It’s really rare for me to be in Cebu on a weekday. Look, I’m Leyte born and based but I like to call Cebu as a second home. I used to work there and fell in love with the place. So it’s an easy decision to take up my masters degree in one of its universities. So Cebu classes and art sessions (I’m still on a running hiatus) on weekends are my escape from the rural landscape at home and at work.  Last Friday I scheduled a trip to renew my passport for long-shot scholarship applications. And of course, to join the first ever Drink & Draw Cebu!

Drink & Draw is a unique event where artists can meet not just to learn but also to bond with one another. The rule is really simple; bring you sketching materials, pay the registration (affordable, just for the drinks), sit back, strike a pose and well.. drink and draw. The event was held at Coffee Prince at OsmeĂąa Blvd and was schedule at night from 8pm to 10pm to suit the hobbyists’ schedules and the night owl artists.

Coming in from a long waiting game at NSO and DFA I was physically drained, much more I don’t know what to expect for the event. I just want to meetup my good friend and fellow water-colorist Wee Bong, get my new Daniel Smith paints and have an even rarer night life (haha).


Nicole, Me and the mega-focused Wee Bong

Wee Bong and I were the first one to arrive at the event and soon people started to come until we started at 8:20pm. By the look of the crowd, I knew these are my pack haha. It was easier to introduce and talk stuffs because we’re all art lovers. So what really happened during the event?

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We drew. A lot. And fast. In a span of two hours I think I drew at least 50 separate drawings. How come? Because it’s not your typical plein air and on the spot sessions we see on art school and TV. The artists are the models taking their turns on the spotlight (I did not volunteer) and there’s time pressure. People here’s the format; we draw whoever is on the stage and the goal is to capture the curves and basic anatomy of the pose. No details and fancy techniques needed, just plain ‘get the poses right before the bell rings’. If my memory serves me right the entire session was composed of fifteen 15-second poses, ten 2-minute poses, fifteen 30-second poses, ten 2-minute poses, and one 15-minuter. For a guy who draws all my life, I struggled a lot! I never draw that fast and of that volume. I think we all did. But we really enjoyed the challenges.  The poses are really funny, dramatic and downright bizarre.



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I think the P350 registration fee are really worth it. The venue was good, we had good drinks and yummy snacks. So yeah we kind of practically just paid for the food! But the experience and winning new friends are priceless.

Two hours just gone way too fast on us so most of the artist did stayed up until midnight to chat and drink. I really think it was the highlight of the event where we get to know each other, became instant friends and learn each others’ crafts. We sort of just belong to each other and I’m very thankful to hear their stories and see their works. I guess we call it a community. And for that Drink & Draw was a very successful one.

Drink and Draw will surely comeback soon so you guys better watchout!




D&D Cebu: First Class!

[Note: Event photos used in this blog are from the event page with express permission of Miss Pia Mercado.]




I have a confession to make: I’m addicted to Korean movies. This fascination has been going on for quite some time, like 6 years haha.  I have no regret of worshiping the whole Korean film industry because they deserve the recognition and success they have. There’s a lot of good movies out there in every genre, to say the least. What really draws me to the industry is their high value for good, daring and brilliant storytelling.

The latest Korean movie I watched, ‘The Beauty Inside‘ completely blew me away. I thought I was only watching a a ‘probably-good’ flick only to find out it’s a deeply moving and thoughtful film.The Beauty Inside is sort of  remake of the 2o12 web-film from Intel about a man name Kim Woo-Jin who changes his body and appearance every single day. That’s 365 days of new faces a year of waking up either as a young man or a young woman, old people or a kid, thug looking or good-looking, and sometimes even a foreigner. It’s a difficult life for Woo-Jin who surrendered into solitary seclusion as a furniture maker;  devoid of physical relationships aside from his best friend and his mother. However everything changes when he met and fell in love with the beautiful Yi-soo (Han Hyo Joo).  Can they make it? Clue: It’s going to be one of the most unforgettable love story out there. Spare the me task of pouring in the details and watch it for yourselves hehe. This trailer will summarize its for me then!

