Sunday, February 22, 2015


It was one afternoon when my siblings and I decided to stop by at the Gray Wall Art Studio before going out for dinner. We were driven more by curiosity rather than by anything else. Lo and behold! We found out to our surprise that the resident artist in this studio is no other than the son of Ricarte M. Puruganan, a multi awarded artist, one of the Thirteen Moderns who ushered in a new era in Philippine art in the 1930's, and was a contemporary of Fernando Amorsolo, HR Ocampo, Cesar Legaspi, Botong Francisco and Anita Magsaysay-Ho.

So what is my impression of Victor Puruganan? He is one artist who can talk about his life with candor and enthusiastically discuss his art at great length. He definitely lives and breathes his art. He is the only one among all the children of Ricarte Puruganan who followed the footsteps of his father. Victor can best be described with one word, versatile. He has the ability to shift from one medium to another and from one genre of art to another. He is not only a painter but also a sculptor who is very much passionate about art and life.

Victor finished a two year course in fine arts at the City College of San Francisco in the United States, resided and held one man exhibits there for quite sometime before coming back to the Philippines to stay for good. His enterprising brother and sister-in-law, Jude and Naila Puruganan, put up Gray Wall Art Studio to showcase his paintings and sculptures as well as those of other well known artists. Having strong connections in the Philippine art scene, Jude acts as the art consultant for the studio.

We had an engrossing discussion with Victor. We didn't even notice that the sun had already set down and yet we were still inside his studio. It was indeed wonderful to exchange views with an artist who is self-assured and passionate about his art. Definitely, art is in his blood.

With the artist in his studio
Interviewing the artist (in orange shirt), Victor Puruganan
The art of Victor Puruganan
The art of Victor Puruganan
Admiring the different art works at the Gray Wall Art Studio

With two of his pieces of sculptures, "Cycle of the Sun" and "Pole Dancing" (red one), made from automobile parts

His "Cycle of the Sun", a finalist in the GSIS Sculpture Competition 2014

A book authored by his renowned artist father, Ricarte M. Puruganan

A painting by Spanish artist, Cesar Caballero

This is Victor Puruganan's abstract work

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


So you want to visit the Louvre but it is not physically possible because you are miles and miles away. You belong to the old school so you don't want to use the internet and just check the place instead. Fine. You can still live the experience of being at the Louvre without being there. Go for the old fashion way, and have it from someone who has been to the place, for events and things can be experienced through other people. That is what we call vicariously living someone else's experiences.

It was one fine evening when Xavier, my nephew, described his very recent travel to Paris, France. As he was giving a descriptive account of his visit, I was totally immersed in his stories that it was like actually being there, experiencing what he was feeling then.

Paris is a city of contrast. It is both the old and the new. The city has retained the quality of the old world, rich in its artistic heritage, while its people are ultra modern, fashionably dressed as they walk the streets of Paris. There are not many French nationals who speak English and so just like in the movie, "Lost in Translation", Xavier had to find ways of communicating with them, relying mostly on his mobile phone to translate English words to French and vice versa.

Xavier's visit to the Louvre Museum was one of the highlights of his trip. It is one of the world's largest museums and is a historic monument. It is a central landmark in Paris that showcases the different art works of the masters. He paid an entrance fee of about thirteen US dollars or six hundred Php.

In a nutshell, this is how Xavier sums up his total experience at the Louvre Museum:

"The art works at the Louvre isn't really my cup of tea, but visiting this museum is one of those things you've got to do while in Paris. The space is amazing with the size and scale of it all, impressive. There are just so many people that everything becomes pretty challenging that you just have to deal with it the best way possible so you can see the art works.

We made our way into the vast interior of the museum within an hour after it opened its doors to the public that day and still we were swallowed up by the great number of visitors. The famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci was strategically placed deep into the maze of corridors. By the time we reached this painting, the room was already thick with visitors.

In the next ten minutes, though, I was struck with a sad realization. I left the room, feeling that although Mona Lisa is the most visited piece of art at the Louvre, it is the least seen and felt. Clearly, no one was attempting to take in the piece with his eyes or his heart. The people only wanted to snap pictures or take videos of it. As if the pictures and videos were some sort of little trophies with everyone running about trying to collect as many of these as possible. The more they collected, the more of a winner they were. And it is sad because it prevented them from actually experiencing the moment and relating to this beautiful work of art."

Well Xavier, you are still one lucky guy not only for having seen the Mona Lisa smile but also for having a Mona Lisa smile.  ^-^

Adecsky Explorer about to interview Xavier Bernal

The Louvre Museum in Paris, France

Some of the works by the masters
Xavier shares his insight about his visit to Paris and the Louvre Museum
The Head of John the Baptist
The most sought after by viewers, "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo Da Vinci
"The Triumph of Neptune"

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery- A journey underneath the earth

I am one person who enters a place or a situation without hesitation and fear. Fortunately, I always get out unscathed from dangerous places or sticky situations. If curiosity can kill a cat, curiosity can whet my appetite for adventure. Call it having chutzpah, the quality of being curious and bold which I have in abundance. With my chutzpah, I entered the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery with only a skinny driver in tow as the sun was setting down. Nevermind that I might encounter the ghost of a headless Spanish friar, I was determined to explore every nook and cranny of this cemetery underneath the ground.

The Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery in Laguna is the only one of its kind in the Philippines. It is a burial site 15 feet beneath a church that was designed and built for funeral masses in 1845 by a Franciscan priest named Father Vicente Velloc. The privileged ones who came from the elite Catholic families were buried here.

This cemetery was declared a national landmark as the underground crypt was used as a secret meeting place by the revolutionary group, KKK in 1896. During the Philippine-American War, the Filipino patriots also used the place to formulate their battle plans and seek shelter. It further served as  a safe house for the Filipino guerrillas during World War ll.

As I lingered in the cemetery, I felt that the atmosphere was becoming eerie. I saw the silhouette of a man in a brown robe passed by then quickly disappeared. With goose bumps all over me, I ran up the flight of stairs leading back to the church leaving behind my chutzpah in the cemetery. :P  It was indeed a one-of-a-kind adventure.

Adecsky Explorer is ready to discover anything in the underground cemetery.

The San Bartolome Apostol Parish Church also known as the Church of Nagcarlang

Going down for an adventure ^_^

The ceiling has a mural
This is where light passes through to illuminate the cemetery. There are no light fixtures inside.

This is another entrance for the light.

Only the privileged ones from the elite Catholic families were buried here

The facade of the church

Friday, February 13, 2015


Traveling on foot is one of the best ways to get acquianted with a place. It certainly gives you the chance to be up close and personal with it and its people. This is exactly what I did one sunny afternoon.

Intramuros was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century and is located along the southern bank of the Pasig River. The name itself literally means "within walls" and was constructed to protect the city from foreign invasion during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines. Also known as Ciudad Murada, it has nearly a three-mile-long circuit of massive stone walls and fortification that almost completely surround the entire area.

One finds within the walls different Roman Catholic churches which have been in existence since the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. The oldest among them is the San Agustin Church which was built in 1607. The other churches are San Nicolas de Tolentino Church, San Francisco Church, Third Venerable Order Church, Santo Domingo Church, Lourdes Church, and San Ignacio Church. Colegio de San Juan de Letran, one of the oldest educational institutions in the Philippines, is also located here.

Having one of the best views of Intramuros

I never got hopelessly lost as I continued my tour of Intramuros. This is precisely because the place has an orderly street plan found in signages strategically located in different areas. General Luna Street provides easy access to most of its major attractions. I was charmed with the restaurants, cafes, hotels and souvenir shops which are in proximity to this street.

Although I perspired a lot walking around under the sun, I certainly had an awesome time in Intramuros. I capped my tour with a delightful refreshment of  calamansi creme cake, okoy, and halo-halo at the Ristorante delle Mitre.

The majestic interior of the San Agustin Church

The glory of the past

The San Agustin Church Museum is replete with religious icons way back from the Spanish period.

I could almost feel the presence of the Spanish friars walking along with me. ^_^

Holy bell!

I am about to take my snack at the Ristorante delle Mitre

Monday, February 2, 2015

Amberdawn Creations Over A Cup Of Coffee

Looking at other artists' works is akin to sitting on a chair. Either it gives me a comfortable feeling or makes me feel uneasy. It is sitting on a cushioned chair or on one made from wrought iron. There are paintings that are just pleasant to look at but there are some that make me feel uneasy, stir my emotions and make me weave stories in my head. For an effective art has four dimensions, the three we can see and the fourth, the story behind it.

I am drawn to the art by Amberdawn Creations, its paintings, collages and photography. Probably because its art fills a certain gap whenever I view other art works. Probably because its art is different. Probably because its art makes me pleasantly uncomfortable. It has this factor called intensity, intensity of thoughts and feelings. This intensity fuels my mind to create stories.

I threw the artist several questions one afternoon, questions about his art. In a nutshell, his art is about his life. It is expressive of all the trials he has gone through in his young life. It is when he processes his pains brought about by his personal experiences in a once war-torn Croatia that he comes up with art that resonates. His art is manifest of his thoughts and emotions, his art is his visual philosophy.  Having no formal schooling in art, he enhances his talents with experimentation and researches on techniques through the internet.

I ponder on his works and art itself over a cup of coffee. Really, art gives us two great gifts of emotion, the emotion of recognition and the emotion to escape our present reality. Both of these take us out of the boundaries of ourselves and let us journey into the land of the artist's dreams. And that is exactly what the art of Alen Knezevic is all about.

Keeper of the Forest
Fear is the Key

Guitar craft
The artist, Alen Knezevic