Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Clarice and the collection

Thirteen years ago, I met her at the Southeast Asian Institute for the Deaf. We became penpals. We wrote each other in the runic alphabet. Then she studied in New York and came back to teach and work as an interior designer. I studied in London and came back to work as a writer. We met again last week.

Clarice is deaf. But that doesn't stop up from communicating with each other. Despite her hearing impairment, she strives to live a regular life. It's always an uphill climb, but she has done remarkably well.

We just had to do this.

She's getting married next month and will move to Australia soon after. I promised to attend the wedding and to keep in touch. She inspires me to make good use of all that I have been given.


The Aranaz Rags 2 Riches limited edition collection displayed at Greenbelt 3 stops you in your tracks.

aranaz RIIR collection

aranaz RIIR collection

The bags are handmade by Payatas women; the newspaper dresses were designed by SoFA students and big-name designers. Ganda!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

...And better

Older today. It's all good.

Work is wonderful because I do the things I love. I wake up early and stay focused until the sun sets. This is my commitment: to put in as much work as I can. In return, the work speaks for itself.

The stupendous support I get from the people around me is incredibly encouraging. But I keep my feet are firmly on the ground. I accept opportunities, knowing that doors open not because I deserve them, but because the universe is kind enough to hear me. I count my lucky stars every day.

Older today. Wiser? Can't say. But better, for sure.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Weekend reads

I'm quite late with this, but I finally read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell after T's recommendation. I read Gladwell's The Tipping Point in college, so this wasn't a stretch. Certainly the author's writing and liberal use of statistics in Outliers will raise some eyebrows, but there are many things that ring true. As in Avenue Q, everyone's a little bit racist sometimes, and with some reason--cultural differences lead to generalization, jokes and discrimination. But I'm putting in my 10,000 hours of practice. Just give me 10 years.

Treasures of the Falcon: Showcasing the Jewels of the Middle East is a Standard Chartered Banks exclusive coffeetable book. Aside from the structures you expect such as the Egyptian monuments, Petra, and the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, lesser-known ancient cities such as Baalbek, Lebanon and Jerash, Jordan are featured here, as are the seven-star hotels Burj Al-Arab in Dubai and Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Seems that this region is a magnet for both archeologists and businessmen.

Friday, March 27, 2009

DIY: Sneak peek

This is not the first time I've painted sneakers without a brush (with the wooden beak of a carved pen this time). They're in blue again because I couldn't find textile paint in a better color.

I wrote down the names of all the places I could squeeze in. I added some numbers to fill in the white spaces closest to the toes after I shot these.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm all for slow food but..

Dear Mr. Koa,

I hope my crepe will come sooner next time.

Long-time Customer

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Bombay @ The Podium

New Bombay has made a name for itself serving Indian cuisine that's authentic but accessible to the Filipino palate. Metal serving dishes. A scrawled swastika on the wall. This must be the real thing. But the biggest come-on for me are the chairs and tables. Just kidding.

There is a wide selection, including halal and vegetarian dishes, for every diet. Prices are reasonable and inclusive of taxes.

The rich red Chicken Tikka Masala set off a discussion on food and the waistlines, particularly in Taiwan and India. I argued that maybe it's not just the food but also the culture. I still love sweet lassi.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Salcedo Market

The Saturday market at Velasquez Park, Salcedo Village has been around for more than four years now, but I only went there last Saturday. Ma bought tomatoes, corn and itlog na pula. "Masarap mamili, mahirap magdala," she said. (I spied a stolen Rustans supermarket cart.) And it's true. There are many things there you wouldn't find in most other local markets. Frenchmen making crepes. Baklava. Deli items and specialties from all corners of the country and the globe. Being Makati, there are more expats in sight than usual. There are ready-to-eat choices, but I didn't want to be smoked me by the time I'm done (some grilling going on there).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Need an earworm?

My brother was raving about how good JYP is. But of course.

This doesn't have the funny opening, but it has the English lyrics. Whoever thought about annotations is a genius.

I want to cut my hair!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Future We Will Create

I've been watching TED.com talks for more than a year now. My viewing was accelerated last week when I worked on studies for my next exhibit. I found a documentary via Cinematical called The Future We Will Create: Inside the World of TED. Unfortunately, it's only available to US viewers. I wonder what the inside scoop is.

Now that I'm painting, I'm limited to listening to audio podcasts at work, but I still watch video podcasts in the evening. I must say I feel smarter. Hahaha!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mondrian mode

Seen at Brothers Burger, SM Megamall Atrium.

