Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Flaming Pig

Why the sad face?

Three tables at a time? The three little pigs are that popular!

This is a specialty at Terry's Selection, The Podium. Not strictly for chorizo lovers only.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Guy's Manual

My brother alerted me to this one. The Guy's Manual videos are more entertaining than helpful. That host, Kenny Mayne, is terrific for the job. And the sponsor... they must be cool clients to work for.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Short, but not so sweet

What did Post Secret and Twitter do to this generation?

Anonymity still has its perks. The online confessional is still open because people want to express and people want to read and rate them. Any researchers willing to give these websites a shot?

One Sentence
texts from last night

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Buffet dinner on Father's Day

rum opera

We're the family that is "lugi" when it comes to restaurant buffets, so it's extremely rare for us to go to one. However, my mom's considerable discount was enough to draw us to Fab at Holiday Inn for our Father's Day dinner.

I only took shots of the desserts. Noise courtesy of the high ISO setting.

crema (?) and white chocolate mousse

gelatin and panna cotta

Our longest dinner together, remarked my brother. At an hour and a half, I have to agree with him. One of the funniest meals, too, with enough laughter to go around.

My dad got a goodie bag full of vitamin samples, and hair and skin care products. There's a gym membership and other prizes to be won in the raffle. We all left in high spirits and made our way to the mall very relaxed and satisfied.

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP, Jumpcut

Over the past year, Yahoo has been closing down some of its services, notifying users beforehand so that they can migrate their data. But in the case of Jumpcut, I wasn't advised at all. Since I have not been to the site in a while, I was shocked to see this on my screen.

I never got the chance to bid my videos goodbye (or rip them for uploading elsewhere). There are no words for this injustice. (Oh, the drama!)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Virgin Labfest 5: The School of Life/Mga Dulang Walang Pinag-aralan

Inexperienced, but willing. Gibbs gave this Virgin Labfest virgin a ticket to the first show of the first set of "Untried, Untested, Unstaged Plays" at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on the condition that she blogs about it. (It's hard to refuse a good deal if you have an afternoon free and no expectations.) To relieve the awkwardness of the encounter, VLF5 Artistic Director Rody Vera introduced the festival and summed up the afternoon's offerings with these words: In the Philippines, schooling and education are two different things.

At the Virgin Labfest, CCP's resident theater company Tanghalang Pilipino and playwrights' group Writer's Bloc stage new works for two weeks, mostly at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute. On VLF's fifth year, there are also staged readings, unannounced site-specific works called Fragments, and a re-run of selected Virgin Labfest 4 plays, which I hope to catch next week.

The fifteen plays are thematically divided into five trilogies with intriguing titles:

Set A: School of Life/Mga Dulang Walang Pinag-aralan
Set B: It's Complicated/The Buhul-Buhol Trilogy
Set C: Blood Sports/Trilohiyang Diniguan
Set D: The Family that ____s Together/Tatlong Dulang Walang Diyos
Set E: Life is a Trap/Three Plays in Search of Escape

Anyone who has passed through the Philippine education system will find the stories in Set A comfortingly (or uncomfortably) familiar--a cheating incident, a last music lesson, an unusual class day re-imagined.

Oggie Arcenas' Isang Mukha ng Pandaraya makes its case against academic dishonesty with a pseudo-legal battle between a social climber and a poor prostitute. Arcenas gives the offense the serious treatment it requires. Under the direction of Roli Inocencio, the play unfolds like clockwork after a slow start, with symmetrical blocking that does little to hide the obvious inequalities between honor student Isadora (Anna Deroca) and the principled Amor (Kat Castillo), and the ties that bind their defenders, Atty. Roel (Randy Villarama) and Atty. Charlie (Eric V. Dela Cruz). True characters are exposed not at the disciplinary tribunal but in the restroom, where the juicy bits show how closely linked the opposing forces are. I caught myself deriving guilty pleasure from the catfights before I realized how worrying it is that hair-pulling and name-calling are legitimately entertaining. Only saints' bodies are incorruptible, and not even the cellphone-toting Judge (Jef Henson Dee) escapes the unmistakable stench of the system.

The audience, seeing through the character assassination and assaults to logic that lawyers resort to, reaches a verdict early on. But the predictability does not make the story less worth telling. The play, which I assumed to be based on recent actual events at UP from the university documents presented, gives an academic dimension I never saw before in the class divide. I wonder how closely the real story resembles it.

Ang Huling Lektyur ni Misis Reyes is a one-woman swansong with heart, as well as references to other body parts. In my mind the title character (Marjorie Ann Lorico) embodies the teacher who is a born performer (and there are many of them). Playwright Tim Dacanay compresses a number of personal issues that remind the viewer that despite teachers' eccentricities, they are people, too. Using light changes and an effective soundtrack (though there are occasional lapses in sound quality and cueing), the protagonist's monologues make her completely human. Director Hazel Gutierrez should be proud of this little production, which is undoubtedly the climax of the set. As a yoga-practicing music teacher whose last message to her high school seniors delves into sex education, Lorico has an unlimited supply of energy and sincerity. Let's hope she gets more roles as meaty as this one.

