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Friday, July 30, 2010

I don't bother going to bazaars anymore because they dare charge entrance fees when the stuff they sell are basically brought in from Bangkok. That's what Divisoria, Greenhills, and tiangges are for.
Bazaars should promote original Pinoy goods 
made by original Pinoy talent
That's why I'm happy I found some of that at this weekend's Rockwell Super Sale Bazaar.
I dropped by to accompany my friend Iking who was in the mood for a little shopping spree.

These cuties are vintage buttons made into earrings. Tiffany Santos sells them for around P100. 

She also makes them into stud earrings. I got a pair to match the necklace I was wearing for just P120.

More studs but this time from Stephanie Gabayan of Lucky Marias. How many Pinoy icons can you spot? These were just P100 as well. She also designs made-to-order trinkets. 

These were by far my fave finds from the bazaar. Farah Abu's cool copper wire rosaries. 

Just P850!

Farah designs full time and is a regular on the bazaar circuit. See her stuff at Glam Accessories
Her pieces which were mostly necklaces and bracelets were pure eye candy. 

Drop by Rockwell. Two more days to go!

Although, I think calling it a Super Sale is a super over promise.
Most of the things on sale were still pretty pricey. 

How awesome it is when creatives collaborate to do something for the country. Carlos Celdran , the one man tour de force of Manila tweeted for people to send him ideas on how they can help the country's lagging tourism industry. Team Manila  , a studio that has become a household name for modernizing Filipino design with their hip statement tees, answered the tweet.

The result is this. 
Downloadable FREE travel posters of famous Filipino hotspots! 

Pretty nifty considering how much their t-shirts and artworks are going for these days. I saw a Rizal silkscreen by Team Manila going for P14,000 up. So yes, these things are a steal. Print them up and hang them on your wall.

This last one was inspired by Carlos Celdran and his Manila walking tours.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I found these stamps from Bench Pinoy Lab. Neato. Except for the teensy-weensy fact that it's called Baybayin and not Alibata.

When the Spanish “discovered” our islands they branded us as savages but we were actually quite civilized. How so? We could all communicate in a language of our own making. This language was the early version of Tagalog. It looked similar to Arabic script and that’s why it was mistakenly called Alibata (ABC in Maguindanao Arabic). But the correct term is Baybayin because each letter is a baybay or a syllable. So a word like, “Musa” is spelt out in two words instead of four.

I’ve always toyed around with learning Morse Code for that opportune day when communicating in secret becomes absolutely necessary. But why not use Baybayin instead. I found easy instructions on how to learn it from this useful website. For those who just want a kick of seeing their name in Baybayin. Here’s a free website that translates words for free!  I found it amusing that the author had to put a disclaimer at the bottom because people have been using the website to translate names for tattoos. Not a bad idea, eh? Why choose Chinese characters when we have 17 characters of our own to choose from?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm getting riled up for this photo competition being held by Alliance and Silverlens. The title of the exhibit says it all, "I'm 20 years old in my country". So I've been gathering my thoughts, trying to look for some inspiration. When I think of youth in the Philippines, Jake Versoza's "Punk Phenomenon" inevitably comes to mind.

The images are portraits of the Philippine youth typically categorized as jologs or low-brow. But he has captured them at their best - with their barkada (gang in Filipino), in DIY designed clothes, and  right before the rowdiest concert of the year- The Pulp Summer Slam 2007.

Chin up, with devilish grins, cheery even in ominous clothing. They epitomize the youth of the Philippines.

Jake is a World Press trained photojournalist and a seasoned fashion photographer here in in the Philippines. I worked with him indirectly for a mobile phone sponsored competition. From what I've gathered, he seems like someone who loves his country. So kudos to you, Mr. Versoza. I hope you can update your folio. It's looking awesome so far.  

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cinemalaya is a yearly film festival that serves to encourage amateur Filipino filmmakers to make movies. It is a great initiative but there is a lack of information on the movies themselves. Even when they hit mainstream theatres, people know nothing about them. Clickthecity’s resident film critic Philbert Ortiz says it best on his Live Journal, “Cinemalaya appears to be more interested in promoting the festival itself rather than the output. It feels like money could be better spent setting up early screenings for the press and bloggers, who can generate buzz for the festival before it even starts, or producing a reel of trailers to be shown in one of the Metro’s many cinemas. Because at this point everybody knows what Cinemalaya is. But ask the average person to name ten films produced by Cinemalaya, and they struggle to find the titles.”

