Monday, June 29, 2009


It's been really crazy busy around The Living Room lately. Eliza and Megan from The Galleon Trade show are back in Manila, Donna Miranda is doing a performance This FRIDAY July 3 in the bathtub of their room, and Angelo Vermeulen just returned from Belgium to continue The Biomodd Project to completion. Check out this video of Biomodd members explaining what the project is all about. The basic framework has been done as well. Can't wait to see what how it looks like once the plants grow, the gaming stations are built, and the detailing of the frame done. Check out the Biomodd site and some photos of the work in progress here.

Stay posted re: new fundraising projects for Biomodd in July.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


What a very very cool organization. I just received word that the parents of an old high school friend of mine, Gaby Gloor, started something called Circle of Friends Foundation. It's a charitable organization that aims to acquire and organize transportation services in specially retrofitted vans for people in wheelchairs. Apparently, their foundation has to provided this service to wheelchair bound people who can and cannot afford this service since 1998.

Having said that, they also rent some of the vans for folks and tourists who need to get around Manila or thereabouts in their wheelchair.  So hey, if any of you out there have a friend who is coming over to the Philippines and needs one these amazing vehicles to get around, give them a call. Tell them I sent you.

More power to you, Tito Reiner and Tita Margaretha. 

Log onto their site here and make a donation to this amazing charity now. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Remember when I joined that contest for weight loss sponsored by Gold's Gym and Rogin-E? Remember that I won? Well, if you didn't, no big deal. At least someone out there did. A hundred years later, I recieve a phone call to come over and finally collect my prize: a year's membership to Gold's Gym worth Php60,000.00 and of course, a bottle of Rogin-E.

Aw, thanks guys.

And it's totally excellent timing, I don't have a gym membership at the moment. And neither do I have any Rogin-E.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Just a shameless shameless plug for my Intramuros gift store, "La Monja Loca".

Translated into English as "The Crazy Nun", La Monja is dedicated to the promotion of all things good and all things Filipino. We carry textiles from Ilocos Norte, sculptural churches from Bulacan, rare books, artisanal capiz lamps, and really funky products by Astrud Crisologo, Mother Earth Bags, Mike and Banj Claparols, Firma, Team Manila, Atelyer Design Studio. We also sell the all important Groovy Map n' Guide to Manila.

But were not only about promoting arts and design, we're also all about crossing that line between altruism and commercialism. La Monja Loca is also dedicated to showcasing products that have a higher cause. We also carry items done through livelihood projects by Gawad Kalinga, Virlanie Foundation, Dole Foundation and Development Action Women's Network.

After all, shopping is all about good intentions, innit? Thanks Senor Pernas for the series of photos you see here.

And if you text us before you arrive, 0920 9092021, we're giving free halo-halos to the first fifty customers. No kidding.

La Monja Loca
Unit 3-a Plaza San Luis
Calle Real

10:am to 5:00pm
Tuesday to Sunday

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Kapisanan presents: If these Walls Could Talk by Carlos Celdran from rj leveriza on Vimeo.

Thanks Kapisanan and RJ Leveriza for the great feature 
on the performance of "If These Walls Could Talk" in Toronto.
May 22 - 23, 2009.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


duration: 30 minutes

July 3, 9:30pm | The Living Room

Complete with vows of unending love till death do us part the dance ensues. Long after ‘high’ has settled into the dust another attempt yet awaits. And follow we do – the trail of pleasure luring us back into the vicious cycle of trial and errors albeit some rage resting underneath broken tiles, misty bathroom mirrors and confessional toilet seats. The persistent persists. Never say die for tomorrow we drink!

