Monday, July 21, 2014

Pundokan Is Back: Celebrating Music This Kadayawan 2014



If you are traveling to Davao this August to celebrate Kadayawan with the entire city, or a local looking for an event to enjoy, do check out Pundokan Dabaw at Backyard Burgers South (Ecoland) this August 15 – 16, 2014. Enjoy listening to talented local artists during the Battle of the Bands on August 15. The winner of the competition will be the opening act for Maude and Up Dharma Down the next day. While you enjoy a night of music, Backyard Burgers will be there to serve you with great food and drinks all throughout the event.

Music, food, and booze in a great hang out place – what more could you ask for? As for me, I would definitely take the chance to chill out with my family and just enjoy a night of great music. Plus, my favorite band, Up Dharma Down, will be there! I will not definitely miss this for anything else.


Pundokan Dabaw started last March 2014 to celebrate and promote the local culture, food, music, and the arts. I was given the opportunity to conduct an art workshop on the first Pundokan event together with Travel Beads. After the workshop, we enjoyed a night of thrilling music from one of the winners of the first Battle of the Bands and got to try the different food offerings available at the venue. With next month’s Pundokan, the organizers keep coming up with better events for people to celebrate with family, friends, and loved ones.

If you want to join the Battle of the Bands, check out the flyer below (click for a larger image) or check out Pundokan Dabaw’s FacebookPage.



For more information and updates, please visit Pundokan Dabaw’s Page.
You may also contact them at:
Landline: (082) 295-2201

Mobile: 0925-727-6149 or 0925-557-2345

Friday, March 21, 2014

Art MADE Public at SM Lanang Premier on March 20 – 22, 2014



SM Lanang offers another exciting event for arts and culture lovers this month. There will be a Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE) exhibit at the Lower Ground Level, SM Lanang Premier this March 20 – 22, 2014. It features artworks of previous winners from the MADE competition and you’ll get a chance to meet some of the winning artists as well.  





On March 21 (Friday) from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM, there will be lecture series on Visual Arts, Sculpture, Interior Design, Architecture, plus a special topic on present day issues on tourism and heritage and the benefits of community participation in conservation and cultural tourism.

 MADE Architecture Winner 'Agos'
by Archt. Jason Abustan, Archt. Lorraine Caban, and Archt. Jonathan Sadorra

'Iskolar' by Jaypee S. Samson
MADE 2004 Painting Competition Winner
(one of my favorite artworks from the exhibit)

On the last day of the event, March 22 (Saturday), there will be a HeArt for Healing Art Workshop for Children with Autism from 1:30 PM to 5:00 PM. It will be conducted by Dr. Grace Evangelista in collaboration with the Autism Society of the Philippines and MADE Network of Winners (N.O.W.).

Davao City Administrator Atty. Melchor Quitain, City Councilors Al Ryan Alejandre and Ma. Belen Acosta, SM Lanang Premier Assistant Mall Manager Jerome Yeo, and Metrobank Foundation’s Senior Program Officer Yvette Macayan graced the opening of the exhibit last night. Louise Laine Calicdan from MADE hosted the event. It was just a simple and intimate gathering that brought together people who support the country’s art and design culture. Moreover, the gathering was made more thrilling by the contemporary tunes played with a twist of classical by the Maharlika Strings. 

Ms. Yvette Macayan and City Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre together with the previous winners of the MADE Painting Competition
 Ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the exhibit

Ms. Yvette Macayan and Louise Laine Calicdan from MADE, City Councilor Mabel Acosta and previous winners from the MADE Competition

I have a new favorite band in town: The Marharlika Strings

The SM Lanang ‘Art MADE Public’ is the last leg in this series of exhibits, which were held earlier at SM Aura Premier, SM City North Edsa – The Block, SM City Iloilo and SM City Cagayan De Oro. The Metrobank Art and Design Excellence organizers strive to promote art education through this series of events and liven up the culture of art and design in the country

SM Lanang Premier and Metrobank Foundation organized this event in partnership with the National Commission of Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Committee on Architecture and Design.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Making of Dreamweaver


My type of therapy these days is a creative kind of watercolor painting, which is coffee painting. When I read about Freeway’s Art Bag Design Contest, I immediately thought that it’s the perfect opportunity to get creative, enjoy the process, and hopefully win something for myself. So there I go – I cleaned my brushes and pans, cut a whole size watercolor paper in half, and started a productive ritual of making a coffee painting artwork.

