Art In Island: Where you can be art

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Under the sea, my favorite mural.

Most of us are all too familiar with the “DO NOT TOUCH”, “DO NOT CROSS” and other admonitions and restrictions plastered on museum walls.

At Art in Island, a 3D art museum, that is not the case — instead, visitors are encouraged to interact with the art.

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Visitors will find themselves dwarfed by the vastness of some 3D art.

Art in Island at No. 175 15th Ave., Brgy. Socorro, Cubao, Quezon City is open from Tuesdays to Sundays between 9:30AM to 9:30PM.

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If you want to spend as long as you want — doing all sorts of crazy poses until you have that perfect photo — I suggest you go early on a weekday.

Here are a few of my favorite artworks:

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Ciao 2015! It has been a wonderful ride.

When asked, most people would say that the principal value of traveling is that it breaks the monotony of life and work.

Y’see, life, for many of us, is a mad rush. A dash from home to the office–from one place to the next. A sprint from one client meeting to a waiting company presentation–from one money-making deal to the next career-breaking move. Day-in, day-out we try to accomplish as many stuff as possible. Thus, traveling becomes a form of escape for the likes of us–a time to relax, reflect and ponder. Traveling gives us the opportunity to disconnect from our regular life and, for a fleeting moment, not think of any problems or issues for a few days (or weeks). Being away on a weekend can also afford us the much-needed time to help us figure things out that we would not have understood without the distance traveling can give. We all have crazy schedules, work, and a family to take care of and going away alone or with some friends gives us that break we rightfully deserve.

Very few find a great deal of informative value in traveling. More often than not, our focus centers on the promise of a fun-filled R&R, of selfies and jump shots. This is where I realized that a lot of people don’t seem to share some of my views about traveling. For me, it is very important to see and experience the places I visit from a local resident’s perspective. Traveling is an avenue for me to open my heart and mind to new things and explore different cultures and traditions; thus, experiencing life in new and exciting ways–widening my perspective about life, especially the life I have in relation to how other people live. If viewed with an open mind, it can help us change some of our habits or even create new ones…

Before I totally bid adieu to 2015, indulge me as I look back at the highlights of my adventures and travels:

Got on a road trip from Iloilo City to Cebu City, passing through Bacolod City, Sipalay, Dumaguete City and Badian.

“Traversed” North and South Mindanao, bringing me to Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental, Lake Sebu’s Seven Falls in South Cotabato, Asik-asik Falls in North Cotabato; as well as allowed me to revisit the majestic cascades of Maria Cristina, Mimbalot and Tinago in Iligan, and Tinuy-an in Bislig.

Scratched off a few more things from my To-Do list

Brought home these wonderful ‘loot’

 

Had some of my travelogues published

The year 2015 has indeed been one helluva ride!

Hmmmm…. now, where am I in the Lakbayan map:

My Lakbayan grade is A+!

Sweet Disposition

In 500 Days of Summer Tom asks Summer, “Why didn’t it work out?” and she responds, “What always happens? Life.” Whether it is love or life, we are challenged with ups and downs and we can’t give up or stop ‘til it’s over.

 

Sweet disposition
Never too soon
Oh, reckless abandon
Like no one’s
Watching you.

A moment, a love, a dream, a laugh
A kiss, a cry, our rights, our wrongs…

So stay there
Cause I’ll be coming over
And while our blood’s still young
It’s so young it runs
We won’t stop till it’s over
Won’t stop to surrender.

Songs of desperation
A moment, a love, a dream, a laugh
A kiss, a cry, our rights, our wrongs…

So stay there
Cause I’ll be coming over
And while our blood’s still young
It’s so young it runs
We won’t stop till it’s over
Won’t stop to surrender.

A moment, a love, a dream, a laugh
A kiss, a cry, our rights, our wrongs…

Sweet Disposition, Temper Trap

This song is primarily a dramatic illusion and comic. The main lines that are repeated throughout the song are:

A moment, a love, a dream, a laugh,
a kiss, a cry, our rights, our wrongs,
Won’t stop ‘til it’s over, won’t stop to surrender.

