Friday, November 27, 2009

Timely Songs for the Long Weekend

Timely songs from Peryodiko... for the long weekend... in light of what has been a long and trying week for the country...

Pano ba tayo nagkaganito?
Kalian ba nagsimula ang gulo?
Mga araw na lumipas…alin ba dito’ng totoo…

Pano ba lalabanan
Di man lang natin alam ang sanhi...

Kailangan ko ng bakasyon
Maaari bang magpahinga ang puso kong
Patalon-talon tuwing nabibitin
Sa kung ano ba ang alin

Bakasyon..kailangan ko ng bakasyon...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ten Things to Be Thankful for In the Philippines

Yes, yes, Thanksgiving is not really a Philippine Holiday, but in light of recent events, we thought it would be a worthwhile exercise to just think of things we can all be grateful for - as and for Filipinos.

1. Be thankful that we still have heroes - and not just Manny Pacquiao or Efren Penaflorida - but the countless other everyday Filipino heroes, here and abroad, who unfailingly serve their families, their communities and this country... whether they realize it or not... and whether they are thanked for it or not.

2. Be thankful that, despite all the disappointments our "elected" officials have dumped on all of us, we all still hope and believe in elections and democracy.

3. Even with all that is wrong with our educational system, the vast majority of Filipinos do read and write, and are functionally bilingual. Be thankful for, but don't be satisfied with that.

4. Be thankful for our art and music and literature and culture and history... it's alive and thriving and growing and all around. Just look, listen and see.

5. Be thankful for adobo and munggo. And sinigang. And lumpia. And sisig. And of course, San Miguel Beer.

6. Be thankful for the Internet. That we have it, and that by and large, it remains free and uncensored here. And while we're at it, be thankful for Skype - which makes it really FREE and easy for our OFWs to call and see loved ones back home.

7. Boracay, Palawan, Bohol, Quiapo, Intramuros, Banawe, Sagada, Camsur, Donsol, Vigan, Batanes, Cebu, Davao, Lake Sebu, Lake Lanao, Calatagan, Taal, Mayon, Mt. Apo...

8. Of course, the press... be thankful we have a jealously free and colorful (though sometimes irresponsible) press.

9. Be thankful for long lines... whether it's at COMELEC to register, or at the movies to see New Moon, or in the grocery to pay for purchases, or at 5pm everyday at the MRT station, or even in traffic to get to work or return home. These are signs that, here in the Philippines, there still are goods, services and people worth lining up for.

10. And finally, to paraphrase Cory Aquino, be thankful to God, for making us Filipinos.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

***"Success" by Roel Obemio. 32"x72" acrylic on canvas (2008), for the book "Message in the Sand."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


"We need to start calling it the Ampatuan Massacre, because it occurred in the town the Ampatuans named after themselves. Maguindanao is a big province with much to be proud of -- ancient culture with beautiful music, fertile land. It doesn't deserve to forever be associated with an atrocity that can only happen in a place called Ampatuan."

--Howie Severino

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Recent Works by Farley del Rosario

Farley Del Rosario’s collection of recent works are currently on view at 1/of Gallery, 2nd level, Shops at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City.

Call 901-3152 for details.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Senseless, cowardly and incredibly horrific are not strong enough words.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who suffered unimaginable loss today, and with the people of Mindanao. Their future is our future.

The generations-old problem of development and peace in Mindanao has gone unanswered for far too long.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"You are the change that you dream as I am the change that I dream, and collectively, we are the change that this world needs to be."

--EFREN PENAFLORIDA, accepting his award as CNN Hero of the Year for 2009.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Difference Between Art and Design

"Some designers consider themselves artists, but few artists consider themselves designers. So what exactly is the difference between art and design?"

Webdesigner Depot came out with a list of core principles. Read the whole story here.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where to Get Our Books and Bags at Bargain Prices!