By way of Albert Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus, Donna Miranda and The Lovegangsters probe the familiar in detournement with the Manila premiere of Of Course Not, This is a Bathtub. After a rather bumpy start of its awaited bathtub tour of the city, we take the comfort and betraying privacy of an apartment bathroom in the beating heart of former Manila bohemia. Feeding the delightful voyeur, tracing the intimate glances in between breaths, the dance shall take place within the confines of an ordinary living space and breadth of our imaginations with audience and happening bleeding as one. In this conspired activity, the performance brings each one of us back into the awkward melodrama of the spectacle embedded in our everyday. As we confront the inescapable reality of our media mediated lives we bravely attempt to embrace the necessary evil of TV entertainment

Of Course Not, This is a Bathtub delves into the constructive elements of melodrama when tragedy meets its comic relief. This solo dance piece fishes into the discourse of the absurd similarly touching upon the tenuous relationship of the puppet and puppet-master asking the ever pressing question of our time ‘who is moved by whom’ and ‘who is watched by whom.’ Echoing Sisyphus’ endless tormenting journey of pushing a rock over a hill, completing the task only to start all over again. And if you need to ask if this is yet another cliché self-referential performance, the answer naturally is yes and no. A woman sits in front of an empty bathtub silent with delirium resignation gradually consumes her body. In this state of submission what else is she waiting for?

Of Course Not, This is a Bathtub is presented by The Lovegangsters in cooperation with WIFI Body 4: Independent Contemporary Dance Festival with the support of The Living Room.

The Living Room is located at Unit 24, North Syquia, 1991 MH del Pilar, Malate
For inquiries call 7941628 or 09266635606
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Monday, June 15, 2009


Well, more like a slob is shaved. Vacation is over.
Time to get back to work and move forward.

Meanwhile, I'm applying for a residency here: Watermill.
Good luck to me.


Someone on twitter sent me a website that had all the proposed changes for the constitution. Nice site. Clean. Easy to maneuver. But nevertheless, I'm a little ADD so I had a bit of a problem wading through it at first. I was soon glad to realize that the parts that were to be changed were written in bold letters with a corresponding breakdown beside it. Excellent idea to keep a dolt like me in line.

And after going through it, I realized that I'm OK with it. I still am ambiguous about the method of how these changes will be done but I am actually going to say I am OK with the idea of changing the constitution PERIOD. I mean, yeah. I am cool with the idea of federalism. I'm cool with the idea of getting rid of senate. I'm cool with foreigners having a more ownership in their investments in the country ARTICLE 16. SECTION 12. Yipes. Did I just write that out loud? And truth be told, I had a hard time finding the part which explictly or implicitly said that GMA will stay beyond 2010. But then again, I'm a layman and an idiot so it could have totally flown over my head. Please don't hesitate to correct me if you think otherwise. 

Even when I hit a part that freaked me out - the part where "All members of Senate/Congress shall, upon assumption of office, make a full disclosure of their financial and business interests/notify of a potential conflict of interest. that may arise..." ARTICLE 6. SECTION 12 had been DELETED. DELETED!  What the f..?

I looked around and found a part that kinda eased my fears: ARTICLE 6, SECTION 10. "Records and books of accounts of the Parliament shall be open to the public in accordance with the law...which shall publish annually the itemized expenditures for each member."

But as I said, again, what do I know? Why don't you all log onto the site, read up on it, and , just like me, come up with an opinion of your own. And my opinion now is: Let the changes proceed.*

Log on here to 

*But of course, NO to GMA term extension.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


A touching Filipino-Canadian "Coming Out" Story.

Thank you Kapisanan for the link.

Happy June 12 again everyone.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Arrived from Vancouver a couple of days ago and it was only a few hours till I did my favorite Manila activity: walk along Roxas Boulevard (above). Below, fellow walkers/Galleon Traders/artists/current The Living Room residents Eliza Barrios and Megan Wilson.

And it was good to see the city still in good shape. I know I have only been gone a month but it sometimes things can really change in such a short time. I was also glad to see a lot of artistic activity happening along the shoreline. Somewhere near The Diamond Hotel, I spotted a young woman making pencil sketches of the sunset (above). Very cool. Parang Paris.

A couple of bikers taking a break (above). Biking along the boulevard is really a great idea. After biking all around Toronto last month (below), I've been mulling the idea of getting a bike for Manila. And a helmet, of course. I have to explore this idea first.

Further down, I spotted another young lady (above). This time she was writing something in a journal. I could have been poetry, a grocery list, a cry for help, who knows? It was just cool to see someone so taken by the atmosphere of Roxas Boulevard that it compelled them to do a spontaneous creative act.

