Art Fair Philippines 2016




Art Fair Philippines is an annual exhibit of the works of some of the Philippines’ best contemporary visual artists. This year it was held on February 18-21 at the 5th to 7th floors of The Link Carpark, Ayala Center. The works are displayed in an area encompassing two whole levels of the carpark. (The 5th floor was the venue for scheduled talks and lectures.) ‪

As always, please click thumbnail to view large images.



Felix Bacolor

Can you see the pig? Artist Felix Bacolor’s work uses pigs as its theme.



Josephine Turalba

Artist Josephine Turalba uses bullet casings in her works.


Nona Garcia, Before the Sky


Nona Garcia’s “Before the Sky” takes up the whole face of a wall.  #ArtFairPH



This slideshow requires JavaScript.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Remember drawing boxes on the pavement with chalk and playing piko (hopscotch) with your friends? Those teks cards that were ever so popular during our childhood? At first glance, this looks like a traditional chiaroscuro painting. On closer look, you will find that the painting is superimposed with those vestiges from our childhood memory.



Sometimes we view the art, and sometimes the viewer is part of the art itself.


Ferdie Cacnio

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ferdinand Cacnio’s works “Meant to Love and Be Loved” and “Gravity Defiers”.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My friend thinks this fella over here looks like Groot. It also reminded me of Grandma Willow from Pocahontas. 🙂



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From the “Kilas” collection, 40 works by 26 different artists from Negros.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Gabriel Barredo, Toys Are Us

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gabriel Barredo’s piece “Toys Are Us” is made with small parts from toys.



Daniel Dela Cruz, from the collection HISONLY (His Only Son). Metal Sculpture.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of two of my favourites from the event is sculptor Daniel Dela Cruz’s series of religious metal sculptures from his collection called “HISONLY (His Only Son)”. To view the masterpieces, you have to step into a darkened room that was set up like the interior of a church. (Unfortunately, I missed taking a photo of the central piece of the collection! Argghhh!) This particular piece above is called Refuge. The artist’s mastery of the human form is incredible!


On the left, the three glass-encased sculptures is called Virina.  To really, really appreciate dela Cruz’s crazy skills, you have to see the sculptures up close. Many of them are only about 1 to 2 feet high, but the details are so intricate and the lines flowing and smooth it gives a jolt to the mind knowing these are crafted from metal. (Read somewhere that the artist likes to hammer out the design by hand! @_@)


Here we come to my favourite series in the collection,  dela Cruz’s depiction of The Seven Deadly Sins.  (Please click thumbnail to view large image)
From top:    1. Avaritia (Greed)
2nd row  :    2. Pigritia (Sloth),  3&4. Invidia (Envy)
3rd row   :    5. Superbia (Pride),  6. Ira (Wrath),  7. Luxuria (Lust)
4th row   :    8. Luxuria (Lust), 9&10. Gula (Gluttony)  Yes, that’s the famous Golden Arches and its arch rival in the country The Bee right there, as well as the words “buffet”, “unli-rice”, and “open 24 hours” carved into the body of Gluttony.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lego pieces and broken glass from bottles go together in this piece.



Various animal-inspired artworks and other oddities.



Raffy Napay


Artist Raffy Napay uses sewing, thread, and yarn as his medium. This particular piece, “Family”, is made with thread that glows in the dark when viewed from the dark room on the other side of the artwork.


This is a series of art expressions using batibot chairs. (I only got photos of two. 😦 )



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pity I didn’t get the name of the artist or the piece itself. This one is eerily (and creepily) realistic. No matter how many times or from what angle I look at it, it takes awhile to convince myself that this is not a real 3-ft (or so) man caged in a glass case. With butterflies. On his head.  -_-

Can you see the eyelashes and the individual hairs on the stubble and on the head? Crazy details! Feels like his eyes are going to open any minute now. Yep, any minute now…



1. A painting on a curved tile.    2. Vinyl figurines under a disco light. Some of the more whimsical/odd pieces from the exhibit.    3. A working bench made entirely of pencils.


Epjey Pacheco. Kampon

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I find them quite adorable, strangely enough. If I had a garden, I’d probably line them up the walkway (just to see people’s reactions) or scatter them about like people put gnomes and trolls in gardens. (Never quite understood that ) Or, hey, this would work as a cookie jar as well! Imagine that wall-eyed, teeth-baring face looking at you everytime you want to get a cookie!

