Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Long December

Looks like I'm gonna be busy until New Year. There are still some projects lined  up and I am yet to get gifts for my folks. It really does feel like a long December and I understand that the month feels even longer for  people who are going through tough times, especially for the victims of unpleasant events that has recently happened here and abroad.  

But the year seemed to go by so fast. It's almost over and I hope we all find the time, amid the hustle and bustle of the season, to look back and count our blessings, and yeah also find  reasons to believe that next year will be better. 

Here's a song by Counting Crowns from 1996...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Just in case you forgot what this holiday is really all about, it's about that greatest gift of God to mankind that came in a small package, wrapped in inexpensive cloth.

And so. . .

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Into the Christmas Rush We Go




It's 7 days 'till Christmas. We're feeling the rush. We can actually see it - malls on extended hours, long lines at the cashier counters, more vendors on the sidewalks, heavier traffic on major thoroughfares.

But how about the Christmas spirit? Are we feeling it? I heard a DJ on the radio saying that he's not feeling it at all. I saw a friend on Facebook saying  that he's not excited about Christmas, and another who's thinking of just spending Christmas working in the office.

If you ask me, well I'm not feeling the spirit either. But I'm very much feeling the rush. I have a total of 27 portrait projects this month. I've delivered 7 last week, 4 yesterday and 16 are due this week. I've been printing shirts on the side too. I feel blessed and stressed at the same time and I remember that I haven't done my Christmas shopping yet.

Busy - that's what we all are. Peraphs too busy to feel the Christmas spirit. Our minds are pre-occupied with the concerns of the Season - what to wear at which Christmas party, what present to give to who, what to cook for Noche Buena, how to hide from a battalion of godchildren, and what have you.

Maybe Christmas is just for kids, said a friend on Facebook, just like Halloween. Isn't it? I couldn't help but recall those years when I was a kid. As a little child, Christmas is when you receive things - toys, clothes, money. Then you'll come to understand that Christmas is giving and receiving. As you grow older you'll give more than you receive. Well after all, Christmas is "The Season of Giving". Yeah, receiving sounds better - it's easier. To give, especially to a lot of people, will need some time and effort. . . and money.

Many have gone weary of this season of exchange of material things. Sadly that's what Christmas has become to them and who can blame them in a consumerist society such as ours? Christmas feels just like any other day, said a friend, who's working for a call center, who's single, living alone, whose parent's have long passed away, whose siblings have their own families living far from his city. Feel sad for him? Don't be because he isn't. He's happy and very much used to it.

How Christmas feels is actually how you make it. I know somebody who donate and volunteer in charitable activities every Christmas season. Giving gifts to people who has more than you do seems pointless, he says. Though exhausting, to see the smile on the faces of the less fortunate people that he reaches out to, felt fulfilling for him. And through those smiles he very much feel the Christmas spirit. 

I should try that - to feel the pointlessness of giving presents to people who has more than I do hahaha! Well good luck to all of us. May we all meet our deadlines in December and may we all have a meaningful and stress-free Christmas!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Just having fun with scrabble tiles... ^_^


Friday, December 7, 2012

The Art of Kris Kuksi

It's been a while since I've featured works of other artists here in my blog. I haven't been browsing  favorite art websites lately. You know, the Holidays are coming so I guess we've all been busy busy busy.

Just last month I saw my artist aunt like a photo from the Facebook fan page of Kris Kuksi. I clicked on the photo and wow! Totally awesome sculpture. I've always had a fascination for classical sculptures as well as baroque and rococo ornamentation. And I've always been a fan of the mix of the old and new so this work really got my attention.

"The Surrender of Helios"
mixed media assemblage, 32" x 27" x 8", 2011


Kris Kuksi is an American artist born in 1973 and is based in Kansas, Missouri. He collects statuettes, toys and other miniatures, modifies them and diligently put them together in an informally symmetric composition that resemble a monument form a post-industrial Renaissance world. If you also have an interest for classical sculpture you will  find some characters quite familiar.

What I like about artworks like these is that they cause your eyes to explore - to look at every character, every element that is incorporated in this beautiful mess. If you want to feast your eyes on more of his intricate works, click here. He has nice drawings and paintings too.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Stompa
by Serena Ryder

I've been hearing this song by Canadian singer-songwriter Serena Ryder on the radio for like weeks. It's one of my recent favorites now. Quite a catchy tune and I've been waiting for the official music video to show up on YouTube. Finally here it is. Real simple with just animated lyrics. Stompa invites you to slow down, relax,  detach yourself from your concerns and just let your body move to the music. Give it a listen!

