Saturday, November 28, 2009

Giving Back

One of the best things that came out of the business I set up with friends was the foundation we put up. It began as our company's CSR program but grew into a personal project for one of my partners and myself. We fought about a lot of things, but giving back to our country in this particular way was one of the things we DID agree about.

One particular organization has been so happy with us, our cause and the way we run our projects, that we have been asked to run three simultaneous project sites for them this year. This is a huge jump from the the single site events we've done for them in the past. They have also referred us to another program and we are now meeting with them to discuss the possibility of running a similar event or project with them in the next few months. We also look to be running a similar setup up north next year.

We've been at it now for a few years, and I'm excited that it has slowly been growing; the list of schools we work with has been growing, as our the number of events, the activities we do and the lives of the students we are touching. It is rewarding and incredibly satisfying on so many levels.

Our most challenging event to date is coming up fast and we're scrambling to get things up and running. Fingers crossed!

"Thank You For The Reminder"

I received an email from a friend's tita who I've had the pleasure of getting to know over the last few years. She had just finished going through my albums on Facebook and had some very lovely things to say about my photos in general.

Her purpose in writing though was to thank me for reminder her about the joy and beauty of simple things around her that people sometimes may tend to overlook.

My heart literally did cartwheels of joy when I read her email.

You see, I realized in 2008 that I was having, and had been having for the longest time, a really crappy couple of years. So crappy that my unhappiness was manifesting itself in more ways than I had cared to acknowledge. After hitting rock bottom, it took me a year of discernment to get to the point where I was ready to pick myself up and move forward, making the choice to really start living a life that I truly love.

One strategy was to purposefully look for joy in the things around me, and that has played itself out in three ways. Daily, I jot down what happiness is for me in the day that just passed, listing down things that I am grateful for. This blog is also a product of that assertion as is my growing love affair with photography. I started taking pictures of random things that I saw that made me smile and things just kind of exploded from there.

So back to tita's email... well, I guess what really struck me, over and beyond the visual appreciation for my photos was how they were occurring to her. My reason for taking photos coincided with what she was for herself by looking at my photos.

Taking photos is really more for my own personal pleasure (and sanity.. lol). I'm thrilled that though it has been a source of genuine inspiration for someone else, even in its own small way.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mind Games

I always look forward to things like massages, facial treatments and mani/pedis. Outside of the external benefits, opportunities like this are relaxing.. or at least are supposed to be.

I realize that while I may be physically resting from running around, time to "relax" has allowed my mind to run amuck. The funniest thing is that I always catch myself. Then begins this mental battle where I force myself to think about things that are supposed to be relaxing.. green meadows, blue skies.. heck I even try to count sheep. This either drifts back to something I'm worrying about or to the other inevitable; I fall asleep. Nothing wrong with snoozing I suppose, but I always feel that when I fall asleep, I'm being cheated out of peronal relaxation time. Lol.

It's like the mind DOESN'T know how to relax when given the opportunity to do so. So how DO you relax your mind?

Strangely, doing things that need my focus and ONLY my focus are mind relaxing for me. Activities like filing papers, fixing my files on my computer, editing photos and painting have all won gold stars in my book. Perhaps a level up would be things that require minimal / indulgent things for the mind such as de-cluttering and reading. Some people call these activities mind numbing but dare I say that mind numbing is akin, if not the same as relaxing?

Not that I'll be stopping massages and the like. But it was something I was mulling over recently while.. well you guessed it, while trying to relax.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

manila's metropolitan museum

i've been wanting to revisit the metropolitan museum for the longest time. last time i was there was 1st year high school.

with my two sisters and my sister's friend, we piled into a car last saturday afternoon and made our way over to the BSP Complex along Roxas Boulevard. entrance fee was an affordable P100, and made even affordable thanks to the generosity of my sister :)

we spent about 2 hours slowly making our way around the small museum. a lot of the paintings i recognized having seen during my first trip there.. i guess the museum's private collection isn't that big? they had a few other exhibits that were "new", like BSP's permanent exhibition (not my kind of art), the collection by indian artists upstairs (this was disappointing, the quality of the reproductions were really bad), a smattering of sculptures (loved the wire work.. damn should've gotten the name of the artist) plus an additional room with touchable art. they also have a gold & pottery exhibition downstairs that is unfortunately (and weirdly) closed during the weekends.

they have one section with a few paintings by juan luna i think it was. there were 2-dimensional versions displayed infront with descriptions in braille. smart though i think it would've made more sense to do them for ALL the paintings and not just a handful as you always want to make the most of the time of your visitors right?

i do feel that the met museum ought to update their shop as i find it a little sad. and what is with being closed on sunday's?! i always thought it was a museum standard (and obviously so) to be open during the weekend and be closed on mondays?! i find it a little annoying that pictures can't be taken too (so yes.. the photos in this blog were stealthily taken. lol), i don't think they harm the photos if the flash is off right?

nonetheless, i do like the met very much. while its age is beginning to show, i do love the simplicity of the layout with it's crisp white walls and high ceilings. plus i like the mix of painting genre's they have, with a special focus on filipino artists. the size is no match for the likes of the louvre or nyc's met, but any bigger and i may not have paid as much attention to each piece. you get a better appreciation of the each work's individuality here i feel. with the bigger museums, i have a tendency to quickly make the rounds of the rooms i am not so interested in and skip on to the galleries with the work i enjoy more. bigger museums are obviously meant to be explored in more than 1 day and i unfortunately never have the liberty of time. and besides, anymore than 3 hours in a museum and I pretty much want to pull my hair out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Art for Art's Sake

While more people may know more about my love affair with the theater and the stage, or the classical voice or piano lessons I took growing up, not that many people know about my affinity for visual arts. I think I've been painting, coloring, and visually creating longer than I've been involved in the performing arts actually!

I've been fortunate enough to have taken my share of art classes, both in school and as an extracurricular activity. Oil pastels, oil paints, water color, chalk & charcoal, pen & ink, working with plaster of paris, clay, lithography.. I don't think there was one medium I didn't like. The process of creating something in your mind then translating that into something tangible has always been, well, euphoric almost.
I used to have a growing stack of oil paintings back when I lived abroad. My biggest fan was (and still is) my mom, who wasted no opportunity in displaying my work all over the home. Lol. Unfortunately, I lost all of these pieces when the warehouse that was keeping our furniture while we were house hunting burned down.

Now a day, I'm an on and off dabbler. Sometimes I go a pretty long time without doing anything creative with my hands but I always find myself going back to it for a day, or week or two. I'll churn out half, or maybe even 2 pieces and then hibernate again for months, possibly years. Painting for me is therapeutic and very personal, which is probably the reason why many people don't know I do it. I do it mostly for myself and as a way for me to unwind and relax. My mind is so focused on whatever it is I am working on and so in the moment, that it's actually pretty much blank. Lol. I've seen the talent out there and am no where near calling myself an artist. I really just enjoy the creative process.

I think one of the best decisions I ever made in high school was dropping Economics (thank you for the C+ Mr. Jones, you know I love you regardless!) and taking up Art instead. Hehehe. It was at this time where I think I finally developed a style that kind of, well.. stuck. We had to come up with a theme and create a whole portfolio based off of this theme. I forgot what mine was verbatim but it was something like finding the human body in nature, or nature in the human body. Since then, I have also since confirmed that I still suck at free hand drawing but love love love nature and colors and patterns and textures. I think from the look of some of my work, I think it's rather obvious isn't it? Could be the earthy Taurus in me I suppose. Lol.

Uploaded are some of my favorite and/or recent pieces. Sharing for posterity's sake :)