It talks about life — our life. We are happy for one reason, and sad for another. Things happen that we can’t control and we have to fight through the downs to appreciate and enjoy the ups. A sweet disposition. That’s what we need to get through this difficult life.

As they say, it ain’t over till it’s over… or would you rather like: ’til the fat lady sings?

The day I cried, “Foul!”

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”… so goes an old children’s limerick. True in most cases.

You see, we grew up being taught to disregard, ignore or avoid people who use foul language or “bad words”. But words can really hurt us sometimes, especially when someone uses hateful words against us or people close to us — it can hurt just as much as a slap or a punch. When people use obscenities with ethnic or racial slurs — even jokingly — it can push some sensitive buttons. There are instances where racial slurs have led to others using it in a condescending manner, which ultimately lead to hurt feelings and, in extreme cases, hatred.

But when does a word — or a phrase — becomes a slur?

When with my friends, no one really care much about the term “bisaya” — the word gets thrown back and forth in conversations, its meaning ranges from “baduy” or tasteless to “bobo” or grossly incompetent. “Bisaya”, by the way, is the vernacular for Visayan, an ethnic group of people living in or from the Visayas islands and some regions in Mindanao in the Philippines, which, most of us in the office were from. I really don’t know, however, how it got its derogatory meanings.

It’s like the “N” word. When used amongst themselves, African-Americans don’t give a fuss. But when a white man uses it to describe them, it feels different.

Today, on my usual route to the office, it started to drizzle. I saw that as an excuse to drop by my favorite coffee shop along Leviste St. After getting my usual brew, I settled comfortably in a corner table across three yuppies — two skinny guys and a well-fed girl. Instead of the usual pipe-in music, I can hear S. Leyte Gov. Mercado’s voice warning his kababayans to not underestimate supertyphoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) and prepare for the worst — all these he delivered in English. To get a picture of how the good governor sounded, think Manny Pacquiao, with better grammar.

It was here where my story turned, well, exciting. The three well-dressed folks suddenly burst into uncontrollable laughter — the object of their derision: the governor. They were mimicking what the guy on the radio’s been saying, adding their own ridiculous version. I can see some patrons of the coffee shop throw disgusted glances at the trio, which, I noticed, even drove their mockery to hyperdrive.

Suddenly, the skinnier of the two guys blurted out: “Mag-Tagalog na lang kasi gob! Wag nang TH! [Why doesn’t he just speak in Tagalog! He’s so trying hard!]”

The comment sent the other two in a frenzy, laughing their heads off. Then they started saying derogatory things about the Visayan people in general — oblivious of the others in the coffee shop.

I couldn’t take it anymore…

I stood up, approached them and in a soft, friendly tone, said: “Kayo na rin nagsabi na Bisaya si gob, tapos sasabihin nyo, mag-Tagalog na lang. Hindi man maganda pakinggan ang English nya, tama naman ang grammar… better than yours, maybe.” [You said it yourselves, the governor is Visayan, and you’re asking him to speak Tagalog. His English diction may not be flawless, but at least his grammar is correct.]

I know they weren’t expecting to be called out like that. They were quiet for a few seconds… the lull made me realize the folly of my action. But heck, I really have zero tolerance for ‘racists’. So I braced myself for a potentially violent reaction from the three. When the other skinny guy tried to stand up, I saw him catch a glimpse of a “bulge” on the right side of my waist as I adjusted my jacket. That stopped him. The trio then went silent… a good 5 or 6 seconds of silence. Then the girl muttered a semi-audible: “No offense meant po.” I nodded at the trio, winked at the barista, then calmly walked out of the coffee shop.

Outside, I heaved a sigh of relief, mumbling: “Me and my impulses,” while tapping the eyeglass case I tucked in the waistband of my denims.

What I Learned from Bradshaw, York, Hobbes, and Jones

I do admit that I was once hooked on “Sex and the City” — the HBO series, that is. I never liked both film adaptations though, which seemed to me was just a menagerie of clichés about middle-aged women having embarrassing sex with various unsuitable partners.