November 23 - 26 (Monday to Thursday) -- Books and Arts Festival
Organized by The National Book Development Board, in partnership with the Filipinas Heritage Library and Ayala Malls, at the Greenbelt 3 lobby from 9am to 11pm

December 1 (Tuesday) -- The American Women's Bazaar
5:30 - 3pm at the World Trade Center along Macapagal Highway

December 6 (Sunday) - Christmas Carnivale
Organized by the Zonta Club of Alabang at Cuenca Court, Ayala Alabang Village from 9am to 9pm.

See you there!

Monday, November 16, 2009

An Honest Review

CANVAS thanks Katrina Stuart Santiago for her very frank and reasonable critique of our latest children's book. While we don't agree with all her points, it is one of the few reviews that actually gave us pause, and one which will only help us as we publish more children's books in the future.


Colorful jeepney takes grand ride in children’s book

By Katrina Stuart Santiago
Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE CHILDREN’S BOOK, “Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas,” by Genaro R. Gojo Cruz and published by the Canvas art group (0917-8906160; e-mail;, has everything going for it. Written in Filipino, it’s a heartwarming story of a young boy speaking about his father’s jeepney as the lifeblood of a small community.

The jeepney driven by Mang Tomas is central to the community’s migrations and returns, its celebrations and daily living, its dependence on a movement that’s personal and economic. More than anything, it turns out to be the story of a family, and how the birth of a young boy at Christmas time brought this family luck, contentment and happiness. One story that becomes the little boy’s own aspirations, as he plays driver, rides the jeepney, and dreams of becoming his father.

Anthony E. Palomo’s paintings capture perfectly this community’s life and color. Browns, reds and yellows create the image of a small provincial town in the Philippines that seems content and laid-back, but is obviously alive and productive. In Palomo’s hands, the paintings of the community are about emotions; it is about the few faces that Palomo makes visible in the midst of a blur: A woman’s smile of relief as she reunites with her family (“Saksi sa Pag-alis at Pag-uwi”); laughter between Mang Tomas and his son (“Ama at Anak: Tawanan”); an old lady’s toothy smile (“Lola”) on the page that speaks of the community’s love for Mang Tomas; and a couple in conversation (“Kuwentuhan”).

The blurred lines and faces of Palomo’s paintings here highlight instead captured movements and moments: The working barber and farmer (“Barbero” and “Pagtatanim”); the moving jeepney (“Mahusay”); Mang Tomas’ hand on the protagonist’s head (“Ama at Anak: Lambing”); Mang Tomas and his pregnant wife in the jeepney (“Simbang Gabi”); Mang Tomas cuddling a baby (“Ama at Anak: Simbang Gabi”); and the protagonist pretend-driving the jeep looking to a sunrise (“Balang Araw”).

These moments in the community’s and Mang Tomas’ family’s lives are rendered as if they are pregnant with hope, given Palomo’s colors and his broad strokes that allow for seeming movement and possibility. Between Palomo’s paintings and Cruz’s story, nothing could possibly go wrong for “Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas.” But sadly, there is the book design and layout to talk about, as well as the translation.

Heidi Emily E. Abad’s English translation of Cruz’s original is beautiful. The thing is, for a translation, it also loses much of the original, seemingly creating a different story altogether that’s for a reader of another age bracket. For a children’s book, the faithfulness of the translation to the original text is crucial, since it could be a pedagogical text for a young reader.

This same reader is also what a book designer would consider, yes? It is easy to imagine fonts, text boxes and colors as irrelevant until you encounter a book like this one. With Palomo’s paintings in deep hues of reds and yellows, it was surprising to see no white pages just filled with text to counter these colors. Instead, much of “Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas’” pages are filled with Palomo’s paintings, and are disturbed either by text boxes or by text-filled pages in the strangest of dark hues of aqua blue, lavender, ochre, apple green and peach. With a consistent black font for the text, it is impossible to see this as reader-friendly, less so for young readers’ eyes.

But maybe the book’s cover should’ve been indication enough of where “Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas” falters. The book’s jacket is unexciting and barely interesting, as it spreads across the front and back one of Palomo’s jeepney paintings. This wouldn’t be so bad had the book’s real cover been exactly the same, but it isn’t. Instead, the book’s front and back cover are Palomo’s “Ama at Anak: Simbang Gabi” and “Mahusay,” respectively, both of which capture exactly what is central to Cruz’s story: A father and son who live off of, by and through a jeepney that allows a whole community to live as well.