I listed down my reactions about its story and how it connects to real life . So here’s my seven reasons why I love this film:

  1. Han Hyo Joo delivers! – With 123 different actors playing the same character  Woo-Jin, TBI is a very difficult  yet a special film to balance and one miscast of the constant female lead would sent the movie to a disaster. Thankfully the charismatic and arguably one of the most beautiful Korean actress Han Hyo Joo delivers another compelling and solid performance to lift the movie to another level. It seems like in every movie she’s in I cant help but google her once again to look for her filmography. Also checkout her other must-see works in Always, Cold Eyes and Heaven’s Postman. 
  2.  A unique love story – When you put in so many actors playing the same lover boy (or girl) and all of them good for a day’s scene you know you’re in for a threat. It’s a spectacularly difficult and awkward relationship between Won-Jin and Yi-soo. But as we see them transform from random strangers to a strange couple who has to deal with so many challenges we cant help but feel in love. It’s a supernatural tale grounded to reality that felt so personal and real. It’s a minor miracle the whole story worked so damn well.
  3. The film shows a life of an artist – One of the plot elements that endeared myself to the story is that it is deeply rooted to an artist’s life. Not just a hobbyist artist, but an actual artist who makes a living out of his craft. Woo-Jin is a great furniture designer. The film does not totally show the his whole creative process from inspiration to final product but basically highlight an artist’s ambitions, occasional selfishness and preference of an isolated life. It really make sense with or without his paranormal condition.
  4. Brand new appreciation for furnitures – in speaking of art, there’s a lot of great looking furnitures in the movie. I really love those! To be honest, I don’t really took notice the designs in chairs, tables and cabinets.  Let’s say I’m converted now thanks to this movie. And I promise I’ll look for a good chair for my studio.
  5. A metaphor for people with disabilities – Now let’s dive deep to the personal aspects that makes this movie great. If we take a closer look at the movie, one cant help that the story can be seen as a parable about people born with disabilities. Woo-jin’s condition is a supernatural curse and his struggles that goes with it completely reflect how we, people with disabilities, live our lives. One of the main theme of the story is about being ‘negatively’ different from the society. Woo-Jin is the Edward Scissorhands and  even the monstrous Beast (in Beauty and the Beast). Woo-jin’s isolated life is a direct symptom of that disability, his difficulty of having a real relationship especially a romantic one is divine pain. Yes, because of our conditions most of us have to live life with shame and insecurities. That’s a hard truth. And society’s misunderstanding, lack of compassion and even bullying isn’t helping  PWD at all.
  6. A different perspective in relationship – things would soon get ugly when you reach the third act of the movie. Just when things start to unravel the script delivers a gut punch on a loop-side relationship. We’ve seen Edward Scissorhand’s and The Beast’s struggle to fight for their love against society, but I don’t think we were given a clearer perspectives on how Kim and Belle would feel fighting for that same love. The Beauty Inside successfully shown the ‘normal’ side’s hurt and psychological descent to the point of depression. In this case,we expereince Yi-soo’s struggle to protect her love for Woo-jin at an even  greater expense. Honestly, I don’t think I looked into that perspective and  I cant help but feel sorry for every ghosts of girlfriends past.
  7. Sacrifice and Acceptance – At the end of the day, we have to make sacrifices and acceptance for Love right?  The trick is knowing and trusting how much we are willing to sacrifice for that relationship. Sometimes it is really OK to walk away and let go of the other person – because it’s the better choice (right Edward Scissorhands?). But the most important thing we could from this story is about acceptance. Beauty inside is a reminder that real beauty is inside,  people just have to learn to accept each other’s imperfection.

Love, that shitty, ugly, painful  thing two people go through, is what Beauty Inside is all about. It’s an absolute beauty this one!

The Beauty Inside will be shown on Philippine theaters in 2016.


Note: All pictures in this post are taken from the internet. Credit to the owners. 


2015 is ‘The’ year to remember for film lovers. There were just too many good and exciting films all throughout the year. Fortunately, I was able to watch a lot of them in theaters, streaming and some other means. Now its time for me to list down my top 10 films I’ve watched for this year. It was not not an easy task but the Force was with me so the result is a mixture of big budget Hollywood feature, indie films and even foreign and local films made the list. As a rule only films released in 2015 are included which are judged based on its quality, ambition, story’s strength and it’s impact to the community. So here they are:

10. The Revenant – Lets start the countdown with the Curious Case of Leonardo DiCaprio. Finally! The Revenant is probably the film that would give him his long overdue Best Actor award in Oscar. This year Leo  teamed up with last season’s Oscar-winning Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu to craft this brutal and intense tale of survival. The film is shot entirely of natural light in remote winter terrains in Canada that makes this film so damn hard to finish. It will be a great shame if Leo won’t win the Oscar next year.