MPC (Mababang Paaralan ng Caniogan) is the inaccurate representation of playwright Job Pagsibigan's childhood that he probably prefers to the actual events. Unfortunately, his alter-ego Felix (Acey Aguilar) is too square and weak for impish Erwin (Abner Delina) and the ever-smiling Didai (Isabelle Martinez). The three brave the lightning storm and give Ms. Magnaye (Sheenly Vee Gener) much-needed support in dancing "Who Are the People In Your Neighborhood?" for her teaching demo. Nar Cabico is pure-character as school superintendent Mr. Catacutan.

Directed by Kristine Balmes of the Sipat Lawin Ensemble, MPC has an unsettling mix of realistic and stylized elements. While I enjoyed the use of popular dance steps, the toilet humor shaves off the plus points. It seems to me that the play could work better as a film with chases in double speed and big reaction shots.

The order of performance seems like a regression from college to high school to grade six, from drama to slapstick. Would I have it any other way? No. The playwrights, all Labfest second-timers, did their homework. They made the material easy to digest by reviewing what we already know. We know the power of fraternity "brads". We know which side of the RH Bill Mrs. Reyes and Sister Principal would be on. We know that not all plays set in the classroom need moral lessons. The School of Life shows the symptoms of the nation's ills in miniature. As a whole, Mga Dulang Walang Pinag-aralan is more studied than it admits itself to be. That suits the nerd in me just fine. I might learn to be a VLF groupie with a little more time.


While leafing through the program, a thought crossed my mind. There should be more female playwrights! Imagine the shock I got when I came across this NYT article. I hope it's not true here.

[Update] Laura Collins-Hughes blogs her reaction to the study and the media attention that followed. No theatrics, no finger-pointing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sunday afternoon (iced) tea

Technically no tea for me, just a light and rosy infusion

A yummy chicken barbecue pizza which would have been perfect if it had more color and texture (food is art, you know)

Life Cafe, SM Hypermark Pasig

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Something doesn't look right

In MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando's world, pink buses fit in. But a pink King of Kings bus with teddy bear stencils? It's way too cute to not be a service vehicle for pre-schoolers.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Danse Macabre

If there are pre-schools named First Steps, then this makes perfect sense. Seen in Silang, Cavite on the way to a funeral. (But we didn't come from here--we followed the procession of vehicles and went straight to the cemetery.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nibble this, Nibbledish

Nibbledish is your source for open source food. CC-licensed recipes and photos you can even embed like so.

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

The tiled food shots can make you hungry. Very effective!

[via Lifehacker]

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Man on Wire

©2008 Jean-Louis Blondeau / Polaris Images

Widely acknowledged as one of the best documentaries of 2008, Man On Wire, is a certified crowd-pleaser that is well-made and critically acclaimed.

The film is about Philip Petit's wirewalking stunt between the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Even for 1974, this was quite a daring operation involving a team of accomplices. Recent interviews, blended with old footage and reenactments, make this movie a winner many times over at the Oscars, Sundance, Rotten Tomatoes and the BAFTAs. Technically a British production, the recent French Film Festival should have included this in the lineup because the main characters are French. Fair enough, right?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ronald and Me

I'm not really a McDonalds fan. But I liked the way the sun shone on our plastic friend and thought, wait, I could be in this shot! And think about it, the P25 everyday savers are pretty good deals in times like these.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

And we're live!

I share my name and nickname, correctly spelled, with 13 other people. And that's just on Facebook. I thought about it, and realized that if you Google me, I have the lion's share of links. So why not claim them? In less than 24 hours, I found a free web design-site-slash-host that fit my specs and made myself a website without writing a line of code. Sounds too good to be true? See for yourself.

Thanks to Wix!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Art of Recycling @ ADB

"An exhibit of art work from solid wastes generated in ADB." Winners were chosen amongst these after I photographed them. I had intentionally skipped the entry that won later because it didn't look recycled at all!

Click on the images to read the signs.

recycled trophies; painting on discarded carpet tiles

electronic junk; carton network

tarp bags; decor made of fallen leaves

bags made of fact sheets (I like!)

beverage can table; seat made of tape receipts

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brief encounter

Two Wednesdays ago, before we could hang our paintings, the gallery staff had to take down the previous works on view. My fellow artist and I were inside the gallery, waiting for everything to be put in order before we agree on the layout.