"Burgers by design"? Got it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

South by Southwest 2009

I'm so excited about what I'm doing right now that there's nowhere else I'd rather be than at home, painting. Except for one place: Austin, Texas for SXSW '09. My heroes are there: Jenkins, Lessig, boyd. Plus geek gods and goddesses Clay Shirky, Guy Kawasaki, Felicia Day, Gina Trapani, Jonathan Zittrain...

There's great music from Ani DiFranco to Yo La Tengo, Amy Winehouse to The White Stripes, BEP to NERD to REM. And hundreds of films like this one:

Of course they're not all like that. I Love You, Man and Observe and Report have their world premieres here. (Odd bunch, eh?). Throw in 500 Days of Summer, Sin Nombre and Passing Strange, and you know this is no ordinary festival.

But if none of these excites you or even sounds familiar to you, that's ok. But if you were there, you'd have the time of your life. I just know it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

When one closes, another one opens

Ang mga babae sa buhay ni Ato: MAG artists Tess, Debbie and me;
wife Sylvia and daughter Alcina [photo by Enzo Habulan]

On the last day of Rurok, Mang A. had the reception for his Takatak exhibit at BAP. I'm proud to have worked behind the scenes for this show. What amazes me most about the pieces are the trompe l'oeil effects and the fine palette knife work in the triptych. You have to see them for yourself.

The following morning, it was time to take everything down at the Art Center.

There's something depressing about removing the hooks and the numbers on the wall yourself. It's the end of those months of planning, painting and preparing. Time to start over.

I took these wall numbers home to photograph them before discarding them. It might be a while before I'll be in a show with 130 tiled paintings again.

It was cool that my parents helped out during egress. I hope they'll never tire of going to exhibit openings and hauling paintings with me. There will be much more to come.


[photo by Enzo Habulan]
Window text:
"I know that I am a paradox, a person of contradictions and dualities. As a young artist in the '70s, we learned about historical materialism as a core value of social realism. Yet, my art exudes the spirit of melancholia, metaphysical and subjectivity. No doctrine or ideology can box me in."
I adore this shot of the Habulan girls, who look almost like sisters. I must be reading too much into it, but having your daughter and granddaughter all dressed up and playing together at your opening, and looking through a glass window with your name on it must warm the heart of a sentimental romantic. I haven't been moved by a photo this way in such a long time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Online now: First Monday journal article + Emanate #2

Wordle love. Why is creating word clouds so fun?

After almost a year, my dissertation is now available to the public in a condensed form online. Check it out in this month's issue of First Monday here.

Updated the previous post about the Emanate #2 article.

I'm walking on sunshine, as I told a friend. But seeing photos of the Budapest conference and the presentation ceremony at IOE, both of which I missed, is like catching clouds with a gossamer net (phrase courtesy of Thosos of MusicalTalk). You can never get it back. Why can't I be in more than one place at a time?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

MySpace, your music : Blue Scholars + Natalie Walker

I'm still a year behind, but I'm catching up on indie music. MySpace discoveries courtesy of IODAcast: Blue Scholars and Natalie Walker.

image by Tone

What drew me to hiphop duo Blue Scholars is not the thought of Ateneo students but the title of their release, Bayani. Must be Pinoy, I thought. And I'm half-right: Geologic, "the raps" half is of Pinoy descent. Sabzi, "the slaps" half, is Iranian-American. "Bayani" means hero in Filipino and the word in Farsi. Isn't that cool?

Natalie Walker has a voice you'd want to drown in, whatever the tempo of her song is, whether it's remixed or not.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tomorrow's art events

8am Art in the Park at Velasquez Park, Makati City

1pm PAG-ASA, the Peoples Assembly for Genuine Alternatives to Social Apathy, is hosting a forum on Art in Social Transformation at the PETA Center, Quezon City.

6pm Artist's reception for Takatak: An exploration of different materials and techniques of Renato Habulan at Britania Art Projects, Quezon City.

Let's go!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

They beat my folks to it

Two wonderful ladies treated me to a meal each on the same day, at places I've been planning to eat with my folks for some time now.

My parents would tell me that they ate out at Savory in Manila before they were married. Definitely old school. Everytime I would see its sign, I would tell ma and pa that I haven't eaten there (*hint hint*). Businesswoman Ms M, who I once interviewed for an article, treated me to lunch at its SM Hypermart branch in Pasig City.

Savory makes deciding what to eat very simple by offering set meals for one and for two. They're rather good deals. And the chicken they're known for is still good.

A few days later, I had Savory again, this time at the Glorietta 4 Food Choices. The rice was not as good. Food court syndrome...

