Art in the Park 2017 | My Little Dark and Twisty Girl

Art in the Park 2017 | My Little Dark and Twisty Girl

The weather in Art in the Park this year was surprisingly pleasant. Always held in the middle of dead heat summer, this year, the day where they make the art extremely accessible to the public was blessed with the final cold breath of amihan.

We went later this time than we did last year. When you’re really in the look out for a good buy, one should go early in the morning. We’re not buying anything in particular. If we see something we like, we’ll get it. If not, at least we get a good walk in the park out of it.

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Admittedly, Jr is much more of an art enthusiast than I am, so these things excites him more. He’d point out to something that’ll pique his interest and he can count on me to shake my head for disapproval. With these things, I have the ultimately veto power because it goes to our home, where I would likely stare at it more than he would.

And there right on the second booth, just as we were checking out another watercolor painting by another artist, a little girl called me.

She looked calm and peaceful at first, beautiful from afar. She’s floating, but when you look at her closely, she’s got one foot tied to the ground. She seems sweet until you realize that she’s dark and twisty.

I am drawn to dark and twisty.

And Jr liked it too, which is a miracle, since our tastes rarely agree when it comes to art. And without looking at the rest of the booths, we ask her to be wrapped up. The heart wants what the heart wants. And she’s going home with us.

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Note that we did see the rest of the exhibition and nothing called to us like the little girl did. There was a Cacnio again this year, but it wasn’t true love like the way we fell for “Gravity”, this piece from Bacolod artist Anika Liquote. When you know, you know.

Now, she has a space in the living room, where an almost portrait of mine used to hang. And though she’s dark and twisty, she sparks joy.

I can stare at her all day.


Art in the Park 2017
Jaime Velasquez Park
Salcedo Village
Makati City, Philippines

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LIFE LATELY | Meatless, Day 26.

LIFE LATELY | Meatless, Day 26.

I was raised Catholic. I was heavily influenced by my devout Catholic mother, who prays the rosary everyday and goes to mass twice a week. She pulled me out of a protestant preschool and lived out the rest of my formative years in an exclusive all girls Catholic school. There were days when we attended two masses in a span of a school day — a class mass and a first friday mass at the school patio. During October, I distinctly remember I had to pray the rosary 3 times — once during the beginning of the school day in class, one with the rest of the school at the after lunch assembly, and once at home, with the family. I think all these indoctrination led me to a more lenient, quite averted relationship with my family’s organized religion of choice. If you had to put me in a category now, I would be called a cafeteria Catholic. These days, I pick and choose what I want to follow. But years of sctrict piousness do take a toll on you. Admittedly, the catholic guilt is strong on this one. So I pick my own penance as well. During lent, I give up my most loved and what people most associate with me when it comes to my culinary tastes. I go meatless.

Some three years ago, I have managed to go meatless for two lents running. When I entered daily work at TF HQ, with lent falling on a very high stressful season and with limited eating out options near work, I gave up the sacrifice. I needed to stress eat and meat is my comfort food.

This year, I decided to be back at it again. The decision was made on Ash Wednesday, and I went in cold turkey. I wasn’t really planning on it so there’s about a half kilo of bagnet sitting on my freezer right now, which if I had known I’m giving up meat for 40 days I wouldn’t have bought. It’s unexpectedly easier this year compared to the struggle the years past — perhaps because of maturity, or maybe because it’s also doing me more good than harm ridding my diet of meat for a while. These days, instead of flipping the menu and zoning on the meatiest, porkiest thing on the menu, I skim through the appetizers and entrees more carefully. I have become one of those persons who asks if there’s meat in that item. The carnivore in me would like to immediately be on the defensive side and say “No, I’m not vegetarian, it’s just lent”, but it’s kinda pointless. I guess it teaches me to be mindful, more conscious of what I put in my mouth, which is not a bad thing.

Also, Jr is taking it very well this year. Whereas before when he gets frustrated because we can’t eat out anywhere because of my dietary “flagellation”, this year, he welcomes the meat break. Although I tell him I won’t mind if he eats meat in front of me, he chooses to empathize. Almost 4 weeks in and I have touched one bite of beef, pork and chicken — which is amazing considering I am now faced with pork barbecue and delicious prepared meals at my new work every damn day. And gasp! I don’t miss it.

Or maybe I miss one thing. I miss home cooked, heavily breaded deep fried chicken. 14 days to go.


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LIFE LATELY | Watching Sa Wakas, The Rock-Musical.

LIFE LATELY | Watching Sa Wakas, The Rock-Musical.

My knowledge of OPM is such a disgrace for a Filipino. I am not about to proclaim that I’m a fan of OPM. All I know is that I love watching plays, and is especially supportive of local productions. So when I heard of Sa Wakas, the rock stage play based on the songs of Sugarfree, I grabbed the last couple of tickets from its sold-out second run.

I mean, literally, there were two tickets left when I visited the website. I thought I scored because the seats were still together, only to find out as we were guided by the usher inside the Power Mac Center Spotlight theatre that they were on separate rows. Jr’s seat was in front of me. And it looked like somebody made the same mistake because the next couple the usher led was a couple in the similar predicament. Jr tapped me on the knee and asked if I wanted to ask the couple if they wanted to switch seats. I said the seats are fine. We can be a foot apart from each other for a couple of hours.

