Poetry, Planning, The Word Sanctuary


Poetry reading, I’ve found, is very personal. You’re nervous about your poem, whether it’s good or not. Your legs are shaking and your fingers tremble, but you let go all of this just to make sure you control your voice and keep it strong. I tried to keep my voice strong. I tried to give justice to what I’d written, and tried to match the voice I’d used in my head while I was writing it, such a long time ago, to the voice I used at that moment, in front of that small, intimate crowd of people.

I stared down at my notebook the whole time. I wasn’t too nervous, I think.

It was a small crowd that Saturday night. Not more than 30 people. It was a small affair of avid listeners with quite voices and wide open ears. I get distracted by people’s faces while they speak, so as I listened to them, I would always look down at the ground. The voice and the words, that’s all you need, really.

There weren’t more than ten people willing to share their poetry. The reading component was short-lived, but exciting, because just that small taste of it made me feel inspired to write poetry again. I haven’t written any poetry for a long time. I always say it’s because I’m happy, but that’s just an excuse. It’s because poetry writing is hard for me. To condense concepts into such few words, to share emotion with such few images, to be expressive, and yet spare, is not a talent of mine. I know, of course, that there are such things as long poems, but my preference has always been short ones, and those are the ones I do try to write. I don’t succeed though. The long and lengthy is my default setting, it seems.

That night seemed suffused with such talent and potential. And we made such plans, both simple and grandiose. I do hope we push through with them. It would be such a waste if we didn’t. In my city, we have no writerly activities. We have ones for painters, filmmakers, graffiti artists, skateboarders, etc…but none for writers. It’s time we started a community. Planning is wonderful, but the time to start is always now.

WIP: Studio Gangsters Opening Exhibit


Well,  it took a while,  but the exhibit for Work-in-Progress is finally happening.  After moving it two times because there was a mad rush over personal projects last December,  we finally decided that the January 9, 2015 date is going to be it.  No more moving.  After having no sleep yesterday to finish the painting that was taking me much longer to finish than I thought it would, I finally submitted it yesterday and am free!  Free as a bird!


But the opening of the gallery exhibit is actually today at 5:30PM at FDCP Cinematheque Iloilo.  There is no entrance fee. No need to worry about that.  And it’ll be featuring artists with very different wheelhouses.  Some wrote children’s stories for it,  some wrote poetry, some made dolls, someone did an installation,  and some drew or painted.  The theme is Street Art.

Please come if you have the time.  See you there!

Cheers!  :D

Sharpie Doodle Jam! (Iloilo)

I’m so excited about the new vibe Iloilo City has going on. Artistically and culturally, things are picking up. Exhibits are happening more regularly, artists are communicating more, and I keep getting art event invitations on my Facebook wall for things happening here, in Iloilo City, and not in some faraway place like Cebu or Manila.

Case in point, Doodle Jam! It even has my name in the title. As a Doodle Thursday member, and an avowed doodle lobbyist, I am obviously going to this event. I’m gonna be doodling, as well as doing my journalism gig on the side for Project Iloilo. (A hush-hush online mag for all things Ilonggo, to be born, Year 2015.) I can see it now. Friends, coffee, grilled cheese, and some free sharpies. It’ll be an interesting night.

For the official info:

A Kant Stop Ilonggos Now production

Fuel.ph’s Doodle Thursdays collaborates with Sharpie. Artists, students who aspire, and random doodlers are all invited.
We will be giving away FREE SHARPIE pens to all participants. Registration is FREE!

Meet and greet, and enjoy the talks with featured artists Rai Cruz and Gab Tiongson as we all doodle together.

Come and share your mind through your hands using SHARPIE.

Join the event here https://www.facebook.com/events/1511092589162959/

Getting my First Doodle Job!

It’s been a really busy month. That’s probably why I haven’t been able to write anything here. I’ve been wondering whether I should even maintain this blog or just close it. I don’t know. I’ve had so many love-hate moments with this blog. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes I wish I didn’t have to write for it. Most of the time, it’s just been there, at the back of my mind, like a haunt I can’t get rid of.

Anyway, something epic happened recently. For the first time, I got contacted for an art project which I would actually get paid for. It was intimidating and exhilarating at the same time. When I finally got the envelope with the cash inside it, I actually hid in the bathroom of Fuel and did a funny little jig.