Before I started sketching on the watercolor paper, I first doodled my “idea” on my recycled paper journal. It looks something like this and the doodle was finished within minutes. I had to doodle fast so as not to lose the vision that I had in mind for the painting.

 Next up, I started sketching on the watercolor paper with a pencil. Sorry for the crappy phone pic quality. The drawing is not that clear yet because it was sketched with pencil.

 Next, I made the sketch clearer with a pen to finalize the image on paper. I used a Point 0.3 G-TEC pen for this, as it is my favorite pen for doing coffee and ink artworks. It really does wonders not just for writing but also for drawing. 

 Before dabbing on some paint, I erased the pencil lines on the watercolor paper to make the drawing crisp and clean.



 Tada! This is how it looks like before painting it with coffee. 

 Since I’m right-handed, I started painting on the left side of the paper, working my way from the top to the bottom. This strategy is to make sure that I don’t smudge the coffee paint due to the motion of my hands and arms. 

 It took me three days to finish the painting, as I was doing other things and I had to wait for the coffee to dry on some areas before proceeding.

The last thing that I had to do was paint some areas with a darker shade of coffee to make the painting pop out and establish the image.

 After drying the painting, I took a picture of it and submitted the digital image to Freeway’s Art Bag Design Contest. 



This is the final image after some brightness and contrast modifications. 


There you go! I hope I was able to contribute to your art knowledge for today. Coffee painting is really a fun process. It’s totally easy because you are dealing with a monochromatic kind of painting. Plus, the aroma of coffee while painting is pure bliss.

The T’boli Tinalak Loomweavers of Mindanao inspired the theme of my painting. I’m always at awe at the mystery and beauty of their creative process in making the Tinalak fabrics. The materials of their fabrics come from their immediate surroundings. The patterns on their fabrics come from their dreams, which is a rare ability from a few women of their tribe. Every Tinalak fabric, for this matter, is unique, which is derived from the dreams of a specific T’boli woman.

While I was traveling around Central Visayas and Northern Luzon last 2010, I also discovered that there are also different places in the country that hold their own loomweaving tradition. In Bohol, they have loomweavers in a municipality called Tubigon, which was the place where my grandfather grew up. When I also went to Vigan in Ilocos Sur, there’s a place called Camangaan were Inabel loomweavers reside. Compared to the hard and strong fabric of the Tinalak, the Inabel fabric is soft and stretchy.

So basically, the whole process of making this painting is my devotion towards this special tradition of our country. I am always in awe with the creativity and resourcefulness of our own craftspeople. As a Filipino, I don’t want to leave this world without contributing to the preservation of our country’s most treasured traditions.

If you want to support me in the contest (pretty please), kindly vote for my entry by clicking this link. Don’t forget to like Freeway Online first before voting my entry to the Art Bag Design Contest!

Thank you once again and may you prosper for the love of coffee and loomweavers!


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Have You Ever Thought About The Future of Your Family?



Very important life questions stuck through my mind when I attended Philam Life’s Family Talk Forum last July 24, 2013 at Apo View Hotel. Questions such as how will I provide for my family, what will happen if I die too young or die very old, how can I achieve my dreams, or who will take care of my family if ever I pass away lingered in my mind even after the event. The speakers talked about very interesting and essential topics. I am very grateful to them for opening my mind to these important life lessons.

