Purrplexity 13: lefthandrightups.

I know my siblings write, and I know they are excellent writers - grammar, composition and content-wise.

Even Daniel has surpassed my number-of-posts.

I am not entirely done grumbling about my blog's... errr.. weakness.  And since seeing Chantal and Daniel engrossed in writing and reading online, I asked for a topic to blog about, and Daniel suggested "frogs".  Chantal added "love".

And so.  I remember writing an essay about highschool and relating my experiences to that of a frog's life cycle.  The significance of that particular essay is not on the clichéd content, but on that silly fact that I wrote and completed that essay using my left hand.  Apart from my MANY categorized and uncategorized diaries and journals – I have, since then, long kept a separate journal strictly for my left hand.  Interestingly, the flow of thoughts and the degree of contemplation actually differ for each hand used.

When Daniel suggested “frogs”, I thought of Lej.  I remember Chantal recalling earlier today a Lej-chasing-frog episode.  I have been home for two days already, and I conclude that Lej is a manifestation + extension of true, selfless love.


Purrplexity 12: Prod. Push. Shove.

There are just those moments when I question my credibility.  I don't know, sometimes I feel frustrated I haven't exactly followed the 'normal' path.  I could have graduated years ago with a degree in Literature and I could have landed a job somewhere in Iloilo.  It was never meant to be.

I mean, really? Undergraduate and unemployed for a long, long time?  There are times when I honestly feel jealous of the people whose successes are measured the traditional way (a diploma, a career and a regular salary).  I do not undermine their situations, I just sometimes wonder what if I chose that kind of stability?  What if I achieve owning a property and a car by working with the stability of a regular paycheck?

They say I'm lucky and I really am, to tell you.  And not without gratitude.  They always see the positive results of my being shamelessly lucky.  I secretly feel uncomfortable with the dependence on luck and the generosity of the people who love me.  I am grateful for the occasional shortcuts, do not get me wrong.  There are really times that I do not have to go through the extra miles and the extra lengths to get to where I want to be and to do what I want to do..  But independence and hardwork are two things which make the fruits taste so sweet.  I cannot always rely on these awesome shortcuts.  I will be honest, the sense of fulfillment is different when I work towards reaching it.  The good values are heightened and deepened.

Yes, I'm a good person, generally speaking and being one does gain points and favors in this dog-eat-dog world.  But... I don't want my security to be limited to or to be based on that aspect of being a good person alone.  I am strangely insecure where it does not and should not even count.  Because the very nature of my dreams and choices have always been and will always be -- unorthodox.

So.  For my life to be effective, the Universe apparently designed my blueprint with hints of 'insanity' and diskarte.  Sometimes, people ask me about the nature of my 'work'.  If I were to answer as honestly and as simply as I could, I’d say it’s quite similar to the nature of my dreams.  There has to be imagination, creativity and that strange yearning for movement in any form.

I have my family, few good friends and few true-blue-honest-to-goodness-artists I've worked with who could probably attest to that ounce of truth that I have THE potential.  I would have to consciously stop the fear from growing - the fear of being unable to deliver.  Or else I would have a thousand imagined reasons to break my heart.

I don't like being mediocre, being stuck and not growing (artistically speaking).  A note to myself: It's a matter of good stewardship.


Purrplexity: 11 apos and the rest of Papado and Mamaky's breed.


It was all about family.

Leopoldo and Victoria.
Leo, Bobbie, Leo Kristian, Ianne Patrick.
Levi Jun, Nicole, Chantal, Isobelle, Daniel.
Leo Boyet, Silver, Leo Karlo, Louie Kenneth, Lester Kevin.
JP, Gemma, Luke, Chris.

A celebration of kinship, laughter and love.

Singapore Skyline at night

All 11 apos of Papado and Mamaky separated from the adults, bought express tickets and rode all that it is to be ridden.  Some of us rode the roller coaster thrice.  Twice in the rain, too.

Me and my siblings went out to have dinner with Mommy's side of the family.  It is too bad we were not able to take a proper photo with them, but nevertheless.  Toto Ralph, Tita Jenny and Tita Jonezies were gracious enough to take the 4 of us on a late dinner and a walk around the city.  :)

A celebration of Tito Leo and Tita Bobbie's 30 years of marriage.

The boys looking sharp in their suits. <3

Like I said.  All about family. :)
The first time we were all complete, and under the same roof.

Papado, Mamaky and their four children.

All you people in red. Crazy people taking over the Universal Studios.



Purrplexity 10

I still have a few more drafts to complete and edit before I post them online.

Love and Gratitude


Purrplexity 9: (Bits and pieces from:) On Modernism

An excerpt from another attempt.