Also, again, I would like to come clean. I am not the biggest fan of Sugarfree. I am so sorry.

But you know when you somebody asks you about a title of a song or a name of a musician, and right off the bat, nothing rings familiar and the song starts playing and yeah, you’ve actually heard that before… I had a lot of those moments during Sa Wakas.

And yes, Sugarfree songs are beautiful, and I’m glad we got acquainted.

Sa Wakas is a play about breaking down of a couple, and of people pursuing dreams set against the songs of Sugarfree. Without spoiling it for anybody who intends to catch it on its hopefully, third run, it’s La La Land x The Last Five Years.

Jr enjoyed it. If I was to admit to something I know Jr has better taste of over me, it’s definitely music. Also, he loves Benny from Ang Probinsyano, so yes, he exclaimed when he saw Pepe Herrera walked on stage to play the male lead.

“Buhay si Benny!”, Jr said as we walked out the theatre, reunited once more.

***

And for this installment of Jr’s “Picture Mo Ko Dito” series:

Jr: "Uy, si Po! Picture mo ko!"
Jr: “Uy, si Po! Picture mo ko!”
Jr and Po at the Travel Tour Expo 2017
Jr and Po at the Travel Tour Expo 2017
Po: "Oi, bruh. Shift mo na? Pa sub na."
Po: “Oi, bruh. Shift mo na? Pa sub na.”


Sa Wakas
Power mac Center Spotlight
Circuit Lane, Circuit Makati,
Makati, 1207 Metro Manila

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LIFE LATELY | Thank you, Fr. Erick

LIFE LATELY | Thank you, Fr. Erick

It was a fateful day when you found yourself into our lives.

My aunt just arrived from the States and went straight to your tiny community parish of San Rafael in Navotas. My grandmother died while she was on vacation, and she couldn’t bring herself to go home. Instead, she asked to be driven to the church where you found her crying. Over the years, you’ll find light in that situation and cajole my aunt on the circumstances of your first meeting every time you get the chance. From the first moment on, you consoled my family. You were family.

Since then, you have made it your panata to celebrate our family’s annual New Year’s Eve. My lola died in 1995. That’s 21 New year’s eve masses you’ve celebrated with us. You’ve seen my family grow, get married, bear kids, and see those kids grow. You’ve literally seen us multiply. You’d notice the new additions to the family, as well as those who have left us. You’ll bring this up on those famed funny, and lengthy homilies you are known for. You’ve brought joy to our family and those families in poor communities you were logistically assigned to. When asked why you never moved away from the communities in Tondo, you were always quick to quip, “The Cardinal ( late Cardinal sin ) wanted the poor communities to be happy, and to keep them coming to church.” And they kept on going to church, because of you.

We’ve moved a couple of times, and so did our mass locations. Each year you’d kid that even though the locations change, it seems the decor doesn’t. It was always cut up crepe paper and a gold reused Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year banner. The “choir” never improved as well. Our family was never known for our musical talents.

In these latter years, we’ve seen you get sick since you’ve lost your father. We’ve seen you increasingly suffer from your illness, but you never once missed our annual celebrations. You try to still remain the jovial Paring Erick Santos, the priest, not the singer. The years before this one, you became wary of what you ate, but not this year, as I’ve noticed. You ate everything my aunts and mama served in front of you, albeit in moderation. I took a couple of family photos for posterity and you bid goodbye, bringing home the caramel cake you’ve requested.

Thank you for all the years or laughter and guidance, Fr. Erick. You will always be family. You will be missed.

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LIFE LATELY | Instagram Wife

LIFE LATELY | Instagram Wife

Jr loves to ham it up for the camera. He loves mascots, and meet and greets, and those movie standees you find in the cinemas. And he loves taking pictures with them. Alone. I rarely join in. But I am happy to snap it. While on our travels, he would stop by something interesting and tells me “Picture mo ko dito.” which I willingly do. One because I find it very hilarious and two, it’s easier for him to buy me a spiffy new camera when the old one breaks down because he knows he’ll be benefitting from it most.

Ladies on insta have instagram boyfriends/husbands. My husband has an instagram wife. But it’s easier to charm my way to a new camera. To each his own. Para-paraan.

This coming new year, JR’s side of the family plans to stay in a hotel for new year’s eve. Jamie, his sister, took it upon herself to do the ocular of the hotels mom is interested in staying in. Also, it’s a nice excuse for a staycation (I, against my will, am accepting that THAT is a word now). Yes, we’re preparing for New Year 2018 this early. January early. Because we are an old married couple with nothing better do to, we tagged along while they checked in at Hotel Jen.

Hotel Jen is the revamped Traders Hotel along Roxas Boulevard, right in front of CCP. It’s now run by the swanky Shangri-la hotels. It’s still a business hotel, but if you book a room on the upper floors, you get checked in on the club lounge on the 19th floor with a sweeping view of the bay area as far as SM Mall of Asia. It’s one awesome panoramic view.

And of course, leave it up to my husband to seize the moment. He positioned himself by the window and told me to use my nice camera.

Picture mo ko dito. Madami akong baon.”

Hotel Jen


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