Thursday, September 25, 2008

You did not show up on the day
we were to meet again.
I waited in the rain
near an old, abandoned building
at the corner of Roxas Boulevard and T.M. Kalaw
hoping the rather charming setting would remind you
of Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love.

In the end, you realized you weren’t in the mood

And I, not really in love.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Here's a short list of the books I got from the recent Manila International Book Fair at the Mall of Asia's SMX.

FROM BOOKMARK: The Filipino Bookstore

The Romulo Reader (P50)
Coconut Cookery of Bicol by Honesto General (P100)
The Philippine Cookbook (2nd Edition) by Virginia Roces de Guzman & Nina Daza Puyat (P250)
Cuaresma (P250)
Dreamweavers (P250)


Songs of Ourselves: Writings by Filipino Women in English (P80)
Letters by Bienvenido Santos (P80)
Ang Hayop na Ito! ni Rio Alma (P20)
A Filipino Werewolf in Quzon City by Tony Perez, Edited by Jessica Zafra (P50)
Cubao-Kalaw Kalaw-Cubao by Tony Perez (P225)
Cubao Midnight Express by Tony Perez (P160)
In The Name of Democracy: Selected Speeches of Corazon C. Aquino (P125)
Spiritual Register by T.M. Kalaw (P200)
Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food & Culture by Doreen Fernandez (P395)

What I didn't buy but I should have given that I blog about historical places a lot:

ENDANGERED: Notes on the 1st International Filipino-Spanish Conference on Architecture (P400) from the Instituto Cervantes.

Thanks to Vivian Limpin for the photo. Ang cute ng baboy. Go figure. :-)

Monday, September 15, 2008


Dear friends,

This week, I will be teaching public school teachers how to appreciate the National Museum, thanks to you all. I thank you for all your kind words and letting others know about my tours. I attach my schedules for the rest of September, October and now November. There have been some dates removed for October so please use this schedule as the latest to send to your friends. Starting September 27, our Amorsolo retrospective will be showing and you will have a wonderful experience seeing the best of this National Artist's work in the National
Museum. I have included too a tour of the new Jaime Laya and Family gallery of contemporary paintings hanging at the National Gallery of Art. So, more to enjoy and maybe repeat your visit!

Many thanks again for joining my tour and for helping our public school teachers.

John L. Silva

Thursday, September 11, 2008


The 29th Manila International Book Fair celebrates the power of literature to cross boundaries of time, place and culture, Through books, through language, we can live in a world without borders. In five extraordinary days, we present you with a series of events that expand your horizons, and enrich your ideas, each one carefully crafted and programmed.

Our celebration of books and all that it contains is one of the longest-running in Asia. It is also one of the most accessible and affordable, Through the years, we have welcomed millions of Filipinos to the Manila International Book Fair, which is for everyone of all ages, of all tastes and means and dreams. This year, we are happy to announce that the Book Fair becomes ever more international opening up to other cultures while continuing to champion the best of what Philippine publishing has to offer.

The world comes to Manila this September for the sharing of stories and the meeting of minds.

SMX Convention Center, Seashell Drive, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
September 12 - 16, 2008 10:00 A.M - 8:00 P.M., Daily

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Fruit pickers under the Mango Tree (1937)

2008 will see the coming together of the works of Fernando Amorsolo, the Philippines' first National Artist (c. 1975). Below are the schedule of events:

The Ayala Museum exhibition ‘Amorsolo’s Maidens Concealed and Revealed’ will be from Oct. 23 to March 8, 2009. It "will survey Amorsolo’s rendering of women as a means of following his career, and will draw attention to his maidens from the American period and his studies of nudes from the post-war years as a tribute to his brilliance. "

The GSIS Museum's ‘Rituals and Amorsolo’, from Oct. 2 to Dec. 20, “underlines how rituals reflect values, beliefs, and shared knowledge, how it brings about interactions among people, places and objects, how it expresses the core of social identity of communities, how it fortifies social structures and institutions, and perpetuates social values. Portrayals include baptisms, praying the Angelus, a family’s walk to Sunday mass.”

The Lopez Memorial Museum’s ‘Tell Tale: The Artist as Storyteller, Amorsolo as Co-Author’, from Sept. 24 to April 4, 2009, is illustrative of Amorsolo’s generation of artists, of how Amorsolo became subject to the workings of image-making industries central to the crafting of fictions — about what it was to be a citizen, to be learned/civilized, to be devout, to be Filipino in the transitional junctures of Spanish-American rule. Beyond looking at illustrations as potboilers, the exhibit hopes to look at how artists such as Amorsolo may have brought other layers of meaning upon texts primarily intended as didactic instruments.”

The Metropolitan Museum’s ‘Philippine Staple: The Land, the Harvest, the Maestro’ will display a harvest field of rice-related pieces and outstanding landscapes.”