I am nearing a quarter of a century and I admit that I am part of the Peter Pan Generation. I am still heavily dependent on my parents but I go from one freelance project to the next to earn extra income. My whole family recently invested in the stock market, but we are still in the dark as to how to make the most out of our investments. I am also two years away from that age when my mother got married and had our eldest sister. Being single gives me the freedom to do whatever I want with my time, money and energy but sometimes it makes me long for the love and security of starting and having my own family.

So basically I am in the middle of a quarter-life crisis and fortunately Philam Life’s Family Talk Forum enlightened me on what to do at this point in my life. During the early introduction at the forum, I discovered that I am part of the 89% of Filipinos who are afraid to die too soon and not being able to provide for our families. I am also part of the 87% who are afraid to adjust our living standards when something unexpected happens.

Maribel Sison Dionisio from Love Institute

The first speaker of the forum was Maribel Sison Dionisio, MA from Love Institute. One of the most important things that I learned from her talk is ensuring a Work-Life Balance. My parents are also good examples of juggling different responsibilities while always being there for our family. It would really be a test of faith and responsibility if I follow good parenting habits by the time that I also become a parent. Mrs. Maribel Dionisio also gave us handouts on how to plan for the budget of our families at each important period of our lives and the lives of our children. I will surely make a soft-copy of this and keep it on my desktop because I want to have an overview on how I can provide for my future family’s needs, especially on the rising costs of education.

The next speaker of the forum was Zanne Magararu from Philam Life. She is a petite but vibrant speaker that opened up interesting questions to an audience composed of people from different ages. One of the things she said that really struck me was that it is not about how much money you have, but how much money you keep. I also took note of her six steps to financial security and prosperity as follows:

1.     Set your financial goals
2.     Know your net worth
3.     Stay out of debt
4.     Save before spend
5.     Make money work for you
6.     Prepare for the unexpected

Rex Mendoza, CEO of Philam Life

They didn’t talk much about Philam Life’s products because they were more focused on principles of good parenting and financial management. This is very interesting because there was no hard selling at all. It was like they provided us with really important information, which is good for us and our families. According to the closing remarks of Philam Life CEO, Rex Mendoza, they want to reach as many people as possible, starting with their Family Talk School Tour, and educate them about building healthy family relationships and securing a great financial future. When people will be looking for financial plans, Philam will always be there to provide the products according to their needs. And Philam has always been there as the Top 1 leader in the Philippine life insurance industry for 65 years.

Only 4% in the Philippines has life insurance coverage, which is a sad number because only a few have taken into consideration how they will secure their future and that of their families. I can see the hesitation of some people when they are invited to get insurance, especially on the light of recent scams. But how can we know for sure that our investments are secured? Look for those companies that have a great track record and decades long of service to the people. Philam Life checks both qualities.

Philam Life
15/F-18/F Philam Life Head Office, Net Lima Building
5th Avenue cor 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City 1634
Trunkline No.: (02) 521-6300
Call: (02) 528-2000


Philam Life Davao
Rizal St., Davao City
Call: (082) 227-1662







Saturday, July 27, 2013

Nothing Compares To My Happy Family in Davao


In Davao Bisaya, the title translates to “Walay Kaparehas Sa Akong Malipayong Pamilya sa Dabaw.”

I am writing this while drinking an ice-cold glass of Coke Zero. This type of Coca-Cola concoction has been my family’s all-time favorite beverage because my father can also drink it. My father is diabetic and is not allowed to taste the most delicious things in life. However, he can enjoy a glass or two of Coke Zero because it has no sugar or calories. At least his blood sugar does not go up whenever he drinks it.


So every time I see a can or bottle of Coke Zero, it gives me that immediate feeling of happiness. The thought that my beloved father could drink that and enjoy our meals with us is enough to make me happy. This is also open happiness for all those times that Coca-Cola was the ultimate beverage in every family get-together or occasion. Since Coca-Cola has a wide variety of products to choose from, people with different needs can enjoy their beverage with their loved ones.