Mark Justiniani. Infinity series.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now we come to my other favourite from the Art Fair.  This is from Mark Justiniani’s “Infinity” series. Mr. Justiniani’s collection is one of the Special Exhibits this year. This collection, along with Daniel dela Cruz’s metal sculptures, are by far the two most memorable for me. Justiniani’s installation works from the Infinity series focuses on perspective, form and space, replicated endlessly using mirrors to simulate infinite space, creating a majestic sense of height, breadth and depth within a singular confined space.  This particular work is, in reality, not more than 3-feet deep. It is really best viewed as a whole, but there were too many people crowded in front of it I could only take sectional photos. (To give you an idea it looks like as a whole, click HERE .)



Another installation art by Mark Justiniani using mirrors to create vertical space and depth. It’s like looking into an abyss.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And lastly, Allegoria (Tunnel),  also by Mark Justiniani.  This is arguably one of THE most popular works in the whole exhibit, as evidenced by the heads of people in front of me (yes, they were all taller than me boohooo). I had to wait for my turn so I could get in front and take a photo. By then I was too close to it to get a nice, wide-angled photo. (Stepping back was not an option: people will take your place if you so much as lean back. -_- ) It might look simple, but a lot of thought must’ve been put into this. As you can see, the clever use of mirrors creates a tunnel that curves to the left the deeper it goes.


2016: Year of the Fire Monkey (Chinese New Year Celebrations in Manila)


Growing up in the Philippines, the Chinese New Year usually means getting up early and going to the temple with my whole family, all of us wearing red in some way. It was more of a secular thing, though, since it was celebrated only by the Tsinoys (Chinese-Filipinos). With new year’s day itself usually falling on a weekday, we still go to school and to work just like any regular day.

In 2011, it was proclaimed a special non-working holiday. This allowed the Filipino community to actively participate in the celebrations, and boy, did it make the whole thing more festive! Filipinos are some of the most open-minded people, embracing Chinese culture and traditions with curiosity and bringing the same passion they have for celebrations of any kind. So every year on Chinese new year’s day, throngs of people would swarm Binondo, the center of the Chinese-Filipino community and the oldest Chinatown in the world.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Lion dances are a common sight during the new year festivities. Some are professional lion dancers, and some are mini kiddie versions complete with appropriately-sized lion’s costumes wielded by kids who looked not more than 10 years old, with their own drum squad banging on drums and cymbals. Some of the street children play along, imitating and swinging empty cardboard boxes above their heads with their own DIY lion dance.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Street performers abound. Fire-breathers, fire-eaters, and the pounding drumbeat that accompany them are always a draws a good crowd.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Ongpin Street, the entrance to Chinatown, is directly beside the more than 400 year-old Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish. (Or, as we call it – Binondo Church, for short.) Religious items and native delicacies are sold side by side with Chinese new year staples like coloured chicks and lucky charms. You can start your trek through Chinatown on this side, or if you want to escape the crowd for a while you can slip inside the church and listen to the mass being held, say a prayer or light a candle. (A little trivia: Chinatown is actually bookended by two Catholic churches. Binondo Church on one end, and Santa Cruz Church on the other end. 🙂 )

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Amidst the happy faces, this sad little one caught my attention. Another photographer tried to get him to smile but he wasn’t having any of that.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Mid-afternoon, we went to a nearby mall because I missed my morning coffee and I was craving for some, and they had cosplayers (in theme with the Chinese new year, of course) on stilts!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I remember Chinese new year 2012, the first year it was being celebrated as a holiday here, the City government then really took measures to make it a closed street event in Chinatown. Everything was very organized. Cars were not allowed in, and there were programs, activities, dragon and lion dances in different parts of Chinatown. This year the people came, but I didn’t see anything special organized. It was a little disappointing. (On hindsight, maybe the lion dances came out after we went to the mall. -_- )

The mall was likewise crowded, but the festivities were better organized than in Chinatown itself. They had a new year countdown program with celebrites and fireworks the night before on new year’s eve with the City Mayor attending. This is a Chinese-themed mall on the outskirts of Chinatown, not just during CNY. For Chinese new year they went all out with the decors: rows and rows of red Chinese lanterns and yellow banners with auspicious wishes written on them, and a huge hanging fire-monkey lantern that supposedly gives you good fortune if you pass under it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


They also set up a “food street” in the street behind the mall, with vendors selling…well, not necessarily Chinese food. XD  Apart from a couple of nods to Chinese cuisine like dumpling with noodles and lumpia, there were people selling finger foods, barbeques, takoyaki…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

