Thursday, September 2, 2010


"Just being cocky like a rooster."
pen and ink
drawn on Kokuryo Japanese Sketch Pad
7.5" x 9.5"

August 18, 2010

"Bro, you get one cock for only 2,000 pesos. Wanna take care of one?" asked Johnson as he turned excitedly into a stall in Cartimar selling fighting cocks of every size.

"And why would I take care of one?" I asked, slightly annoyed at having to talk about fighting cocks again. "The only way I could look at a rooster, or any kind of chicken, is when they're served in a platter."

"Bro, look at the talons of this one here. Give him just a few weeks and he's all ready for the pit," he muttered excitedly as he approached the cage of one very proud but still young cock and ignoring every word I said.

"A proper owner of these fighting cocks would give them feeds that would increase their power and stamina, sometimes steroids," he continued while he had the cage opened and he began to stroke the feathers of the creature."Come on, feel it," he prompted me to come closer. "Brush your fingers against his silky feathers. Feel how strong his legs are." He took my hand and had me 'feel' the creature.

I could feel the sinews of the muscles beneath the layers of silky feathers, how warm it felt to the touch and the strength that seems to want to escape from that plumed body. I have to admit, it felt nice to feel such power in a bird such as that young cock.

And then suddenly, the creature began to twitch, pull its head back, flap its wings and bellowed a loud crow. To my surprise, I instinctively threw my hand and pushed the flapping, crowing bird out of Johnson's hands and it 'flew' in a flurry of feathers out into the busy alley of pet stores. A bit of scampering, some shouts and scuffle ensued with some of the men, Johnson included, trying to chase the running bird. After a few minutes, a small boy at the end of the alley caught the bird and was returned to the store owner who immediately returned the creature to its cage. Unperturbed with all that happened, the cock, flapped its wings again and gave another loud crow inside his cage.

"Whew, good thing the bird was caught," Johnson sighed thankfully under his breath. "I won't let you touch a cock next time we're here," he added.

"The next time I touch a chicken, I'll make sure it's dead," I quipped.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

F*** YOU

For all those times I got dumped (Okay. I am exaggerating. It happened only once.) I found this gem of a song.

This song just fits EXACTLY the sentiment after being a dumpee. It's also a good L.S.S. tune - Last Song Syndrome - that's now stuck in my brain.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


It Takes a Village II
acrylic on canvas
64" x 48"

I have been running out of words lately to write down my thoughts on things. It's like I've ran into a blank wall. I couldn't even write anything about this piece I finished a couple of months back.

For now, let it suffice that this is a bigger and second version of this. I'd rather let the image speak for itself this time.

You can just look for the difference of this one from its earlier brother.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


...but not anymore. :-)

It is finally done. Two weeks and a near disaster, this 72 x 24 inch piece is done. Just a few minutes ago it was picked up from my apartment and I will say 'hello' to it again on July 29 during the biggest gathering of galleries in the metro and the second international art fair in the country called Manilart 2010.

It's a pretty exciting affair really. And I hope, I still have Marga's camera and I can go clickity-click-click during the gala night. (I am thanking her in advance in this post.)

And yes, as the title above suggests, that's how I named this piece... finally.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


... a few days make.

It's a Wednesday morning and I spent a sleepless Tuesday evening thinking of a foot. Yes, a foot... a hand and a bird.

I never thought that I would be dwelling on how a foot would look like or how significant it is that it can affect the composition of an image and its meaning. I drew the top image's foot as resting on the edge of the green man's skull without even bothering what it meant. That sketch was done in a moment of 'emotional high'. Not thinking too much on how the image was and would be, I just drew it. Not having any afterthoughts even.

I laugh now at myself when I have to admit that I 'repeated' myself. Yeah, that drawing was a development of something else, which came out of this ...
(I left it as 'untitled'. Frankly, I forget what I felt at the time I drew that.)

But what about the damned foot?, I asked myself. It all began with the bird... really. Eh?

Yeah the bird. I liked how the bird has this 'looking upwards' with the blue shiny eye, though marble-like and wide-eyed, like it not only looks upwards but away. It's wings are spread, wanting to let go of the green man's grasp, wanting to fly but held firmly down. Now that I am looking at it, I realized I painted the green man's hand closer to his lips. Not only is it holding the bird tight but his hand is gesturing towards his closed lip as if I wanted him to say 'Be still. Be silent."

Now that foot.