A man arrived and went inside the gallery. He reminded me of Fr. Nick, white-haired and roly-poly. You could tell he was a collector by the way he looked around. I secretly wished that my paintings (stacked against the wall) were no longer in bubble wrap so he could see them. He just might find them interesting. My fellow artist being extremely shy, it became my duty to say something.

"Kami po yung susunod na mag-e-exhibit," I said, trying to be helpful.

"Yung black and white?" he asked.

"Opo," I replied.

He glanced around and then he left.

I recently found out who he was: Douglas Quijano, manager to the stars. He was found lifeless in his home in Lucban, Quezon over the weekend. Heart attack due to diabetes complications, according to PEP.

Gallery Owner was one of the last to see him alive. They had rearranged his house and installed paintings last Friday. GO told me that DQ wanted to reserve one of my paintings for his bedroom. That would give the piece a different color...

Since I'm no gossip columnist, this little story ends here.

Rest in piece, sir.

Monday, June 15, 2009

yoswirls by BTIC

Although Red Mango has already been declared the best in Inquirer's fearless froyo survey, I'm still on the lookout for other places that primarily serve frozen yogurt. Don't get me wrong--I adore Red Mango. But I'm the type to give chances to others.

Better Than Ice Cream was ahead of everyone else in the literally-frozen yogurt department. Way back then, this meant ice cream, not soft-serve. Yoswirls is their soft-serve equivalent. Their Shang outlet has nice seats that can accommodate small groups.

I skipped the regular froyo base for a combination of vanilla and chocolate. The yogurt only comes in one serving size (P75). Toppings are divided into regular (P25) and premium (P35). Of the regular ones, I only wanted almonds.

I can say that this is closer to fastfood sundae than anything else. I suppose I should have ordered the regular flavor for healthy-alternative-to-ice-cream benefit. Otherwise, there's still sundaes for P25 at McDonalds.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Caption this: lost black goat

This doesn't look like the view from my house. Oh, it's not my house. Right.

I'm a city goat

Caption this!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Home: Rendez-vous avec la planète (2009)

There seems to be a lack of audience-friendly and unanimously critically acclaimed films at the ongoing French Film Festival at Shang. Now that's a dangerous combination.

I caught Home, a full-length science lecture with beautiful imagery and musical score. I overheard a latecomer say "Akala ko ba French?" The narration was entirely in English. I mistook Glenn Close's voice to Susan Sarandon's.

The beginning is slow and feels like a very long poem. Show, don't tell, I wanted to say. How much is real and how much is CGI? I couldn't tell. And then you get specifics. Iceland. Cyanobacteria (two guys snickered at the sound). The Grand Canyon. The turning point is the harnessing of oil.

"Faster and faster"
Fast forward to cities and industrialization of agriculture. There's not just a little Dubai-bashing here, but merited. So much sun and no solar panels? Shame, shame. Finally, global warming and greenhouse gases are mentioned. Important point: monoculture is not forest.

"It is too late to be pessimistic"
The film ends on a positive pro-renewable energy note. Again, I become proud of Denmark. I'm not sure how the 88,000 employees of the PPR group, which includes well-known brands such as Gucci, Puma, YSL, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Bottega Veneta, are involved here. (Surely, we need to consume less.) But take a bow anyway, Yann Arthus-Bertrand. The film deserves to be seen by the whole planet.

Watch HOME here.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Independence Day weekend is here, but I don't feel so free. It's been a spend, spend, spend week for me. I should be glad that there are still many things that come for free. Mabuhay ang kalayaan!

accessory of the moment: bangle from Baycrafts (P180)

manang mode

Thursday, June 11, 2009

For your desktop

But you need to rotate it counterclockwise first.

Not my feet, but those of a friend. This is the floor of a processing area for dried fish. I'm not sure why the floor is yellow.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Venice and Basel

The Venice Biennale opened last Sunday; Art Basel opens today. Georgina Adam of the FT writes about the differences between the two. The Times came out with its list of Top 200 Artists of the 20th Century. But don't agree with their readers. Argue away!

No more art talk for the rest of the week, I promise!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wounded Spirit by Oca Villamiel

terracotta figures worshipping lotto tickets


The pieces in Wounded Spirit are strikingly mature for a first one-man show not only because Oca Villamiel can no longer be called young but also because the artist is committed to articulating his deep understanding of social realities in his work.

A viewer looks at Alaga
(lastillas, jueteng bulitas,
mixed media on canvas, 2007)

It's your last chance to catch it at SM Megamall Art Center today.

I hope you don't mind the flurry of art posts. I'd alternate them with other topics if I could, but these days, I cannot help it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Building character

Who could have foreseen that this would become this?

If it had a hole in the middle, it would make a nice plant jar. But that's where I put my signature and the glazing is nice inside...

This was patterned after a Celtic key pattern. A few pieces did not survive.

Still, fire gave all the pieces more character than I ever could. Thank you, Prometheus.