Category Archives: Culture & Arts

Manga Realities: The Art of Japanese Comics Today Exhibit

It’s been nearly two weeks since the Manga Realities exhibit opened at the Ayala Museum in Makati. The weather and schedules finally worked out so my friends and I were able to see it. I heard great reviews about it, a sharp contrast from the previous exhibit we went to.

Manga Realities exhibit at the Ayala Museum

First Floor
The Manga Realities occupies two floors of the museum. You’ll see the exhibit from the entrance. You might wonder if it’s a music related exhibit, what with a piano, an electric guitar and a drum set placed in prominent positions. These instruments showcase the contrasting music genres of BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad and Nodame Cantabile. The former gives an edgy air with its animate displays and wall of album cover parodies (each chapter of the manga features one). On the opposite end, the Nodame Cantabile offers a more genteel atmosphere, what with the heavily framed prints that make you wonder if you’ve stumbled into an old European museum.


Beck album cover parodies

Nodame Cantabile framed prints

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Lego Pilipinas: Tara Na!

Who isn’t fond of Lego? It’s one of the toys of my childhood, but it’s been around for longer than I’ve been alive. My first experience with Lego was with my uncle’s toys, while my first personal set was one from the Paradisa series.

A few weeks ago, the Department of Tourism unveiled a huge Philippine map at the SM Mall of Asia. What made it amazing is that it was made entirely out of Lego. A local group of Lego enthusiasts called Bricks Philippines planned and built this over a span of three months. Their aim was to help promote tourism around the country by engaging people’s imagination using this timeless and well-loved toy.

The Philippines in Lego

Even though Mall of Asia was rather far away and good weather wasn’t guaranteed (it did rain), I went there with Drew and Julius just for kicks. Glad I didn’t back out, because it was really an impressive display.

Paoay Church and the Bangui Windmills

Basco Lighthouse in Batanes

Mayon Volcano and the Butandings of the Bicol region.

Sitankai Houses in Tawi-Tawi

More photos found here.

It ran for only a week, which wasn’t enough for folks in Metro Manila to see it. I asked on Facebook if there was a chance it could be set up in other locations, but it seems that there’s no plans of that yet. I hope they can show it around the country.

Sidenote: We saw some artists painting designs on t-shirts. So cool. Ganda talaga ng Pilipinas!

Artist painting designs on t-shirts (SM Kultura)

Artist painting on a t-shirt for SM Kultura.

Where I find Harry Potter memorabilia and my MOO cards arrive

On my way to Dell’s for lunch, I passed by this display of sorts in the middle of Eastwood Mall. My eyes immediately zoned in on the Gryffindor Quidditch robe (from the back pa yun ha) and immediately did the giddy dance in my head. I resolved to pass by it before going home.

Since my parents were picking me up, I only had a few minutes to browse. Most of the pictures are a bit sloppy. The items were inside glass cases, with reflections and all. I hope they’re still there next week so I can take a better look. I want the wands!

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I’m really excited for July 15. I’m sad that the series is really ending though. Anyone up for a marathon from the first movie before the final one will be shown? 🙂

P.S. I also got my free Moo cards. They’re wonderfully printed and are of excellent quality. The cost for a real order looks worth it!

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Getting the ball rolling

I haven’t picked up a paintbrush and did some serious painting in a long time. The stuff I did recently was similar to sketches. Now I know some folks would say that it’s better than doing nothing, but given that I’m the type who wants to do serious pieces, the little bits were really not much (sorry if that confused you).

I had been meaning to sign up for art classes, but so far the ones I saw were either really expensive or didn’t appeal to me at all. I was hoping for some summer weekend classes around QC or Ortigas, but no luck. A random visit to the UP CFA site showed a schedule of art workshops for April and May. Basic drawing, oils, acrylic and watercolor for P5,000. You can imagine my glee at this.

Unfortunately, I missed the first two, so I had the option of taking acrylic or watercolor. I decided to take the latter mostly because I couldn’t file VL at so short a notice for the acrylic class.

I eagerly signed up, and excitedly went to buy my art supplies. I technically had a couple of the ones on the list, but I decided to get some new ones. I got new paintbrushes (loving my Sakura 2 and 1 brushes), new paints, paper and so on.

I wasn’t quite sure what my expectations were. In most art classes I’ve taken in the past (both for summer and for school), we usually start off with a lecture on color theory and basic strokes and stuff. For this class, we only had a quick diagnostic sketch, then dived straight into painting.

Having previous experience with watercolor and how it works (behavior, mixing, application etc.), I didn’t have much of a problem. My problem was that I was mostly a theoretical painter: I’ve read a lot on how this is, how that is, what this technique does and so on, but I’ve yet to try it because I was so scared to fail.