So, I’ll do my part and write about what I managed to watch during my one day marathon. 
(A dizzying feat to be attempted for the strong and steadfast movie buff.)

Vox Populi by Dennis Marasigan

A day in the life of a candiate running for mayor. The day before the big election is an exciting premise but the film meanders all throughout with no solid dilemma to confront. It might have been better as a documentary with real characters and situations. It is however, a much-needed glimpse (albeit a somewhat limited one) of the compromises one makes to be elected. 

The Leaving by Ian Dean S. Lorenos

A three-part love/ horror story about the strange circumstances that bring a couple together.  My friends thought it was the worst film ever. But those who enjoyed, “In the Mood for Love”, “Mano Po”, “Shake Rattle and Roll”, and  “the Ring” will love this because it’s all those films mixed together in one shocking rollercoaster ride. This movie was a genre mixing experiment that had the crowd screaming, laughing, and cringing.

Pink Halo-Halo by Joselito Altarejos

A movie about a little boy growing up in the barrio while his father, a soldier, goes to battle the insurrection in Mindanao. An intelligent film that will make urbanites want to experience life in the provinces. It is at once gentle and enduring, bright yet melancholic, quiet and reflective.  I applaud the filmmaker who was mature enough to use a simple plot to explore some very deep themes.

Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio by Mario O’hara

A look at the trial that led to the death of Bonifacio, the father of the Philippine revolution. Half my friends fell asleep on this sepia-toned history lesson. But for those who love history and Filipino prose, it is real a tearjerker. The scenes that were most effective were not the ones with Bonifacio but the scene with his wife and the white-faced narrator. It is an important film which poses some very interesting questions.

Congratulations to the winners of Cinemalaya. I wish I had caught even one of the winning films.

Photos of the movies with their makers taken from the posters at the Cinemalaya venue.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A week from now, the most prestigious galleries in the Philippines will come together to present their best works of art. This annual event is Manila Art. And this year, it's happening at the Mall of Asia.

For those who have never tried going, I understand the hesitation. I know firsthand how intimidating it can be to walk into a gallery. I'm not an artist and I certainly will not be able to converse about art in an academic sense. But I know the feeling of being affected by a piece of work. It is like a light bulb switching on inside. For me, attraction is instantaneous for some pieces of work. That's how  I felt about Banksy's  street art.

For other works, the feeling is creeping. Like a warm glow of a changing sunset.
Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth grew on me and to this day, I love it.

 Sometimes, you don't understand a piece of work until much much later. The work stays in your subconscious and when the mind is ready, appreciation is triggered. This happens to me a lot with performance art. The first reaction is, "WTF?" and then it dawns upon me just how brilliant the work is.  (Check Marina Abramovic's , "The Artist is Present" at MOMA.)

The important thing is to be open and unafraid.  Look art straight in the eye. Don't be scared to ask questions to yourself or to others. No one will force an opinion out of you or ask you to write a reaction paper. If something strikes you, then that's great. If nothing does, move on. There will be lots of other works to look at. What have you got to lose? The entrance fee is just P200.

They're even giving out a free invite in this issue of Contemporary Art Philippines. I got my copy from Fully Booked yesterday and I'm so excited for next weekend. I think Filipino art is amazing and more people need to know what's out there. I find it hard to feature works here because I can't get decent photos from the web. Most of the works are displayed in galleries then bought and cooped up in wealthy homes here and abroad.

Here's a map to the venue. Make a weekend out of it. Drag your loved ones.
You don't have to be able to buy art to appreciate it. And if you don't like it, at least you gave it a shot.
Happy weekend friends!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Alliance Francaise de Manille invites amateur photographers to take pictures of young Philippines. The prize: One week in Paris where you will get to exhibit your work. Start clicking, the clock is ticking! Check here for details.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Here’s a inspiring sample of Cordilleran art. Just in to show some works you can expect at the Bencab Museum  which I wrote about yesterday. It’s just a sample, as I’m making a mental note to write about them individually someday.

Beautiful stuff. Works here are from Jordan Mang-Osan, John Frank Sabado, and Tamawan artists. They were personally inspired and nurtured by the man himself.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tucked away in the folds of Mount Asin is the Bencab Museum, the most modern art gallery/museum I’ve seen in the Philippines. It was created by national artist, Ben Cabrera, to serve as a gateway for art lovers seeking art from the region. It’s become a one- stop s source for inspiration because it has not just art, but breathtaking views. Oh did I mention that the food was good too? I recommend the Sate.