 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Information -
The Key to an AIDS-Free Nation

December is here. Before we become excited for the coming holiday season, before we hang green wreaths and garlands with golden ornaments and red ribbons. Let us take a piece of red ribbon and make a single loop and pin it on our shirt because today is World AIDS Day.

I'm writing this post as my little contribution to the advocacy for AIDS awareness and the fight to stop the spread of the nasty virus that causes it. Do you know what's really un-pretty? Our country is among 7 countries where HIV cases are increasing - soaring by more than 25 percent this year. And the countries on the list are not even our neighbors.

This increase is very much a testimony of the lack of public education. Also, in a predominantly Catholic country such as ours, the widespread of a sexually transmitted disease is a testimony of the disregard of Catholic teachings against premarital and extramarital sex. And while the RH Bill is still being suppressed by a group who think that this epidemic can simply be contained by telling (stuborn) people to be abstinent, not only  HIV cases will continue to increase but irresponsible impregnations as well.

If this goes on, soon every Filipino will have somebody they know that has HIV. Just this year I knew 2 people who died of complications and I have a dear friend who has been living with HIV since 2007. This friend of mine, who has been a volunteer for HIV prevention and awareness and providing moral support to  infected people, told me even more un-pretty things. Stories of patients as young as 17, deaths because of late diagnosis, and suicides caused by severe depression. One of the saddest stories he told me was of one who was disowned by his family. And they even burned his personal belongings out of fear or being infected too. Imagine! Not only do victims have to fight to stay healthy but they also have to fight the stigma. And this stigma again is a testimony of the lack of public education about HIV.

And so I call out to my Pinoy readers whether you are single or married, gay or straight: The increase of infection cases is a serious matter - it affects us all. Take the time to know about HIV. Understand how it can be contracted and  prevented. Help fight the spread of the disease and the stigma. Remind the people you care about, especially those whose lifestyle put themselves at risk, to practice preventive measures.

And to the HIV+ people: Life is indeed beautiful and fragile. Stay happy and strong! Keep that positive attitude. Value your health. Help is available! You too can contribute in making an AIDS-free nation!

Friday, November 30, 2012

My Metal Dread Cuffs

Here's another BuhayBohemio bling. These are actually components of a fashion accessory I found in a not-so-popular department store. So I'm reselling them as dread cuffs. It has an inside diameter of 9 mm and has engraved letters that continuously spell "GUCCI".
I think it's plated brass. So to prevent it from tarnishing quickly, I advise that it be worn occasionally. It should not be permanently placed on the locks and should be removed when washing the dreads. 


So if you want a piece or two inquire here. PhP 50 each ^_^

Launching BuhayBohemio Blings

This is actually the second fashion accessory that I made for BuhayBohemio. The first were bracelets that got sold out  before I got to post in on my online store. Thanks Rudolph! ^_^

So this new bling is for my fellow dread-heads. I call this my "ox horn" dread tie. It's made of elastic chord with a horn toggle lock and beads. Now i'm not really sure if it's made of real horn. It could be made of resin. The very fact that I couldn't determine if it's real means that it looks convincing enough.

I only made 4 pieces of this dread tie (I'm keeping one for myself), and I'm not sure if I would be able to produce more in the future because I don't know where to get more of these ox horn toggles. I got them from an old coat that was on sale in an ukay-ukay store.

If you have long dreads and would like to have one of my stylish and handy, expandable and adjustable dread tie, inquire here. I'm selling them for PhP 120 each. ^_^

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New BuhayBohemio Shirts

The sheer simplicity of a black shirt with a printed white word has its own appeal. So I came up with 6 shirts,    for both men and women, with words that describe unconventional people. These shirts can also be available in different shirt and print colors.

I have a friend who has been waiting for new designs of shirts and he has expressed his disappointment when he saw this collection (*sigh* you just can't please everybody LOL!) Don't worry, my friend. I have other designs in line that are more to your liking  ^_^

If you guys want one of these shirts inquire here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lovely Vintage Jewelry
from Finders Keepers

I was at the Zonta Carnivale Bazaar held at the newly opened Filinvest Tent here in Alabang. I met a client there to deliver two digital portraits (hmm... it has been a while since I've shared digital paintings here). Anyway, since I was at the bazaar, might as well check out the stuff in there. Pretty cool, I should say, with items that you would't find in a typical bazaar or tiangge. After all it was a "soshal" kind of fair held in a pristine air-conditioned tent. There were performances too. But it was just a 2-day event. Maybe the tent will hold a new bazaar next weekend.

