It's unfortunate that this generation has to put a label on people who appreciate and pursue beauty and music and images and fashion and film and silence beyond the mainstream and the obscene—HIPSTER.

We would never have to call anyone a hipster if everyone tries to explore their own humanity at its very core--the transcendent reached through sense inputs (see list of things above).

Art works photographed during my last trip to BenCab Museum in Tuba, Benguet province (not Baguio, mind you) last December.

Thought I'd just bare my heart a little bit. And a reminder to myself:

It's March and it has been three months since I renewed and paid for the domain name and space on which this blog sits. And I haven't posted anything. It's like paying the servants for a vacation house one only gets to visit for the stretch of a summer week and never again all year.

Sometimes it seems we look for spaces that are new and yet will strike you as something familiar. For time we spend but can really not afford to spare. For people we're eager to be with but end up just spending a few hundreds for a couple of dishes and three hours in a talked-about restaurant. For sleep try to catch but will never be enough. For occasions that we look forward to but promise to drain us at the end of the day.

But sometimes it's in the old spaces, with old faces and the old duties we can actually find the teeny bit of joy from.

Like this blog.

Found this nifty little thing at Ugu Bigyan's Pottery Shop and Restaurant in Tiang, Quezon. It's not one of the artist's creations but it does catch visitors' eyes. 

"Gawa ito ng mga madre (These are made by nuns)," Ugu tells us. 

Nuns join other artisans who sell their crafts occasionally in the venue. Ugu says the bamboo lamp inspired some guests from an Iloilo town with an abundance of bamboo just lying around. 

The product does seem a little backward for a developing country, but villages here in the Philippines still experience cyclones knocking out power. And when that happens, those battery powered flashlights are called to duty.  

In 1937, Nazi fighter pilots bombed Guernica, a Basque town in northern Spain, murdering and maiming 3,000 people.

Years later, "a Gestapo officer holds a reproduction of Guernica and asks Picasso, 'You did that, didn't you?' Picasso replies, 'No, you did'."

Pablo Picasso. Oil on canvas. 137.4 in × 305.5 in. Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain.

This is why I don't get works and pieces that alienate the viewer or the audience or the listener. Do artists really just create for themselves?

A page from the book When Art Really Works given to me by a good friend.

Art is not produced solely for intellectuals ...

Subjectivity will - and indeed must - always play a role in the appreciation of art. 'Well, I don't know about art, but I know what I like' is a remark that is often heard at galleries and museums, but it is as valid as the high-faulting claims by professional art critics in the newspapers.

"Punctured" (2013) by Roen Capuli, resin. One of my favorite works the past year.
Everyone can appreciate art--whether they feel 'qualified' to do so or not. Equally, everyone can feel a sense of awe when standing before a great work of art: we can recognize that there is something magnificent about a certain work, and that feeling is universal because that is art's job.
— Andy Pankhurst and Lucinda Hawksley

The best snacks and desserts I had the past few weeks.

1. L'Opera cake from La Petit Chéri

2. Edamame Hummus with Spiced Pita from Nomama

3. Chocolate soufflé from Piazza Privato

4. French Kiss slabwich of corned lengua, sauerkraut and garlicky horseradish spread from Chuck's Deli.


So I've been recently learning how to cook. Note that I grew up cooking nothing more than hotdogs in a microwave oven and the occasional hotdogs on grill. I'm also a veteran in making s'mores at camp or nights out. 

But lately I found myself making my own (perfect!) sunny side up eggs when I get home late and everyone else would be sleeping. I throw in a slice of bread seared on a pan with some herbs and butter and Spanish sardines fried in their own oil straight from the jar. That would be my version of a perfect dinner stamped with my signature. 

But I'm looking for some progress. 

Enter The Fat Kid Inside demo videos and Erwan Heussaff. And then some Jamie "Naked Chef" Oliver, Junior Masterchef episodes and shows of my former pen pal, Bobby Flay (Why? It's a long story). 

I'm also reading "Just Three Ingredients" by Jenny White with simple encyclopedia-like pages on the basic ingredients, kitchen tools and minimalist cooking techniques. I find it the perfect book to have for dumber-than-dumb beginner cooks. 

I got the interest going as I was made to cover several restaurants and interview some awesome chefs while pretending I actually know what I'm asking and writing. I think I'll be covering less in the food beat now that we have a full-time lifestyle writer but I've to be ready. What if Mario Batalli comes over in Manila and our writer gets sick? Someone has to rise to the occasion. Ehem. 

But my main reason is how inspired I am by people who know their way around the kitchen and food. A wise man by the name of Saint Josemaria Escriva is perhaps one of the first people to have lived who believed those who serve and make the home a happier place have a job as dignified as a CEO's.

Also, imagine trying to create an artistic, excellent meal for hours and it will only be consumed in 15 minutes! It's somehow like writing, which would take hours and even days and months (and a decade, gasp~) to put together. It will only be read by someone for one whole hour or less. Ouch!

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