Which is the main reason why I wanted to take art classes. I’ve still got a lot to learn despite my familiarity, but Im quite nervous to start. So I really appreciated the heads on style, rather than the classroom lecture most of the other attendees were expecting. It’s pretty much the same way I learned how to use Photoshop and HTML: I look for the specific task/effect I wanted, then learn the process. I pick up techniques along the way.


Our instructor was chatty. He reminded me of a dentist in the way that he’d talk to us about all sorts of things while we’re deeply concentrated with our work. He’d offer us advice during our progress. A distraction, but sometimes welcome.

This was our process: Prepare the canvas by cutting the paper, mounting it to the board, then soak. Let it dry then sketch the subject, then paint it per section. I didn’t think I can do it, but slowly but surely, I was able to get it. Sure I made mistakes, but I had fun doing them. The painting isn’t really done, but it’s very close to. I plan to finish it this month. I don’t know what I’ll do next, but I’m happy to know that I can do it if I wanted to. 🙂

P.S. I really love hanging out a UPD. I want to study again!

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The Adventures of Tin Tin

One of the first comic books I’ve ever read was Hergé’s “The Adventures of Tin-Tin” series. My uncle, who is merely six years older than I, had a collection of Tin-Tin comics. These books were among the ones that I read when we’d visit them in San Andres. My tito was my playmate, Tin-Tin was one of the things we bonded over.

In the years that passed, Tin-Tin became a family favorite. My younger siblings would read them too, and we also were able to get our hands on another Hergé work, “Mr. Pump’s Legacy”. The stories of Tin-Tin, Jo and Zetté were fun and adventurous. It fueled our imaginations and we’d pretend that we were treasure hunters too.

Flash forward to today. After the comics and the cartoon series, there is now a movie. I never really wondered if there would be a Tin-Tin movie because the animated series in itself was good enough thanks to the action packed, fast paced episodes. But after hearing the news that Steven Spielberg was making one… well, why not?

And the fun part? It’s my favorite story arc: The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure. I can’t wait for December. 🙂

On art class, dishwashing and BTT

I’m so excited. I finally got to sign up for the watercolor workshop in UP Diliman College of Fine Arts. Classes will run for four consecutive days, from 9 AM to 4 PM. As I failed to get into CFA last school year, well, this is the best I can.

Why only now? First off, most of the classes I find are far more expensive than this. Worse, it’s usually for just a weekend class. Second, it’s based in a place that’s near my place (all others were in Makati or way south). Third, well, I’m biased. It’s UP. :p Now if the UPB profs were teaching summer workshops I’d be more than happy to go to Baguio for a week just to study art. Hehe.

I’m also giddy because I was given a list of materials I need to bring. I love getting stationery and art supplies. Sometimes I get them and hardly use them. I’ve got the brushes and the other stuff on the list, but I may need to get a new set of paint because my current set is already dry inside the tubes. I can still use them, but maybe not for this. I browsed through the usual sources for these materials, and I’ve found what I need so far. With the exception of the paper (which I already knew would be expensive), everything was right on the money. I’ll probably go buy what I need this weekend.

Doing a regular (if rather mundane) task such as washing the dishes can be relaxing. Before you write me off as a loon, think about it. Washing the dishes isn’t really a brain activity right? Your body moves automatically, freeing up your mind to wander. Of course you have to take care that the dishes won’t slip, or you won’t get hurt if you’re washing sharp objects. Still, it’s not like you need to really engage your brain unlike in cooking.

Wala lang. Naisip ko lang habang nag huhugas ako ng mga plato kagabi.

Booking Through Thursday: Age-Appropriate

Do you read books “meant” for other age groups? Adult books when you were a child; Young-Adult books now that you’re grown; Picture books just for kicks … You know … books not “meant” for you. Or do you pretty much stick to what’s written for people your age?

When I was a kid, my parents never really said I couldn’t read certain books. I never heard “That’s not for your age” or something similar. I guess that made me open to reading everything I can get my hands on. I’d think a book isn’t “for me” halfway through reading it. Usually, it’s more on how I feel that determines it.

At the age of eight I was reading Edith Hamilton’s Greek Mythology and loved it. At the age of thirty I still browse through the YA section of the bookstore to look for good reads. The openness and lack of restrictions when it comes to reading made me realize early on what I liked and what I didn’t. I didn’t care if it were age-appropriate or not. So long as I liked it, I’d read it. 🙂

And this week’s impulse buy is also book related (as seen also on my Project 365)

Kitty bookmark on Ruth Reichl's book

Casa San Miguel

When I was a kid, I wanted to play the violin. My mom, however, enrolled me in piano classes, which I didn’t fully appericiate at that time. My teacher was my mom’s teacher, and she was pretty good but like a typical kid, I didn’t have the patience to sit and learn the technical side of music. I wanted to sit on the piano and be able to play the piece that I wanted without hesitation.

