Friday, May 22, 2009


It is actually called KABUWANAN (in Tagalog would mean "Moon Time" or "that time of the month") although I prefer calling it KABUWANGAN (craziness). It is that once-in-a-year event at Cubao Expo where artistry is celebrated.

An annual artists' fair (it's the second time they're having it), there will be artists' booths, photo exhibits, a fashion show from indie designers, film showings, indie band concerts, art exhibits and food stalls in one day. (I wonder if there'll be someone who'd be selling ganja-laced brownies. Hmm...) Expect a lot of arteests and indie folks letting their hair loose for one day.

Oh, I'd also be there hanging some small works and hopefully, if the moon is full and the mood is just right, I might be running around wearing only my belt around my waist.

Hey, it's one whole day (and night) to be crazy. Awoooo!!!

Cubao Expo is located along Romulo Street, Araneta Center Cubao Quezon City. It is the former Marikina Show Expo beside PUREGOLD department store.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


My entry to the group show "LOOKING FOR JUAN - What does it mean to be Filipino?"

Being Pinoy is to live.

It is to be free and have the choice to forgive and be forgiven for all the past inequities of our collective history.

Being Filipino in these times is to be able to find our own future unburdened by the weight of our past. It is to understand and believe in hope.

"So Jordee... you actually keep yourself abreast with those Tagalog movies??!" I exclaimed while I was chatting online with my Filipino-Canadian friend who grew up in Alberta. "I don't even watch those. They're so... tacky!"

"C'mon Dan. These Tagalog movies, they rock! I like the John Lloyd/Sarah Geronimo movie. So cute. Hehehe..." he chimed in. In my mind I could imagine him with his feet up sitting on his easy chair, wearing his favorite hockey team's jersey, with a hockey stick on his lap, eating popcorn... and laughing at every teeny-bopper antic of a cheek-flushed Sarah Geronimo flirting with her on-screen paramour, John Lloyd Cruz while it's sub-zero outside in the streets of Edmonton. Something seems so odd with this image in my mind.

"And besides, that's my only connection to the Philippines. I can't go back there all the time. Watching these movies, not only can I relate to them, it also kinda keeps me in touch with what's there. Pinoy forever. LOL," he added.

"Then you should also watch the biggies in Filipino movies like Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, Eddie Romero," I added, "These directors made movies in the 70's and beyond. Their movies could give you a bit more peek into our collective past as Pinoys. Excellent ones too."

"Wow! Are they still alive?" he asked.

"They're dead," I responded.



"They're dead and made movies in the 70's. I wasn't even born then," he reminded me.

"I thought you might wanna read about them and download their movies online," I added.

"Geesh... you're old man. Hehehehe..."

"Oh, shut up and just watch that effing John Lloyd movie," I said.

"Hehehehe..." Jordee replied.


Last night we opened the exhibition of the paintings and sculptures whose images will soon be hanging along the pedestrian walks of the University of the Philippines and Puerto Princesa in Palawan. Majority of the participating artists came and it felt like a "getting-to-know-the guy/gal-who-made-that-art" sort of gig at the halls of the Cultural center of the Philippines. Wine flowed and yummy cocktail food were passed around.

I've seen hundreds of ehibitions, watched countless of plays and films (even performed in some of them) and I've always dreamt of someday having an actual work of mine hanging on the august walls of this buidling - an icon of our culture as a Filipino. Well, I finally did and it's part of the Looking for Juan exhibition. Nahaks!

The exhibition occupied three main hallways of the edifice. This is what can be seen on the third floor...

...and this is how it looked like on both floors. :-) it felt like an exhibit at the Guggenheim except forthe capiz chandeliers. Sosyal. Hehehe.

IAN VALLADAREZ from Negros "sculpted" this piece from one roll of wire WITHOUT cutting. It'a good game of finding where the end of the wire is. Simply amazing.

"It's easier for us to define an Ilonggo, a Batangueno or a Cebuano. But it becomes vague when we'd have to define what a Filipino is." Gigo giving the opening remarks and the whole idea behind Looking for Juan.

And the "Bald Man" stares from his canvas with his birds.

But the real highlight of the exhibit are the works of the artists who came up with their own responses to the question, "What does it mean to be Filipino?"

Thought-provoking and insightful, the artists' responses were as varied as our islands are. Here's a peek at some of their statements...

The exhibition will run until the 7th of June. Do visit the CCP and see what it means to be Filipino... visually.

Note: The whole show will then transfer to the IPO gallery in Makati after the CCP. There'll be more artworks that will be added to the next exposition.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Okay. Let me remark. WOW...

...something beautiful and lasting. It is a monument to friendship and one-ness amongst different cultures that share a piece of our mother earth we call the Pacific.

Yup. I am talking about this "Survivor Meets Habitat for Humanity" kind of project CANVAS is actively involved together with THE PACIFIC RIM PROJECT to build a friendship park in Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

Situated near the ocean, it commands a breath-taking view. Lucky are the boys and girls from different countries who were flown in a few days ago to design, present to the city government, specify and actually build the whole park. All of these will happen in the whole month of May.

