(Published in CNNGo.com on August, 22, 2012) Tokyoites borrow the most library books, Parisians are movie-obsessed and other cultural snapshots of the world’s biggest cities Which city has the most nightclubs? Which the most greenery? Where should you go if you want to eat at a different restaurant every meal, forever? The answers are São Paulo, Singapore and Tokyo, respectively. But there’s much more to be gleaned from the recently released World Cities Culture Report, published under the auspices of the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, which…Continue Reading “World’s most cultured cities (CNNGo.com)”

Published in Rappler.com (August 1, 2012)   MANILA, Philippines – Twenty-eight-year-old filmmaker Raya Martin sure seems to love defying expectations. His debut into the Philippine filmmaking scene took industry insiders by surprise, as the then-fresh graduate of the University of the Philippines Film Institute was unsuccessful at early attempts to get a job in Manila. What he got, instead, was a filmmaking residency at the prestigious Cinéfondation Residence du Festival de Cannes in Paris, France — becoming the first Filipino filmmaker to be selected for…Continue Reading “Raya Martin: The enigma that is (Rappler.com)”

Published in Rappler.com (July 27, 2012) MANILA, Philippines – He has had no formal training in filmmaking, and his path had once led him to playing guitar for the band DaPulis and a year of culinary studies in Florence. But for first-time filmmaker Jay Ignacio, the unspoken stories around Filipino Martial Arts became such a compelling theme that he spent 3 years of his life documenting some of the Philippines’ most prominent, living Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) legends in a full-length documentary called The Bladed Hand….Continue Reading “Jay Ignacio: Unsheathing the bladed hand (Rappler.com)”

At today’s Backdoor Arts and Music Festival, I performed onstage with the spoken word group Romancing Venus and was reminded of how much more beautiful life can be with poetry in it. I discovered poetry early on in life, using it as a means of expressing the pain and confusion that I often felt during my growing up years. I was a “child of a broken family” at a time when talking about parental separation was taboo, and back then I always felt that I…Continue Reading “Picket Lines: 100 Women and the Healing Power of Poetry”

Published in Rappler.com (June 9, 2012) MANILA, Philippines – 25-year-old Candice Adea, a principal dancer of Ballet Philippines, has won First Prize, Senior Women’s Division, at the recently concluded Helsinki International Ballet Competition, one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world. The competition drew 69 dancers from 28 countries, including the United States, China, Japan, Finland, Canada, Italy, and Cuba, among others. Her partner, Jean Marc Cordero, also a principal dancer of Ballet Philippines, was a semi-finalist. He won a Special Jury Award for…Continue Reading “Filipina wins first prize at prestigious ballet tilt (Rappler.com)”

This is an excerpt from “The Self in Art”, published in METRO Society in February 2012 Few works are as intriguing as an artist’s self-portrait, for here, an artist–who is mostly hidden or disguised by his works–finally reveals himself to the public. The revelation may be literal, almost photographic and matter-of-fact as in the case of Rembrandt, or it may still be laden with layers and symbolism, as in the case of Frida Kahlo and her monkeys. In any case, the art of self-portraiture itself begs…Continue Reading “The Self in Art (Metro Society)”

One would expect that a monumental exhibit such as that of Pablo Picasso‘s Philippine debut would be accompanied by years of preparation and much pomp and fanfare. After all, Picasso is one of the world’s most important visual artists of the 20th century, and the Philippines is a country starved of exhibitions of such proportions. It is ironic, then, that the staging of the exhibit Suite Vollard—one of Picasso’s most important collections, preceding his world-famous Civil War piece, Guernica—took all of six weeks and happened purely by…Continue Reading “Suite Vollard: Finally, Picasso Up Close and Personal in Manila (ClicktheCity.com)”

When a Milan-based friend called me to say that her boss, celebrated Italian visual artist and sculptor, Carla Tolomeo, was going to be in Manila for a few days and wanted to experience Philippine art and culture, I knew that I had my work cut out for me. The diversity of this archipelago means that the definitions and expressions of “art” and “culture” would be as vast as our seas, and that it would not do the Philippines justice to limit one’s experience of the…Continue Reading “A Makati Museum And Gallery Hop: The Perfect Rainy Day Getaway (ClicktheCity.com)”

Indeed, “culture” is difficult to define and even describe. Here in the Philippines, it could mean many things — from the colorful fiestas and festivals that reveal our rich history, to the many, cross-continental influences that have found their way into our daily lives, to our food and music, to the kind of pop culture that keeps our youth and masses hooked, to the everyday expressions and celebrations of beauty. Marian Pastor-Roces, a noted curator, editor, and cultural worker, describes one definition of culture as…Continue Reading “Cultural Convergence and the ‘Age of Can-Do’ (Manila Bulletin)”