Little did I know that it would’ve done me more good to have learned those things. I did go on to study that in school, but it wasn’t as intensive had I took it seriously.

A few years ago, my mom enrolled my two youngest siblings in Casa San Miguel to study violin. How ironic is that? The instrument I wanted was the one my siblings will learn to play.

Established in 1921, Casa San Miguel is the family retreat house of Ramon L. Corpus, in San Antonio, Zambales. In 1993, Corpus’ grandson, Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata established an art center after returning home from the Julliard School of Music in New York.
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It was an experiment of sorts to put up a structure to provide a community where locals can learn to enhance their talent for classical music and appreciate it as well. Most of the kids who are studying music and art there are children of the local residents, whose livelihood depend mainly on fishing and farming. In the city, these folks will have to pay thousands of pesos for their kids to learn how to play the violin. Here, thanks to the benefactors and the board of trustees, they will only have to shell out a fraction of the cost.

A few years ago, I went with my siblings during one of their lessons. I fell in love with the place. This big, rambling brick house stood in the middle of a mango orchard didn’t look like a typical Filipino ancestral home, but it was beautiful. I later learned that this was a newer structure as the actual Corpus family home burned down years before.

Casa San Miguel in 2005

That one visit was not enough. I’ve gone back to see it with my friends, and to attend the yearly performance of the Pundaquit Virtuosi for the Holy Week. But still, I keep wanting to come back.

The land is sprawling. Several structures have cropped up since then my last visit, and the main house itself has changed on the inside. To one side is the home of Mrs. Bolipata, and on the other end is the blue and orange home of artist Plet Bolipata-Borlongan. While visitors are welcome to visit the Casa, those two places are, I believe, off limits. There are several other structures: a building dedicated to visual art, and a smaller structure that didn’t seem to have changed the last time I was there.
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More Weekend Adventures

I realized that I’ve been around Metro Manila around enough to not get lost. At least, I know how the streets and places look like. I’m not so sure if I know the names of those places.

When Plurk buddies Ryan, Yue and Drew decided to go check out the Gashapon selection in Robinson’s Ermita, my first question was “Is that the same as Robinson’s Place Manila?” My best friend confirmed it, so I was confident we’d get there without mishap.

Except the cab driver asked, “Sa Pedro Gil o sa Padre Faura ba kayo?” (Are you going to Pedro Gil or Padre Faura?) Hala. I wasn’t sure so I went with the first that popped to mind. “Padre Faura!” I figured once inside the mall I could just ask where the store was. Then I remembered the last time I was there, I got lost looking for Bistro Ravioli. Oh joy. I prayed hard that we wouldn’t get lost on the way or be stuck too long in traffic.

We did arrive in good time and the fare was just below a hundred bucks. Not bad, considering we came all the way from Makati.

Gashapon Galore
Ryan told us that the gashapon place was near Toys ‘R Us. We went inside the department store and was disappointed to find not a single one. We ended up inside an amusement arcade with rather disturbing rides, but was a source of hilarity for all of us.

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Finally, we decided to ask one of the attendants at the toy section if she knew where the “toy vending machines” (I didn’t know how else to describe them) were. She pointed us to the direction of another amusement arcade… which was right next to the actual Toys ‘R Us of the mall. And there they were, the gashapon.

Yue and her sister were ecstatic. I wasn’t looking for any particular gashapon, since I already have a Kurama from Shabby. I did, however, had a few moments of uncertainty when Drew said, “Ayaw mo ng Youko?” (You don’t want the Youko?) but I somehow managed to pass it up. Besides, I had already spent half of my budget on the magazine… *ninja*

Some of the gashapon Yue was looking for wasn’t available. Thankfully, the Toys ‘R Us staff were accommodating and allowed her to buy the remaining Pentax gashapon that was on display. I think the staff was amused at us and mistook all of us for tourists.
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Brasilipinas 2011: Rio De Manila

Thanks to Shabby for inviting me to go to the Brasilipinas event last night. I had originally thought it was on Saturday night, and was thinking of backing out because it started to rain and Rockwell isn’t exactly the easiest place to go to from my neck of the woods. Still, I’m glad I made the trip.

I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t go to last year’s event (I didn’t even know it existed hehe), and my knoweldege of Brasil is pretty limited. In past few years I’ve heard of capoeira and of course, who hasn’t heard of the Rio Carnival?

I arrived at exactly 8:30. While waiting for Shabby, I heard the sounds of music. Ah, but this is not really Manila. This is a small piece of Brazil, therefore, the events started on time. Planet Zips led the parade with some awesome flame dancing (I stood a little too close and it was hot, literally). I forgot who the group was that played during the parade, but it was pretty nice and got a lot of folks dancing already.

