Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Archive for the ‘and the Arts’ Category

Breathing Adventure: Exploring Art in BenCab’s World (Benguet Tour Part 1)

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The roads fresh from the New Year’s revelry the night before, this bored little lady headed away from the still smoky lowlands to the mist-covered highlands of Baguio. I was excited to get out of reality for a while in order to experience a real holiday vacation, even if it’s just so sudden.

There were only two days and one night left for me in Baguio. All I just wanted was to go trekking with my closest friend from the far end of this country. But with the rains and fog covering the summit, my friend gave a few choice places to tour around. I chose all of them. For now, I can only share one popular tourist destination you can check out when you get to Baguio.

I have been going to Baguio a number of times just like almost every local tourist in the country. But, I had to experience the BenCab museum yet. So, I’d rather not miss this itinerary that day.

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This art museum is flocked by tourists and art enthusiasts because of the man who set it up. Ben Cab, or short for Benedicto Cabrera, has been hailed as a national artist of the Philippines. He’s been considered as a world-class Filipino artist as his works have also became known in different countries. In support of other Filipino artists, he built this museum for everyone to enjoy Pinoy art.

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It takes a 15-minute taxi ride from Baguio City to get to this artist haven. Though located in an almost remote part of a word-carving village, it was crowded with tourists that day. Entrance was supposedly at P120, but it was not yet in effect. Instead, we paid the original price of twenty pesos less.

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Inside was a kaleidoscope of ideas, emotions, and history clashed together through various artworks from different artists. Modern art had dominated each rooms. Here are just some of my favorites:

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“Feral Garden” by Roger “Rishab” Tibon. Not only are cat lovers captivated by this painting but every eye that pass by it

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“Tamis” by Emmanuel Garibay. If you’d look closer beneath the arms, you can guess where this painting is pointing at. It speaks of women and children used as private armies in places of conflict.

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But nothing beats this Lynyrd Paras artwork. I guess the title (which is already written on this painting) should go for the broken hearted and the disappointed in life 🙂

Art can never stand alone without history. And history carries the spirit of art from the beginning of time. Bulol, or rice granary idols stood guard in some of the exhibition areas. These carved images depicts the pagan culture of the Northern tribes of Luzon, especially in these areas of Benguet. This has been a common sight in this part of the country, but I guess tourists like me could only look and wonder at them.

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Sitting quietly around the bulol guarding this place

Just as I was amazed in seeing Picasso and Rembrandt in real life at Ireland, I was amazed to see BenCab’s works personally for the first time. Some of his works made me wonder…

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Talking to BenCab’s Tribal Art. “Who or what are you?”

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“Kutohan” by BenCab. Removing lice has been a tradition since long ago

There is also the Erotica Gallery. I guess I don’t have to elaborate what kind of artworks you’d expect there. If you’re bringing along kids, I’d suggest you’d read the signs in every room you visit — unlike some the parents who wondered why they were offended at the artworks in this room.

If you’re hungry (and had enough money for quite expensive food), you can visit the Cafe Sabel. But for thrifty tourists like me, I’d pass it for the moment. My friend and I roamed around a bit of BenCab’s little garden, which was made to look like a little prototype of Benguet’s rice fields and idyllic villages. We had limited access of the whole garden as the ecotrail tour needs to be arranged at the reception.

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A part of BenCab’s garden

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A little rice paddy at BenCab’s garden

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Strawberry fields forever at BenCab’s garden

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The mist covering the museum building

 

Though the mist soon spoiled the garden’s view, our tour was a worthwhile experience. There are more places to go, but I guess I had to keep you waiting until my next blog. 🙂

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Awaking the Dreamer From Within Through Dreambook

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I remember that day very well. My best friend and I were pouring our hearts out at a fastfood restaurant, right after our working shift. I was nearly depressed, losing insight of where I was going, boxed in our back office work. She talked right to me on having a goal — or on looking back at my dreams. In an unexpected turn, we began to write our dreams at the back of the small receipt. In it were five year goals. Where should we be after five years? One of those dreams was to become a reporter, being reminded that broadcasting is my first love. Five years after, it came, it was made, and it was done. 🙂

I never thought it would be. I had written loads of other dreams wherein we transferred to bigger sheets. Too bad,I couldn’t check on them for I couldn’t remember where I kept it.