I found a lot of interesting items there but one booth got most of my attention - on two simple tables draped with white cloth is a clutter of an awesome collection of vintage jewelry from Finders Keepers. And behind them is a sweet lady, Wivina Teodoro who told me a little kwento about some of the pieces - what they're made of, where they're from. A number of pieces are authentically from the Art Deco period (1920's to 1940's), from different places in the world. Her little stall is like a mini jewelry museum! It's a night of jewelry appreciation for me and it's really nice of her to let me try on some bracelets and rings (even if this poor bohemian guy couldn't afford them LOL). Ahh I'm so reminded of my jewelry designing days.

So  here are a few lovely finds from Madam Wivina's collection. Click on the smaller photos to enlarge ^_^



If you would like to buy any of the vintage pieces shown here, or would like to see more of them visit finderskeepersphil.com. Like their facebook page too!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall
by Coldplay

I sooo love this song by Coldplay. It's one of the band's recent hits. I love the video too - the animated graffiti, paint splashes and all!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Starbucks' Chocolate Decadence Cake

I'm not sure how long this flavor has been sitting in their racks. I've been ignoring this cake because it looks pretty ordinary. I thought it's just another chocolate flavored sponge cake. But just recently my folks celebrated my niece's 4th birthday and we had this cake. So I'm now giving my thumbs up for this piece of heaven.  It has dark chocolate, is sugar-free, made with oat flour and has oat flakes. A slice is quite filling. Try it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

National Museum Visit, Part 2

I almost forgot to post about my second visit to the National Museum. It was the National Art Gallery (Old Legislative Building) that I visited in my last post about the museum. I went to see the Museum of the Filipino People (Old Finance Building) in October 30, 2012, the day before the last day of free admission.  Now the admission fee is PhP 150 for adults and PhP 50 for students. Discounts are available for group tours.

So the first artwork you will find there is this set of sculptures by the stairs done by Jerusalino Araos, one of the most accomplished Filipino landscape artist and sculptor.

The first gallery you are most likely to step into is one of the three  galleries  of   the sunken 16th Century galleon, the San Diego. It was built in 1590 in Cebu by Basque, Chinese and Filipino ship builders. Originally a trade ship, it was converted into a warship and was sunk by a Dutch warship in 1600. What's left of the shipwreck is still in the waters near Fortune Island in Nasugbu, Batangas. 

Artifacts from the shipwreck that are being displayed include the cannons, the anchor that looks more like a tree trunk because of corrosion, and a lot of smaller stuff, like a Spanish helmet, an ivory rosary, and these silver coins.

The San Diego has a lot of are these terracotta vessels. The museum should sell some of these to antique dealers hehe.

There's also a lot of Chinese blue and white porcelain. Enough to fill more than one cupboard!

There's a small gallery that display a few preserved plants and animals. I though it might be best if they joined  here the taxidermied animals and skeletons found in the other building.

Tree nymph  butterflies and these locusts are the only insects in this gallery.


I think this crab looks cool. A horrid elbow crab. A live one has colors that mimic coral or stone.

One of the galleries that I find interesting is the one that display the anthropomorphic burial jars  that were found in Ayub Cave in Maitum, South Cotabato. These earthenware jars were dated approximately 3 BC  to 370 AD.  Ancient Filipinos had the custom of a second internment for their departed loved ones. After the  body has completely decomposed, the bones are cleaned and then placed in jars such as this.

The human figures on the lids are sculpted with childlike simplicity. Perhaps they represent the person whose bones they contain? But some jars contain bones of more than one individual.

This is a diorama showing how the burial jars are placed when they were discovered in Ayub Cave.

Another favorite gallery is the one that is about Philippine ethnology. It is in this gallery you will see the diversity of our rich aesthetic culture before Western influence.

These are traditional garments and ordinary household items of the Sama D'laut people (also known as Badjao). They are are an ethnic group from the province of Tawi-Tawi and they live most of their lives in boats. 

I love these musical instruments of the Maranao people.

Traditional clothing, jewelry, swords and other items also from the Maranao people. I'm beginning to have a fascination for the artistic culture of these people from Mindanao.

I always have an appreciation for Igorot artifacts. I love  the primitive charm of these people from the Cordillera region.

I was looking around inside the Old Finance Building and saw some large empty rooms like this one, with windows overlooking Luneta Park. I imagined having this room as my art studio.