The role of media in history is important and yet it is continually developing.  Despite its continuous progress, its ‘history’ deserves to be written about.  The technological revolution is a fascinating trend, and the artists’ incorporation and employment of these new media reflect their curiosity and excitement towards the changes.  Interestingly, this particular time in history marks the ‘collaboration’ between aesthetics and sciences.  The use of the media, take for example the camera, enables the artist to see things in a different view, to play with physics or the engineering of the subject or the theme.  Futurists have foreseen and promoted the role of technology in art.  There was also a term ‘technological artist’, which was first used to describe pioneering Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein.  As quoted “…claiming that he merely applied what he learned in mathematics and engineering to the making of his films.”  Films were especially popular, and eventually dominated the world.  Media art makes an interesting kind of avant-garde art. 
The range of art pieces during this period in modern times is so diverse, from the wacky to the weird, to the wild and to the minimal.  There is a play of themes and materials, and the constant exploration of an explosion of imagination and creativity.  This progress is not limited to the visual arts, but to other disciplines as well – including dance and music.  A particular favorite composer of mine is John Cage.  His experiments on composition are brilliant and truly influential.  His collaborations with Merce Cunningham are quite an important part of the history of modern dance and music.  They are among the pioneers of chance and minimalist experiments, which continue to be explored and utilized up to this point in time.

In relation to the Philippine contemporary scene, there is the obvious presence of our art pieces influenced by or related to Media art.  The Western theories and explorations of art have influenced us largely, and so are how we think or view art.  Yet ironically, there are few discourses on the topic of our own Philippine art history and the rise (and fall) of Modern and Contemporary Art and artists.  I have listened to some debates as to how the contemporary art should be classified or not classified; to whom the arts are for; the audience these sort of arts should target; and even as to how to critique certain pieces ‘properly’.  Though these debates do happen, not all art students or enthusiasts participate or take interest in philosophizing or theorizing our own modern or contemporary art.
In my own opinion, despite the problems on how to approach the history and the development of modern art, it is nevertheless something that people should appreciate.  One problem in the Philippine art scene is that the art does not receive that much support from the government.  Oftentimes, there is a stereotype that art courses and careers do not offer that much money or security compared to other jobs related to the hard sciences.  Art subjects in school are usually taken less seriously, thus resulting to both ignorant teachers and students.  In other countries, there are art historians who strive to write about and criticize and analyze endlessly on this particular movement.  Unlike in the Philippines, there are by far, a few artists who take on the matter of writing about Philippine modern or contemporary art.

“There should be a kind of writing that is at once attentive to the fine grain of history and responsive to the different and often contentious accounts of modernism as a whole.”  It is one thing to be an artist and to ‘create’ art pieces; it is also an entirely different thing to be devoted to writing about the nature and history of our own art.  Given the fast pace of turn of the century, art continues to involve the changing natures of the social, political, economic and philosophical realities of the world.  True enough, art today is anything but simple.

Purrplexity 8

Something I discovered.  An attempt to write about art after a trip to the UP Vargas Museum.  Spare me, spare yourself..


