Category: Culture

Vargas Museum

This Month’s Events at the Vargas Museum, UP Diliman (May 2017)

Here’s what’s in store for you at the Jorge B. Vargas Museum in the University of the Philippines, Diliman, this month.

Obra ni Val: Carlos Valino, Jr. Retrospective

Carlos P. Valino, Jr.
12 May to 13 June 2017
3F Galleries
UP Vargas Museum

Obra ni Val

UP Vargas Museum, in cooperation with the family of Carlos Valino, Jr., and The University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, opens Obra ni Val: Carlos Valino, Jr. Retrospective on May 12. The public reception is on May 24, Wednesday, 6 PM at the 1F Galleries. Obra ni Val: Carlos Valino, Jr. Retrospective runs until June 13.

About the Artist

Carlos P. Valino, Jr. (b. 1926 – d. 2008) is an artist, professor, and storyteller whose expertise in figure drawing has received acclaim from students, peers, and colleagues. He was a Ramon Roces Scholarship Grantee of UP School of Fine Arts and Architecture (eventually became the UP College of Fine Arts, separate from the College of Architecture). He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1951. He taught in his college for 33 years (retiring in 1991). Being one of the last students of Fernando Amorsolo, Irineo Miranda, and Dominador Castañeda, he had mastered realism – so much so that he could sketch proficiently any figure from memory and demonstrate it in class. His illustrations speak to folk culture and local history, and they have been featured in numerous publications including Liwayway magazine. His works are installed at the University of the Philippines, National Library, National Museum, Coconut Palace, and the Malacañang Palace.

The retrospective is a celebration of Valino: a boy from Nueva Ecija who survived the Japanese Occupation persevered in his studies and mastered his craft. The exhibit will feature Valino’s early and late works (historical paintings, genre paintings, and portraiture), illustrations and personal objects.


Ged Merino and Aze Ong
12 May to 13 June 2017
1F Lobby and West Wing Gallery

UP Vargas Museum, with support from The Drawing Room (Contemporary Art), opens Ged Merino’s and Aze Ong’s exhibition titled Existence on May 12. Public reception (which includes a performance by Aze Ong) is on May 24, Wednesday, 6 PM at the 1F Galleries.

Existence presents the collaboration between Merino’s and Ong’s works that harness the spider’s mythological origins as “creator”. The industrious and meticulous ways the spider crafts its web become the stimuli for tales of deities likened as the weavers of the universe (such as the Grandmother Spider, or Spider Woman), as well as the dispositions reflective of the creativity of Filipinos who thrive in different environments. At the same time, a spider emulates the cycle from birth (conception) to death (transcendence): the emergence of life on earth.

Supplementing the exhibit are two Artist Talks by Ged Merino and Aze Ong on May 26, Friday, at 10-11:30 AM and 1-2:30 PM at the 1F Galleries of the museum. Existence runs until June 13.

About the Artists

Ged Merino (b. 1962) studied Bachelor of Fine Arts from PWU School of Fine Arts and Art Students League (New York). He represents The Drawing Room (Contemporary Art), Multiple Impressions (New York), Miriam Perlman Gallery (Chicago), Galeria Expreso del Arte (Bogotá, Colombia) and Turning Art. He was the recipient of different awards such as Best in Show in the Spirit of New Jersey (1991), Jackson Pollock Memorial Scholarship in Arts Student League, New York (1988), and Top Five in the ASEAN Youth Painting Delegation, Singapore (1987). Aside from local and international exhibitions, he has also been part of art fairs and biennales such as Artstage Singapore (2015).

Aze Ong (b. 1977) received her Bachelor of Communication in Media Production at Assumption College. She has exhibited in local and international galleries and museums, and her works have been part of the collections of Museo Pambata and Jeonbuk Museum of Art (Korea). She is an Asian Cultural Council Grantee (2016) and was named Solar Daybreak Artist of the Week (2014). She was featured in numerous media platforms (newspapers, magazines, and TV shows), including BBC Brasil (2011) and the MAPEH on the Go 10, the K to 12 edition textbook (2015).