9. Kingsman: The Secret Service – Name a director who has not made a bad film, I have Matthew Vaughn on top of the list. For some reasons he is not a household name but many would be recognize his works like Stardust, Kickass and X-Men First Class. With Kingsman he successfully validated he’s one of the most entertaining directors under the radar by giving us a creative, joyful and fun installment to the spy genre. Expect his signature color palette and shocking well-timed scenes of brutality (those poor heads).

09 kingsman_the_secret_service_movie_2015-1440x900 zekefilm.org

8. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Streaking right before the awards season this independent film is charming the sh*t out of our innermost  adolescence and that need for friendship. It’s a story of two young friends whose main hobby is to make ‘absolutely  terrible short films’. Their story took a spectacular turn when the geeky and socially awkward Greg meets Rachel a girl diagnosed with cancer. It’s a thoughtful story I can personally relate about why and how far friends (er special friends) would go the distance if it means happiness for the dear patient.

image via moviebearspodcast-com

image via moviebearspodcast-com

7.  Sicario – There’s something about this film that draws me into it,  before I even saw it. Is it the poster, the cast, the director or the skin crawling story? Probably all of them. It’s a serious film about the war against the Mexican drug cartel that takes us through the eyes of an FBI agent recruited by the CIA for the operation. Filmed with drop dead gorgeous cinematography by master lensman Roger Deakins under the direction of up and coming director Denis Villeneuve. And with powerful performances from Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benecio del Toro what could go wrong?

image via monkeysfightingrobots-com

image via monkeysfightingrobots-com

6. Mad Max: Fury Road– There are film franchises that are prayed by millions to come back and there some that don’t need to be reborn, Fury Road belongs to the latter category. But just because nobody asked for another maddening ride in the post-acalyptic wasteland doesn’t mean it has no right to come back. It is simply the greatest action film ever made. This Mad Max reboot/sequel is a long chase sequence filled with bombastic stunts, adrenaline filled car chases and a surprising feministic core highlighted by Charlize Theron’s performance.

image via popoptiq-com

image via popoptiq-com

5. Inside Out – Pixar is back with what could be one of their very best, Inside Out delights the audience with a story told from the inside of our heads that is helmed by five distinct emotions: Joy, Fear, Disgust, Anger and Sadness. It’s a coming of age story of girl who moves to the not-so-fun big city of San Francisco as she struggles with adjusting in a new environment, loss and ultimately finding that inner strength inside us. As usual incredible animation and family friendly roller coaster story that we have all come to love with Pixar.

image via Forbes.com

image via Forbes.com

4. That Thing Called Tadhana – As a Filipino film lover it’s really sad to know that our local industry is on a seemingly eternal downward spiral quality-wise, and behold the Messiah has come! Tadhana is a rare gem that captured the #hugot nerves of Pinoy moviegoers without sacrificing the quality of the story. Packed with, well, hugot lines Tadhana is a drop-dead charming road film about the self-imposed road trip of a broken-hearted Mace and journeyman Anthony (played by Angelica Panganiban and JM De Guzman respectively). It’s a take of a Filipino pop culture of travelling to Sagada when broken-hearted. It’s smart, witty and something every Filipino deserves in the age of sickening commercial loveteams.

image via philstar.com

image via philstar.com

3. Twenty – from the tremendously successful Korean film industry comes this heartfelt comedy about three friends in their 20’s as they have to deal with social expectations, responsibilities and educations, all while dealing with problems with girls, beers, getting laid and the next great mischief. It’s like the original American Pie only better in all aspects. As a guy in my 20’s the issues are truly relatable and lingering, particularly the idea of chasing our dream or doing what the society expects. It’s a testament that 20’s are universal and so much fun!

image via koreaboo-com

image via koreaboo-com

2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Now this is the film franchise prayed by millions to come back and boy, Disney knocked this one out of the ball park! For sure, you’ve heard so much good thing about this movie but all I can say is it’s what every Star Wars fan wanted and deserved. It’s been forty-two years since Luke Skywalker’s story ended (I only twenty in my case.. I was seven on New Year’s even when I first saw Empire) and we really don’t have any idea how much we truly missed that galaxy. Oh I love Rey and BB-8!!!

image via collider.com

image via collider.com

1. Heneral Luna – This comes as a surprise but I’m not kidding Heneral Luna rightfully deserve this place on my list. It’s the only film that made me cry (literally) after watching it on theaters. It’s that big feeling of relief that finally there is one period film or a Filipino film we can truly be proud of. This is the sole movie that awakens so much conversation about history, patriotism and how much the history repeats itself in the modern seating.