Finally, a group of students from PCCI doing a photo class.

Yup. The city is still doing OK. I need a haircut and a shave desperately though.

Next. The makeover.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Happy Independence Day, Everyone. 
Exactly 111 years ago, the Philippines became 
Asia's first and perhaps, shortest lived, republic.

And despite all of this country's flaws and all the seeming setbacks, allow me to say that I am proud as a peacock to hold a Philippine passport. I believe that it is truly a privilege to be part of this country's struggle to improve society and perfect an obviously imperfect system. 

Nations are not easy to build but we will reach our goal.
I know we will.
 Even if it takes us another 111 years.

Mabuhay to the will of the people. 
Mabuhay to fishballs, coconut trees, tarsiers, jeepneys, Juan Luna, and all that jazz.

Keep the good fight going everyone!

See you all on Monday.

Monday, June 08, 2009


Here is a really interesting talk by John Maeda, the new president of my alma mater, RISD (well, not so new). He talks about simplicity vis-a-vis complexity, mentorship, and the relationship between technology and design. Pretty engrossing stuff, a really interesting ride. He totally confirms my theory that one can change the way things look by changing the way you look at things.

I wish that he was our president when I was in RISD back in the mid-nineties. Perhaps my work would have a much less organic feel and be more technology savvy (two attributes of my work that I still have issues about). But I had no choice, I was a product of my zeitgeist and that zeitgeist made fun of people who used Photoshop and Illustrator. It was a completely different world back then. Multi-media was a bad word. Saying that you were taking "interdisciplinary studies" was tantamount to claiming you were taking a major in Voodoo. The pursuit of "pure art" was the most important thing to learn. Painting should be painting, sculpture should be sculpture, industrial design should remain exclusively in the realm of industrial design. Never should the worlds meet.

During those days, I had to create the spaces for my art since it wasn't really being taken seriously by my professors in the painting department (except for my mentor Al Wunderlich and his friend, MIT artist in residence Joe Davis). I would hold performances in empty lots (above in the garden with the hanging blue cloth) and sneakily "move" into an abandoned church choir loft/bar called The Tap room to build installations and hold performances within them (shots of my thesis performance above, "Walang Pamagat"). I really felt like my collaborators and I were at war with a conservative establishment. We had to really fight to be taken seriously when integrating the visual arts with any other medium like performance, installation, and technology. I'm so glad to see things are changing in an extreme way in RISD with the coming of John Maeda. I'm glad to see the cross-pollination of artistic media finally being given support.

Just a week ago, I met up with some old friends from RISD in Montreal (above, Vanessa Yanow, owner and co-director of The Long Haul art space and studios in Montreal and Ben Graham, who runs sustainable architecture firm, Nature Design Build in Vermont,) and we discussed what a different world it is for artists today. Right now, multi-media is not only one of the most common methods of artistic expression but it actually is fast becoming the norm. Fashion designers are working with computers, scientists are becoming sculptors, former med students are taking photographs. It's all about blurring the lines between art and science and between art and art. It seems to be a brave new world nowadays. I wonder what RISD kids in the post John Maeda world will create.

Oh and if you are wondering about the strange poses, we're mimicking the paintings behind us. Such art dorks.

Friday, June 05, 2009


A shout out to writer/blogger Debbie Pappyn and DeMorgen Magazine in Belgium for the mention in their article on Manila. Once again, Cubao X and Sofitel make the grade. Great pictures, great layout and great angle. I don't speak Flemish but it's easy to tell that MALLS were NOT really featured. Everyone take note. Log on here to read the article on page thirty of the MAGAZINE (supplement), not the paper itself.

My Canadian sabbatical is winding down. Just hit Vancouver. Truth be told, I'm ready to go home.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


Stage is set. Opening night jitters.

Press arrives. Hey there Harriet! She is the sister of

Crowd starts trickling in. We would fill the entire garage. The crowd would be mostly Filipino-Canadians and the foreigners who love them. But there was also a whole bunch of walk-ins, a smattering of hipsters, and of course, some wonderful wonderful sponsors and donors.

All rise for the national anthem.

Act I. All seems to be going well.

Act II. U.S. Imperialist Monster/Dog is on the left underneath the video projection.