Contact UP Vargas Museum

For more information about any of the events, please contact Vargas Museum at (+632) 928-1927 (direct line), (+632) 981-8500 local 4024 (UP trunkline), (+632) 928-1925 (fax), or send an e-mail to You may also check our website or like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@UPVargasMuseum) for more updates.

Book Review

Book Review: 7 Reasons Why Filipinos Will Change the World

If you’re Filipino, chances are you’ve been inundated by exasperating news about the current state of affairs in the country in the past year. In October, I was so frustrated that I resolved to write about what aspects of being Filipino I still take pride in. I have to admit that I found the exercise too difficult.
Continue reading “Book Review: 7 Reasons Why Filipinos Will Change the World”

Persian Melodies: The Traditional Music Of Iran (Free Concert at UP Asian Center)

The UP Asian Center will be hosting a free concert, Persian Melodies: The Traditional Music of Iran on 7 February 2017, 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., GT-Toyota Asian Center Auditorium, UP Asian Center. The concert is open to the public, but seating is first-come, first-served.

Persian Melodies: The Traditional Music Of Iran at UP Asian Center

About the Concert

The concert will feature performances of traditional Iranian music, which is generally performed by small groups that typically consist of a vocalist and (an) instrumentalist(s) for the rhythm and melody.

“We are happy to bring the venerable musical culture of Iran to UP,” says Dr. Henelito Sevilla of the UP Asian Center, who obtained his Ph.D. in International Relations at the University of Tehran. “This is a rare opportunity to discover a rich musical tradition from the Western side of Asia. The concert offers a great educational and cultural experience, helping Filipinos, especially musicians and music lovers, recognize the similarities and differences between Iranian and Philippine musical traditions.”

The vocalist of the group, Chavous, will sing traditional Persian melodies accompanied by several native instruments such as tar, setar, nay, dulcimer, and daf. Chavous is a five-member musical group led by Reza Gholamhosseinpour. The members include Sajjad Dabestan Pour, vocals and dulcimer; Morteza Ghanbar Nasab Behbahani, flute; Abdolhamid Sarvarizadeh, setar and tombak; and Hamed Zamanian.

About the Organizer

This free concert is organized by the UP Asian Center, The Cultural Center, Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Philippine-Iran Cultural and Scientific Society (PICCS). Sign up today and be part of this event! For inquiries, email

This post originally appeared on the UP Asian Center website. Minor revisions were made.

metropolitan theater

The MET Comes Alive with the NORDLYS / P-NOiSE Contemporary Performance

Last Saturday, my friend Vin asked me to watch a performance at the Manila Metropolitan Theater, or what is more popularly known as the Met. I was beside myself with delight when I heard that there was going to be a performance at the Met. Never mind that I’m not really a fan of modern dance or performance art; it was THE Met! It’s part of my favorite spots in Manila, and I know that this opportunity doesn’t come often.

The Metropolitan Theater

It was dream-like not only to step inside the partially restored theater, but also to actually watch a live performance here, just as my mother did when she was younger. Thanks to the National Commission on Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) efforts to restore and renovate the dilapidated theater, we were able to have that breathtaking experience of celebrating art in a magnificent art deco building. Unfortunately, they were unable to salvage the Amorsolo paintings in the lobby, so the NCCA just put up tarpaulin reproductions in their place.

The Met was constructed in the 1930s and was designed by Juan Arellano, who was also the architect of the Manila Central Post Office Building. After the Second World War, it was transformed into a gay bar and a boxing arena. In the succeeding decades, politicians like Imelda Marcos and Lito Atienza attempted to revive the theater, but it was only in May 2015, with proper funding from the government, when concerted efforts were made to promote and rehabilitate the decaying building.

The NORDLYS / P-NOiSE Contemporary Performance

The NORDLYS / P-NOiSE Contemporary Performance is the first major event in Manila that featured Nordic dancers. Organized in collaboration with the Royal Danish Embassy in the Philippines, the NCCA, and Nordic and Filipino art collectives, this performance is part of an ongoing festival celebrating the culture, talent, and artistry of both local and European performers.