It is the biographical account of Gen. Antonio Luna’s exploits  during the Filipino-American War. For an independent film it looks expensive because of it’s high production value. But most of all it’s uncompromising take on an imperfect war hero. In short, we need this kind of films. Mabuhay ang Pelikulang Filipino!

image via Artikulo Uno

image via Artikulo Uno

The Runners Up:
Fast and Furious 7, Best of No Nation, MIssion Impossible: Rogue Nation, Kid Kulafu & The Martian

2015-12-24_22.08.24 copy

I am intentionally posting these Christmas wish lists not for everyone to know but just for the sake of posting something this Christmas haha. No kidding, I’m not really comfortable in receiving gifts from other people, thanks God I dont receive much because I don’t know how to thank and react properly when surprised. Let’s just say I’m more of a giver. I find tremendous joy when I give people presents and see them happy.

Look there are two list in this post: one is from the child in me and the other the young man that I am. The former is a materialistic line up that can be bought on malls, but the latter are simple and heartfelt wishes that no amount of money can’t buy.

Ok, lets start with the material things I crave. Dont be surprised they really show the things I’m fascinated and passionate about… except for running since I’m currently injured huhu

1. a BB-8 – There’s been an awakening.. and if you’ve seen the Star Wars: The Force Awakens  you’ll know how cute this ball droid is! This thing stole the best scenes in that movies.
2. Kylo Ren mask – yeah another Force Awaken wish list because I really like it’s villain. They say the movie can only be good as the villain is, so how do we top Darth Vader? The answer is we build one, someone who is not 100% bad yet who can be tempted, imperfect, confused and quite messed up. For that I want that mask badly! haha
3. TDSV book – I’m in love with Vietnamese artist Tuyet Dinh Sinh Vat’s works. Big fan of hers so when I heard she’s publishing an artbook of her works I was like: Can I go to Vietnam right now!?
4. Escoda brushes – it’s the finest watercolor brushes out there. I just wanna try them.
5. Heneral Luna DVD – one of the best local film this year is the game-changing biopic of the Filipino-American war hero Gen. Antonio Luna. It just shook the country on how Pinoy films should be made and made a nationwide social awakening on the problems of the country. We need to support this kind of films so I need to buy that DVD… para sa ikauunlad ng bansa. haha
6. Vietnamese coffee  – the best coffee in Asia (or even the world) are found in Vietnam. OMG! I really need to go there!
7. Rise of the Tomb Raider video game – I do play video games. And playing a strong female character and solving mysteries in brutal environment is my kind of game. (I’m currently playing Star Wars: Force Unleashed)
8. Rappler sweater – it’s cute and when I’m travelling its cold most of the time so I’d love to have that.


The things listed above makes me happy but they are only material things and in time for sure I can have them in one way or another (like extorting my friends, joke!). However, the items below are the real Christmas list for me. They aren’t much and I have no intention of explaining them on details. I’ll just list them and you guys figure out why they are in it.

1. Parents’ blessings for my next journey
2. Good health and motivation to get back on shape
3. Time and courage to take the Talent Determination Test
4. To have my big sister here this Christmas
5. To go out with friends old and new
6. A successful alumni homecoming this weekend
7. Recapture the magic and love for writing and running
8. To meet and share a cup of coffee with new friends next year! (that includes you Anlee! :p )

There you go; 2 lists, 16 wishes and one big heart humbly wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a fruitful New Year 2o16! God bless!


There was another reason I visited Davao other than running the Milo Marathon. I went shopping. For art materials.

I’m a Cebu guy and I’m completely aware of the art materials available in the market (or the pure lack of it). National Bookstore are now madly in love with Best Buy brushes, Best Buy paints, Best Buy everything made in China. Gone are the days of Sakura, Winsor & Newton, Lyra and other names that most budding would look for after getting past the beginner level. We can’t level up on Made In China alone. Our only realistic option is to buy whatever is available online or go to Manila’s art shops to hoard. Yes this is an artist’s rant paragraph.

But Davao City’s Morning Light Art Gallery and Shop erased my frustrations. I instantly fell in love with the place. The brands, the wide options, the price range and warm people. Why go to Manila when Davao got you covered?  It’s practically a one-stop shop for every artists’ needs. They have a lot of selections for many mediums in art be it in watercolors, acrylics, oils, pencils, charcoals and etc. Let’s just say that I did got everything I needed and purchased a few items to experiment with.







