Friday, May 21, 2021
Thursday, May 06, 2021
I just received a very interesting query from a very good friend of mine, Dave Buenviaje, definitely a connoisseur of the arts who has gone to different museums in Europe and other places with his wonderful wife, Drea, marveling at the masters. I am very much pleased that he would take notice of my work - enough to pique his interest and pose a query. It goes something like this:
Saturday, January 02, 2021
Many are too glad that the year 2020 is gone. Why not? It brought the economy down taking with it many households. Hard hit were those hand-to-mouth families who depended their day's existence on their daily earnings. Many businesses have been affected as a result of the government's lockdown policy to stop the spread of the pandemic that is affecting the entire world. Everybody had to learn how to start working at home, schools have been closed for almost a year and it seems like studying off campus phenomenon shall continue for the last half of the school year.
The year that was started with a bang! I was in Tagaytay on January 11, 2020 for a plein-air session with my watercolor group as we celebrated a post- Christmas party. We were all in jubilee as we painted the scenery not knowing that it would be the last time Taal would be seen that way. It exploded the following day as it spewed ash to as high as 14 kilometers or so. People from villages affected by the explosion were evacuated by the thousands. Massive ash fall dropped from the sky affecting nearby regions including Manila which is almost a 100 kilometers away. Everybody was advised to wear face masks to prevent from breathing those toxic fumes. Unbeknownst to everybody, wearing masks shall be a standard protection together with a face shield to ward off the intrusion of what is now called Covid-19, a deadly virus that affects the whole world.
My family has not been spared by the tragedies brought about by the year 2020. On May 3, my only brother, Reynaldo, was cooking chicharon when he accidentally dropped the pot of scalding hot oil on his legs. He was immediately given an ointment by my nephew, Dr. Manny Glorioso, with instructions never to touch the blisters. I have not personally seen how bad it was for I was locked up in the house like everybody else. A few days later, I was told that the blisters turned into a nasty wound as it exploded while he was taking a bath. One day, he was going down the stairs when, probably because of weakness brought about by the wound, he fell down the stairs. He must've slightly hit his head which turned out to be fatal as the x-ray showed that there was blood clotting in his head. I say again, he slightly hit his head but considering his age, it was fatal. Two days in the hospital and he unceremoniously passed away. He was ordered to be cremated the following day as he was proclaimed to be a Person under Investigation, but the test results for Covid was still to come after several months. This is the part which hurt me most. He had cancer and he knew he would die and was foreseeing himself being survived at a wake in our house should the time of his death arrived. He had many friends and he wanted to be with them for the last time. It never materialized. When we got him from the hospital, all we did was pay the for the expenses and immediately ordered to have the body removed as they did not have a space to store my brother in. He was cremated with nobody in attendance. The urn that contained his ashes were put was picked up by my nephews and brought home the following day. He was seventy-seven.
Almost three months have passed when we received news that my Ate Becky was throwing up blood and her stool also showed blood since Saturday. We were having lunch on July 27 when we received the news.. A few minutes later, they called us again saying my sister is gone. I cannot believe it! I told Nitz, my wife, not to believe it until it was confirmed by her son. I called him and he said it was true. This was all too sudden. Nobody knew she was ill. All they can tell me is that my sister was suffering from ulcer. When my doctor nephew asked how my sister behaved that day, they told him that my sister did not know what to do. She would lie down, stand up, walked, sit down and lie down again while writhing in pain. Dr. Manny said it couldn't be ulcer anymore as she could not have managed to stand and much more walk to and fro if it were ulcer. He suspected that her ulcer erupted and the acid went directly to her pancreas which was really deadly. True enough, when the coroner arrived, she was declared dead by, I forgot the term, but something like peptic ulcer. As my sister has died inside the house, she was not suspected to have Covid and so we were able to have a three day wake for her before she was finally brought to the crematorium to be cremated.
