Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Last Post for 2019
And Hopefully Not The Last Ever

       My my... Just look at this blog.  Imagine if websites can accumulate dust after being inactive or unvisited  for many months in a row  haha! It's embarrassing, to say the least, with only 3 posts since 2019 came stomping in. Why, I can even see my 2018 year-end post at the bottom of the blog page! I read it again, actually,  and I seem to have the same feelings now as I write this post. Another year is about to end in a few hours and by the looks of this blog it feels like nothing was ever achieved - no milestone, no ground was broken, nothing happened.

     Well here's a reality check: Things did happen. They may not be the big things that I hoped for but I'm glad they happened anyway. I guess I just didn't feel like sharing them here. Either because of sheer laziness or because I chose to lay in bed and rest my back after a day's work.

      But just to convince myself that my 2019 isn't so bad, here's a summary of the year's somewhat-relevant happenings.

     February, I went to see a classical performance at the Bamboo Organ Festival in Las Piñas for the first time. I think I'll do this again next year.

       Also in February I saw the ArtFair in Makati for the 4th time. Excited about next year's show.

     In March I visited Intramuros after a long while. I'll come back to see the museums I didn't visit.

      Also in March I enjoyed an overnight beach trip in Lemery, Batangas with my folks - something we haven't done in a long while.

     April, another trip to Puerto Galera with friends. Two of my friends in this pic went abroad, though. Looks like Joey and I will have to tag other friends along next year.

     In May, my ride buddies and I rode to Lucban, Quezon for the annual Pahiyas Festival. This was my 2nd Pahiyas since 2017. Hoping to visit again next year. I just love the happy vibe of everything in there.

    Also in May I printed nearly a hundred shirts of varied designs. I think this will be the last time I'll print shirts for a re-seller. It's just not working for me anymore. Maybe I'll write about this and what will become of Buhay Bohemio shirts in another post.

    Early in June I get to enjoy the beach again with my ride buddies in Calatagan, Batangas. It was my 4th time here. Seems like the perfect beach campsite for us and I'm glad we got to do this again before the rainy season started to pour in.

    The rest of June until September, I spent an awful lot of time and energy rehabilitating my garden. It became crowded and cluttered.
    My mom, she has the greenest of thumbs. But she really doesn't know how to plan a garden. So you will find many of a single pot containing 3 to 4 different plants competing for soil and light; also so many pots containing the same kind of plant that she propagated from a parent plant; and a whole lot of other garden no-no's.
   I've been re-potting and rearranging plans for months by myself and I was beginning to question why I started this project in the first place haha! But everything's in order now. Will take nice pics and post them here soon.

     Early in October I'm glad I got the chance to go someplace new and I think this is my most memorable trip of the year. I went to Tingloy, Maricaban Island (Batangas) and met a friend who showed me around Masasa Beach. It was a much needed  break after that back-breaking garden work.
I'd really love to go back to that beautiful island next year.

    The rest of October until early December was all graphics. More image files for the monogrammed / personalized  products of Customized Chic. It was their peak season. They have a new product line that just came out this year - printed fabric items like robes, hooded jackets, bags, pillows, table runners, etc... They're quite tedious to make compared to the plexiglass items they started with.
    Been doing this stuff for maybe 5 years now. I'd be lying if I say I have not grown weary of doing this. I'd also be lying if I said I never needed this job. It is, after all, a source of income - a side-job. But the thing is, the side-job became the bread-and-butter. This is the result of my failure to make my brand Buhay Bohemio a thriving business. I failed to make it my No. 1 priority. Now 8 years after I started to make and sell shirts, here I am working on somebody else's products when I should be working on what is my own.
    These thought have been going through my head as I struggled to complete the last orders of 2019. Feeling burned-out and lost, I fell into a spell of depression. But I pulled myself together as I always do. I had to - I still have some shopping to do. I don't want my folks to think that I'm using depression as an excuse for not getting them gifts haha!

     Third week of December, clearly 2019 wasn't done with me yet. I caught the flu. I endured a week of sore throat while I feel my body fighting this shit for days. I thought if I go riding to Manila to check out the newly refurbished Jones Bridge with my ride buddies will make me feel better. Ah but no. Ended up with a lot of sneezing, a runny nose and aching sinuses. Well at least the cough didn't push through thanks to the syrup I took in advance hehe. I'm feeling better now, btw.

    I've been seeing memes on Facebook saying that 2019 has been hard on all of us. Feels true? We know it's true. We've seen people who had been hit harder even on Christmas Eve!  Sad news here, bad news there - it's easy to feel despairing and discouraged. But it's completely okay to let ourselves experience and appropriately express these emotions for our own well being...  Am I beginning to sound like a shrink? Hehe well, I'm not even a life coach or a fortune teller to give  you the best advice. Who knows what 2020 may bring? All I can say is just welcome the good stuff and accept the bad stuff (that you didn't see coming haha) but never allow negative feelings take over. Happiness happens - so simply ALLOW it to happen.