The Old Finance Building has an atrium where you'll find this lovely Ifugao house. It's authentic! I hope I get to visit Banaue someday soon.

So this concludes my visit to our National Museum. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10AM to 5PM. I hope you guys find time to give it a visit. Seeing all the things here in person makes proud to be Filipino!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Monk Bags

I finally completed making these monk bags and I'm selling them now on my online store. I only made 6 bags in 3 different colors. Making them was a easy, thanks to the old sewing machine here at home. But it took long to complete because I have to put them aside sometimes to work on other projects.


The fabrics I used are actually upholstery material so they're pretty thick. I selected patterns that has an ethnic feel, to compliment the shape of the bag. The patterns are woven and not printed and the texture really adds to the charm. I've  hand-sewn the hems at the opening with invisible stitch.


I'm selling them for PhP450 each. Actually I'm hoping for a more bohemian price -  like  PhP350. But the fabric alone is a bit pricey. Plus I added wood toggles and rope for the locks. I didn't put lining because that's gonna add to the price (and I don't know how to sew the lining just yet hehe). It's a good thing that the fabric is thick and firm enough by itself.  Maybe on the next bags I'll put lining. And instead of a wood toggle and rope lock, I'll use a coconut shell button and a strap made of the same fabric.

My monk bags are relatively small but it's enough to carry a lot of your little stuff. It's only 16" wide and 12.5" deep. The fixed strap is 27" (drop length). If you want to get one of these 6 bags, visit my online store or inquire here. ^_^

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Marie France Bodyline
Celebrate 27 Years

Marie France Bodyline is celebrating their 27th anniversary today and tomorrow, November 8-9, 2012, and I received an invitation to drop by the Alabang branch (in the Citibank-Frabelle Building along Alabang-Zapote Road) for cocktails and free treatment. Now that's how they keep in touch with their former clients.


Yeah I had treatments back in 2010. I didn't always look this fabulous (modesty thrown aside LOL). Wanna see how fat I was? Click here. I was 190 lbs when I first stepped inside their clinic. After their FMS (Fat Mobilization System) and Cold Wrap, I was 170 lbs. Now, after 2 years  I weigh 160 lbs. ^_^ And the very friendly staff are glad to see that I was able to manage my weight even after 2 years.

The complimentary treatment they gave me is the use of their Physique Inch-Loss machine. Fifteen minutes of this treatment is equivalent to 225 sit-ups! Electricity from the pads that are strapped on you causes your muscles to contract in a rhythmic pattern. I felt like I was belly dancing while lying in bed.

The best time to avail of treatments from Marie France is during their anniversary because you get them under a buy-one-get-one promo. If your birthday falls under your treatment period you get additional sessions as well. I got treatments in March 2010 as a birthday gift to myself.

Treatments from Marie France is quite pricey and you can be sure that they really work. I myself attest to their effective procedures. They are for the determined people who are serious about losing weight quickly. One can't really say that he's serious if he doesn't even watch what he eats or bother to do cardio exercise. Well I know that disciplining oneself could be a challenge - especially if we're talking about delicious food that is just within your reach.  Really, one could easily forget about his obesity when there's a box of pizza before him.

Well my strategy involves monetary loss if I don't discipline myself. So my weight loss tip for you? Don't just get an effective procedure - get an expensive one! ^_^

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I Love Wreck-it Ralph!


My friends and I watched this Disney CG-animated film yesterday. So it's a movie about life inside an arcade game. One would easily think that this movie is the kind that you'd watch just to get some laughs. But there's more to the movie than just funny scenes and cameo appearances from real video game characters. The story is actually very touching.

And who wouldn't love Ralph, the protagonist of the movie, who is actually the villain in his video game world? And it's cute that this big and tough guy whose job is to be bad and wreck stuff actually has a soft side and feels alone and unappreciated for what he does. Thinking that he'd be liked if he were the good guy, he leaves his video game and invades other arcade games to prove that he too can be a hero.

Moral lessons? Yes, you'll find some here. You'll even get teary-eyed at the end, like some of my friends. Okay, I almost got teary-eyed too.  =P

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Mutter Museum

Happy Undas to my fellow Pinoys and Happy Halloween to the rest of the world. Today's the last day of the season of spooks here in the Philippines. So as a Day of the Departed special, I'm sharing this 2008 video by Weird US TV, a reality television series hosted by Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman, about their visit to the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia.