Anyway…

Candace Bushnell’s original book — the basis for the TV series — was good, but the show was fantastic: funny but smart and witty, warm and wise. Yes, there were occasional stupid puns, like Carrie’s comeback to Mr. Big when he said he was moving to California because he was tired: “If you are tired you take a nap-ah, you don’t move to Napa (Valley).” [I found that funny, btw]. Of course, SATC won’t be SATC without sex — mostly courtesy of Sam… and Carrie from time to time. But unlike in the movies, SATC wasn’t all about sex… and shopping. Those weren’t all Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte cared about. The series transcended any normal chick flick with its real-life emotional truth. Woven along its make-believe fiber are genuine experiences many of us can relate to. For instance, Sam’s breast cancer showed not only how scary and sad the disease is, but also — on a lighter note — how boring, sweaty and plain inconvenient it is, too.

So, what egged me to do this piece?

Well, my renewed interest in RiRi’s “We Found Love” ditty — which, since Monday, has haunted my every waking hours [don’t ask me how’d it happened] — prompted me to do a lyrics search. ‘Tis a nice song; not too much substance though…

Continuing my online exploration, I came across this article on Cosmo that I believe rings a truth for some of you ladies out there… and maybe, as well as to some guys:

Love Lessons from Sex and the City
By Ashley Womble

In their six years on the air, the SATC chicks endured the good, the bad, and the totally bizarre when it came to dating. Cosmo studied some of their most memorable relationships to find out what we could learn from the fabulous foursome.

Case study: Miranda and Steve. When Miranda met bartender Steve Brady, she was skeptical as usual. He was nice (and easy on the eyes) but clearly not relationship material. Not surprisingly, their divergent careers created problems: conflicting schedules, fights about money, and different outlooks on life. Miranda could have deleted his number from her BlackBerry, but ultimately, his laid-back personality and devotion won her over. The unlikely pair started a family and eventually tied the knot.

Lesson #1: Date against your type.

Case study: Carrie and Aidan. Hot furniture designer Aidan was everything Carrie thought she wanted in a man: emotionally available, honest, and ready to commit. Aidan wanted Carrie to meet his parents, have the keys to his apartment, and eventually be his wife. She attempted to change by quitting smoking (and nixing her addiction to Mr. Big), giving country life a shot, and wearing his engagement ring around her neck. But no matter how hard Carrie tried, she couldn’t commit to any of it. While Aidan seemed perfect on paper, he wasn’t the ideal guy for Carrie.

Lesson #2: Don’t change for a man, no matter what.

Case study: Charlotte and Trey. An optimist with a very romantic view of love, Charlotte believed her dreams had come true when she was literally rescued by the single, wealthy, and handsome Dr. Trey MacDougal. Despite some major red flags — a lackluster marriage proposal, a meddling mother-in-law, and a sexless honeymoon — Charlotte was determined to make the relationship work. Although she gave it her all, their union still failed.

Lesson #3: Never ignore the warning signs that tell you a relationship isn’t working.

Case study: Carrie and Berger. Witty writer Jack Berger had these famous last words for Carrie, written on a Post-it note: “I’m sorry, I can’t. Don’t hate me.” After the abrupt end to their short, rocky relationship, Carrie vowed to spend the same amount of time getting over her breakup as Berger had spent ending it. If only it were that easy. Though Carrie managed to avoid him, she ended up melting down in front of his friends, which undoubtedly got back to him. She learned that it’s better to face the music (or in her case, the Post-it note) and get it over with.

Lesson #4: As painful as breakups can be, you have to mourn before moving on.

Case study: Samantha and Smith. Samantha’s dating philosophy: “I’m a trysexual. I’ll try anything once.” Her only rule was to never fall in love. She was so set in her man-eating ways that when she scouted and seduced a gorgeous waiter at a raw food restaurant, she didn’t even ask his name. She encouraged the struggling young actor to play out his sexual fantasies and took him under her wing professionally, changing his name to Smith Jerrod and making him the Absolut Hunk. Somewhere between sex and stardom, Samantha fell in love and eventually confessed to Smith, “You’ve meant more to me than any man I have ever known.”

Lesson #5: Dare to fall in love.

