To usher in 2012, here are five things from/about/in the Philippines that make me smile. They definitely do not have the same weight of significance for me, but these are the first five things that came to mind (in order of their appearance in my head), thinking about all things Pilipinas that are, to put it simply, good.
Benedicto Reyes Cabrera, more famously known as BenCab, is a Filipino National Artist who is a painter and a printmaker. When I think of BenCab, I think of Sabel, his muse. From his bullet biography on the BenCab Museum website:
Observes and sketches from his window in Bambang a bag lady/madwoman/scavenger named Sabel. To him she is a symbol of dislocation, despair& isolation – the personification of human dignity threatened by circumstances. Undergoing numerous transformations over the coming years, she becomes a landmark for every stylistic painting transition.
The lobby of one of those condominiums in Rockwell is graced by a BenCab painting. And a home somewhere in Negros has artist proofs from the master printmaker himself. Nothing quite like his work, especially these days of modern conceptual art. As he himself puts it in this Wall Street Journal feature, “Skill: That is what is missing now. A lot of modern art now is mostly conceptual. It is sloppy. I’m old school. I look for good composition… and I like artists who are innovative.” I tend to agree.
BenCab is also one of the many reasons a trip to Singapore is so enticing.
Philippine Development Foundation or PhilDev
For full disclosure, I’ve worked (and still work every now and then) for PhilDev (formerly Ayala Foundation USA). I loved the work that I did there, connecting the Filipino diaspora to worthwhile development initiatives in the homeland. Now, their focus is more strategic - zeroing in on science and technology and the field’s impact on the Philippines’ economic growth and development. All the same, I respect the work that they do and look forward to the coming years as they carry out their new mission.
You can read about PhilDev’s work on their website, but here’s a video of Filipino/Filipino-American artists, Lea Salonga included, talking about the concert they held for PhilDev:
I’m pretty sure I featured Panlasang Pinoy on this tumblr already, but when you talk about the good things in the Philippines, you cannot - just cannot - leave out food. And when I thought of Filipino food, Panlasang Pinoy popped into my head. Just look at his list of Top 10 Filipino Christmas Recipes. I know Christmas is done, but hey, with this menu, it’s never too early to practice for Christmas 2012.
Interaksyon | TV5-MMDA Traffic Monitoring System
Yes, I’m including this one. Because it is pretty cool to have this system in place, updated every five minutes or so. My husband and I are guilty of checking this even if we’re not driving anywhere, just because it’s so nifty.
And of course, my fellow Tumblrers who post about the Philippines. A few that I enjoy:
I Write As I Write: History. And Stuff.
The Wolf: A thirty-something writer who has mellowed down from the broadcast news industry. After that, he taught high school kids history and economics. Using the skills acquired in journalism, he gets involved once in a while with farmers, environmentalists, and human rights activists.
Pag-aral at Pag-ibig… Lessons & Love: newly married lit phd trying to figure out life, love and the future.
RIP Vaclav Havel
Revamped likha.tumblr.com, now updating it to feature Filipino artists and their creative process. Go follow it! :)
As I am in love with printmaking, I had to feature a printmaker as the first artist for likha. I met Ambie three years ago, in my quest to find a printshop here in the Philippines. The best thing I remember about our first encounter was her comment on my decision to come back home to the motherland. She was one of the few who agreed with the decision, saying that here in the Philippines, “maslapat ang paa mo sa lupa.” So very true.
Thank you, Ambie, for graciously agreeing to be featured on likha. Dear followers, stay tuned for more Filipino artists and their creative process. Enjoy! -jo anne
1. What inspires you to create?
It is hard to say exactly or specifically what inspires me. I know for one thing that there is a certain ‘desire to respond to a calling’ (of sort) which precedes the act of creating. A desire to react to my reality – experience of my past and present environment, people and events, my thoughts, memories, observations, even illusions and questions that which hold some significance to my personal life, what I believe in and what I value. Such desire, I believe is something implanted in us by some greater power because we do not choose to desire – we just do. It is a gift. And so is the freedom to respond and how to respond to such desire.