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 🌏🌍🌎

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Persisting I

*Passed by the Art Elements Asian Gallery weeks ago with my parents and we discovered Norlie Meimban. Boy would I have loved to take home a piece or have something commissioned. Given his animation background, his style is a lovely mix of techniques and themes that give it a very postmodern look. Would love to meet him someday and see more of his work and how else it can evolve

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that centerpiece!

I’ve been so fixated on his series of unbroken motion depicting ideas of perhaps of a persisting self. I’ll always be curious about the temporal and the causal facets of continuity. Much to read on. Art that makes you think, a feast for the eyes, and food for thought, y’know 😊


Featured images: © Norlie Meimban

Eco-promise

*For my last general class which is also my last science class ever, I had to make a commitment to the environment. We were required to do one of those take a picture with a cardboard message thing, post it on social media, along with an explanation. Not a fan of that so I just kept it private on Facebook, haha then took a screenshot. To my surprise I ended up taking the project a little more seriously because this is one of the social/global issues/movements I feel more strongly about. (Thinking of making a separate post to share some of my favorite clips on the topic and another one to expound on this maybe) This was the rushed essay I typed on my phone so forgive the weird formal reflection tone and my philo professors had been talking bout Aristotle so much that day so he got squeezed into this.

Lately I’ve been realizing much of our crimes against the environment, big and small, as a group or even just as individuals, are done mostly out of bad habit. Aristotle did say that to know the good is to do the good and that’s how it is to be virtuous. It’s funny how we already know what’s good for the environment yet we still out of pure stubborn habit, continuously practice otherwise. Unlike responsibilities and obligations in school and work, correcting these bad environmental habits don’t necessarily have to mean boring scientific methods. Much of what I know about tiny concrete ways to save the environment today comes from social media actually. It’s taught me that a lot of the process has to do with small acts.

We don’t necessarily have to live in a bubble and produce 0 waste just to save the environment and reduce that size ozone layer carbon footprint. I think it’s all about continuously pursuing daily activities just with a few curves here and there in terms of our lifestyle. The way in which we go about things as normal as choosing what food to buy, what soap to use, where to throw the trash can make a great deal a difference if done in large and more regular quantities. Getting rid of bad environmental habits all boils down to daily choices.

If anything, so much of us are limited to old ways because we aren’t presented with choices or better alternatives. I’ve actually been pretty stoked about moving towards this direction. It’s a direction that lets me choose local, choose organic, choose homemade, and choose sustainable. I hope Manila becomes more and more open to these types of alternatives for the sake of everyone and everything. It’s a cycle after all.

When we choose local and organic, it becomes an act of support. There’s usually a group of people behind these, which we end up supporting, hence sustainability. We support the brilliant risk-takers that invested in the non mainstream for the bigger picture. We support indigenous tribes, we support jobs and similar environmentally aligned projects. We support an old culture and perhaps even this new one—of sustainable living.

I’m happy to have learned online that there are a lot of communities around the world with people who in their own creative and very personal ways have gone back to the land. Whatever that means. Whether it’s manually brewing locally grown coffee beans at home instead of drinking out of that plastic or paper take-out cup or going off the grid like Alexander Supertramp, living off flowers and poisonous plants, this lifestyle is open to everyone. We all use each others’ help, and so can the Earth.

Some celebrities like Jared Leto and thousands of photographers in Northern America and Europe travel on foot or bus to capture the beauty of natural parks and wildlife. I love people like Mark Ruffalo for other reasons including how he uses his influence and milks amount of celebrity to spread the word about the things he believes in. This promotes the beauty that might motivate others to maintain all these wonders or to even do as they have and see it for themselves. I’d like to see for myself. It’s a collective, beautiful effort to make these alternatives and opportunities available to everyone. I’m beginning to see it as less of an obligation to the Earth. I think there might be no better way to live than by being one with majestic city skycrapers in urban jungles and the unrivaled magic and mystery of mountains, and maybe the wolf pack howl from a safe distance.

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don’t mind the blurry camera, awful lighting, and the I’ve been awake for 48 hours-look haha I was rushing to finish this before Friday and it was a long two days

We ought to know where we stand… In a pretty blue green, getting real old kinda world. So heal. Make. Save. And when what’s already perfect in itself is standing right in front of you, take a pretty picture and leave it for someone else to discover. Do the good. ✌🏻

Marikina: A heritage of homemade

*This is article is by my good friend, the monk himself, Peavey, who had just graduated a few months ago.

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I’ve actually never been here

In what I’m assuming is his last article in The Guidon, he so fittingly features (more like writes a special tribute) to Marikina City. It’s the kind of article every city deserves, and every publication and aspiring journalist needs to be able to type out.

I’m unsure whether I’ve really been to Marikina. I know I haven’t explored any of it then. I bet it would’ve been what Manila has sort of become to me and grown on me in my college years. It would’ve been my playground in between breaks had I stayed in Ateneo. I’m still set on visiting it someday especially after reading this travelogue.

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but I’ve been wanting to go since 2012

But not every joint run by passion is bannered with neon signs and billboards. Tucked away in the most unassuming corners of the city center or Bayan are surprisingly authentic ramen houses, holes-in-the-wall serving uniquely-crafted porridge and Visayan food joints.

Of course, all the walking one goes through helps digest all the eating. As the feet prime the stomach, shoes have been the city’s historical marker and primary product for centuries. Displays and shops sprawled around the riverbanks and traditional city center serve as living testimonies to this heritage.

The story of shoes and food arose together. Marikina resident and former Barangay Administrator Alan Bartolome shares that when shoemaking was the main occupation of the citizens, workers and shop owners would reward themselves and their families after a week’s labor. Too tired to cook, they would place hearty bulk orders of pancit and lumpia on the many eateries that still serve till today.

—Peavey Vergara

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think just how the white & blue scheme goes with a plate of Pinoy breakfast

No one can make pancit after a long day sound so appetizing and culturally significant as you have, Peaves!


Featured images: Rustic Mornings by Isabelo © Ea Senga

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! 😁


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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.

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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)

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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.