The Mutter Museum is part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. It contains a collection of medical oddities, anatomical and pathological specimens, also wax models and antique medical equipment. Though the original purpose of the collection is for medical research and education, one would think that this place is a museum of  a lot of creepy stuff! I wish I could get to see this museum in person someday.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Weekend in Baler, Aurora Province

I was at Baler (Aurora Province) last weekend with peers and this was something we had planned like a week ago. Sadly on the day of our travel to Baler, our good old country is being soaked with heavy rains by the typhoon Opel. We pushed through anyway, with the hope that the weather will  be good by daybreak, since reservations were already made.

We left Manila around 2AM Friday, on a rented van. There were 11 of us, including the very reliable driver. We snoozed while cruising the North Luzon Expressway. When we got to Cabanatuan, it was still raining and heavy rains continued to pour at dawn as we traveled through the mountainous areas of Aurora, with  the twisties and cliffs and all.  It was a bit scary, really.

We got to Baler around 8AM and it was still raining. It's such a bummer to be at the beach on a stormy day! It's like the storm chose to follow us and do it's water dumping at Central Luzon. We spent the rest of the day  eating and driving around town, and had a little drinking spree before going to bed. It continued to rain after midnight. But when we woke up the next day, hallelujah, the sun was shining  and we finally got to do what we intended to do in Baler. 

So Here are some pictures by me and friends Patrick, Don, and Rina. Click on the image  to enlarge. ^_^

In our two-day trip, we had our late lunches at Gerry Shan's Place located along Quezon St., Brgy 2. I'm giving my two thumbs up for this restaurant for their P185/head buffet. That includes bottomless iced tea and around 20 different dishes to choose from. There's spaghetti, salad and dessert too! Perfect for the bohemian traveler. The breaded squid, sisig and kare-kare are my favorites!

We stayed at AMCO Beach Resort at Barangay Sabang. It's a pretty decent place for the budgeted vacationer. It has air-conditioned rooms and hot shower. A room with two single beds is just PhP900. If you're a group of three, you can share a single room. Just ask for an extra mattress for PhP150.

Baler is known to be the birthplace of Philippine surfing. Surfing lessons is just PhP350 and you can enjoy your new-found skill for an hour. I didn't try to surf but I think I would if we went to the beach late afternoon instead of morning. I don't want to be dark-skinned for the Holiday Season. ^_^

A safety reminder: In beaches where the waves are high and spontaneous, never try to swim to chest-high waters (unless you have a surfboard attached to you). The undertow of the waves will pull you to even deeper water. You can get exhausted and even drown before you could escape back to shallow waters. It almost got me!

I like the fiberglass murals at the facade of the Baler Museum and that's not the only cool thing you'll find. I love the few Ming Dynasty porcelain bowls and terracotta vessels taken from different shipwrecks.

You'll also find a just recently made collection of portrait paintings of  personages from the historical Siege of Baler (1898-1899), interpreted by artist Sherwin Paul Gonzales. Also you'll see costumes and props used in the 2008 movie Baler that starred Anne Curtis and Jericho Rosales.

Take the time to visit Baler Church and give thanks for the safe travel to Baler and for a safe trip back home. This historic church is where the Siege of Baler took place. The current structure was built in 1939 while  preserving the interior of the original structure built in 1611. Today, by the looks of it, you wouldn't think it's a very old church.

Across the Baler Church is the house of former first lady Doña Aurora Quezon, wife of the first President of the Republic of the Philippines, Manuel Quezon. She has done so many humanitarian projects. In her honor, the province of Aurora was named after her, after her assassination by a communist rebel group. If you have time to spare you can go inside and snoop around. I wish they've put a lot of thought in restoring this house. I just didn't like the very fake-looking wood veneer finish of the exterior. 

Next to Doña Aurora house is a glass garage that housed this awesome 1936 Chrysler limousine. This was the official car of the President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. I'm not really certain if this car can still be driven.

Actually Aurora has a lot more to boast. Like the Ditumabo Falls, the famous gigantic balete tree, and Ermita Hill. But we weren't able to go to these places because the access roads was closed due to damages caused by the storm last Friday. 

Well  at least we were blessed with good weather for one day in Baler. We headed for home in the afternoon and we got the chance to see the breathtaking mountainous landscapes of Aurora. We encountered roads that are almost completely covered by landslide mud and boulders. We realized that we actually took a risk in driving up the mountainous areas on a stormy day.

We got to Manila around 9PM and had dinner together before heading home. It was a tiring day but worth every kilojoule of energy.  ^_^