I’m not going to elaborate on the brands but they have entry-level to artist grade materials. Their people will assist your needs amigo. They have a wide range of brushes and I certainly found my first ever liner brush (yes! Finally after 3 years already) and the versatile dagger brush. I’ve juggled watercolors and acrylics lately so I am happy on the selections paints they have for these mediums. I specifically bought a travel-friendly Sakura Koi 18 watercolor kit to upgrade my Prang and Reeves. For acrylics, again, I went to the Sakura brand. There were a lot of color to choose from but for starters I settled for the three primary color tubes. I bled for 65 pages of Canson watercolour papers, something Cebu desperately lacks. Here’s my spoils of war:


The medal is not included. Earn that one next year fellas! from top to right: a bowl of gesso, 3 Sakura primary colors and tube of model wax (for textures), 65 pages of Canson watercolor papers, Sakura koi 18 (must-try!), postcard watercolor papers (for Christmas gifts), 1 liner brush, 1 dagger brush, and a block of canvas bind like a sketchpad (I want another block of this!).


New toys. Canvas be ready!

New toys. Canvas be ready!

And I didn’t really spent a fortune out there. Believe it or not I spent below P2,500. Way below my budget. I’m no businessman but I know costing and market price analysis (haler!). The prices are spectacularly lower than those sold in the bookstores (if they are stocking at all). My siblings are lucky I brought them pasalubong.

To be honest the real highlight of Morning Light is not just about the art supplies but it’s more about the very nice people behind the shop. It was a great pleasure to to talk and chat lengthily with the owner, Maam Miyen Lim. We really talked specially on the business side of the shop because I told her about the prices if they are for real. It’s a family business but more of a passion project for a family of artists. It’s not a financially rewarding business because of the high overhead cost and they don’t put too much mark up on the materials. So a Cebu branch is not on the horizon, yet, but sa #TamangPanahon. But in return, it’s good for the soul to give Mindanao artists the access to good materials for their crafts and for others to try Art as a new hobby. They want to keep it as affordable as they can.. “so that art students don’t have to starve and skip their lunch just to buy art materials“. It was a cool conversation and I really opened up to her about the struggles of having a career in finance and a passion for art. There’s an overwhelming goodwill in this place. And I’m a lucky guy to have visited it.

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It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the art materials but one must not forget that the place is a gallery. And these are just beautiful artworks from Maam Miyen and her husband. The expressive surreal kind! That’s my actually goal  in acrylics painting (I should apply to this shop hehe)

The Morning Light Art Gallery and Shop opens every Monday to Saturday during mall time. But it’s not located on a mall (yet) but in Marfori Heights in Davao City. Quick tip: just grab a taxi. I was not the only out-of-towner out there because there was other girls who came all the way from Cotabato City for the same artistic reason I have. It’s that popular, dinadayo talaga for all the good reasons. Definitely, Morning Light is a must-visit place in Davao. You can check their facebook page here.


Hello! I’m back now. And I guess I owe you guys an apology for being out for so long . Let’s just say I have a bit of a year-long soul-searching. Still got a lot of decision to make but we will get there. I need your prayers. But I kind of miss writing and sharing parts of my life so I needed to write this one down.

This weekend I was in Davao for the Milo Marathon Davao leg. This is actually my second trip to Davao this year because I attended a week-long convention out there last summer. I had a great time in the city and fell in love with her charm so it did not take another soul-searching to decide when to go back. As soon as Milo published the 2015 Regional eliminations schedule I booked a flight for Davao. It fell in the very day  Yolanda visited the country 2 years ago.


Last Summer!

Let me be honest, I trained the wrong way. Yes, I’m under-trained that’s a given because one has to pay for the trip and survive. But I focused on the speed part of training. I did not have any long runs at all in the months leading up to the race. I only took some 4k and 6k on the road whenever I can get out of office in the afternoon. Most of the time I ramp up my speed so I can get to work sooner at night. And it’s all in flat cement roads.. just like all the Milos I’ve joined. I only have to let my youth and adrenaline carry me through 21 kilometers in Davao.


race route

Come’s race weekend. Imagine my surprise when I learned (the day before the race) that the organizers of the Davao leg actually changed their route for this year. Gone are the flat course and hello uphills! By 4:30am at SM Lanang they fired the gun start and off we, the brave 300-something runners, attacked that punishing course. It was a relatively smaller headcount than I expected but by the seventh kilometer I knew the reason why. It really is a tough uphill-heavy course.

