Monday, December 3, 2012

all roads lead to laos!

So it's really happening! My first solo exhibition after almost 5 years which is also going to be opened in the UNESCO world heritage city of Luang Prabang which I have been dying to go to for the last 8 years...

Looking forward for this...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

i shall return...

So I am finally coming "home" after almost 4 years, my longest absence from home country. I must admit I have gone quite distant from my feeling of longing for the Philippines.

I vowed not to return after a long time after the traumatizing experience I had during the Ketsana typhoon and flooding which turned Manila overnight into an Asian apocalyptic version of Kevin Costner's 90's hollywood flop Water World. From my last trips to Davao, Cebu, Boracay, Iloilo, Batangas and Manila, storms and water followed me incessantly and it even came all the way here to Cambodia where it flooded for the first time due to Ketsana reaching its borders.

I still recall hanging on to my dear life traversing the sea from Samal Island to the Davao City wharf with a small speed boat in the middle of a deluge at 3 am just so I can make it to my 5am flight to Cebu. I was living the set of The Perfect Storm and it was probably only my tongue that didn't get the lashing of the rain and sea water coming from all sides. I arrived at the Davao International Airport looking like a wet puppy, shaking from the cold and from the experience.

Then came Boracay and Batangas which were suppose to be perfect postcards of a thousand glorious summers. Coming there on September is probably a very bad idea, especially if you're there for work - shooting resorts and the destinations for a brochure. The search for the perfect sky and light is like looking for a lost 1000 peso bill in Divisoria.

Then the perfect coincidence of Typhoon Ketsana lashing its watery might to Manila on the same day I was flying out back to Cambodia. I was happily going about with my last minute shopping in Glorietta, but after an hour, I discovered that all its mall entrances were blocked with water and there were no taxis in sight. The underpasses were filled with water as well and I didn't happen to bring my scuba gear with me, so technically, I swam over to dry land to find a taxi to bring me to get my luggage in San Antonio Village where I was staying. Imagine my surprise when the guards at the village entrance told us the taxi couldn't go in anymore because the water level inside is already more than a meter high! So I had to fetch my 80-kilo luggage (3 bags - I know, this deserves another post!) on my own, in the middle of the waist deep water whose current is enough to make the Niagara Falls blush. Thankfully, my heavy luggage kept me anchored until I traversed the 1 kilometer journey safely - twice!

But of course, finding a taxi, getting your luggage and surviving the raging water is one thing. Getting to the airport is another.

As Manila's busy streets were instantly turned into rivers, we got stuck on the road for 8 hours. My flight was at 230pm so by 5pm, it was clear that it's impossible for me to beg Thai Airways to wait for me. At 8pm, I finally managed to find a hotel room (probably the last one) in Makati's red light district after Manila residents scrambled to find shelter in hotels.

I have stayed and lived in Manila for almost 5 years but this is probably the worst troubles I've ever seen the city tackle.

Now, this is my first time to go back after that, but even if I still picked the same month when the sunshine takes cover from the wrath of typhoons back home, I am still positively excited about it, considering how resilient my country has been, and how my fellow Filipinos who, even through the face of near cataclysmic events that come their way almost every day (typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, protests, bad fashion from moms of millionaire boxers, bad presidents, etc), everybody still lives their lives with a big smile on their faces.

And that alone is enough to make me go back.

And of course, there's also the Pastillas de Leche donut at Go Nuts Donuts.

Monday, July 23, 2012

the fire within

After more than 4 years, I am actually going back to creating my own work. My entire life for the past couple of years have been spent opening up boutiques, galleries, the hotel and helping out artists in any way possible and balancing family life - so that leaves the remaining 3-4 hours of my day sleeping. Yes, I am still human after all.

So when I got an invitation to do a one man exhibition in Luang Prabang, Laos, I said yes and there came the push that I needed after all these years. My last major show was in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games and I thought I have been more complacent about developing myself further as an artist. So this Laos exhibition in November is truly another great reason for me to drown myself in my own universe with an exhibition entitled THE FIRE WITHIN.

The Fire Within is primarily a commentary on subjugation, censorship, and the human tendency to reignite the flame of freedom that has long thought been extinguished. Using original photographs taken from all over Asia and placed as puzzles on hundreds of match boxes, the works represent the faces of everyday people and their poetic representations confronted by their daily march towards happiness, their journeys towards it or the utter lack of it.

Meant to be opened and tinkered with, these matchboxes also randomly contain woven words, found objects and other pieces of thoughts. 

These works can either be placed as installations on walls, tables, floors and a variety of other available indoor surfaces.

 Above are the smaller sample pieces of the photography-based installations from the series. I am currently working on larger works and incorporating details on each match so the viewer can break down the image and be introduced into smaller stories encompassing each part.

More sleepless nights to come...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

spoolartist blog on the Phnom Penh Post!

So surprised to pick up a copy of the Phnom Penh Post's 7Days and see my blog featured on its pages alongside other bloggers in Siem Reap!

Click here for the link

Saturday, July 21, 2012

missin' him

I must admit, I miss this little fella. It's been 4 days since we sent him back home to the Philippines for a 2-month school break but somehow, the house has been eerily quiet. 

Sure, I fight a lot with my six year old. We argue about proper train tracks placement, we play tug-of-war with the ipad, he's my biggest competition with our stash of chocolates on the fridge, and he is just growing faster than I could bear to accept.

But he sure rocks our world in any way possible, and it ain't a parade without him around...

September is way too long...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

streetbound - pecha kucha bangkok

The Pecha Kucha Night in Bangkok is drawing near, barely a week as a matter of fact, and I am both excited and nervous as I haven't gotten my complete talk done yet. This is however, more relaxed than my TEDx talk it seems, so I think everything's still under control.

Here is the subject of my talk for the evening:

The 20 slides / 20 seconds per slide format is a breeze, exactly like the Nerd Nite formats where I was a speaker twice here in Cambodia. The only drawback is that there isn't enough time to expound on your thoughts and ideas. Since I will be speaking about the Angkor Art Explo which we hosted last year as well as the forthcoming Poetry Festival in November, the time limit is equally a challenge and an interesting opportunity to be as concise as you can be...

The Pecha Kucha Night will be making its comeback (the last leg was 2008) this Monday, July 9th, 6:30pm at the Nest Rooftop Lounge in Sukhumvit Soi 11.