That this might be lost in translation (and book design), is a sad, sad thing. But then again, at least this Canvas Story has the original text and artwork to fall back on.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Not Proud of the Philippines

There are a great many things that we are proud of here in the Philippines, and of being Pinoy.

But sometimes, we are reminded that there are a great many things that we still have to fight for, remedy and be ashamed of.

This is one of them - it's stupid... it's immoral... and it's unconstitutional. And from a government agency no less! Shame!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Don Salubayba, Baby!

CANVAS is pleased to announce that Don Salubayba has been selected as our Fellow, and is the designated artist for CANVAS Romeo Forbes Children's Literature Initiative for 2010-2011.

An artwork (or our contest piece) has now been commissioned, and its image will be used as the inspiration for the next CANVAS' annual Romeo Forbes Children's Storywriting Competition. The image of the contest piece, together will the rules of the competition and other details, will be released to the public in the first week of January 2010.

Watch out for it!

* Walang Katiyakang Pag-ibig sa Walang Katiyakang Mundo
by Don Salubayba. Note: This is not yet the contest piece. :-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ink Stories

"INK STORIES," recent works on paper by Palma Tayona, is currently on view at 1/of Gallery, 2/L Shops at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

The exhibit ends on November 17, 2009. Call 901-3152 for details.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Balloon Man

Chanced upon this man walking along Katipunan Ave. at 8am on a Sunday morning.

Stopped the car and took out my camera to get this shot.

He obliged, and jokingly told me the photo was not free. He asked me to buy one balloon - "Pang buena mano, lang."

I got one Sponge Bob balloon for P50.00 (a little over a dollar), and he went on his merry way. He was going to a nearby church, he told me, to sell the balloons to worshippers after the daily Masses.

He was smiling the whole time.

Wala lang.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Meaning of Manny

Chances are, you've already seen and read this Time Magazine cover article. We wanted to give the link anyway.

It's a sensitive piece, one that recognizes that there are certain circles and activities where Pacquiao, despite all the acclaim and money that he has EARNED (which is more than we can say for a lot of supposedly elite folks), would not be welcome, if only because of his accent or lineage or where he came from.

It hints at some of the things that divide us as a nation - divisions that cannot be bridged by only one man, even if that man is the Pacman.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Meaning of Passion

A Funny Show That's No Joke

We caught the opening of PANGATAWANAN MO NAH! last night - a must MUST see group art exhibit the subject of which is Mae Paner, the performer and social critic behind the You Tube sensation Juana Change, at the Vargas Museum, University of the Philippines, Diliman.

The concept itself is vintage Juana Change - outrageous, funny, courageous, provocative and relevant. It's all about getting thin, and is a criticism of greed and excess in national life.

The solution, she says, should start with herself.

So this is the first of 2 exhibitions... It marks the beginning of her journey to get thin, towards better health, and reasonable consumption. And she literally bares herself (and her soul) in all its naked glory, thereby providing "the absolute measure of honest self-appraisal."

The exhibition’s second edition, to be scheduled before the coming elections in 2010, is intended to be a bare-faced display of whatever success she achieves or failure she suffers.

The curation of the works is equal to the task - and the list of artists participating is a virtual who's who of some of the best, and most sought-after young artists - of various media - around.
You want to know which artists to invest in? A lot of them are in this show.

Don't miss it!

PANGATAWANAN MO NAH! is curated by Marian Pastor Roces, Paner’s principal collaborator in this project; and presented by the museum development corporation she heads, TAO INC. For more information on this event, contact Glenda Puyat at 0917.350.1720 or Monchito Nocon at 0920.283.4393. For available works, please contact Tin-aw Art Gallery at 892-7522 or contact Marya: 0916-563-6687 or Dawn: 0917-534-1378.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Fruit of our Outdoor Banner Project

Remember the art totes that we produced by recycling our outdoor banners?