Since we've covered half of the restos at Megamall Atrium already (Amici, Bigby's, Superbowl, Chef's Quarter, Eat & Go, Secret Recipe), my mom had mentioned we should eat at Kebab Factory sometime. When T offered dinner after our meeting, I could not refuse. We shared Hyderabad Biryani (excellent), Lamb Kebab, Stuffed Chicken Kebab, and Kulfi, an ice cream with pistaschios and rose, for dessert (totally yummy).

T treated me and two others at Kebab Factory again more recently. For some reason, the kebabs tasted even better this time around. Though the complimentary papadom was a little too spicy, the three dips looked great. Our mentor, a sweet tooth, loved the honey-drizzled and nutty baklava.

Thanks, ladies, for the food and even more thanks for great conversation.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Test drive: Kindle 2

Not streamlined enough to be an Apple e-book, but Amazon's Kindle 2 comes close. I'd like to see fewer buttons, a touch screen and more screen text. The one at the ADB library has only two books: The New Oxford American Dictionary and the Intro of Chip & Dan Heath's Made to Stick.

The board beside the Kindle asked: "After trying out the Kindle do you think you would like to read a book on it?" Twelve voted "yes"; eight "no". Can you guess what I voted?
[image by Joe Shlabotnik]

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Glorietta 5 + World Builder

Glorietta 5 is now open. It still smells very new. The mall is along Ayala Avenue, between the Rustan's wing of Glorietta and Hotel Intercontinental. There is no covered connection between mainland Glorietta, but expect that to be completed soon.

The building has eight floors: three for commercial use and five upper floors for office spaces. There are food outlets, clothes and shoe stores, and jewelry shops. Bench and National Book Store dominate the ground floor.

I like National here because of the way they arrange the art supplies and also because they are better stocked here than in most other branches. The downside is that some supplies (paper, canvas, pencils) are not located right beside the glass cases where the paints are. I needed to ask the salesgirl to unlock three different cases to buy retouch varnish, paint and a brush. Still not a lot of artist-quality paints, though. Must go to Enriquez one of these days.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

...always an Assumptionista + International Women's Day

Ms L invited me to be one of the judges for the annual speechfest of the seniors in my high school. And I had no reason to decline. As you can see in this post, I still look back on my time there fondly. The only strange thing about commuting to that school on the hill is having to leave an ID at the school gate.

Sir L had a short chat with me on the way to the admin building. Knowing people like him exist makes you feel hopeful in the future of humankind. Really.

Sr L (yes, it's the day of L's) and the Family Council president were also judges. All the finalists were good, but the winners really stood out.

I'm excited for the seniors and their journey through college. Watching a slideshow of their class photos made me sentimental, though I did not know any of them. I wish I could could them that I was in their shoes nine years ago and I hope they'll make the most of these last weeks together. They'll be in touch, of course, but it will never be the same. But one thing is true: you're an Assumptionista for life.


It's International Women's Day. I have nothing much to say, so I'll just quote my mentor: "Strong women are not [flexes biceps]. Strong women are intelligent and principled."

Long live strong women everywhere!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Juana Change

Idol ko si Mae Paner a.k.a. Juana Change. She came out with new videos recently and I expect more on the run-up to 2010. More power to her!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"The Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told"

No cinema budget for a full-length film? Watch the CC-licensed animated feature Sita Sings the Blues by Nina Paley here.

I'm not sure about its claim to being the "greatest", but it's funny and the mixture of styles is cool.

If you don't have so much time, Reel 13 has online shorts!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Presentation ceremony + First Monday + Emanate

Missing graduation today in London. :(

But you gotta give them credit. The universe (or the university) sure knows how to play with my head.

Can anything make up for my absence? Sure. My condensed dissertation got published (supposedly yesterday, but the issue's not up yet) on the online journal First Monday.

I also received my copy of the second issue of Emanate, the EM magazine, yesterday. An article on the Jakarta event, compiled from reports from Yansen, Iqbal and me, is on page 8.

The heavens seem to be working hard to make everything gel.


Emanate #2 is here.
First Monday March 2009 is here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The pottery lesson

I went with Mang Ato to the first firing of Allison's anagama kiln (blogged about it here in the MAG Rurok blog) and I had a special session there with awesome pottery teacher, Adee. (Long live the letter A!)

the workshop
the little cups triangle

dirty nails

This is the longest I've grown my nails. Not advisable to keep this length for pottery. Or painting, for that matter.

The fired pieces should be out by today. I wonder how my little key patterns and Flora turned out.

Hadrian Mendoza's Pottery School

Sunday, March 1, 2009

RUROK: opening reception

I didn't think about reminding anyone, so I'm glad some people remembered to come. This is what I gave up Budapest for, and I don't regret it one bit.