When we got there, the first thing we did was gasp. The museum is on the sloping side of a mountain making for great views all around. They created a setting that’s very idyllic- like how a native Filipino house should be. It has a nipa hut in the middle of a lake and lush greens. This is the kind of place that just makes you want to sit and take in the now. Moments after, we were invigorated and soothed. Ready to take in the art. 

The art that’s displayed there is infused with the feeling of the region. Words cannot describe how beautiful everything was. Most works took inspiration from the Ifugao way of life, how they dress, their customs, and the challenges they face.

Unlike lowlanders (most city people), the people of the mountains of Cordillera escaped Spanish rule. So their cultures were relatively untouched until the American occupation. Thus they are fiercely loyal and protective of their heritage. Their art reflects it.
And I tried to embody that ferocity.


Bencab Museum is on Km. 6 Asin Road, a brief 20-minute drive from the center of Baguio City

Some photos were color enhanced for consistency. Original photos by Foxy Yambing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I visited Baguio last year with my good friend Foxy and other lomo friends to celebrate the LCA’s 25th birthday.  I learned quite a bit about it.  A historical rumor goes to explain how Baguio was built because the top ranking US official of the time was so annoyed by the country’s tropical climate, he wanted to move the capital elsewhere. Baguio, having an elevation of 1500 meters, became the prime target. That’s why Baguio is now known for being the summer capital of the Philippines.

The Americans had quite the grand plan for Baguio. They had it designed by the preeminent architect/city planner of the 20th century, Daniel Burnham. His famous works include Washington D.C., Chicago, and Manila. If you look around those capitals, you’ll find it laden with classical influences. Burnham took a lot of inspiration from Greek and Roman styles and wanted everything to be grand. Burnham envisioned the city with a healthy population of 25,000 people but as of 2010, Baguio residents are numbering 301,000 up. Maybe that’s why the nippy air has disappeared. Without the wonderful cold weather and the airiness, Baguio has become just like Metro Manila.

Still, if you look closely, you’ll find there’s still some magic to the mountain.  Hidden in the congestion and overpopulation, are spots of fun. Like PNKY Café and Inn – a bed and breakfast with personality, Oh My Gulay Bar and Resto, and Bencab’s Museum. If all else fails, there’s always ghost hunting.

Photos care of Foxy Yambing.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

If you are an artist, creative, or even just ma-art-eh then this Ted Talks video is a must-see.

Here, the author of the bestselling novel, “Eat, Pray, Love” speaks candidly about how artists create and come to be great. Listening to this made me think deeply about my own creative process and got me dreaming wistfully that someday I will feel what it’s like to have a poem barrel through me. It also happily reminded me of a group of Filipino artists that have known of this revolutionary creative technique around the same time as Plato. Meet the T’boli dreamweavers. The creators of the T’nalak, cloths designed in dreams.

Maria Elena P. Paterno explains what the Dreamweavers, taken from the book of the same name.

“T’nalak are woven dreams. T’boli women weave them, keen eyes and hand working together to judge lengths, to transfer patterns from memory to loom. T’nalak is made of the whitest abaca fibers connected end to end with the smallest possible knots dyed red and blackest brown. Its patterns are handed from mother to daughter or bestowed on the weaver in dreams by Fu Dalu, the spirit of the abaca. It is a product as much of quietness of spirit as it is of skill, for not all women weave, and not all weavers dream.

T’nalak is not some magical cloth created out of thin air of the mountains around Lake Sebu, where the T’boli live. It is born out of long and tedious work, of silences in the house when children are off to play, amid the smoke of the hearth that fills the longhouse when the meal is cooking. The T’boli believe that the production of good quality T’nalak requires the presence of Fu Dalu, sometimes personified as a spirit with white hair. But Fu Dalu chooses whose loom to grace with its presence. Those who do not adhere to the old ways, who have exchanged their bamboo baskets for the convenience of plastic, for instance, or who do not observe the abstinence required for certain pattern, they are not visited by the spirit of the abaca.”

(If there was a spirit of the radio ad, this humble ad copywriter would very much appreciate a visit.)

Photos scanned from the pages of Dreamweavers. Photos by Neal Oshima.