Choreographers: Tine Østergaard and Julie Rasmussen
Technician: Anders Amdisen
Costumes and Graphic Design: Sandra Møller Svendsen

dancers at the metropolitan theater
Snow Elves and Ice Elves: Students from FEU
dancers at the met
Sebastian Lingserius and Nefeli Oikonomou (“D ANCE”)
performance art
Ellinor Kristina Ljungkvist and Georg Kammerer (“I DWELL UPON PEOPLE”)
taking a photo of a dancer
Ray Roa (“Phantom Muse”)
dancers at the Met
Valterri Raekallio and Karoliina Kauhanen (“Where Does The Light Go?”)
dancers at the met
Ingvild Isaksen, Maren Fidje Bjørneseth, Elisa Vassena and Masako Matsushita (“People”)
Sta. Cruz bridge at night
View from the Sta. Cruz bridge at night

We capped the night with a short walk in Lawton and across the Sta. Cruz Bridge to Escolta with Carlos Celdran and other members of the audience. It was a fun night, overall. I’m looking forward to more events like this, especially once the Metropolitan Theater is fully restored.

“Tie a String Around the World” Opens at the Vargas Museum on Dec 9

Tie A String Around the World invitation

Tie a String Around the World
UP Vargas Museum, 1F & 3F Galleries
Opening on December 9, 2016, Friday at 6 p.m.
RSVP:, (+632) 527 2175

The UP Vargas Museum opens Tie A String Around the World on December 9 at 6 in the evening. This homecoming re-stages the Philippines’ official exhibition at the Venice Art Biennale in 2015, 51 years after its first national participation in 1964. It will present the works of Manuel Conde, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Manny Montelibano, and Jose Tence Ruiz; and a documentation of the collateral initiations of David Medalla in collaboration with Adam Nankervis. Objects that broaden the discourse on worldmaking, such as maps and the lingling-o, as discussed in the Pavilion catalog will also be exhibited.

Nation, Border, and Territory

Tie A String Around the World is a line taken from the Manuel Conde film Genghis Khan in which the eponymous conqueror promises her beloved to conquer the world and lay it at her feet. The exhibition pivots on Conde’s seminal film, which was re-edited and annotated by the American writer-critic James Agee, and screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Venice Film Festival in 1952. Conde collaborated with Carlos Francisco, who co-wrote the script and produced the set designs. Recalling this passage by which Venice first recognized the country through the moving image, the exhibition invites reflection on the changing configurations of the world via the Philippines, and the contentious meanings of nation, border, and territory.

Vargas Museum invitation

Jose Tence Ruiz responds to Genghis Khan by evoking a spectral ship made of metal and wood, and calls it Shoal. The installation references the vessel Sierra Madre, a military garrison, and security detachment deployed by the Philippine government in 1999 that floats on contested waters, and prevails both as “saga and shipwreck.” Manny Montelibano’s multi-channel video titled A Dashed State focuses on the West Philippine Sea, part of the disputed South China Sea. Juxtaposing images of a lush locale and the seemingly slow and ordinary life in the islands with the sound of epics and actual radio frequencies from China, Montelibano’s work probes the history of worldmaking and the history of the sea in the long duration and in relation to the formation of empires, nation-states, and regions.

Visit the Exhibition at the UP Vargas Museum

The exhibition will run until February 18, 2017. Please visit the Vargas Museum website and its official Facebook page. E-mail the museum at or call at (+632) 928-19-27 for more information.

Tie A String Around the World homecoming exhibition is organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, in partnership with the UP Vargas Museum.

Pinto Art Museum

Rizal – Antipolo’s Pinto Art Museum

If you’re a millennial like me, you’ve probably heard about that art museum in Antipolo City from your friends or social media contacts. Home to the non-profit organization Silangan Foundation for Arts, Culture, and Ecology, Pinto Art Museum is a private gallery and museum that has attracted the attention of curious tourists and art enthusiasts.

