Monday, July 17, 2017

Van Gogh is Bipolar at Maginhawa

Van Gogh is bipolar, and he's a Dutch artist who lived a tragic life, one of the most prominent artists who we briefly discussed in my Art History class back in college. Van Gogh is Bipolar, is a restaurant, one we've been discussing about trying out since after college...and one I finally got to try last week. Ever since my brother experienced eating there a few years back he'd been repeatedly telling me about his desire to go back for a second. After agreeing that we eat dinner with a few friends at a new Korean restaurant at BGC, he tells me that he just made a reservation at Van Gogh is Bipolar because he forgot what we agreed on a few hours prior. But come to think of it, I think I was meant to go there because just two days before we went to the restaurant a friend posted a link on Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal as Van Gogh in a docudrama called Painted With Words. The beauty of the script lies in the fact that they used a lot of the words coming from the written letters of Vincent sent to his brother Theo. A word of caution though, the movie is a downer...because it deals with frustration, depression, loneliness, and art at the same time.

Here's the link to the 1hr.20mins. movie by the way: Painted With Words

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rooftop Poetry

I met someone on a rooftop, the same rooftop where I was asked a question that cornered me into a brief malfunction, and got me thinking long after I answered the question. He was tall, pleasantly charming, British, and in an advertising field in London. We spoke a bit about our travels, and I suggested some local beaches where he could go to because he's also surfer without much itinerary on his supposed three-week solo travel. A few weeks after I met him, I tried recalling that night and ended up with this silly poem. My interest in creating poetry ended in high school...which was over ten years ago, because at one point I found them to be too ambiguous and pretentious, that I just stopped it all together. Now, after maturing a bit, I'm trying to reignite my appreciation for poems by writing one. I wrote it in one sitting, uninterrupted, but this is just a casually written thought as to how I felt that moment of reminiscing. And no, I don't do word counts and rhymes in my poetry.  


An undefined moment
Of an unspecific time
In an indefinite place
I met your eyes with mine

It was an unsolicited chance
Of uncharted plans
But in that one instance
It felt just right

I may have forgotten your name
Your face now a blur
But in that fated encounter
We made ourselves smile
And just for that cameo moment
We were in each other's lives

Friday, July 7, 2017

Snippets: Hda. Remedios

Taken July 1, 2003 at Hda. Remedios, La Carlota City. OMG! It's been 14 years and a few days ago!!! I found this photo in an old folder I saw in my external drive, along with a few other embarrassing shots of my younger days.

This is the result of the first Gawad Kalinga village waaaaay back when it started to build concrete houses in exchange of the nipa ones. It took a village to build one, with a target of fifty houses at the end of the year, schools and foundations worked hand in hand to building the structure. I was amused when I first saw this view, with the bright yellow carpeting the center and uniformed videogame-like houses in line, that's why I took this photo. Fourteen years after, it's still nice to look at, but the paint has faded and the flowers are no longer blooming with patches of dirt in between instead of the lush green, and the people back in their old ways, waiting, complaining, hoping. When GK first started, the women of Remedios were taught to make candles, snacks, and other small items that they might be able to earn a living on. I even remember buying some candles during one of their bazaars in the city's public plaza. The men where taught how to make organic compost fertilizers, about half a hectare near the entrance of the village was dedicated to producing sacks of it at a given time...but after two years or so they say a tornado or hurricane demolished the place and production stopped. My vision of a farm goes back to my remote childhood memories of when we'd go there for the fiesta wherein everyone was celebrating in their own little ways, and another distinct idea of what a farm might look that stands out in my mind is the farm from the simulation game Harvest Moon. I thought it was as simple as sowing seeds, watering the crops, and harvesting them after a couple of sunrises that makes it thrive...but no, that is far from the reality that I see, from the stories being said to me. It takes hard work, and the hardest of which is dealing with people unwilling to share in your vision. 