So for a happy-go-lucky tourist and not-so-trained runner what are the odds of surviving finishing 21 kilometers of rolling roads under the mandatory 2 hours and 30 minutes cut-off? I’d say it was pretty slim, or as they call it an uphill battle. By the time I traversed the first uphill portion my legs were already starting to fail. My body is simply just tired. What caused this premature breakdown? Ah the whole week I was lacking in sleep due to overtime and travel times days before the race.

photo from: (c) Wilmer Mostrales

Look at that elevation gain. Sheyt. Photos from: (c) Wilmer Mostrales.

I could have just quit right there and surrender.  But hey did I just traveled all the way from Southern Leyte to become a quitter? What kind of face will I show to my family? To the Yolanda survivors commemorating today? Somehow I need to survive this fatigue and this goddamn uphill course.

So I budgetted my time and decided to just enjoy the race. I’m lucky I can still run at all. It’s a 21 kilometer course and I have exactly 150 mins to complete it to take home the bling. So I have to run each K at a pace of at least 7 minutes/km. I know that’s slow by most standards but I cant afford to go overboard with those crazy hills all throughout.

I run the flats, jog-walk the climb, and steamroll on the descent. Drink in every station. Eat bananas sparingly. Sip half-a-GU gel for every 7 kilometers. Check the GPS to make sure I don’t go above the 7 pace. And by all means never ever stop. And believe it or not. I finished it two (2) minutes before cut-off!! #happy #survivor

Only shot I had of the race. Blurry but happy!

Only shot I had of the race. Blurry but happy! (c) Jun Guerrero

I am happy I made it. Thank you Lord! But the most important thing is truly enjoyed the race. Yes it was painful and tough but it was very rewarding. I finally saw the bliss Davao runners are blessed to have: Beautiful city, clean air, disciplined people and a working local government. Most cities are lucky to have one of those. I want to live in a city like that. Ultimately my reason to run in Davao is to give thanks to this  city that helped Leyte a lot after Yolanda. I was a volunteer too that time and I saw first-hand how much Davao offered to the affected communities. Gratitude, that is how I commemorated Yolanda.

I even wore a Milo Marathon singlet as volunter in Tacloban. And a lot of Davaoenios were there too.

November 2013. I even wore a Milo Marathon singlet as a volunter in Tacloban. And a lot of volunteers from Davao were there too.

Thank you Davao and congratulations to the organizers of the fantastic race! You guys just crafted a masterpiece, preserve that course so people like us will go there for the challenge. And special mention to my good friend sir Jun Guerrero for the warm hospitality and friendship. Congrats on your fifth Milo Marathon medal and yes, dozens more to come!

Breakfast of Champions/survivors.

Breakfast of Champions/survivors.

ABC collage

Letters are everywhere. If you look closely you’d be overwhelmed. They’re the atoms that make up a book, the characters in your jersey, the end credits in every Marvel film, and if you’re lucky every old-school guy’s weapon for love. Love spoken is assurance, love written is the soul exposed, combine the two it’s #MayForever. Oh letters, why do you have to be so everywhere? You even spell out my balance sheet and SALN. Confession, it’s spelled as: I’m P.O.O.R.

I may be poor financially, but I do believe I’m filthy rich in two things: in Letters and Family. Yes, Letters runs in the family! Lettering has been a common staple at home. For starters, I blog and writes (love) letters manually. Then my Mom is a good writer (I read her thesis and ghost-written publications). To my great envy, my big sister got that really good penmanship that I used to borrow her notebooks in high school because its so damn good to look at.  But most specially my dad, Tatay Dindo, is a great draftsman in our town with kickass skills in writing names in diploma (which we now learn as calligraphy), cutting letters for all occasions, and even copying signatures just to impress his Fantastic 4 kiddos (It’s still technically ‘forging’ right?). He also used prints t-shirts on old-school silkscreen, he draws house designs (including our home!) and do streamers with big letters. I only managed to inherit his talent in drawing. Lettering kept our family afloat during the 90’s because my parents’ salary as public school teachers weren’t as high as it is today. Yeah, I worship my old man, he’s a great man who taught me how to love letters.