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The first activity of the night was a fashion show by SOFA Philippines. While earth tones dominated, many pieces incorporated colors and had a light, breezy feel. It would fit quite well with the Philippine climate.

The party really started when Escola Braisileira de Capoeria Philippines (EBC Philippines) led by Profesor Fantasma and other mestres from other countries. The music was loud and really uplifting. You can’t help but sway to the beat, even if you’re not really a dancer. In fact, you’d look totally out of place if you don’t dance at all. I was surrounded by folks who didn’t give a hoot if they were in rhythm or not, and for just about the first time in my life, I felt petite. Three really tall women stood in front of me, and they had heels to boot. When I turned around, three tall and very good looking men were standing there. Sayang di ko sila nakunan ng picture.

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Shabby arrived and we went around, taking pictures and enjoying the party atmosphere. Havaianas was offering free drinks but it had vodka which I was allergic to. It looked refreshing though.

Julien Drolon and his band played some funky reggae tunes. I didn’t know who he was and he was standing behind me the whole time we were watching EBC folks play. Julien is French, and made the Philippines his home base. Definitely worth checking out.

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Met up with Shabby’s friend Erick, and his friend Ivan, and the night just got more fun. Really wish everyone else could’ve been there.

Escola de Samba went on stage, and my ears nearly died with all the beats, but it was (sorry, wala akong maisip na ibang word) fun. I was right up front so I could only see the group, but when I turned to look behind me, it was crazy. Folks were up on the catwalk, dancing and singing along.

More performances afterwards from EBC Philippines, then Nyko Maca and Brigada. It was pleasant surprise to see some familiar faces in Brigada, namely my brother’s friend from the UP Music Circle. I texted him about it and he said, “Bakit hindi mo ako sinama?!” Sorry na po :p

I decided to give the Super Bock beer a try. Bad idea to do so with a rather empty stomach, so I was dizzy for a bit. We left Rockwell Tent sometime past 1 AM, then headed to Makati Avenue to look for something to eat. Ended up at Hap Chan then went home. I fell to bed immediately the and next thing I knew, it was noon.

Disclaimer: I’d appreciate any corrections when it comes to the names of the people as well as the groups who performed. I didn’t quite catch their names properly and based it off the fliers for Brasilipinas and Internet research.

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Sunday slow down

I’ve been hearing great things about the Legaspi Sunday market, but in all my years of living within the Makati area, I’ve never gone to that. I made up my mind to go there after I attended a cooking demo by Anabel Tanco at The Maya Kitchen. She made this delicious almond milk that I can’t get enough of, and she said she sells it at the Legaspi and Salcedo markets. So off I went, dragging Drew and Toni with me.

I love Legaspi market. I love the small town, relaxed party vibe it exuded. I had a list of things I wanted to eat, thanks to my online research, but with so much to see and taste, I couldn’t make up my mind. While my friends immediately found what they wanted to eat, I was waffling between the pizza and the takoyaki (which I really have to try one of these days to see if it compares to Hana’s).

Finally, I settled on Wagyu shawarma. I initially thought about getting a burger but the price sort of made me back down, deciding on the shawarma which was a hundred bucks less. The shawarma is big, and bursting with filling. The meat is flavorful and soft, and none of it got stuck between my teeth. I demolished it in less than ten minutes. 🙂

We spent a few minutes just lounging, taking pictures of our toys (yes, twentysomething kids we are). A group of people were playing music just behind us, and it was all very bohemian. Kulang nalang dagat, masayang masaya na ako. Toni and I also bought crepe flambe from this French guy named Gigi. He was singing while cooking, which made me wonder if all French cooks do that, or if it’s just in the cartoons/shows. The crepe was light and had the right amount of sweetness. It didn’t seem to look like much but I liked it. I’d like to try the other flavors.

We headed out a little past 1 PM, passing by a stall that sells homemade ice cream made with carabao’s milk. It was very sweet, but creamy. I think I’d like to experiment with this if I have the time at home.

I always like walking around the Makati business district on weekends. It seems so empty, which makes it perfect for exploring. We walked along the back roads to get to Ayala center (which also became the elusive search for a trash can). We ended up at Travel Cafe Philippines for coffee and tea and tried their bangus pizza. I’m still craving for their pancit buco.

Shabby and Maru arrived and we headed to Ayala for the Caracol festival. Marco was already there, and the parade started at 4 PM. We managed to get the middle and tail end of the parade. I was more excited by the fact that Ayala Avenue is closed and I can do what I please. There’s a lot of interesting angles you won’t normally get if you walk along the sidewalk.

Caracol was originally the fiesta of Brgy. Bangkal, but the Makati City government adopted it as its own. Like any fiesta, students from the schools within the area participate in the parade for cash prizes. Bongga.

Spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging around.