Houston we have a problem

*Among the permanent and temporary pieces displayed at Aphro Living, these framed ones by the entrance has piqued my interest since I first visited the gallery and in subsequent visits. I do love me some spaceman art. Haha! If you do drop by, try the slide. 

Timeless art always possesses the possibility of being timely.

Back in 2014, Emmanuel Santos exhibited some of these pieces in Immanent Geographies, a collection of both topographic and social landscapes by various Filipino artists. This featured familiar locations with stark twists.

Second Earth imagines a hyperreality where an astronaut finds himself in local terrain, however displaced and even out of place in these spaces—of all spaces—but the outer.

I’m partial to astronomical subjects 👽🚀🛰 and postmodern contexts 🤓 yet there’s a grimness to these that make me a little uncomfy but I can’t ignore it.

There’s also a bit of Foucault’s heterotopia in his work, as the astronaut searches for his place in a world that’s comprised of nature, the virtual, and what’s in between. This is relevant in our tech age that propels itself into a progress that could spell self annihilation with no signs of slowing down.

But what of children that wish to stay grounded and mounted to preserving life on the blue green ball of life? Earth born and earth bound dreamers 🌏🌍🌎


Devotion at an arm’s length 

*Don’t you just love following that obscure neon sign amidst unoccupied spaces in buildings for lease that lead to a staircase to an exhibit in progress

an edit I made from two other corners of the exhibit 🛠

This is supposed to be Polish artist Pawel Althamer‘s take on Quiapo’s diversity. But the historical district is also where thousands of entangled bodies pile on each other once a year during the Black Nazarene.

Apart from the religious undertones, it actually looks to me a lot like a gym on leg day, where people are enslaved to body goals. That is, if it was open to interpretation, the sort of environment I’m more aware of.

Cool thing is, visitors that drop by are welcomed to become part of the exhibit. Though it primarily represents disenfranchised members of community, now all walks of life can be unified in Nazareno: Quiapo Constellations. This is through casts of faces and limbs held together by old scraps of wood and metal from Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.

Featured image: a corner of Bellas Artes Outpost

Bourdainism: Lakbay Rizal 2016

*Last Friday I joined my first field trip in years and went to a couple of museums in Rizal with my home org DLSU PILOSOPO.  Thanks for organizing this trip and being a part of this day, everyone! 😁


all four stops of the day

Passing down the paintbrush
After taking out breakfast at McDonald’s Taft at around 7 in the morning and roughly two hours on the road, the urban highways and billboards took a change in scenery into smaller houses with large plantations at their backyards. We made our first stop in Blanco Family Museum in the humble and colorful town of Angono, the Art Capital of the Philippines. Large statues of fish, carabao, and other local symbols were spread throughout the streets of the municipality home to national artists Botong Francisco and Lucio San Pedro, Angono is also home to three generations of a family of artists.

From patriarch Jose Blanco, who never attained formal training in the arts, to his seven children, who all started painting under his guidance and instruction at the tender ages of three; they built this gallery from the ground up to house the family’s works and to commemorate his works. They managed to produce highly professional traditional paintings, all sharing the Filipino’s way of life as a common subject matter, preserved usually in oil on even some larger than life pieces. Taking cue from the greats like Rembrandt, they captured aspects of local culture, history, and their individual experiences using techniques in classical art in great detail.

Jose passed on his work ethic to his children and their children, since then solidifying the value of perseverance and a love for art. With just the foundational principles of primary and secondary subjects, dark to light contrasting, and color temperatures, they explored and developed their methods throughout time; however, always maintaining Filipino still life as a strict theme to treasure national culture.


Thea, Yan, Kat, Carlos, ze artist, Christian, Doc Bebs, Amanda, Ridge, Keira, me

Mythos and minaluto 
We found ourselves taking shelter from the light noontime drizzle at Nemiranda Art House just a few minutes away. With its dark wood interior built from old recycled materials like bamboo and old church debris, hundreds of hand painted figurines and paper mache art hung from its ceiling to its walls. With little cobwebs, dust, and anting-anting adding to its eerie charm, the place is an acquired taste. Its floors are wood alternating from lovely old colorful tiles lining the entire place and some of its parts are under constant reconstruction. More importantly it houses bits and pieces from its founder, Nemiranda’s collection, a forerunner in Imaginative Figurism. Known as the House of Myth, the art depicts mystic legends and local folklore.

