.

you could say that this post in incomplete, like the state of mind i was in that time i wrote this. ;-)

Bjornik said...

ey tito shrek, este dan! congrats dito!:)

Anonymous said...

@ bjornik: punta ka nang makapagtayo na ng Mutual Admiration Club. will release details on the next post.

Paulette said...

Hi Palma,
I came over to thank you for checking out my blog and Gracie and I stayed to read your wonderful stories and to check out your fabulous art. You have a great blog.

nutart said...

a friend of mine said to once that all our artworks are our own diaries. So true, di ba? Where else can we get those profound ideas like a brain jutting out of the cranium ;-D! It's interesting that you would have this in a resto (haha!) I would be staring at your artpiece more than I would eat my food!

Anonymous said...

@ paulette: thanks paulette. i you know what? i have always been hankering for a dog like what you have in Gracie. although, i would prefer a less hairy one and would keep still if i draw the pooch. i'm actually eyeing a chihuahua - small enough for my apartment and not too dependent.

hope you get to read your posts again.

Anonymous said...

@ nutart: i figured if i cmplie all my works in one book... it will definitely be huge. imagine if i keep on painting and drawing until i am 90 years old. i can fill up a building as big as the senate. hehehe

Anonymous said...

ooops... that's "compile" and not cmplie.

Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

Your story and illustrations are just WONDERFUL!!!! It's so classic and very brilliantly done! It's fresh, but still has this retro feel going on. Very nicely done. Great work.

Michael G. O’Connell said...

palma… thanks for the visit and kind words… i am happy i could bring laughter to your world… we all need more of it…

and thanks for bringing me to your own site… it is rich with life… your art is amazing… for me it has a south american feel… like botero's work… what's with 1/of? I looked around and barely saw your work…

Jeanette Jobson said...

Palma, your blog is a delight, I'm so glad you visited mine and left a comment otherwise I would have missed such a rich experience.

Your work reminds me of Beryl Cook's in some ways. Such lovely round curves of people.

Mari said...

Palma, I love your artworks. They are unique and they tell stories of everyday life in Manila. If I happen to be there, I would love to see your paintings and sketches in real time.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Bella Sinclair said...

My goodness, what incredible artwork and writing! You are truly original and imaginative and creative. Congratulations on the upcoming exhibit.

palma tayona said...

@ Bella : Thanks Bella! I've been surfing through your blog too and i just kept on laughing at the funny posts.

palma tayona said...

@ Mari : oh yes, manila is veeeery alive these days. not a dull moment. if this city were dull, somethings wrong. :-)

palma tayona said...

@ Jeanette : hmmm, i gotta check on beryl cook. :-) thanks!

palma tayona said...

@ micheal... hmmm, i checked it out too. i guess they haven't updated it. found visiting your blog a delight. thanks!!

Forrest Illustrations said...

That is very neat you will be hanging some of your work at a restaurant. You will be so proud. I really like how this image brings out feeling. What a great piece of art. :)

palma tayona said...

@ Forrest: thank you. am kinda excited to see my works hanging on walls other than mine. :-)

love your blog!