As I go closer towards finishing this painting, I spent a good four hours last night painting and re-painting that damned foot. I abandoned my original intention of having the foot rest on the green man's head. I actually painted it over last night and opted to have the top image's feet firmly placed within the green man's skull. I sort of thought, it would make the top man's imprisonment complete. But being inside and not having the chance of having one's foot out is much too 'defeating' for me. After hours of thinking about this and a couple of cups of coffee later, I went back to what i intended before. I drew it back to its original state, placing that foot firmly on the green man's skull edge and I now feel... there's a chance for this top guy to redeem himself after all.

But I think I still have to put on toenails on his foot.

The journey continues...

Thursday, July 15, 2010



This has been the fourth day that I have been sitting on the floor painting this image and it has proven to be quite soothing to the soul and heart. Yes, my emotions have stilled and I've been working on this piece with a quiet and steady beat - not bad considering that sometimes it takes me forever to finish a painting.

Am I happy? No. The pain and hurt is still there. But I am definitely finding a semblance of peace.

I can't wait to finish this. And when I do, I wonder, will I be smiling or will I'd be wretched still with remorse?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


... a painting starts to grow.

It's kind of corny or perhaps can be mistaken for being too predictable of creative individuals, but when emotions are starting to build up and there's a need to pour it out a bit, they (including this writer) tend to to do something tangible about it. Musicians write songs. Dancers let their bodies flow. Writers, poets pen down stories and sonnets. And painters... well, what else would one expect of us?

That email caused this painter to lock himself up, throw away the keys, sit on the floor, caress his brushes and let the colors dance. Three days now and I am still dancing with my colors to a slow, sad song.

I am as blue as blue can be.

Friday, July 9, 2010


I got this one morning in my email...

im sory for late reply and censya na rin dahil nagloloko ang facebook account ko...;< dan, i dont want to be rude or harsh on you but then it doesnt leave me any choice but to tell you this over an email... i know ilang ulit na rin akong nagpaalam but i think this will be the last time. im no good for-- we both know that, maniwala kaman o hindi im not the one who cud be wid u and make u happy... u deserve someone better... someone who cud rily be there for u... someone who cud rily love u... dan ill mis u and God knows kahit malayo ako minahal kita...



Whenever I find myself being unable to say what I feel in words, I turn to drawing. Here is my reply.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


This year has been pretty interesting.

A lot of things I used to do suddenly landed on my lap and I find myself doing them again. First was making illustrations for a children's book (something I haven't done for a long time) and now, designing a set of four books written by different authors.
In a period of less than a month, I managed to brew up these designs for a lovely set of tomes - picture books, really. It's all about kids for kids and how their quiet everyday heroism can someday lead to something bigger.

Lovely, ain't it?

PALETTE OF DREAMS (Mga Kulay ng Pangarap)
written by Liwliwa N. Malabed

ARIEL ESTIGOY is a scholar of Save Our Street Children Foundation Inc. (SOSCFI) in Baguio City. He learned how to paint in a SOSCFI workshop under the artist-volunteer Bumbo Villanueva. Ariel, now 16 years old, teaches young scholars how to make their world more colorful through art. He loves to experiment with pastel crayons.

SONG OF THE IFUGAO (Awit ng mga Ifugao)
written by Agay C. Llanera

is a 4th grade student at the Burnay Elementay School in Lagawe, Ifugao. At 9 years old, she is one of the youngest students of the Hudhud School of Living Tradition, and was awarded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) for chanting the hudhud 58 times from June 2008 to June 2009 — the most number of recorded chants a munhaw-e has rendered in the whole of Ifugao. Currently, she lives with her father Edward, a farmer, and younger sister Trixie Ann in Lagawe while her mother Celia works in Hong Kong as a domestic helper.

(Mga Kamay na Nag-uugnay)
written by Perpi Alipon-Tiongson

or BJ is a Child of Deaf Adults, or CODA. He was born on June 10, 1997 to Maria Theresa and Manny Yulo, both Deaf. They live with Lolo Gil and Lola Arsenia, both Deaf as well, in Pasig. Maria has a sister, Tanya, who is also Deaf. Tita Tanya is married to a Deaf. The couple live in California. BJ has a younger sister, 7-year old Darlene, who is hearing. Lolo Gil, Maria and Tanya are award- winning painters. BJ is learning how to paint with them as mentors.

(Kuwento ng Isang Mambabasa)
written by Glenda C. Oris

Poverty and physical disabilities have not stopped 16-year old
PRECIOUS CABUS from pursuing her passion for reading and love for learning. Visits to a bookstore where she could read books freely, jot down notes and widen her knowledge is her resourceful way of ensuring that she earns a good education. Determined to learn both inside and outside the classroom, she disciplines herself by dividing her time wisely between schoolwork, household chores and helping her grandmother earn money to support their extended family. She is now a high school student at Balara High School and lives with her grandmother and other relatives. Wise beyond her age, hopeful and inspiring, Precious makes a bookstore her very own library, a street her classroom and life itself her school.