The five-year goal has passed. Now, I am at the limits of my four-cornered world (again) but here comes another blessing in a helpful form.

Instead of a small receipt paper, I am blessed to have Dreambook. Joining its launch at the World Dream Day last September 27 at Powerbooks, Greenbelt 4, I was one of those who participated the activities with other dreamers who want to inspire the world.

Led by life coach Claude Sta. Clara, we took a review on the dreams we aspire, and take track on its progress. I got the best surprise when I was picked to have a weekly version copy of the Dreambook journal.

Now, the Dreambook is more profound and helpful than that crude piece of paper. In it are guide questions to recognize your strengths, passions, and your dreams. Like any activity book, it keeps me engaged, with its colorfully designed pages highlight encouraging quotes. It also gives enlightenment on what you may have missed or what you lack to keep you from getting to your dreams, and how to get rid of them. Aside from answering guide questions, you can keep track on where you are by checking your timely status. It keeps you focused on your goal — to fulfill the dream or dreams that you have been long keeping.

The Dreambook is highly recommendable for all. Everyone is a dreamer, and this defines our very purpose on this earth. These dreams are not only for us, but it will bless the many others. Our dreams can come into fulfillment when we pursue them, ignite them, and live them.

And so, I have entered a new dream — dreams, rather, in the Dreambook After five years, I would be able to look at the Dreambook, and see where I would be by then. After dreaming of working in the media a little more than five years ago, I now dream to work in an international media company, and have my own show.

You can grab a copy of the Dreambook at all Powerbooks branches in the Philippines. I guarantee that the inner dreamer in you will be inspired and will rise up through this life coaching journal.

A little glimpse om what's inside Dreambook :)

A little glimpse om what’s inside Dreambook 🙂

Curtain Viewpoint: Finding the Missing in “Katre”

To lose a loved one through death is tragic, but to lose them without a trace is more devastating. Such is the pain that relatives of the missing go through, which was brought to life by Christian Tordecillas’ masterpiece, “Katre”.

It’s an honor for me to see a friend’s work come alive on stage. Christian, or X as we fondly call him, had written plays that imply social relevance. One of them was the one-act satire, “Dyip” (Jeep, short for jeepney), which won him the Carlos Palanca award in 2006. I was already impressed by his brilliance in provoking critical thinking of life’s realities through artistic writing. This time, “Katre” touched my heart as it brought up the issue of desaparecidos in the country.

In the play, an aged Lea awaits for her missing husband and child. Everytime she rises and returns to her katre (bed in Visayan dialect), she recollects her life when her family was still with her. Not knowing their fate, she clung on the hope that they are still alive.

Lea is the epitome of those left by desaparecidos, or those who are missing due to forced disappearances. We remember Jonas Burgos, who still remains missing since he was taken in 2007. We remember Karen Empeño, and Sherlyn Cadapan, whose whereabouts remain unknown even when alledged abductor Ret. Gen. Jovito Palparan had been caught. We remember the rest of the desaparecidos since Martial Law, who had been forcefully taken into the seclusion. Just like Lea, those left behind by desaparecidos struggle between hope and despair.

Because I did not want anybody to see I was a crybaby, I gulped back my tears when Lea battled against that hope she treasured for years. The actress convinced me of the pain and frustration Lea tried to deny before. Her story rings the message of the consequences of impunity — which the Philippines has struggled for a long time.

Without glorifying the political overtures of impunity, “Katre” brings to thought the ordeal of those who have been victimized by it, whether the desaparecidos or the families they left. Simply portrayed yet deeply movong, “Katre” awakens the fact that the issue of impunity should not be ignored.

“Katre” is one of the plays featured in “BA-WAL: Mga Dulang Bagong Luwal” by Project Mayhem Productions. Also featured here is the dark comedy “Over My Dead Body” by Christian Dagsil. You can watch them at Ateneo de Manila, at the ISO complex. Remaining theater dates are at September 7, 13, 14, and 15. These plays are shown at 3pm and 7pm, except on September 13, as show is only at 7pm.