It is my daily prayer that we will always have special family moments like this. It was only recently that I realized that family is the most important thing in the world. I treasure my family gatherings now more than ever. When you will lose almost everything that you invested your life on, your family will always be there for you no matter what. That’s why I always look forward to every family get-together because it gives me another chance to show my love to my family and receive their love as well. Plus, Coca-Cola has always been there to be part of the celebration of life.

The highlight of our lives at home will always be the coming home of our father after his work overseas. Then again, Coke Zero is there as our complete family shares lunch or dinner. The bottle of Coke Zero will be long gone, but our family still stays at the table chatting about random things or talking about profound insights in life.

We may not always be together, but whenever we are, we are the happiest people on earth.


Whenever my father gets a vacation from work, he will always share his blessings to family and friends. A family reunion to one of the beaches in Samal Island is usually the order of the day. And I could vouch that Coca-Cola tastes better when you drink it at the beach. There’s something with the saltiness in the air in the middle of a hot beach day that a bottle of Coke quenches your thirst and refreshes your spirit.

My family in Davao extends to my best friends since high school. Up until now after graduating from high school and then college, we remain very close and support each other in our endeavors. We meet each other almost every week to catch up on each other’s lives and have great conversations over meals. Whether we are playing Word Factory at GSIS Heights or eating street food at San Pedro, a bottle of Coca-Cola shared makes everything more special.


 You don’t take too much attention to that glass of beverage that has always been there whenever you bond with your loved ones. It has always been there and will always be for more gatherings to come. It is this silent symbol of happiness.

I have been to different places but I always look forward to coming home in Davao. Besides the wonderful environment and great opportunities, there’s always that warm and welcoming attitude of the people that made me consider that they are my family and this is my home.


With this collection of thoughts, I realized that Coca-Cola has always been there to add more color in our lives. Drinking a bottle of Coke by yourself gives you a sugar rush, but when you share it with others you get a rush of love and happiness. Nothing compares to a life well lived with a happy family. And I shall never forget that the incomparable Coca-Cola has been a part of it.

How about you? What’s your incomparable moment with Coca-Cola?




(Note: Coca-Cola watermarks can be downloaded here and here. Gotham font can be downloaded here)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Adventures with Coca-Cola’s Project Agos


When Coca-Cola invited Davao Bloggers to become part of their corporate social responsibility program called ‘Project Agos’, I immediately signed up to take part of the activity. It is very interesting to note that a big international brand is actively taking part in sustainable projects from the grassroots level. Small, hard steps are taken to provide potable drinking water in upland rural villages, but this will create a bigger impact as Coca-Cola aims to provide sustainable water access to 100 communities all over the Philippines in commemoration of their 100 years in the country.

Eagle statue at the side of the Barangay Hall in Brgy. Baganihan, Marilog District

We drove for almost two hours from Davao City to get to Barangay Baganihan, Marilog District. We were greeted with a warm welcome from Barangay Captain Angit and his councilors, plus representatives from Coca Cola, Alternative Indigenous Foundation (AIDFI), and Earth Day Network. These foundations have partnered up with the barangay officials to accomplish this 40th Agos Ram Pump. The 39th ram pump is in Matanao, Davao del Sur and the 41st is in Maramag, Bukidnon.

Warm greetings and initial meet-up in front of the Barangay Hall

 Datu Noynoy of the Matigsalog Tribe from Brgy. Baganihan

Council Leaders of Brgy. Baganihan

After a little meeting and coffee at the Barangay Hall, we drove a few more minutes to the project site. It was inspiring to see little kids painting the exterior of the water tank. Besides making a simple water tank aesthetically pleasing, I believe it gave a chance for the people to take pride of this project. The water tank was the first stop for an upcoming hiking adventure.