 So yeah, like I said last year, let us allow ourselves to have a HAPPY NEW YEAR! ^_^

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

El Bohemio at the
44th Bamboo Organ Festival

      Well I just realize that the the Bamboo Organ Festival is as old as I am haha!   Though the instrument existed since 1824, parts of it was finally brought back from Germany for repairs in 1975. And since then every year the Las Piñeros celebrated the restoration of their organ, which was made National Cultural Treasure in 2003. The Bamboo Organ Festival is actually the longest-running annual international music festival in the country.

    This is actually the first time I ever attended the festival.  I have been hearing about the bamboo organ and its festival since the turn of the millennium but I didn't have the means to see it. To think that Las Piñas City is just a neighbor to my city (Muntinlupa). Well the church is about 9 kilometers from home hehe not too close either. Well now after years of missing the event, for various reasons such as forgetfulness and beezeeness, I finally took the time buy tickets online and ride my motorcycle to the St. Joseph Parish Church.

      I went on a Sunday night when a repeat performance of the Magnificat is scheduled. The performance was at 8 PM. I came too early, like an hour early and I'm glad because I was able to watch a series of delightful folk dances. Too bad my cam is not powerful enough to make good shots of every dance number to show all the elaborate costumes!

      So yeah, behind me is the one and only bamboo organ. Completed in 1824. It has 1,031 pipes and 902 of them are made bamboo.

     So every year in February the church is made into a concert hall. A stage is built beneath the organ, just behind the main door of the church, and pews are replaced with individual chairs for audience seating.
    This year, J.S. Bach's Magnificat was performed and it was well delivered under the baton of Beverly Shankuan-Cheng, conducting the Manila Baroque Ensemble (Christian Tan, concertmaster) and the Villancico Vocal Ensemble, Manu Mellaerts (Trumpet, Belgium), Stefanie Quintin and Sherla Najera (sopranos), Michelle Mariposa (alto) Irvin Lumauag (tenor) Christopher Arceo (bass) and Armando Salarza (organ).
   Also on the program are compositions by Bruna, Buxtehude and Charpentier.
  The performance lasted about less than 2 hours and it was an awesome experience! I was seated just about 3 meters away from the nearest violinist. How much does it cost to sit that close to the performers? Just Php 600. It's so... bohemian! Haha!

     Yup. The Bamboo Organ Foundation brings to us world class performances for quite an affordable fee. They provide a venue for our local classical musicians and contribute in keeping the younger generation interested in classical music. If your taste in music is eclectic and you can spend tens of thousands of Pesos to watch your favorite pop star or band, then my goodness what's 600 Pesos just to hear live music by Bach, Mozart, or your favorite classical composer right? Hihi!
      So yeah, go see performances in the Bamboo Organ Festival, bring the entire family or your squad, or buy a CD or two of recordings from previous performances, and maybe go to a Bamboo Organ Tour.

     If you haven't experienced being at a Bamboo Organ Festival, here's a YouTube video by Associated Press to entice you. The dude you see on the cover, by the way, is Prof. Amando Salarza who, since 1992, has been the titular organist of the Bamboo Organ and the Artistic Director or the BOF.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

An Artsy Weekend at the
2019 Art Fair Philippines

   I went to see the Art Fair last Friday. The 4-day show opened last Thursday, February 21, 2019, at the same venue, The Link car park building in Ayala Center.

    I've attended 5 of their shows already, my first was in 2013. Thanks to my BPI Gold Master Card that gives me free access to their shows haha! And as always, being there is an incredible experience. Imagine 3 floors of galleries - it's a melting pot of creative ideas! An artist who has been there will surely step out of the building with inspiration.

    Anyways I took a lot of pictures and will share in this post some personal favorites. You will find a link to all the photos at the bottom of this post.

    Philippine folklore says that if it rains and the sun is shining at the same time, a tikbalang couple is being wed. A tikbalang is a creature that is half human and half horse. Not to be confused with a centaur because a tikbalang has a human body and a head of a horse. Artist John Paul Antido gives us a visual of that magical occasion in this remarkable painting which included other creatures in Pinoy lore.

      I personally love Antidos painting style. Also I'm beginning to have a growing fondness of this male character wearing the an 18th Century Filipino get up.

    A library made of wooden books. Well not really books but blocks of wood. Well after all paper is made from trees. Amusing installation art by Christina Quisimbing Ramilo. It's an interactive work. You can write a book title on a wood block with chalk.

    Awesome hand-molded epoxy sculpture entitled "Ihip" by Jerson Samson.

     The impasto technique  made this painting look like there's an actual stone bust before me.
Brilliant work by M. Irfan

    I really love this work because of it's grungy-ness and seemingly dystopian theme. Also because it is made of magazine pages. The work of Arnold Bornios.

       Words by the Dalai Lama lazer-cut on textured galvanized iron sheets. Love it. The works of Dedi Sufriadi.

        Stepping inside an exhibit by Daniel dela Cruz always give me the feeling of being in a surreal world because the presentation is complete with light and sound effects. Of course the pieces are outstanding by themselves.

       Dela Cruz' show at the Art Fair, "Finding The Light", if presented to raise awareness and lessen the stigma associated with mental health issues.

     So did you miss this year's Art Fair? Well do not despair hehe. I'll give you a virtual walk-through of the show with pictures that I took. Just click on the memo strip below. Enjoy!