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See my name, and that absolutely wicked calligraphy. I wish I could show you samples of Tatay’s silkscreen printing and streamers. Next time!

But I believe, Tatay Dindo’s art in Lettering has seen better days. It’s really dying in our place. For the past few years I’ve seen the decline in demand for Lettering.  More and more people now finds comfort and better price in Tarpaulins. Diplomas are now engraved in printers. It’s faster, cheaper and colourful. But don’t get our family wrong, we’re not bitter in this paradigm shift. It’s more of a hobby than a livelihood for dad (because he likes tarpaulin and still eager to learn photoshop). But what really scares me is the Art. Will it eventually die? Will my generation, and the next, ever pick a pen to perform the crafts of lettering?

And the social media answered; Hell No!     —> Clue: Just type ‘lettering’ in Google Image and click Enter.

Lettering is actually booming exponentially online and in the modern landscape! Many people may view social media as a bane in our culture, but it truly does wonders in the art world and that includes the lettering and calligraphy departments. Look at Facebook and Instagram; quotes are everywhere and more and more of them are written in eye-catching sometimes jaw-dropping ‘hand-written’ fashion. And one of the most popular letterers in the country is miss Abbey Sy (follow her in Instagram @abbeysy). Her artworks are simply impressive and inspiring; always a dose of sophistication and simplicity; colourful and toned; smooth and wonderful.. like a woman or a goddess. It’s hard not to like the style of this twenty-something ‘teenager’. Yup, I met her on her workshop last weekend in Cebu.  (and I have her autograph! :p )


Enter the Joan and Klaire’s Drawing Letters by none other than miss Abby Sy! It’s the first art workshop I attended and it felt good to be on the other side of the table (it’s usually me either tutoring the youngones to draw/paint or organizing backyard art workshops and contests). To be honest , I don’t really have the budget for the workshop because of my grad school studies and my bisyo in running and painting. But I really want to learn the basics of how miss Abbey do her craft or style. I also want to check out if  I can apply that lifetime watching my father do his crafts. Plus given the fact that I have horrible penmanship, so the confidence for this artform is at rock bottom. But, well, nothing beats learning from the best. Iba talaga pa’g si Valerie Chua or CJ da Silva or an Abbey Sy magtuturo… Mas mahihiya kang di matuto hehe. Fortunately, my dearest sister paid for my slot in the condition that the workshop materials will be hers and we will practice together when she comes home from abroad next month. Fair trade.

The workshop was heald at the Joane & Klaire shop in Banilad Town Center, Cebu. The organizers informed me earlier that I’ll be only guy in the workshop so I wont feel out-of-place. It didn’t matter at all. Because to my surprise it was super fun! My classmates were lovely, accomodating and very friendly (ang swerte ko pala). We had a lot of fun chatting in our table, sharing some laughs and listening our best to the lecture. Special shout out to my new friends Miss Jeah, Miss Kristy, Miss Michelle and to the little and talented one’s miss Leanne and miss Jana.



Miss Abbey is a great teacher and she really knows what she’s doing. A natural. With only three hours to teach, she has to talk faster and squeeze in the tips and tricks in the trade in between demos and  actual practice. Although like any art workshop, it would be better if it’s done in a smaller group. But c’mon its quite rare for famous artists to drop by and make a workshop in Cebu. Oh, I almost forgot I believe the shop, Joan & Klaire, is a must-visit place in Cebu. There are a lot of travelling and arts stuffs in there. And the workshop kits are just fantastic, sa kits pa lang bawi na.

Yup, that's our kits and more. :)

Yup, that’s our kits and more. 🙂 (c) Joan & Klaire

I am very glad I signed up for the workshop. I really learned a lot, or more accurately I gained a lot of confidence to try out this modern art form. Kaya sya, Les. If there’s a person in that workshop who has the most to loss and much more to gain, that would be me. It’s more than just trying out a new hobby, it’s already part of the family and I don’t want to see it gone. At least in my town in Southern Leyte there will still be letterers 10 or 20 years from now even only in social media. Because I’m certain when dad retire from teaching in a couple of years he will also hang up his lettering days, he’ll probably take up his long-awaited destiny as a painter. I have no plans of taking over, let the Tarpaulins rule. But trust me, I have other plans for this modern art of lettering. I can see years and years of love and practice. It’s my generation’s turn and we’re bringing social media into the mix. It will be awesome. The future looks bright, and there are letters everywhere.


Somebody just learned from the best. #inspired