Kids painting the Agos Water Tank

Agos Ram Pump Project by Coca-Cola, Earth Day Network and AIDFI (logo of AIDFI not painted yet though)

I had a goal in mind to document the whole hydraulic ramp pump system – what it is, how it works, and how it delivers water to the upland village – but had difficulties due to the setting. The first part of the trek was something I could easily handle, but along the way each step became very challenging. I slid in the muddy slopes four times, got some red scratches on my arm, and had the muddiest shoes and pants in the bunch. Going down the slopes of the mountain was the hardest part because you will easily slip. Going upwards was easier, but it made my heart pound harder. When we got to the stream, we took pictures of the water source, hydraulic pump and catchment.

The water source for the hydraulic ram pump

The hydraulic ram pump

After that one very challenging hike, I realized how truly difficult it is for the people of Brgy. Baganihan to get to and from their water source every single day just to survive. I couldn’t even say that I experience what they go through because they make several trips per day carrying with them heavy gallons of water through that 300-meter backbreaking hike. It is a great relief to them that Coca-Cola sponsored and completed this hydraulic ram pump project so that they can easily get water right at their homes and school, which are located at the uplands.

Tribal ritual as an opening ceremony for the turnover of the Agos Hydraulic Ram Pump

Ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the water tank

During the turnover ceremony, Brgy, Captain Angit shared with us their history of trying to solve their water problem. There have been several times in the course of decades that the government funded projects for them to get access to water, and each of these attempts were either not completed or not enough to sustain the community. However, this hydraulic ram pump system provided by Coca-Cola successfully delivers 10,000 liters of water everyday in their vicinity. This 200-year old technology is also environmentally-friendly because it utilizes natural kinetic energy of the free flowing water from the source to transport large volumes of water to the upland community. It has zero carbon footprint, which does not utilize electricity or fossil fuels. The pump can be fully operational in less than six weeks and can run automatically for 24 hours per day.

I couldn’t thank Coca-Cola enough for the opportunity to become part of their Project Agos. I was enlightened on the reality that even though Davao has the best drinking water in the world, a few communities still need help to get access to it.

These children don't have to risk their lives anymore just to get access to water

It is uplifting to see that Coca-Cola upholds social responsibility and do their best to alleviate the lives of the poor. I do pray that the communities will maintain the ram pumps very well for future generations. Kudos to the beneficiary communities, partner organizations, and Coca-Cola!

Dirty shoes, tired feet, but happy sole

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Must Watch: Jiro Dreams of Sushi




A great friend of mine recommended this documentary called “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” Personally, I love watching documentaries because they tell significant stories out of normal everyday life. Plus, I was drawn to watching this film because it’s about an 85-year old Michelin-star sushi master in his quest to perfect the art of sushi. There’s something about watching artisans or masters of their own craft that thrills me. Will there also come a time that I will be a master of my own craft and set a high standard internationally?

“Once you decide on your occupation, you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably.”   -- Jiro Ono, Master Sushi Chef

These words move me during the first part of the film. I have always wondered what road to take in my life and what particular field I really want to be good on. But for Master Jiro, he sets an example for everyone as he has mastered a particular field on which he has dedicated his entire life. That is a life full of meaning and well lived.

Even if Jiro’s skills are unparalleled by anyone else, he thinks that he hasn’t perfected anything yet. He keeps on improving and relentlessly works hard every single day. The film shows clips on the perfectionist process of Jiro’s sushi making. You’ll be amazed at the finesse and grace of Jiro and his apprentices in serving sushi that is considered to be the best in the world.

“Always look beyond and above yourself. Always try to improve on yourself. Always strive to elevate your craft. “ – Jiro’s words to his son, Yoshikazu

Master Jiro, you have made an impact on me just by watching you in this documentary. You have made me realize that working on my craft is not just about the money, but also in the continuous improvement of my skills, which will make a difference in this world. Kudos!