The project was for doing a Doodle Wall for Profriends. They were gonna use it as a backdrop for photographs at a Christmas Party. The theme was the “90s” because that’s when the company started. I felt really happy collaborating with my friends in order to finish it. Doing things by myself is fun, but there’s a different kind of excitement when you’re doing something with your friends in order to make something great. It’s just like the Lego Movie. It’s great being a Master Builder. But if you’re working with others, who have their own talents and capabilities, who knows what you can achieve. Skyscrapers!

We actually did sing the song “Everything is Awesome!” while we were working.

I’m a 90s kid. Emphasis on the kid. I remember cartoons, pogs, tamagochi, nintendo, brick games, and light-up sneakers. And with my friends being about the same age as me, we all ended up doodling a lot of funny, quirky stuff that a kid would enjoy. I honestly don’t know if that’s what Profriends was looking for. I’m just hoping a lot of young people work for the company and they’ll like looking at it.

So here’s the doodle team. Me, Denise, and Mike.


I’m the one with the marker mustache.


Some 90s gadgets.


Forgive the mess at the bottom. We tend to really spread out when working on something. Which isn’t really good now that I think about it, because we kept tripping on things.

But finally, Success!

I’ve been able to be both witness and participant in other activities in Iloilo as well. Like Viva Excon in Bacolod this 2014. I was there at that historic moment when it was decided that the next benniale  would be in Iloilo. I’m getting both excited and horrified at the thought of it. I got voted in as interim secretary for IVAC (Iloilo Visual Artists Collective). I’ve attended a lot of art openings. (I always take pics, thinking that I’ll write about it here, but I never do.) I also joined a secret group of Ilonggo writers with some do-gooder sentiments in store for Iloilo this 2015. I’m just so happy to be able to contribute and be a part of this place that I love.

PS: My laptop’s OS has been changed into Ubuntu. It’s a big deal. I might have a love-hate thing going on with it as well. Evernote isn’t working properly with Ubuntu, which makes me feel like throwing things through windows sometimes.

Birthday Watercolor-Doodle!

Beautiful-Cake-Happy-Birthday-Wallpaper-HD This week’s Monday was the day that my friend, Mike, turned a year older. I like Mike. I count him as one of my best friends because our friendship has actually helped me to grow to be a nicer, more positive human being. He’s always so encouraging . He hardly ever says “but” or “no”. All my ideas actually sound possible when I talk to him. It’s as if he thinks that people can do anything as long as they put their minds and passions behind something. Which is entirely different from how I used to think. Mike’s the best cheerleader you’d ever need.

He also keeps on looking at the positive side of people, and I wish I could be like that. I wish I could be like him. I feel as if I’m much too cynical at times. I think it was all those books I read, and my stint in college as a political science and history student. Which I still am actually. I’m looking forward to graduating next year.

Anyway, Mike works at this happy, weird, coffee-scented wonderland called Fuel, where the people are passionate dreamers and even better friends. It’s amazing how these positive-minded people seem to have found each other. Before his birthday, one of the people from Fuel dropped me a line on Facebook, saying that they weren’t going to greet Mike at all that Monday, but would, instead, throw a guerrilla party on Tuesday, and would Doodle Thursday please make a birthday doodle for Mike. I said, OF COURSE! I called my doodle buddies, set up a chat on Facebook and we got started. Mike’s presence always feels a bit like a pick-me-up, which in my mind, is just all calming greens and light oranges, and a bit of blue. So I thought of doing his portrait in those colors, while the others could doodle around it. I also thought that for a good birthday doodle, I’d need someone who can write the words “Happy Birthday” and make ‘em look good instead of chicken scratches on the dirt. My hand-writing, unfortunately, closely resembles chicken scratches, so it was my friend, Denise, to the rescue. She is amazingly obsessed with lettering. She almost makes me want to try it myself. I might, one of these days.

Well, despite not having much time, I think we did pretty good. We’re not expert doodlers, but I think the doodle speaks for itself on how much we love Mike. He’s one of us. A Certified Doodle Thursday Banana! Just one of the best people all around!



Mum’s “Exploding Orchid”

Mum’s been on my case to paint more realistic watercolors lately. She says it’s more “practical”. I guess she doesn’t like my usual stuff quite as much. I’m both saddened and resigned. I love my mum, and she’s great. She’s one of those parents who are “supportive against their better judgement”. She knows that life as an artist will most likely be difficult for me. She’s a Mum, so, she wants me to have a comfortable life where my income actually surpasses my needs. However, she also doesn’t want to stop me from doing something that will make me happy. Like I said, she’s great. She bought me an easel even though she told me she wouldn’t, all because she felt sorry for me and my back.