Just down the street, almost like an extension of the previous museum was Balaw Balaw Restaurant, which doubles as a restaurant and gallery serving local dishes. With two orders of the speciality dish, Minaluto, which was good for 8 and just enough for 14 hungry stomachs, we feasted on a platter of four kinds of rice, topped with a variety of ulam all laid out on a large banana leaf. Satisfying our sweeter cravings over glasses of refreshing green mango, buko, and calamansi juice, the lunch was a simple yet significant meal in celebration of Angono’s food delights. (Except for the part where three hungry, large cats joined us for lunch and if you know me well, I’m terrified of cats 😓 so I ate in a bench away from the rest of the group huuhuu)


lovely view of the contrast of hilly Antipolo and Metro Manila~ something I’m not quite used to as I usually see the opposite: city skyscrapers with silhouettes of far off mountains~ & the afternoon’s purple overcast

Green, white, photogenic
About half an hour into Antipolo until we entering the gated estate and cactus-vine walled property where the instafamous Pinto Art Gallery was located. “You wouldn’t think we’re in the Philippines anymore,” my classmate whispered to me holding up her camera. I beg to differ because the place (I keep referring to it as an estate haha) has hispanic Filipino influences even in its predominantly white architecture. It just seems like a getaway from the dirtier, not well maintained spots Filipinos are accustomed to, but with great care and sufficient funding, it’s a no brainer that more places could look like this. The gallery gained its popularity over Instagram in the last two years, as one of Metro Manila’s most photographed and frequented dating places. I, on the other hand, was glad to have spent my first trip here with classmates and girl friends who were just as interested in the aesthetics of the place.

Well photographed and even better to visit in person especially on an overcast day, the museum houses a large range of local art with well landscaped gardens and greenery. We even spotted a prenuptial photo shoot taking place that afternoon and I couldn’t help but feel bad for the bride-to-be’s gown dragging all over the soil. After two and a half hours of nonstop picture-taking, we had our merienda in the cafe beside the museum shop and the margherita pizza to share is all I can recommend.

By half past 4 in the afternoon, we headed into the van and bid Rizal goodbye. Surprisingly faster than the anticipated Friday afternoon traffic flow, it was a sleepy ride back to home base in Manila. It was nearing a violet sunset😍, a good local art-filled day when I woke up on a little jam on Kalayaan bridge and got off a gas station to head home.

Hey July, In Squares

*Better late than never, right? My phone was really at its weakest by this month so I barely took any photos. Apart from my usual eating and working habits, here are just some of the newer things I dove into last July. 

Museums: The old and the new

I was able to visit my grandparents and their place, during which I got to see old books, paintings, statues, sculptures, and photographs. It’s like walking into a time machine and getting to know bits of the lives of people you thought you knew all too well, but it proves there’s always more to people. The things people own, hoard, collect, and cherish can say a lot about them. There’s also a story behind every single keepsake.

I was also able to attend the Inspire Every Day 2015 launch hosted by the Ayala Museum, and it was an unforgettable experience. There’s just something about the idea of artists, struggling artists, and art enthusiasts alike, all coming together for the sake of… well what else? Art—without the usual fee and for a better cause. On the third floor, Juan Luna’s From Citadel to City stood beside Fernando Zobel de Ayala’s year round exhibition. I was surprised to say, my favorite of his minimalist pieces has been my favorite since I first visited during a grade school field trip. On the second floor, the exhibit Felix Laureano: First Filipino Photographer held hauntingly historical photos alongside the advances of photography in the country. Around the museum, workshops, activities, and craft sales took place and on the ground floor, four pillars were canvases to the thousands of 4 x 6 submissions by artists yet to be discovered.

As this year’s focus was on kindness, painter and illustrator Valerie Chua teamed up with the museum to arrange a kind of exchange of postcards where each person could choose one artwork from the massive collage that spoke to him or her the most, and take it home as a keepsake. At the back of each postcard were the names and contact details of the artists. I didn’t get to submit any (boo) but I sure was able to join in the excitement, rattle, and roll for the picking. When it was my turn, I spent 10 minutes unable to decide what to get. (Clue: Two of my faves are in the photo below)

My dad’s exhibit, Element, was a collection of round abstract expressionist works which take on the idea of the famous symbol of oneness in Taoism, the round yin and yang. His interpretation of it and his reflection on the metaphor of life is also an evolution in itself from his previous abstract paintings. I’m really proud of him and his growth as an artist, exploring different methods and playing with colors. Although he doesn’t like it when I talk about it, I hope to see more of his works and share to the rest of the world what he’s capable of and more importantly, how he sees things. 

I’ve also been experimenting and stepping outside my own comfort zones in terms of art. I dabbled with watercolor more and I started understanding the discipline through trial and error. Painting faces of my idea of beautiful women was something that kept me up for nights last July and it was both a challenge and guilty pleasure. My palette, although predictable, steadily remained pastel, but I’m not as afraid with opening up the brighter tubes of paint, apart from my usual hues of red and blue. Inspired by minimalist tattoo designs and geometric art, I had my hand in attempting to illustrate something simply by finding the shapes that consisted it. From there, I mapped out the image I wanted to illustrate. I hope I’ll have more time to do this in the future so I can begin combining different techniques and develop a more unique style.


Backpacks in a Tohoku Japan exhibition, Some of the works displayed during Inspire Every Day 2015, Dresses I couldn’t buy, Magazine fix, My granfolk’s room, Experimenting with geometry, My dad’s latest exhibition, A Spanish home