Landscapes as Events and Experiences

    Understanding Romanticism would usually take me to a translation of it into another genre of art – through dance.  For me to be able to grasp the abstract sense of romanticism, it often had to be translated into another abstract movement piece, something that is phenomenological.  Often, the sense of the Divine and the supernatural is more easily experienced by the performer and understood through movements as being part of the fleeting phenomenon.
Reflecting the sense of the Divine, sublime and supernatural, it is important to understand that Filipinos take their spirituality to deeper levels in quite unlikely ways compared to our Western counterparts.  Throughout the history and culture of the indigenous peoples - the seas, skies and trees are key factors in the core spiritual beliefs.  How modern Filipino artists were (or still are) able to capture these old spiritual sense of the Divine is a curious thing, not without undergoing transformation, translation and interpretation throughout the changes in time.
As part of our history, some Filipino artists went abroad to study technique and composition, the Western strains and influences are reminiscent in some works of Filipino artists (note: Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo).  Picnic in Normandy by Juan Luna is one classic example of landscape painting distinct with European influences.  The figures are obviously European and the scenic setting is quite somewhere we cannot find in the Philippines.  Although the landscape paintings in general are something the public can easily relate to, I personally noticed that there is at least some sense when we know that the setting is distinctly Filipino.  Often, there is a sense of familiarity despite the lack of the images of the Filipino.  It is the very interpretation of the landscape that represents what is ours.  An example of a different take on this sense of familiarity is Residence in Hanoi by Santos Resurreccion Novicio.  Though the title is a dead giveaway, we know through the structure of the houses and the warm feel that this is not the Philipines, yet Asian in setting.  The warmer colors, the recognizable trees, in contrast to the cooler hues of Western landscape portraits - attest to this observation of the sense of familiarity. 
Pre-war paintings (or whatever lack thereof of war representations) usually present images of the folk and the rural.  We would tend to see carabaos, dark-skinned people and people portrayed in their everyday lifestyles.  The simplicity and the tranquility of life are apparent.  Examples of these paintings include Kanlaon Mountain by Maria Iglesias, Pasig River by Ramon Peralta, Ricefield in Singalong by Patricio Gaston O’farell and River View from Sta. Ana by Fabian de la Rosa.  The Philippines is a tropical country, and we get the feeling through the paintings that it is so.  The pieces by incredible Western artists which were discussed in class, their colors tend to be cooler and darker by contrast.  The painters do indeed present their European landscapes as they see them.  It is interesting to note that there are more landscape paintings compared to seascape paintings.  As the artists from Luzon are more exposed to art, it would be interesting to see art pieces from other major regions and islands of the Philippines. 
Given that the Philippines is a tropical country, it is then established that the colors we see in the paintings are tropical as well.  The use and play of lights and colors is notable as the artists capture the scenic beauty of the Philippines.  Throughout the Vargas collection, the nature portraits are dominated by the oil and canvas medium, so much so that it is quite surprising and refreshing to see a piece done in watercolor.  Los Baňos by Fabian de la Rosa was done in watercolor.  Watercolor as we know by now, gives a different texture and effect.  The effects of the colors are more subtle and fleeting compared to the vivid marks and vibrant tendencies of the oil.  Watercolor paintings, one way or another, are more ethereal.  In many cases the warmth of the oil paintings are decidedly warmer than the warm colors of the watercolor.  Countryside and Imus Landscape by Teodora Buenaventura explore the warmer colors and hue.  In addition, what I noted in my observations on the works Countryside by Carmen Bernabe and A House by the Brook in Ilocos Norte by Severino Fabie, is that there is ‘nothing too pretty’ and the dominant colors are brown and earth.  These paintings were done by oil, and done on boards and linens.  Artists never fail to intimate the details as well.  Even the careful study of the movements or the anatomy is hardly missing anything.  Fishing, planting and the plowing of the fields were interpreted and portrayed loyal to the actions, lines, and colors of the real thing.  Sometimes they are alive and vibrant, sometimes just eerily quiet. 
There were also paintings in darker ambience, with eerie impressions and the sense of the macabre.  The painting Toilers of the Sea by Ricarte Pungunan portrays fishermen seemingly in the middle of a vast somewhere out in the seas.  This testifies to the Romantic notions of the sublime and the magnificent.  Except for a small hint of land in the far left, the sea is presented as a large, overwhelming body, dominating the frame.  Another contrast or sense of vastness is Sunset Clouds by Dominador Castañeda.  The picture is dominated by the natural landscape, except for a lone shadowy figure and a bahay kubo.
The departure from the scenic, tranquil settings is evident in the (post) war images done by artists who perhaps were able to experience (the war) as well.  Fernando Amorsolo and Dominador Castañeda are two artists who explored and experimented with this change of theme.  Ravaged Manila by Castañeda, and the paintings of ruins by Fernando Amorsolo (including Sand Sebastian Church Through Quiapo Ruins, Ruins of Manila Cathedral and Rizal Avenue on Fire) are far cries from their pieces on rural settings.  Despite the lack of the humans and their telltale and obvious emotions, they still managed to portray the damages and negative effects of war.  Japanese Patrol by Castañeda contrasts war and peace.  The view of the landscape – in its beauty and harmlessness is intruded by the images of fighter planes and bombs.  Despite the dominance of the natural setting, and only few and small fighter planes were painted, we are still given the sense of the foreboding.  All these pictures represent the romantic pull of making haunting, yet ironically beautiful images. 
My personal view on these paintings is that they do indeed offer a sense of the sublime and the Divine.  The feelings evoked (especially after the time spent viewing the collection at the Vargas museum) are consistently with sense of respect and quiet contemplation.  In remarkable contrast to modern and contemporary art galleries, what I appreciate about Romantic art is the impression of the spiritual it stirs up in the viewer.  Though I am personally a contemporary art enthusiast and practitioner, viewing romantic art is a refreshing departure from the modern, fast-paced, noisy, chaotic and (almost always) disturbing images contemporary art brings.  My personal preferences and biases are on landscape and seascape paintings.  Though ruins can be fascinating and darkly so, sometimes the initial impressions the ruins bring is simply too unnaturally still and lacking in movements which I cannot exactly pinpoint.  Perhaps being a dance major, I prefer the ‘movements’ the nature paintings present (with their use of colors and shades) as opposed to the urban paintings in Romantic art.  If presented two Romantic paintings and each without images of human beings – the pre-war pieces always strike me as more alive.  The fresh perspective Romantic art brings and the quiet contemplations are always welcome breaks from time to time.

ReferenceVaughan, William. "Natural Painture." William, Vaughan. Romanticism and Art. London: Thames and Hudson, 1994. 184-221.