All the photos for these books were from the lens of Jaime M. Unson. The stories were edited Carla Pacis, Augie Rivera and the Filipino translations by Bong Oris. These are published by The Museo Pambata

Oh, these books will be launched on
Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 9:30 a.m. (good luck if I can be up at that hour) at The Museo Pambata at the corner of Roxas Boulevard and South Drive, Manila.

I thank Nina Lim-Yuson and Maricel Montero - two ladies who tirelessly work for the Filipino child.

p.s. As I write this, all four are in varying phases of being printed in time for their launch on the 29th of this month.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Cover of the book
Published by
Gig and The Amazing Sampaguita Foundation, Inc.

I am tickled pink.
I am holding in front of me the printed copy of a children's book I illustrated after a long absence in the illustrious and illuminating world of illustrating. (Talk about being redundant in words, no?) The last time I made illustrations for a book was more than eight years ago.

I am posting here some of the illustrations I did for the book
. The others are in my facebook account.

If you'd like to get the book, just send an email to the publisher.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


"The Sum of All My Desires"
pen and ink on paper


“If I have a daughter of my own, I’d allow her to have sex when she’s already 40,” I firmly announced to my two drinking buddies after one of them announced that he just found out his 17-year old is pregnant. “Wouldn’t she be too old by then?” the guy across us and asked. “Oh, it’s alright. At least at that age, she won’t have all those issues young women have these days – teenage pregnancy, venereal diseases, abortions etc. She’ll be old enough to know all those issues and avoid having them,” I trumpeted. “Yeah, either that or she’ll be a half-crazed virgin,” he responded.

Humans are sexual animals. We all know that. Even if we get into trouble or know that we will if we go into it unprepared, we still desire it – sex. It’s part of what makes us who we are. I have had my own share, and my adventures with it have stretched from being melodramatic to the comical to the bizarre. Sometime in early 1997, after a night time tryst, I had to jump from a second floor window, was chased by a big black dog, clamber up an ivy-covered concrete wall, be whistled at and chased again by neighborhood watchmen and luckily, escape by jumping quickly into a passing, rickety, open ancient bus… all that because of a one-time, one-night ‘engagement’ with someone that I doubt if I’d ever recognize if we’d meet again.

Or that time I received a phone call in the middle of the night from someone shouting invectives at me. Dazed from being waken up from a deep slumber, it took me some time before I recognized who it was and in a voice trying to sound awake, I tried to calm the person down. “No, but I thought you cared for me! I thought you love me! I will kill myself because you broke my heart...!”and the tirade went on and on and I actually fell asleep in the middle of it. I can’t remember how the conversation (if it can be called that) ended, but that sudden midnight call was the beginning of two months of stalking in 2001 from a half-crazed nut. It only stopped when I managed to get the police involved. All of that happened because of one night when I said ‘I like you’ at the peak of a rapturous moment with that person.

“You know what the problem is. It’s her boyfriend. He just couldn’t keep it inside his pants. Guys at that age should be kept on a tight leash,” he added. “At 20, he’s got raging hormones all over the place. He thinks he’s like Superman but with a squirt gun,” he thumped his forefinger on the table and laughed. “Yeah, speaking from experience huh?” I asked. “Exactly! I knew how it was at that age. Heck, I had my eldest when I was 19,” and laughed some more. I thought to myself, “Yeah, have a son at a young age, add four more before he turned 25, and start to look like 50 when you’re only 36… great,” and I smiled with a twitch on my upper lip close to a sneer as I raised my last beer bottle.

‘I love you’, now that phrase isn’t exactly what you want to hear when you’re in bed with someone. If one had several (okay, I lied) or many proclivities such as I’ve had, that would be the last thing one wants to hear. Especially, if you don’t even know the last name of the person you’re sharing your sheets with.

“I could see the kid, maybe, really loves her. At least he had the balls to face me with his parents,” the 17-year old’s father said. “They were there the other night. His parents and I talked about what we should do,” he added as he rubbed his thumb on the loosening sticker of the beer bottle. “Tangna. I haven’t hit 40 and I’m going to be a grandfather. My youngest hasn’t turned 5 yet and she’s already an aunt.”

All that because we're just too sexual a creature.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I was cleaning my second floor of unnecessary junk, debris and fossilized memories when I opened a dusty box of old books. Sitting silently between the pages of a yellow book about male beauty pageants (I can't remember how I came into possession of this volume) was this drawing.

Now here's proof that I once drew my figures not so robustly.