Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gapo- Olongapo City of d Pilipins

If you are looking for heritage houses and other significant places in Olongapo City, you are surely in the wrong place. Traversing the streets of Olongapo, all we find are cemented houses, sauna and massage parlors, motels as well as old bars that are remnants of the occupation of the US Naval Forces in the city. As we go on foot along Magsaysay Avenue, we are greeted with loud band music and seedy bars that still line the streets; run down establishments that still bear traces of the heat and rhythm of the nights when bar girls in skimpy bikinis and G.I. Joes cavort inside bars and dimly lit corners of some alleys. Instead of this, we now find young men and women frequenting the place, smoking cigarettes and downing bottles of beer as bands played until the wee hours of the morning.

So what then is interesting in a place once dubbed as a city of sin? It has produced amerasian beauties brought about by the intermarriage between americans and filipinos. Megan Young who was crowned Miss World 2013 and Brethnie Cay Philips, Miss Teen Earth Philippines 2013 hail from the place.

A young generation with pop culture whose lives revolve around music and electronic gadgets has sprung. Theirs is a generation that has no knowledge of the past; that the generation before them consisted of people who were either pro americans who lived the american dream or anti americans who marched the streets to protest the presence of the american bases and fought to free the filipinos from the claws of american imperialism.

As we take the bus bound for Iba, I can't help but ponder about the transcience of life. A few wrinkles on my forehead and strands of white hair that are starting to appear are cues for me that indeed time fleets fast; hence, I have to appreciate whatever is in a place and enjoy the trip to any place the bus of life takes me.

Friday, November 21, 2014

SAN SALVADOR ISLAND: Tranquil beauty that beckons- photos by Densdec

We ride a banca with other passengers going to the island of San Salvador for the fare of ten pesos each only. The sea is the color of turquoise and is pleasantly placid during the trip. I chat with an elderly passenger, lola Agapita who is a native of the island. At the age of seventy seven, she is still strong and sprightly and can carry a bundle of wood to the banca. She has eleven children and sixty grandchildren, and makes native delicacies like suman for a living. Joie de vivre is clearly written on her face. Indeed, she is a woman who has joyfully lived every single moment of her life in this peaceful, rustic island.

San Salvador is located off the coast of Masinloc, Zambales. It is not only a home for fishermen but also its sea is a sanctuary for clams locally called taklobos. It has a quality that bewitches any visitor to the island. Its beauty doesn't shout and is not imposing. Rather, like a demure Zambalena, its beauty charms, silently calls and steals one's heart slowly.

The shore is cream colored like the pastillas, a local delicacy made from carabao's milk and is a specialty in this area of Zambales. The verdant trees locally called aroma line the shore and have thorny branches that stretch far as if eagerly reaching for the sea and the azure sky. Some backyards have sturdy green stalks of rice that are pregnant with golden grains waiting to be harvested. Seaweeds are left to dry under the sun for they will be used for gelatin making.

With my tapis and accessories to match, I am ready for our photoshoot. Densdec starts taking my photos and I internalize and immerse myself in the tranquil beauty of my surroundings.

As we ride the banca to leave San Salvador before the sun sets, I can't help but glance back with a tinge of sadness in my heart. I listen to the rustling of the aroma leaves and the murmur of the waves as if beckoning me to return for another sojourn. I smile then sigh as the island grows smaller and smaller as we travel back to the mainland. Surely, I will miss the island that bewitched me and unexpectedly stole my heart. :)

                                          A treasure from the sea
                                          Enjoying my own company
                                          Oh I could be a mermaid forever...

                          The tranquil beauty of San Salvador Island

                                 The charming lola Agapita talks about her life
                                          Loving the sea and sky

THE ARTIST IS THE ART- photography by Densdec

Being a spontaneous photographer is opening one's eyes to the different photographic opportunities around. It is thinking outside the box or better still, thinking without a box. This creative thinking is exactly what Densdec did. With his point and shoot digital camera, he made use of the native mat locally called "banig", foil, bubble wrap, wax paper, scarf, leaves and cicada's dry skin to come up with interesting shots making me, the artist as the art.

FIRE AND RAIN- the art of Alen Knezevic from Croatia

How does one describe the art of Alen Knezevic? It is fire and rain. The burning passion that is fire and the pouring vision that is rain, both expressed in his art.

Alen Knezevic, a twenty nine year old artist from Croatia, started his career in art in 2012. This was the year when he held steadfast to his faith, embraced christianity and emerged victorious from a personal crisis.

He was greatly inspired by the works of the masters in art that he saw in various museums in Louvre and Versailles, France. However, although this experience ignited his passion for the visual arts, he primarily attributes his artistic pursuit to God's divine guidance.

Alen is a highly creative, intelligent and versatile artist. He does paper art (quilling, collages, book scrapping) and book art wherein he incorporates words in his visual art so as to weave a story. He also paints and uses a variety of techniques and media such as fire, acrylic and watercolor.There is absolutely no limit to his imagination and ardor for his artistic creations; for him, any material can be used in art by a resourceful artist with a fertile imagination. He is also into photography with landscape and people as his favorite subjects.

The art of Alen manifests his inner struggles, philosophical beliefs, visions in life, hopes and dreams. His is intelligent art that vibrates with color and resonates with passion and ideas. He presents how he sees the world, his ideas and stand on matters and interprets them in the form of satire, folk art or fantasy.

Looking at his work is a sublime experience. The viewer goes into contemplation as he gazes at his work and is pleasantly absorbed by the intensity of colors, the fine details as well as the depth of the message conveyed.

Interested art buyers/ collectors can get in touch with him through his email address which is


                                          The art of Alen Knezevic