To this day, I could not believe that two of my siblings passed away in the same year with only less than three months apart. Now, there is only the eldest, Linda, which is eighty three years old and myself, the youngest, who are still alive. Hopefully, we still get to enjoy my sister's company for a longer period of time.
On the night of November 25, I was getting ready for dinner when Nitz's phone rang! She was in the kitchen cooking so I looked at the phone to check who it was. It was my daughter, Kim. I picked it up and answered and to my surprise, she was crying intensely. The thing that came to my mind was that she got into a fight with her husband. I calmly asked her what happened and in between sobs, she said that her Tita Angie, Nitz' youngest sister who lived in Saipan, was gone! I was on speaker phone and Nitz heard the news and began to cry! It turned out that she had a massive heart attack. Bhiya, Kuya Ben's sister lived with her in Saipan narrated that Angie went home ahead of her and that she had several grocery bags with her. As they lived at the third floor of the building, Bhiya told her not to take the groceries to the house, leave it on the floor, wait for her so that they could bring them up together. Angie did not take heed. She brought them up just the same as they were not there when Bhiya arrived. So she went upstairs only to be greeted by Angie sprawled on the floor. She probably just had a bath as she had here towel with her. She was already gone. The paramedics of 9-11 could no longer revive her.
She was very fond of my grandson, Kauai! She would call Kim practically everyday to see Kauai, talk to him and always be amused by his antics. She would also send money to Nitz saying we can only battle the pandemic by eating good food. So every time she received money, she would send us some dollars much to enjoyment of Nitz. She would distribute this money to her other siblings so that they can share with the blessings unselfishly given by Angie. This happened more this year like as if Angie had a premonition that she was going away for good. Her remains were brought home and we managed to have a wake for her at a chapel and had her buried at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina.
So, there! These were the tragedies that my family experienced during the pandemic. And their deaths were not even brought about by the dreaded disease.
The only consolation I have with 2020 is that this is the year that I have been constantly selling my artworks. Thanks to a gallery, The Good Art gallery, my paintings have been selling for a good price plus I have been receiving good commissions lately. If this continues, I may establish my name as an artist and would continue to at least have an income in spite of having retired from the workforce. Hopefully it will be smooth sailing this year and the years to come.
So, in spite of all the negativity of the past year, from my family to yours, here's wishing you all a safe, healthy, covid-free but a very very happy, productive year ahead!
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Friday, October 30, 2020
I had been learning how to paint with watercolor! Since I was joined by my friend Lito Ballaran, a respected watercolorist, to the then International Watercolor Society of the Philippines (IWSP), I had been seriously trying to learn the art of watercolor. My biggest difficulty in learning the craft is my penchant for oil which I believe, I had developed my own style I call “Transparent Cubism” but even that, I think is being lost as I paint. Nevertheless, a teacher once told us that if one has to paint with any medium, one has to use the said medium to its full potential – that one should show the characteristics of the medium. Basically, watercolor being transparent and the others, opaque.
What I notice with watercolor is that there seems to be an accepted way one has to deal with it. This reminds me of exhibits and art competitions which have to undergo a jury of ones peers. This jury of masters dictate the aesthetics of what a good watercolor painting should be. To me, this standardization of the medium, especially in competitions disallows watercolor to grow. This is also the reason why I do not approve of the proposed leveling from beginners to masters of the practitioners. There should be other ways the medium can be used if only we could open our minds and let the practitioners explore other possibilities. I admire my classmate and friend, Buds Convocar,who has developed a different way of using the medium which to my mind, is very successful. This is how I want watercolor to be if only I could. Otherwise, let us continue to be among the herd, each one a repetition of the other.
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Monday, July 13, 2020
Friday, April 03, 2020
March 2, 2020
What is frightening is that the police, given an authority to fire at will, can look for his enemy and kill his foe. alleging that he was causing something that would disturb the peace. Or someone whose actions can be misconstrued as violative even when there was no intention to can be killed just like that. Our president should understand that people who are hungry and lost will hold on to anything just to survive. He should understand that his threats of violence did not work for drug syndicates but only made it worse. But I am beginning to doubt if he has any intelligent ways to stop drugs which he promised to quell in six months much more a virus which does not respect anybody no matter how sound the solution is. Why does he not concentrate on the officials who do not deliver as they are ordered to do and are tainted with corruption instead?