Well, they've undergone yet another transformation.

We sold them, and donated the proceeds to the Padyak Project Foundation.

They, in turn, used the money to purchase a small fleet of folding bikes which will now be rented out at scandalously low rates to UP students. And they've managed to get folding bikes allowed on LRT lines 1 and 2 beginning next week!

From original artworks about the Filipino to outdoor tarp banners to one-of-a-kind tote bags to folding bikes that ultimately will help a few individuals do their small bit for the environment...

We're really really really very happy with how this Project turned out!!!

Here's to our next Outdoor Banner Project - coming in April 2010!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Someone Worth Supporting - Juana Change

“Juana Change” exposed at the Vargas Museum

Mae Paner, the performer and social critic behind the outrageous character “Juana Change” is the subject of a major exhibition at the Vargas Museum, University of the Philippines, Diliman. Thirty-six artists are presenting paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, and sculptures of Paner in the nude in PANGATAWANAN MO NAH!, an exhibition that magnifies her up-front, stun tactics.

The multi-generational gathering of artists in this exhibition, is also an unusual assembly of incompatibly-minded individuals. They are — Leo Abaya, Alfredo Juan Aquilizan, Ernesto Aquino, Jr., Carlo Aranton, Elmer Borlongan, Charlie Co, Reynold de la Cruz, Kiri Dalena, Thomas Daquioag, Gilbert Daroy, Roger Dio, Cecilia, Brenda Fajardo, Egai Talusan-Fernandez, Karen Flores, Dennis Gonzales, Kawayan de Guia, Ings Isungga, Nap Jamir II, Winner Jumalon, Mark Justiniani, Irma Lacorte, Nina Libatique, Julie Lluch, At Maculangan, Joy Mallari, Norlie Meimban, Lee Paje, Jim Paredes, Benjie Reyes, Don Salubayba, Ioannis Sicuya, Christine Sioco, Boldy Tapales, Wig Tysmans and Boy YƱiguez —persuaded by divergent intellectual passions and positions towards art and politics.

Their participation in PANGATAWANAN MO NAH! rests on a shared faith in Paner’s brand of social criticism, her over-the-top humor, and the project’s bare-all motivations.

PANGATAWANAN MO NAH! is a fund-raising event to enable Paner to produce more of the “Juana Change” videos that have rocked YouTube and through it, the political landscape. “Juana” has lampooned Cha-Cha, spoofed presidentiables, and satirized gross displays of power — but also gave Paner to self-mockery. In each video, Paner presents a turned-up version of a hideous persona, who has a goody-goo, morally assaulted double. The impact of “Juana Change” on Philippine politics continues the long historical lineage of political satire in print and broadcast media in this country.

But the persona is also an unprecedented invention: “Juana” is coarse, vulgar, politically astute, quite unpleasant and love-able at the same time, and exquisitely intelligent. “Juana” is a complex character possessed of dozens of personalities.

The woman behind “Juana,” Mae Paner, is even more rivetting, as this forthcoming exhibition will reveal.

PANGATAWANAN MO NAH! is curated by Marian Pastor Roces, Paner’s principal collaborator in this project; and presented by the museum development corporation she heads, TAO INC. It opens on November 5, 2009 at 5pm at the Vargas Museum in the University of the Philippines Diliman, and runs until November 19, 2009.

For more information on this event, contact Glenda Puyat at 0917.350.1720 or Monchito Nocon at 0920 283 4393. For available works, please contact Tin-aw Art Gallery at 892-7522 or contact Marya: 0916.563.6687 or Dawn: 0917.534.1378.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bargains! Books! Bags!

And more! CANVAS is going to be at the American Women's Bazaar this Tuesday, November 3 from 8am to 2pm at the World Trade Center along Macapagal Highway. Get a good headstart on the holiday shopping rush and visit our booth!

Get special prices on our critically acclaimed and award winning children's books. One-of-a-kind art totes and premium bags are also on display.

Your purchases will help to support CANVAS efforts to promote greater awareness and appreciation for Philippine art, culture and the environment.

See you there!.