At the National Museum’s ‘Master Copy’ from Sept. 25 to Jan. 15, 2009, the drawings transfigure into portraits that imagine the national self and the imperialist other, the Filipino and the American, a President like Manuel Roxas or a Gov. Gen. like Francis Burton Harrison, an elegant American lady or a nameless Katipunan revolutionary immortalized in oil after their stint in sketches.”

The Jorge B. Vargas Museum’s ‘Amorsolo: His Contemporaries and Pictures of the War, Capturing Anxieties’, from Sept. 23 to Nov. 16, will feature the works of Amorsolo and his contemporaries spanning the Second World War (1941-1945) until the immediate postwar years (1946-1947), family and official portraits commissioned by Vargas, and genre paintings. Works by peers — Manansala, Saguil, Miranda and CastaƱeda — will also be showcased.

The Yuchengco Museum’s ‘Mukang Tsinoy’ will be from Oct. 1 to Jan. 17, 2009. They will exhibit paintings commissioned by Tsinoy families.

Do not miss this once-in-a-lifetime art event.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Wala lang. Just wishing all the best to a very good friend, Nouel, on his new assignment at the Westin Beijing.


I hate looking at my friends' Friendster profiles. They all look happy. Wait, let me rephrase that. They all look happily married. So, there!

Family life is scary. It scares me because I've never experienced one in a normal setting. You know the drift - both parents are there; you've got siblings you want to strangle, the works. Haaay...

I think I just want a kid, that's all. What do I name them? (them?! So more than one? Hahaha!) If it's a girl, maybe Laetitia. A boy would be named Coco. Coco Gozum. Laetitia Gozum. Maganda ba pakinggan yun?

Then we'd go on trips on weekends just like a normal family would.

*wakes up all of a sudden, sweating and breathing heavily*

Monday, September 08, 2008


Lani Misalucha is one artist whose album is always looked forward to. She has come a long way indeed from being an obscure back-up singer to a diva on the Vegas strip. Unlike other local singers, she has thankfully given up the tired birit act and has become known for mature performances. She should know, having been based in Nevada for several years now, that vocal calisthenics aren’t the norm in the US music scene. Maturity - this is what we are to expect from her latest offering, Reminisce.

It can be said that this album will have to find its audience – most probably the mid-to-late 30ish crowd who tune in to radio stations at the dead of night to listen to sad, love songs (yeah, guilty as charged!). Then again, beautiful songs will always find an appreciative ear in anyone who professes to love music, which is good to know because this will ensure this album’s commercial success.

Someone That I Used to Love is appropriately melancholy with a hint of vindictiveness (this is just perfect for those who are nursing a broken heart). A complete opposite is We Could Have it All which was truly an inspired and soulful rendition. Skyline Pigeon has been rearranged to sound contemporary yet retained its soaring spirit (it was originally written as a hymn, after all) - a fresh take on a now-karaoke favorite that was popularized by Sir Elton John from his album, Empty Sky, released in Britain in 1969. Lani’s version is smooth and effortless. The same can be said of I Loved You All the Way. Bridges, originally by Dianne Reeves, is yet another late-night radio classic many listeners would be familiar with. It happily ends in a smooth finish like a really good cup of macchiatto.

Love of My Life, sadly, didn’t have the longing that was so evident in the Queen original. It was as if Lani just went through it perfunctorily. Freddie Mercury was a very passionate artist. He would pour his soul and energy into his songs hence any cover, even if they’re just that, should at the very least approximate the power and the passion that their original singers imbued the songs with. Dust in the Wind could use a little pumping up, although Lani’s version definitely has more oomph than Sarah Brightman’s take on this classic. Healing, popularized by Deniece Williams, remains to be haunting and moving. I really, really love this song. This is one song that IMHO should never be forgotten and relegated to the dust bin. It’s a song of self redemption and God knows how much we need that in this age of grace and somewhat frequent human disgrace.

There was nothing special about Get Here. It sounds like any other rendition. The same can be said of the Where Is the Love / Feel Like Making Love medley. Tin Man is a nice, groovy version compared to a somewhat serious original by America. The new arrangement gave it a bossa nova feel, a welcome change for a new generation of listeners.

I am happy that this album ended on a Donna Summer original, Whispering Waves. The upbeat version is a welcome treat for fans of Ms. Summer and a fitting end to a more or less wonderful new album.

I have no idea, however, why Daniel Tan’s Iisa Pa Lamang was included in this work as a bonus track. Probably because not one Filipino song appears in the repertoire. I am, I’m afraid, not a big fan of this particular song. It reminds of me of bad Alma Moreno films. Overall, Reminisce is a nice album to have and to hold and to keep playing over and over during windy and languid Sundays. Enjoy!