Meet the master behind, "Katre", Christian "X" Tordecillas. To see one of his works come alive on stage is an honor

Meet the master behind, “Katre”, Christian “X” Tordecillas. To see one of his works come alive on stage is an honor

Stale Wine

When you hate the thing you love
The dream turns away
Leaving you a nightmare
Pulling you to the bottomless pit

Who should I blame
For the loss of the spirit of the wine
Would I not but leave the wine press
And kill this very vine?

My wine was poisoned by reason
Of a senseless throng of misdirection
But all I wanted was affection
Could you not be a connection

Make me leave this wine press
Or I will be poisoned and die
And leave not a legacy
To change a world of dry bones

Destroy, destroy the old cellars
Build me a new vineyard of hope
And make me drink again with passion so pure
Take up a new road to turn again

Broken Kingdom

Let the walls break
The foundations come crashing down
The earth cracks open
And the mountains crumble and fall
Would you but not wince
At the blood-stained sun
While I try to catch the waters
From the drying oceans we knew
But we will not vanish
With this world dying in pain
From our faded bodies new wings
Break forth upon our spines
With bloodied hands we build
A new world filled with hope
Bring forth a kingdom long declared
To last for a time and forevermore

Touchdown Ireland! (Second Landing)

Almost all stores are lined up with green things: leprechauns, shamrock trinkets, green mugs and boxes. You'll enjoy shopping in Ireland :)

Almost all stores are lined up with green things: leprechauns, shamrock trinkets, green mugs and boxes. You’ll enjoy shopping in Ireland 🙂

Leprechauns, shamrocks, and everything green. That’s what Ireland is known for. Stores have been lined up with these trinkets that sing of the magic the Irish culture bring, inscribed with Irish wishes to bring you luck.

I’m not into luck because I don’t believe that blessings come in chances (and because our good Father in heaven gives His ever-increasing favor and blessing to those who will ask). But I appreciate the culture Ireland brings, one thing you can learn as you travel.

An aunt of mine told me to experience culture. This is one advise that I will never disregard. In order to appreciate another nation, one must endow himself into its lifestyle, food, music, and language. This is how I began to love other nations, as well as cherishing the friends I have from these nations I’ve visited.

Because Ireland is totally different from the Philippines, here are a few points I noticed.

The fashion sense. Never, never go to a cold country in only t-shirt and jeans.

Me and my favority red coat while waving at Dublin Castle. I have no other coats like these, of course! And I can't wear this in the Philippines!

Me and my favority red coat while waving at Dublin Castle. I have no other coats like these, of course! And I can’t wear this in the Philippines!

Bringing layers of clothes can add weight to the luggage, but this is how you can survive or you won’t be able to get around town. Ireland has rainy weather on October, as cold, biting winds prevail even when it’s sunny. So, I have to wear long sleeves, boots or rubber shoes and leggings when I wear dresses. It would be good to wear a scarf and gloves that match your clothes. It would make you look classy as well as warmer.

At one of the doorways of the ruins of Clonmacnoise Monastery

At one of the doorways of the ruins of Clonmacnoise Monastery

The transportation system. If Manila is swarmed with jeeps, trycicles, and pedicabs, Dublin has a lesser transport system. Usually, they have buses and cabs that can take you around. But they are not awake 24 hours! In fact, they have scheduled stops, so it’s better be street-wise or you won’t catch up that ride! Because that’s a usual thing in Europe, my aunt said that it would be advisable to learn how to bike in case you’re too late to take a bus ride. It’s no wonder we would walk around the city to get to the next destination in the conference. But I loved these walks. It’s good for the heart. 😉

Food Trip! Mashed potatoes, poached potatoes, and all potatoes. That’s real Irish diet. But they also have varieties

Fish and chips...very popular in Ireland. I never thought that "chips" are actually fries! :P

Fish and chips…very popular in Ireland. I never thought that “chips” are actually fries! 😛

though, like pasta, pizza, and sausages. In almost all their meals, they have bigger servings, which was quite a bit heavy for an Asian like me. But because of their weather, I believe, I even became hungrier. Fish and chips is one of the commonly popular meals in Ireland. But I was surprised that the “chips” were actually french fries!