Case study: Carrie and Mr. Big. Sure, Carrie might have done some of the chasing, but in the end it was Mr. Big who showed up at her door the day she left New York City for Paris. Angry that his timing was always off, she screamed, “Forget you know my number! In fact, forget you know my name!” But he didn’t give up. He called to tell her he loved her, and fortunately, Charlotte was there to answer his desperate call. The next day, he met the ladies for brunch and admitted, “You’re the loves of her life, and a guy would be lucky to come in fourth.” With their blessing, Mr. Big went to Paris to get “their” girl.

Lesson #6: Let him chase you.

Case study: Carrie. The eternal single girl had her share of romances, chronicled in her weekly column, but the truest love story is the one she wrote for herself. Bad luck and messy breakups were de rigueur in Carrie’s life. By surviving the pitfalls — a Manolo-mugging, a computer crash, and a very embarrassing fashion fall — Carrie gained the confidence and strength to continue her search for true love. “The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself,” she said. “And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

Lesson #7: Be fearlessly single.

 

Y’see, man or woman, there’s a little bit of Sam, Carrie, Charlotte, or Miranda in all of us.

Look up, look at one another, and start a conversation…

PHOTO FROM: PowerPlug! (Motivational Quotes)

PHOTO FROM: PowerPlug! (Motivational Quotes)

“WE live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.

At home, families sit together, texting and reading email. At work, executives text during board meetings. We text (and shop and go on Facebook) during classes and when we’re on dates. My students tell me about an important new skill: it involves maintaining eye contact with someone while you text someone else; it’s hard, but it can be done.”

— Sherry Turkle, The Flight From Conversation

The above online article, “The Flight From Conversation” by Sherry Turkle inspired me to come up with this blog series, “Conversations”.

Sharing Turkle’s perspective that although text messaging, Facebook status updates, and Twitter shoutouts make us feel connected with our friends and family, these “nibblets” of online connection do not really account for anything in the real world. While I concede to the fact that some people — especially young Internet users — who are more social in their use of social networking sites and tools are, most times, also more social in the offline world, online connections should never be a substitute for real human connections.

Echoing her invocation: C’mon, let’s look up, look at one another, and start the conversation.

Conversation #1. The Sanctity of Life

(A conversation with  the Managing Director of the Infrastructure Services at Accenture Philippines)

Entering his office, one can easily be overcome by his unnatural calm, as if nothing seems to faze him. More importantly, he exudes a well-mannered mien, uncommon in most corporate leaders. I was there to “interview” him for an article in the newsletter I am editing. But since he feels strongly against having him as the featured personality for the said publication, we scuttled the “interview” and instead, we started talking casually.

He is an avid birder — I sensed that in how passionately he described every bird photo he’d shown me. There were dozens of them in his tablet, each captured in various states of flight or perched on a tree branch.  He enthusiastically named every bird, while narrating stories behind each photograph.

“Have you seen a hornbill?” he asked suddenly. I shook my head. “I have a story about hornbills,” he continued. “… but I’m warning you, it’s a sad story.”

That intrigued me, so I urged him to tell me the story..

In his hometown in India, there is an endemic specie of giant grey hornbills, each weighing about 8kg, with a wingspan reaching 6-7ft. During nesting season, a female hornbill excavates a nest out of a hollow tree, and force-fit herself inside to lay her eggs. The male hornbill, meanwhile, completely seals the hollowed-out tree — using a pasty substance made from its saliva —  leaving only a small peephole for the female to breathe, which also serves as the feeding slot. While inside the nest, the female molts her flight feathers and incubates the eggs. The regrowth of the feathers in the female coincides with the maturity of the chicks at which point the nest is broken open.

During this time, the female, and the chick, inside the nest have no other means of nourishment apart from what the male brings in. If, in any event, the male dies or is killed or captured by hunters and poachers, the brood may die of starvation.

As he finished the story, I cannot help but notice the tears welling up in his eyes. “See, that’s why we should always respect life,” he concluded. “There is no telling how many lives depend on the one life we take.”

 

 

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Sherry Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit and Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

One Day…

Sometimes I lay
Under the moon
And thank God I’m breathin’
Then I pray
Don’t take me soon
‘Cause I am here for a reason
Sometimes in my tears I drown
But I never let it get me down
So when negativity surrounds
I know some day it’ll all turn around.

One day…

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