So...over a decade has passed, a lot has the same time, in the end, at least for most in the hacienda...nothing has changed. What brings down an idealist? Lazy cynics and unmotivated dreamers disincline to do the work, instead, they focus on the unlikely chance that one day heaven might open and hand them a million pesos, to which they can be happy with, that is until they spend it all on temporary amusements and a day's worth of fill. And while I hear success stories from other GK villages, with this one, it's the same story all over's a sad one.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Maligcong Rice Terraces and Mt. Kupapey

I wrote somewhere at the back of my head as part of my 2017 bucket list, I should make it to the rice terraces this year, but as some cases go, I did not only reach it, I went above and beyond it. I reached for the clouds and conquered Mt. Kupapey. Going to Maligcong was the highlight of my Cordillera trip. As seen in the photo, standing up there and staring down at the terraces at the break of dawn will give you a feeling that's hard to describe. Breathtaking? Yes. As for the other words, it doesn't matter, the only thing I can say is that it was euphoria to be in that state of present. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tila by Clara Benin

I just wanna share my love for Clara Benin's voice and music style. Right now this is what's been running on repeat in my head since they played the song last Saturday at the BGC Art Mart. It has a beautifully calming quality and has that nostalgic tune to it. She's also, as many may know, is the daughter of Joey Benin, the bassist of one of my favorite childhood bands, Side A. Tila is from her album, Riverchild. The lyrics tells of how she has this wishful thinking that you listen closely to the wind and might just hear in your heart the secrets she has told to the wind. Or something like that.

Tila humihinto ang aking panahon

Walang naririnig kundi huni ng ibon


Dinadala ng ihip ng hangin

Tila gumaganda ng lalo mga rosas

Sabay, sabay silang sumasayaw sa hampas ng hangin

Dumadampi at bumubulong sayo

Naririnig mo ba ang bulong ng puso ko

Binubulong ng hangin

Tila ngumingiti ang araw sa umaga

Mga paru-paro'y naglalaro

Sa hampas ng hangin

Dumadampi at bumubulong sa'yo

Naririnig mo ba ang bulong ng puso ko?

Binubulong ng hangin

Sana nga ito ay marinig

Binubulong ng hangin ang dama nitong dibdib

Naririnig mo bang tunog ng puso ko?

Binubulong ng hangin

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bontoc Day Trip

My first encounter with Bontoc was through Google maps. Our intention of going to the area was for Sagada and Maligcong, Bontoc was the entry point to our destinations. I didn't know what to make of it then except that it's small and has a huge river in between. Arriving, I was half-asleep that I didn't see the bus enter the city until the driver stopped and said we had arrived. It was only when we got to walk around a bit did I get an air of nostalgia. It was was as if I was walking in the streets of Luang Prabang, Laos. The city is situated in the middle of a valley surrounded by mountain ranges with a wide river passing through its center, dividing the city into two. The low and laid-back population gave it a charm, but their habit of spitting chewed up betel nuts made the streets look unhygienic as blots of red are stained all over the city. It sort-of became our game, to spot the biggest spits and just laugh at figuring out how huge some got. Two main streets cut through the heart of the city, and at its center is the plaza. At most, it's a walking distance to everything you need to see within the city center (just a lot of incline walks though,) and just beyond are smaller barangays that possess a quaintness of their own. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Burnout by Dancel-Danao-Dumas

I've always had a love-hate relationship with OPM's; it's either I hate it or I love it. This, I absolutely love. The collaboration of the three beautifully-voiced-artists is something that makes me excited about the local music scene. Johnoy Danao is someone I admired since I first heard his voice on a commercial. His songs has this quality that hits home, you know, the one that makes you say it's Filipino music. His melodies and voice makes you want to chill on a hammock made of rattan, and sway yourself under a mango tree. Ebe Dancel is also another singer who I most especially liked during his first Sugarfree album way back in high school, and is actually the brother of one of my former bosses...I just didn't get to connect the dots as to why they sort-of look alike and have the same family name until I left the company. One day I saw an FB post of the two together, and that's when it hit me. Shunga! As for Bullet Dumas, it's the first time I heard him sing in this video...and I have to admit I hated his voice at first because it's so different from the two that I sort of didn't get it. That was until I peeked into his solo performances that I got into learning to really like his voice. His style is unique, and quite frankly hard to blend with other singers, but when he sings solo, it sort of has this ethnic-shaky-vibe to it that resembles with old folk singers. Something to appreciate, the uniqueness of his tone.

As for the song Burnout, it simply talks about love that's falling apart because of a relationship burnout. And of course, there's always one who will hurt more than the other.