Monthly Archives: May 2014

Museum Weekend


 Rizal’s flute

There are articles urging us to date someone who travels. Who writes. Who reads. Whatever. I’ll date anyone a good person who takes me to a museum or an art gallery when I need to feel better.

Last weekend, I was sick and needed something to keep me out of my room, where I’d probably just wallow in the futility of my vitamin supplements. Good thing it was also International Museum Weekend. (International Museum Day, but thanks to international date line differences.)

Free entrance! Chicken soup for my flu-infected soul. This year’s destinations: Lopez Museum at Ortigas and Ayala Museum at Makati.

The exhibit Complicated, featuring works by Mike Adrao, Leslie de Chavez and Ea Torrado, runs until August 2, 2014 at the Lopez Museum.


Ea Torrado during her art talk

Ea Torrado’s talk was conducted at the Lopez Museum last Saturday. She led us, a roomful of museum visitors who have no (declared) dancing talents, into an appreciation of dance as an art. Her pieces on exhibit include Sisa, a video of her dancing in the dark with flashes of light and where names of desaparecidos are read.

When I think of dances, the creative process in my mind involves making up movements to suit a certain music. Ea spoke of how it is not always that linear. In fact, a lot of times her movements are conceptualized before the music. For some of her performances, the music was composed to go with the movements.

After the talk, I went around the Museum, where guides gave free tour for groups of visitors. I also wanted to go to the Yuchengco Museum at Makati, where Ambeth Ocampo was already wrapping up his talk on Philippine museums. But I had an appointment that afternoon and it was not possible to be at two geographically separated places at the same time. Believe me, sometimes I try. Also, my new job gives me free access to the Yuchengco Museum, anyway.


Sunday was for the concert at Ayala Museum. Grammy award-winning pianist Edsel Gomez was there to perform with Nelson Gonzales (drums), Johnny Gaerlan (bass), Tusa Montes, Harold Santos, and Jacques Dufourt (percussion section from UP College of Music’s Asian Music Program).


I’ve been exploring the music of jazz clarinetist Don Byron lately, because I’ve also recently decided to focus on my clarinet studies. That’s how I first came across the works of Edsel Gomez. Byron and Gomez worked together in Cubist Music, an album that features improvisation based on Cubist Art. The latin jazz pianist has also collaborated with vibraphonist Gary Burton of the Berklee College of Music, whose online improvisation courses I’ve been following.

So I was excited to listen to him perform live and wondered if I can remember the titles from his latin jazz compositions. There are a few pieces I was expecting him to play to the audience, some of whom I bet have been following his music closely.


That night I was reminded of what draws me to jazz: its unpredictability.

During the introduction, Gomez told us how he studied Filipino instruments and music, then enchanted us with the way he mixed it with his own style. I sensed the same fascination in the audience as we listened to numbers, such as Bahay Kubo (Nipa Hut) and some war chants, rendered in jazz and mixed with music from ethnic instruments, such as kulintang, kubing, etc., by the artists from UP’s Asian Music Program. Gaerlan and Gonzales (who owns Tago Jazz Cafe in Cubao) perfects the chemistry needed to seal the fresh sound we were hearing.


Edsel Gomez didn’t tell us how he would call the music they performed that night. I wish I’d asked. I also need to see them perform again, hopefully at the Philippine International Jazz Festival next year.


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Trail running and a love letter


Recovery food from a hole-in-the-wall at Slaughterhouse, Baguio City

The first time I tried to use the word “heart” in an article, my co-editors said it was uncharacteristic of me. To add credibility to this entry, I guess I need to quote someone else.

In the biographical film Without Limits (Warner Bros. Pictures; 1998), Bill Bowerman (Donald Sutherland) speaks of how Steve Prefontaine (Billy Crudup) taught him that “the real purpose of running isn’t to win a race. It’s to test to the limits of the human heart.” 

Take that from a runner who once held the American record in seven different distance track events from the 2,000 to the 10,000 meters.


 Photo from

I fell in love with trail running in 2012. Somewhere along the 11-km. route at The North Face Benguet Challenge, I decided that if I will take running seriously, the trail will be my focus.

Last week, my friend Marcky (who took the recovery photo above) and I joined the 22-km. race at the TNF Challenge. I set out to run faster than I did in the same category in 2013. There are a few excuses I can list down but it’s better to just accept that I didn’t reach my goal.

When you’ve wanted something badly, made time for it in your less-than-relaxed schedule, prepared, waited, ignored other options, focused, and then failed to have what you gave up a lot for: it feels like a year-long cramp.

So I’d rather talk about the happier part, the preparation, or what can be more accurately called The Cramming.


I got less than one month to train for the course. The bulk of my running sessions were spent at the road and trails from our house in Morong, Bataan to the Subic Gate, and back. That’s about twenty kilometers. I would wake up at five in the morning to prepare and then run before the sun rises.

During my running sessions, I found out that the roads of our town are so much busier now compared to how they were during my younger years. Back then, you can have the road all to yourself for a long time. Now you need to be more careful because you’re sharing it with more vehicles. Once in a while motorcyclists would slow down, not to snatch anything from me, but to greet me or offer a ride.


Along what used to be a quiet route, I also saw a few Mustangs and a Ducati speed away. “Someday,” I tell myself. Someday. But out there, with my trail shoes and already sweaty running clothes, I knew I was appreciating the view in the best way possible: a long, slow, lovely distance run.


The town doesn’t lack potassium stations. You can pack your belt light and just load up at the banana stalls along Sabang and Mabayo, the two adjacent barangays where the course runs through.


Hydration station? Try the stream or the river. Bring that expensive bottle with filter if you must, then go back to the urban jungle and tell everyone how you “roughed it out” in the province. When I was a kid we’d fill up containers of water from the spot shown above. It felt nostalgic to stop there all those mornings that I trained.


I also got to spend some time cooking for my parents. They’re pescetarian, well, most of the time. They have to cook pork and beef meals once in a while because the babies (i.e. eight medium and large breed dogs) need something to feast on. I took the opportunity to overhaul my diet and make room for more vegetables and fish. I was so glad to find out the my favorite edible fern sells for about fifteen pesos in our town.

When you’re serving fresh produce, a little boiling or grilling is all you need. Whenever bored, I experimented with the wine left from holiday festivities and used them on the dishes.

For some time during training month, my routine was: run in the morning, work on some cases and on my business plans in the middle of the day, drive around town in the afternoon, then swim at the beach before sunset.

The preparation for the race made me want to have a healthier lifestyle. Now the challenge is how to stick to it since I’m back in the city. Friends advise that I try squeezing the Insanity Workout into my routine. But the past years the only workout I’ve been able to stick to is Necessity, brought by broken elevators and high gas prices. I remember a time when I lost more than ten pounds of weight in a month because of that.

Anyway — heart. I still don’t have a lot to say about this. But there are rare moments in your life when you want something so bad, it helps you learn to love yourself more. And one way to learn that is by testing your heart’s limits.

See you at the trail!

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Filed under Life, Love, Trail, Travel