Stephanie Lopez' Defiling a Dream
Stephanie Lopez’ Defiling a Dream. Yes, my friend didn’t touch the artwork 🙂

Pinto Art Museum

Pinto Art Museum garden

A Museum in the Hills

What sets Pinto Art Museum apart from most other art galleries and museums around Manila is its sprawling landscape and beautiful interiors. Nestled on the side of the Sierra Madre mountains, the museum offers a breathtaking view of the lowlands.

Pinto Art Museum

Pinto Art Museum

Feast for the Senses

Aside from being a haven for landscape architects, the museum is known, of course, for housing hundreds of pieces from upcoming and established artists alike. With its many galleries and exhibits, the museum was nothing but a feast for the eyes.

In an interview with Philippine Star, art patron, neurologist, and museum owner Joven Cuanang said that he sees himself as an educator: showcasing the works of contemporary Filipino artists is his contribution to the promotion of our culture and arts.

Pinto Art Museum
My friend Jep interacting with the artwork
Pinto Art Museum
Panalo (swim, bike, run) by Ferdie Montemayor

Pinto Art Museum

And here are leaves

How to get there

In Cubao, take a jeepney or an FX bound for Antipolo and ask the driver to drop you off at Ynares Center. It’s a few blocks away from the church, and it’s not hard to find. From there, take a tricycle to the museum (P50 per trip). The drivers are familiar with the place.

If you’re going by car, take Ortigas Extension. Go past Cainta Junction, and drive until you reach Tikling Junction. The route heading uphill will get you to Ynares Center. Turn right and drive straight ahead to reach the gates of Grand Heights.

More Details

Pinto Art Museum is located at 1 Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights, 1870 Antipolo City. Ticket prices (as of July 2016) are as follows:

  • P200 – Regular visitors
  • P180 – Senior citizens and PWDs with valid IDs
  • P100 – Students with valid IDs and children

The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 9 AM to 6 PM. Reach them by calling (02) 697-1015 or shoot them an email.

For reservations for seats at the Pinto Museum: Pinto Café by Peppermill, call (02) 986-1804.

Gen. Luna's birthplace

Celebrating Independence Day

I am a person who deeply values tradition and rituals. Every year, I celebrate Independence Day by taking a walk in Intramuros or Ermita. This year, I took a break from that tradition to spend time with my family and celebrate Father’s Day a week early.

Bantayog ng mga Bayani
Eduardo Castrillo’s monument at Bantayog

Bantayog ng mga Bayani

Together with my family, I started the day with a quick trip to Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City. We joined the silent protest against the president-elect’s decision to bury Marcos in Libingan ng mga Bayani.

About 500 people came to share stories about their experiences during Martial Law. Some brought sandwiches and lugaw for other attendees. A handful of people brought their children, which was very heartening.

Bantayog ng mga Bayani
Toym Imao’s sculpture

Marcos, Not a Hero

A personal note: I’ve always been very vocal about my views on the late dictator and how he terrorized and stole from his own people. In 2012, I even created a Facebook page to counter the lies about the Marcos regime that I read on the Internet. So to watch BBM’s brazen attempt to revise history is a bit depressing for me.

(If you love the Philippines, and if you agree that plundering megalomaniacs do not deserve to be called a hero, make your voice be heard and sign this petition.)

Lunch at Binondo

Binondo Church
Binondo Church

We had lunch at my favorite restaurant in Binondo, Lan Zhou La Mien, where we had a hearty meal for four for less than a thousand pesos. A bowl of noodles costs less than P200, and it’s already good for sharing. We also ordered a 15-piece platter of kuchay dumplings, which was basically a steal at P180.

Lan Zhou La Mien
Dimsum and noodles from Lan Zhou La Mien

Afterwards, we went on a short walk to San Nicolas, which is a few blocks away from Binondo Church. We paid a visit to Gen. Antonio Luna’s birthplace in Urbiztondo, right across Rajah Soliman High School.

Heneral Luna's birthplace
Gen. Luna’s birthplace in San Nicolas

Last on our list was the National Museum in Ermita. They don’t charge entrance fees on Sundays, so you can bring your whole family without worrying about your budget. Learn more about the National Museum on their website.

How did your family celebrate this year’s Independence Day?