…and Filipino street food staple isaw (barbecued pig or chicken intestines) and even a boneless lechon (roast pig)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Back in the “Chinatown Walk” (the strip of walkway between the mall buildings), there were a slew of activities set up. There’s a wishing well, among other things,with a money tree in the center and two monkeys hanging from it. There’s also a statue of Buddha on an altar where people lined up to light an incense and pray to Buddha for good health. You can also write your wishes for the new year on wooden wishing plaques (called ema in Japan) and hang them up on the Wishing Wall. Some people wish for good health, love, doing well in exams and career, and good fortune in general.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


As we pass by one of the numerous Chinese restaurants, the noodle master put on a show making pulled noodles (la-mian). A crowd gathered at the window to watch him. Not a few (including me and my friend) were taking photos and videos of him. The crowd was riveted as he twirled, twisted, pulled and stretched the dough over and over until – with one last flourish – long, fine strands of evenly thin noodles were magically looped in his hands, and dropped them into a large boiling pot of water.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I had to pass by Chinatown again on my way home. The crowd was still pretty thick from what I could see. There were a few dragons and lions still doing their dances, and families were still out and about enjoying the festivities. It was very heartening to see, because in the end, it’s all about family and the friendship between the Chinese and Filipino communities that really gives meaning and hope to having a wonderful start to a new year.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


So, Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! Gong Xi Fa Cai (恭喜發財)! If you’re interested in Chinese horoscope, here’s a list of predictions for this year.

Click here to check out your Chinese horoscope!

Scroll down and you’ll see a list for each sign. These are mostly dos and don’ts and what to be careful of this year. (Hey, no harm in taking precautions, right?) You can also find your sign on the website if you don’t know it yet.

[15.02.19] Chinese New Year 2015: Sights in Manila

So it’s one week into the “Year of the Ram” (or Goat, or Sheep, whichever you prefer) and I’m just now posting the photos I took of the Chinese new year celebrations here in Manila.  -_-

I’ve actually already wrote a long-winded post but got sidetracked by an overload of work from my job. Real life has to come first, of course. So scrap the War-and-Peace version, here’s the “barebones” version that won’t take until 2016 to finish.

For the 4th year in a row, I trekked to Binondo to watch the festivities and take photos. I started in 2012, the first year the President declared CNY a special non-working holiday, and may I say at the outset that I think the first year was the best one. (Streets were closed off and everything was more organized. Are you reading this, Manila City government?)

Now that that’s out of the way, here are the photos.

Binondo is the oldest existing Chinatown in the world. It’s an old area of the city with a long stretch of road that is bookended by two churches: Binondo Church (proper name is Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz) on one side, and on the other end, Santa Cruz Church (Our Lady of the Pillar Parish Church) which is technically located in Santa Cruz district and not Binondo, and therefore is not part of Chinatown. Pedantics aside, these two churches are the main entry and exit points to and from Chinatown. Normally I would start from Binondo Church where the hub of the celebrations are, living in a nearby district my whole life until around 3 months ago. Since moving house, Santa Cruz Church has become my entry point, and this was where I started.

Roasted chestnuts (or castañas, as they are known here) are a sight familiar during Christmas and Chinese new year. In the streets of the Philippines, they are roasted manually in these big woks by tossing them around in uniformly-sized hot volcanic stones.

Roasting chestnuts the traditional way

Stores in Chinatown sell these all year long, but business is particularly good on new year’s day


Vendor selling lucky charms


The boy and the lion dance wielder

Sugar cane vendors

I found their peeling long stalks of sugarcane fascinating to watch. There’s a certain zen to how synchronized their movements are, like there’s a tempo only they could hear, oblivious to the bustling sounds around them.

Children gets the most enjoyment.

Internet-ready watermelons. See? They’re already hashtagged! XDD

It had started to rain steadily not long after. I insisted on taking a photo of my friend’s lens dotted with raindrops. She kept telling me to hurry up because her lens is not weather sealed. (Well, buy Pentax, like me!)


Raindrops on camera lens

We took shelter at the nearby sidewalks. This old hat vendor approached the family standing next to us. I don’t wear hats, so I kept hoping the family standing beside us would buy one. Luckily, because of the rain, he made a sale and sold one to the mother!

Staples during Chinese new year.


Dragon dance in the distance

Watching people


Enterprising kids imitating a dragon dance by fashioning a DIY dragon out of some baskets and blankets

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Super long dragon sponsored by an insurance company

High pole lion dance. In the end, missed footing caused both of them to fall and sustain injuries.


Captive audience


A street performer breathing fire


Doing some last minute shopping

A young apprentice in charge of the drums of the lion dance

Taiwan-style spring onion pancake

Lastly, more lucky charms

2012 CNY :

2013 CNY :

Moving house, and New Year’s Eve 2014 in Manila

It’s three days into the new year, and here I am posting about new year’s eve.  Talk about procrastination. Huh. (-_-)

To go directly to the post about New Year’s Eve, please skip this and scroll down.