We were dismayed one night when the evening news reported that the National Bureau of Investigation is asking the Mayor to answer their query and face investigation of a possible violation of the quarantine measures of the government.
April 1, 2020
To the NBI thinking that my mayor might have violated any of the orders of the national government, don't waste your time. He did not. If you are basing this on his plea to allow the use of tricycles to ferry the sick and/or health workers, he did not when he was not allowed. I am a witness that no tricycles are plying the streets of Pasig. Again, it was an appeal that did not materialize because it was not allowed. Besides, even if, for the sake of argument that an appeal is already punishable, it was made prior to the emergency powers, hence mayors exercised independence from any member of the executive branch as mandated by law as the President exercises only the power of supervision and not control. A law cannot be retroactive unless it favors the accused. That is very basic. So, to the NBI, I suggest you guys focus on something more productive and let our good mayor do his job, hoping you'd do yours just as effectively. Stop politicizing, please.
In a later development, Vice President Leni Robredo is also being asked by the PACC to explain her actions. She, too, have been working hard to help in the fight against the virus. I cannot understand why they are after those who seem to be doing the right thing except that someone or some group are out to destroy these two for they have been being overshadowed.
Both agencies would later on deny that the two are being investigated. My foot!
March 25, 2020
The irresponsible action of going to the hospital knowing that he is a PUI and is just awaiting the results, he has endangered contaminating a lot of people including our frontliners who are now dwindling in number, plus an aggravating circumstance of high knowledge and stature, he should be held criminally liable. Especially now that he tested positive. Unless Covid 19 decreases one's common sense.
Monday, March 02, 2020
As was stated, we were greeted by Edna, a government employee, who was tasked by our host to take us to the house where we shall be staying. Yes, we stayed in a house, a home stay as the locals call it. As it turned out, Batanes is filled with these kind of lodgings which is actually a welcome treat for we shall be living with a local and none of those hotel-trying-hard-fancies that most hotels in the provinces try to live up to but mostly fall short. It was like going on a vacation to a far away land and living with a close relative .
The house in Castillejos St. was about a five-minute drive by tricycle. There, we were welcomed by Richmond, the son of the owners, who was as accommodating and friendly as his parents, Richard and Leny. As we got up to our rooms, the table was already prepared with rice, eggs and sword fish for breakfast. The rooms were clean and very comfortable.
After breakfast, I took off to visit a small art gallery to check out what the local artists are like in this part of the country while my companions rested. I was impressed by the artistry of some twenty or so artists in the area. Believing I owe it to at least make a purchase in support of the artists there, I bought a t shirt designed by no other than the owner of the gallery. At lunchtime, our ride for the tour of Day 1 arrived with our tour guide/driver, Jaycee. We were taken to Beehan, a local restaurant for lunch. After which, we were taken to a view deck which officially welcomed us to Basco, Batanes. There we were fascinated by the view not knowing that the rest of our stay will be nothing but be amazed by the scenery that the place has to offer.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batanes">The prime motivator of the cultural values of the Ivatans are imbibed in their pre-colonial belief systems of respecting nature and all people. The Ivatans, both the older and younger generations, have one of the highest incidences of social acceptance to minority groups in the country. The Ivatans also have a high respect for the elderly and the prowess of natural phenomena such as waves, sea breeze, lightning, thunders, earthquakes, and wildlife congregations. Discriminating someone based on skin color, ethnic origin, sexual orientation,gender identity, age, and traditions on nature is unacceptable in Ivatan values.Land grabbing is also a grave crime in Ivatan societies, making ancestral domain certification an important part of Ivatan jurisprudence since the enactment of the IPRA Law