Work and life balance. Most malls in Manila would close at around 9 or 10pm. But in Ireland, at around 7pm, most malls and businesses are already closed. The Irish people value family time, so most of the work would really cease at 5pm. The only ones open are pubs and restaurants (for those who want to extend the nightlife). I believe that workers here are well-compensated, so they don’t need to work overtime. My aunt, who studied in Netherlands, noted that the European working condition is not that pressured, compared to the American working culture which the Philippines has adapted.

Classic European apartment beautifully draped by colored vines. Not one like this in Manila :)

Classic European apartment beautifully draped by colored vines. Not one like this in Manila 🙂

The warm people. You don’t have to ask, they’ll approach you and ask if you need help when they see you looking at an open map in your hand. The warmth of these people is so contrast to the cold, biting weather of Dublin.

The Celtic strain. It’s no doubt that the music and culture of the Irish people still has the tinge of the Celts, which I’ve fascinated me through literature and movies. Until now, I can hear the sound of the Irish jig in my head. Even pubs would play traditional Irish music. Enjoy your fish and chips while listening to it.

The Irish people no doubt has preserved history. Old churches and buildings attributed to great writers like Oscar Wilde still stand to this day. Even modern day pubs echo ancient Celtic ambience within its walls and furniture. One thing I regret is not dancing the Irish jig before going home. I just wouldn’t know if I’d get it right.

IMG_0448[1]“So how does Ireland smell?” A friend asked. I couldn’t give her one concrete description. As the sights and sounds vary, so does my beautiful memories of this country. I believe that our one week stay was too short. So, I swear to myself I’ll return to Ireland even by myself.

Oscar

image (3)I appreciated Oscar Wilde after my visit to Dublin, Ireland last week. From his childhood home (which is now American College) and Trinity College (where he had his education), I had a glimpse of the life of the popular Irish writer and playright whose works sit quietly in my bookshelf. When I returned home, I got to take a look Wilde’s bio, who I had not given keen interest at though I had appreciated his works in my earlier years.

Oscar Wilde's birthplace which was turned into the American College in 1995

Oscar Wilde’s birthplace which was turned into the American College in 1995

 

Trinity College, one of the universities where Oscar Wilde had his education and where his literary prowess started to flourish

Trinity College, one of the universities where Oscar Wilde had his education and where his literary prowess started to flourish

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA“The Picture of Dorian Gray” and “The Happy Prince and Other Stories” were just some of his works that got me drawn because of the flamboyance of his storytelling. Most of them being tragic, provoking thoughts on the irony of humanity: the tendencies for us to forget and be ungrateful at the sacrifices of another. His novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, on another note, depicts how man can be deceitful, as well as how Wilde attacks the hypocrisy of upper-class Victorian lifestyle, though stylistic as he was. But somehow, his reflective views had retaliated back at him at his later years.

Despite of his popularity and lavish lifestyle, Wilde died destitute. After being imprisoned by the father of his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, he was left on his own. It breaks my heart how this witty and celebrated writer was left with almost no one at his deathbed.

Somehow, I felt his loneliness at his final days. Involved in homosexuality, he must have searched for something missing in his heart. He was religious though, being brought up with a strong Irish Catholic background. But sadly, this missing piece must not have been found.

We all have heart issues. This gifted man himself, who had everything in the world once, have looked for real love. We’re all looking for it. In the end, he tried to search for it, especially to the people once close to him. But no one can give it because only the Lord can.
GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAFame can never attest to everything. Perhaps, if one person might have shown compassion to him, he must have had everything. Love is the one thing more priceless than anything in the world. And it’s one thing we cannot comprehend fully, too.

Wilde never returned to Ireland at the end of his life. Tragically, he did not find home in his final destination, but wandered in France to search for his soul. Still, he deserves the accolades of being a gifted writer himself. He has contributed so much in the literary world and his works has not failed to move the generation to think on humanity itself. For once, Dublin has made alive in me a long lost genius who had never returned home…and reminded me that home can be found in those who love us most.

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