Back-breaking work. Calloused hands. Sweating under the sun. Camaraderie with their companions. The excitement of youth. Building friendships and understanding between each person's culture. I have to admit I am green with envy. But hey, I have to hand it to these guys and gals. They really are in an adventure of their lifetime.

Here are some pictures I snapped from the official CANVAS blog. For more details, check out

The two guys in the middle are Kyle and James, the team heads of the whole park project doing a "getting-to-know-each-other" session when everyone has arrived in Manila.

"Dobre Utra, I am from Russia."
"Anyong ha se yoh, we're from Korea."

The Koreans having arrived a day earlier got the chance to some very Pinoy things,
like eating green mangoes on the street.

Jumping for joy after landing in the beautiful island of Palawan.
Who wouldn't?? If I were there, I'd kiss the earth and cry.

Now the work begins with a trek to the site on the first day.

But a dip into the ocean won't hurt.
(Ugh... not only am I green with envy but in my mind I am already snorkeling in that glorious water.)

Each participant then starts to gather his or her thoughts about the project by



...surveying the land.

...making a point with a team member.

...gathering and sharing each of their ideas.

...checking the nurseries.

...getting to meet the mayor.

... and taking some time off to sing some local ditties courtesy of the Pinoy participants while one of the Americans get a watermelon "cake" for his birthday.
Of course, it doesn't hurt to jump with glee again. Their energy and enthusiasm just glows and flows.

An update: On Monday, they'll be presenting again to the city their final designs and specifications for building the park. After that the real fun begins - actually building the park themselves. I hear some of them never held a shovel nor mixed cement before but are pretty gung-ho on the challenges lying ahead.

Three cheers for the guys and gals who bravely took this PACIFIC RIM PARK PROJECT. Hip-hip hooray!
Hip-hip hooray!
Hip-hip... oh dang! I wish I am the one dipping in that glorious Palawan seaside right now. Harharhar!!


For more amazing details on the project, you can also check out The Pacific Rim Park blog here.

Photo credits to Sarah Encabo. (She's the lucky, lucky gal who got the job of being in Palawan for one whole month - all expenses paid - to record and blog about the project.)

Friday, May 8, 2009


I finally met Jim Ward, the tireless owner of Bliss Cafe. (I was only able to meet Shanti his wife later during the day when she got back from being with their daughter at the hospital.) He's a charming fellow who struck me as quite laid back and has this calm serene air about him. We went to his cafe after a short breakfast at Mcdonalds and, well, I was simply surprised.

Bliss Cafe is small affair tucked in one corner of Hotel Elizabeth. It serves vegetarian food (one thing I admitted to Jim that would take sometime for my tongue and palate to get accustomed to. I am happy meat muncher) and everything about the place is cheerful. It's not the cheeky cheerful kind but it definitely "serenely cheerful".

The photos will show you.

This is the first thing that pops to greet you once you entered the cafe - a wall hanging from Tibet. I hope Jim will forgive me for not knowing what it is.

A hole they had on the wall with lyrics from Cynthia Alexander's song. Apparently, the songstress is a close friend of the couple. The words bring to mind that which is uttered by the priest during Ash Wednesday, "From ash we come, to ash we'll go back", or something like that.

... and here's my untiring host - Jim - behind another hole leading to the kitchen.

A funky table. A funky lamp. And that funky book with these lines that caught my eye, "What is a friend? A future enemy. / What is an enemy? A former friend."

Instead of a bull-shaped piƱata, Bliss has a paper-mache gecko clinging on the ceiling. Unusually lovely.

A corner buddhist "flag"? A hanging? ...or something.

A quiet sunny corner.

Buddha in the greenery.

I could never forget the taste of the tea made from some dried flowers Jim served. It looked like dried roses and had that calming effect on the body when I drank it. He says that these flowers can only be found in the mountains.

The outer "courtyard" with all that luscious color and details.

The interiors of Bliss before my works were placed...

... this is how it looked like after my works were safely tucked in their places. It felt like the cafe's a very comfortable drawing room.

With Jim keeping an eye, Anna (with black beret) and her posse hanging one of the works...

...and they became troubadours when evening came.

Jim serenading a couple of Japanese guests at the evening's exhibit. He sang an "enta" a Japanese form of the blues. Having known that a very close friend of mine died, he asked if I could give a small percentage of the sales to kidney research to which I agreed. For those who buy my works, a small amount helps towards this cause.

And I had to take this picture. I couldn't resist.

Thank you Jim and Shanti!!!


Eight of my works are currently on exhibit at BLISS CAFE. If you find yourself in Baguio, do drop by and check it out. You'll love everything there.

is located in the lobby of HOTEL ELIZABETH at the corner of Gibraltar and J. Felipe Sts. For contacts, call Jim or Shanti at landline 074 619-0367, or through mobile numbers 09178464729 and 0917528116.

You'll love the place. I know I do.