Act III. Sorry for the blurry shot. But it gives a rough idea about the real ambience of the show. This is the only shot that didn't use flash.

Finale. Act IV.

The ecstatic team behind the Toronto Premier of "If These Walls Could Talk" : (L-R) Daniel "Ding Dong" Lee, April Aliermo, Caroline Mangosing, Me, Isa Palanca, Jeff Garcia, and Len Cervantes.

So it's a done deal. "If This Walls Could Talk" is now a stage show. Email me at if you wanna discuss how to haul it over to your side of the world.

Over and out.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


The flyers have been printed (above) and the billboard has been hauled out onto the street (below). Time to get the stage set for the show. We only have a little bit more than 24 hours till Friday and Opening Night so allow me to introduce you to the guys who helped me out.

I am constantly in awe of the work ethic of Filipinos who live abroad. Any employer who claims that Filipinos are lazy and incapable of thinking out of the box is obviously an employer who was not capable of bringing out the best in them. Throw a Filipino into a level playing field and provide job satisfaction and you will be amazed about what a disciplined and creative workforce can be had. And that is all that I have been seeing from the good folks at Kapisanan.

But first of all, allow me to introduce you to the artists who collaborated with me in getting it all done properly and on time. Above, collaborators Jan Avendano (above) April Aliermo, and her boyfriend Daniel "DingDong" Lee (middle) hard at work on the collaged "U.S. Imperialist Dog/Monster" for Act II. Jeff Garcia (pictured scowling with me in the bottom photo) would provide the installation/art work for the finale of the show. Jan and Jeff are part of the Halohalo collective (www, Read more about their crazycool work by clicking on previous link.

Preparing the set for Rajah Soliman/Spanish Colonial Period segment of the tour (Act I). Note the brilliant Nipa hut on the left side of photo (done through scrap paper and bamboo sticks. I brought the flag and the large photos from Manila. The place would also be sprayed with Sampaguita scent to complete the multi sensory effect of being in The Philippines.

Technical check for video projections on the wall. This element, which I put together myself, would be integral in providing the show's "suspension of disbelief". Instead of using "real" architecture, I would use snapshots of Intramuros, complemented by historical photographs and illustrations to move the story along.

Technical check up on the flyes/garage door that would hoist the image of the Filipina Circus Girl in order to reveal the collaged background behind it. This would be the transition from Act II (American Colonial Period) into Act III (World War II). Once again, this would be April and Daniel's work.

Incredible detail of the "U.S. Imperialist Dog/Monster" for Act II (above). April and Daniel would xerox American Pop culture images and cut them out and paste them together. It would take them hours to do this. They slept at eight am just to finish the job. As I said. I have never seen people work harder. Note: I didn't come up with the monster idea. It was theirs. As Canadians, I'm sure they have their own issues about their southern neighbor.

Technical check up on the light cues (above and below).

Note the enlarged collaged backdrop. This was achieved by April and Daniel by blowing up a vintage photo of a bombed out Manila, having them broken up into grids, printed out through Adobe Illustrator on multiple pieces of bond paper, and pasting them in order on the wall. Oh my god. These guys are brilliant. So much better than my original idea of having a montage of 1940's photos and portraits. Nevertheless, I think they humored me and we had the photos stuck onto the wall behind the Nipa Hut (below). Nobody really saw it but it did make the space look fuller. The stage would have seemed a bit empty without it.

Above, Jeff Garcia's piece from the Kilusan Show. I would use it as a backdrop for the Halo-Halo Segment of the show (Act IV). The head on the top of the installation lights up and it really adds a circus effect to the finale of the show. We would also serve halo-halos and drop confetti on folks as we do curtain call. Actually, I wanted to use Tiffany Naval's cue cards and Ilona Fiddy's Quiapo candle installation as part of the show, but unfortunately, it was removed abruptly during our ingress. Perhaps they thought I needed more space for my own stuff. Oh well. I guess I should have spoken up in time.

So once again, let's do a checklist. PR has been sent out (check). Flyers have been printed (check). Stage has been set (check).

I guess we're now all ready for opening night.

Next: Opening Night.