Continue reading

Supermoon | August 11, 2014 | Manila, Philippines

My amateur attempt at shooting the “supermoon” .

The year 2014 has five “supermoons”. Two new moons in January, and three full moons in July, August, and September. Of the five supermoons of 2014, this fourth one on August 11, 2014 (August 10, 2:10 PM EDT)  is the closest point the moon is to Earth for the whole year. This is what astronomers call a perigee full moon. In fact, it is the closest the moon has been to earth for over twenty years! And because it is closer to the earth, the moon appears bigger and brighter than regular full moons. (Some say 14% bigger and 30% brighter than usual, not that one would notice the difference with the naked eye.) Even more rare is to have three in such close proximity (3 successive months: July, August, & the next one in September) This is not expected to happen again until 2034.

Taken on August 10, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Another shot taken on August 10, 2014 at 11:16 PM


These were shot through my window at (1) 11:16 PM,( 2) 11:16 PM, (3) 11:22 PM (Aug. 10). The fourth one below was taken at 2:15am (Aug. 11).


The street I live in is a deep, narrow street flanked by buildings on both sides. Between our building and those across from us, I can only see a sliver of the sky if I lean out my window (not too much, because it has iron railings). I knew there was a good chance the moon won’t even be visible where I was so I planned to look out the window in the early evening to check the path of the moon.

Well, old age does this to you – I totally forgot.

By the time I remembered to look out the window the moon was almost directly above me. I couldn’t lean out too much because of the window railings, so I had to engage in major body contortions:  I leant over backwards , bent and twisted myself until it felt like I was doing some sort of limbo rock for the not-so-limber. I pulled muscles I didn’t even know I had. Even my scalp hurt. *whine* (Okay, that was because my hair got caught in my neck strap. -_- )

And all the while I had to point a camera fitted with a 1.5kg lens upwards while bending over backwards, trying to focus manually on the moon above me through the iron window railings without my hand shaking too much. I can tell you, it wasn’t easy. Nor a pretty sight. I was sure I heard sounds of sniggering echoing in the quiet night from people living across the street who just happened to look out their window at that exact moment. Oh, the awkward positions I get into…


Taken on August 10, 2014 at 11:22 PM



So, here are the gears I used:

Pentax K-3 (handheld, no tripod)
Tamron 70-200mm
2x teleconverter (in some shots)

I took shots using both the Tamron 70-200mm and the Pentax DAL 55-300mm kit lens. The 70-200mm has an advantage in image quality, while the 55-300 has longer focal length, which I learnt counts for a LOT when taking photos of the moon (for the obvious reasons). In the end, I settled on the 70-200mm. I tried using a 2X teleconverter on both lenses but, as with long lenses  extended even longer by a teleconverter, camera shake is a big factor to consider. Alas, I have no tripod and my hands shook too much, so some shots came out soft and blurry.


This one below was taken at 2:15 AM, the nearest to the time when the supermoon was was closest to earth at 2:10 AM (Philippine Time).

Taken on August 11, 2014 at 2:15 AM



My last shot of the moon as it was being covered in thick smoky clouds. A sign for me to go to bed.

August 11, 2014 2:53 AM

Caption this!



Typhoons are frequent visitors to the Philippines. We get an average of about 20 typhoons a year. (We’re not called “a welcome mat for typhoons” for nothing.) Typhoon Glenda (International name Rammasun) churned through Metro Manila this morning. It is the first Category-3 typhoon after last year’s destructive Category-5 super typhoon Yolanda (International name Haiyan). This one passed through Metro Manila directly.

In the early morning I woke up to the sound of howling winds, windows banging, flower pots and glass breaking, and things literally flying. Our house was dark. Power went out in the middle of the night, I learned.

Well, there was one good thing that happened. This little guy was rescued by my dad when he flew in our window seeking shelter at the height of the typhoon’s rampage.


Poor little guy was wet and shivering.


Herc got over excited thinking it was a new toy that could fly without any strings XDD, so we had to put this little guy under our protective custody  in a makeshift cage, put some some food & water inside and placed it out of Herc’s reach. After the typhoon abated, we waited awhile just to make sure it’s safe outside, and then set him free.

Power outtage, 2 broken windows, and rescuing this little guy… I think we did pretty well. ^_^




Herc’s disappointed face when we set the little bird free made me think about this photo I took a few months back. So I had a little fun with it.

This is the original photo:


Look at that face. He’s not happy, that’s for sure.


What Herc’s probably thinking:


You’re plotting against me now, aren’t you?