Anyway, since she’s decided to support me, such support comes with artistic advice. Enter the advice on realistic paintings. On one hand, I just want to do my own thing, which is for now, two-tailed cats and girls with slits for eyes. Like the one below.


On the other hand, I too, want to be more practical with my life. I don’t want to be a leech who constantly asks for donations from the “parental fund” for more watercolor paper. So I guess I’ll give realism a try. And not the comics kind with the cool characters and action scenes, but traditional realism with the landscapes, the still-lifes, and the cute little children playing in the sun. Sort of as a practice painting, I made her this orchid watercolor. I found a book on orchids while I was going through the house and it had all this big high-res pics of flowers in it. (Wowoot! Another stock photo book I can use!) The colors were a bit on the dull side though, so I just started playing around with it to see what would happen. I was very realistic on the “shape” of an orchid, but I kind of missed the realism thing with the color.


At least you can see it’s an orchid, right? It’s recognizably, an orchid. Might look like a mutant orchid, but it’s still an orchid. I call it, the “Exploding Orchid”. And in my head, it waits around for the unwary to step onto it’s path, and then it spits a gush of highly acidic liquid at them. Of course, I didn’t tell mom this. She thinks I’m just calling it “orchid”. I don’t really want to tell her any differently.

Janiuay Parish Church


Here’s a sketch of the church in Janiuay. It’s pretty new compared to most of the churches you find in the towns here. The old one probably met an earthquake and didn’t live to tell the tale. I feel bad for the oldies. They survive mice, wood-munchers and rampaging Spaniards bent on razing them to the ground. Then here comes Mother Nature, turning over in her sleep, wiggling her ass a little, and down they go. The little humans are sad for a while, then they build a new church over the old one and that’s that. Goodbye and thank you for the memories.

I miss being a nerd.

I feel like I’m losing hold of my identity. Nobody thinks I’m a nerd anymore, even my parents. I have to constantly tell my friends I’m a nerd, or they won’t even imagine it. In the good old days, all I needed to do was to talk or move, and people would just immediately think, “nerd”. I was fine with that. I understood it. It was a label I could wrap my head around.

But now, people keep thinking “artist”, and my head enters buffering mode. I don’t know how to act. I know how to be a nerd. I think I’m a weirdly adorable one. But an artist? What’s that? It’s a different set of rules entirely. It’s a different way of talking. A different way of walking. And a different set of expectations to address. People ask me all these deep questions about art and stuff, as if I know what they’re talking about. Did I watch this or that movie? No. Did I read this book? No. What are my thoughts on the theoretical, etc, etc…? Um… I don’t know? Why can’t people just automatically assume I’m a nerd and not ask me such hard questions. I don’t watch indie movies unless they’re SFF. I don’t read books unless they’re SFF. No, I don’t understand art theory, but I can talk about the Science of Discworld. Would you like to know about Roundworld versus Discworld? No? Sad. And every time I pull out my 42 joke, nobody gets it. What? Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a classic!

I don’t like feeling out of my depth, so I’ve been trying to do a ton of research on the side. I’m a History&PoliSci double major, so research should be my forte. Research isn’t uninteresting. The movies are good and almost everyone’s got good taste. I’ve got a list of new books to read, animes to watch, and music to listen to. But I feel like I haven’t read a good SFF book in too loooooong. I want to read that new Brandon Sanderson book. And Pratchett’s Raising Steam? I’ve heard it’s good. And I haven’t met up with my RPG group in months. Nor have I played Shadowrun in who know’s how long. I just feel like my comfort zone of the “familiar and predictable” has suddenly been swallowed by the “wyrd and unexpected”. Just cuz I joined a few art orgs and went on a few artsy-fartsy activities doesn’t make me an artist. People shouldn’t lump me together with real artists. What I’m doing is more like…community service.

My days are fun. I don’t want to seem ungrateful. Doing things with my hand apart from writing is a stress reliever, and I’m learning a lot. Learning how to get better at drawing is interesting. Travelling is fun too. Sketchcrawl is an eye opener. It’s just that, sometimes, I wish I could talk about geek stuff with this new crowd I’ve got, like I used to with my other friends. My brain has the tendency to bring up randomly geeky thoughts that I used to just blurt out, but now I don’t becaue no one would get it.

I just miss nerdy conversations, that’s all.

Everywhere is walking distance ifyou have the time. Steven Wright.

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