Posts Tagged ‘Cebu’


Here goes another obligatory wishlist. Where material things rule and never granted (thanks goodness). This is only a for-your-information only post, and not some kind of tool to extort my friends and relatives. I always end up buying or making them, like last year lol. However people are free to grant these material wishes. Why not diba? It will be much appreciated.

These list are the things I want and need right now as I am starting a new life as an art student and is also embracing my life-long fascination of history. (Which is only awakened due to historical revisionism by the Marcos camp, he’s no Hero btw).

  1. War in Cebu  by Resil Mojares et’ al. – let us start the list by listing the biggest and most expensive book about History. Folks this is the big coffee table book to dig up what happened in Cebu during the World War II against the Japanese occupation. It’s also written by my idol historian and essayist Resil Mojares so that also got me really excited. Another wishful reason why I must have this book is that boy I might need to write a book similar to this on the War on Leyte Gulf durign the same period.. from a local’s perspective. #libremangarap
    Where to find: War in Cebu is published and sold by the University of San Carlos Press and are sold for P2,700.00


                               (c) PhilStar

  2. Kamingaw by Raymund Fernandez – This one is something personal because my current art professor in UP sir Raymund wrote this. I saw how hard he truly worked for this book this past year, and we’re jealous of this book for stealing his time from us. haha.  The book is about the Cebuano painter Martino Abellana sir Mon’s friend and mentor. This book also serves as our guidebook about the Visayan art scene, and hopefully a great campaign material to make Mr. Abellana a National Artist. Launch of the book will be sometime on January 2017
    Where to find: KAMINGAW is published by the University of San Carlos Press. Price is still for confirmation but should be about P2,700.00-P3,000.00.


    (c) University of San Carlos Press

  3. The Art of Moana – I’m a frequent window shopper at FullyBook. I could not really afford most of their leather-bound books (though I buy some new paperback novel there) and these includes the incredible “Art of” companion books of Disney, Pixar and most animated movies.  So far the best Art Of book belongs to Disney’s new movie “Moana”. It’s a comprehensive book from idea conception to the post-production. And the designs are stunning.
    Where to find: The Art of Moana is available at FullyBooked stores. Price is about P1,800-P2,000.

    (c) Disney

    (c) Disney

  4. Oil brushes – this should be easy to explain: because I’m an art student. We are not yet into oil or any painting at all but it’s really helpful to explore the medium already. And brushes are distinguished and separate from every medium. I only have watercolor and acrylics brushes.
    Where to find: I’ll be needing artist grade brushes set and they are available in Fullybooked and at the

    (c) the Oil Paint Store

    (c) the Oil Paint Store

  5.  Oil paint tubes – I only have the basic Reeves intro set, and its not really a good quality (my opinion). If I have money I’ll go buy some Grumbacher or  Winsor and Newton artist grade tubes.
    Where to find: Artist grade tubes are available at the Paint tubes vary in price individually usually P300-P900. Mahal I know.

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  6.  Acrylic paint tubes – Unlike oil, I’m much more at ease and used to acrylic painting. I only have limited colors of cheap Reeves and Sakura tubes. But if given the chance please buy me some Golden and or Liquitex tubes.
    Where to find: Artist grade acrylic tubes are available at the Tubes vary in price individually usually P300-P800.

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  7.  MMFF Tickets! – Prior to this year, I used to hate cinemas during Christmas because they only show those stupidly unoriginal and badoy films from the likes of Vice Ganda, Vic Sotto and Kris Aquino. This year however, I’m in full support in putting only the quality films and rightfully snobbed those big stars’ lazy entries. The result is an incredible and promising lineup that’s too good to pass up. Just give me money please!

    (c) MMFF

    (c) MMFF

  8. An Escoda Reserva Round Brush, size 2/0 – relax I wont request for the big guns, I only wanted a small one size 2/0 for details. Price is only P275 available at  ArtWhale Ph or DEs Artroom.

    (c) ArtWhale.Ph

    (c) ArtWhale.Ph

  9.  External memory drive – I wont request for a new smart phone or a laptop even though I badly need it because mine are already so obsolete and ancient. But let’s be realistic, a terabyte of extra mobile memory is good gift.

  10. Free Tuition fee – but my oh my! This one’s was actually granted before I could even put my ideas into writing. The Senate already approved a bill for Free Tuition Fee to all State Universities and Colleges (SUC) which also includes UP! Yes, best Christmas gift ever!

Of course, except for No.10, everything is wishful thinking. What we truly need this Christmas is some peace, some time with family and some winter chill and kilig. Char.

Have a very merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!


#ARTambay cover

There’s always a place to call home.  It could be the place where we grew up, the school we attended, and even the state of peace. Over the last two Saturdays, I like to insert home is also in the company of others. #Belongingness.

The past two weekends I was fortunate enough to attend two events that’s close to my heart: Art.

The DE’s Artroom held two very different art meet-up events called #Artambay. First was in Cebu City last weekend and then yesterday in Maasin City, Southern Leyte.  DE’s Artroom is a distributor of Daniel Smith Watercolors paints and art supplies in the Philippines, and #artambay is not only their promotional events but also a way to reach out and create art communities in the country through meet ups and demos. The DE Artroom is actually composed of Singapore-based Maasinhon couple Dino Dante Pajao and Ethel Pajao, the former is one of the best water colorist I know and the latter is a marketing guru – a very formidable team. We’ve been friends with the Pajao couple for more than a year but I have not really met them in person because of geography. But I’ve been a proud recipient of their generosity and passion for art, may it be from discounts on DS paints and Escoda brushes, and in grass root Debujo events in our hometown.

#Artambay Cebu


The Cebu edition was held on June 19th at Tazza Cafe and Patisserie. I happened to be in Cebu due to my academic obligations and seriously I didn’t want to miss the event and meeting the DE team.. Bisan pag baktason ang Colon padung Lahug. On the way to the event I rode a bogus taxi and almost got scammed by its fast-moving meter. I had to argue for the fare that’s so unreal, from E-mall to Capitol it was already P175 and we’re not even a third of the destination to Lahug! I probably scared the driver when I was about to call LTO that he dropped me off in the Capitol area for free.

I arrived in the venue 5 minutes past 2pm, a few moments before the event started. I spotted ate Ethel and Dino and was very glad I finally met the legends. I also spotted familiar faces in the Cebu art community like Wee Bong and Joan Florido. It’s a diverse group, most are hobbyists, some students, some full-time artists, youngest is a teenager, two from Leyte, and I believe those are good passionate people. I have to mention also that most brought their A-game brushes and papers. The whole attendees was about 25 artists that somehow perfectly fitted on the fabulous Tazza cafe.

(c) DEs ArtRoom

(c) DEs ArtRoom

by Des Artroom2

The first part of the event was introductory phase of the watercolor qualities by the master himself, Dino Pajao. I cant go on specifics but he did mentioned some key tips. He also performed two demo paintings first in a bond paper and in a proper watercolor pad. The group was tasked also to paint on bond papers to get a fresh grip on the qualities of water and the paints. I painted a sea turtle, and all of us we’re struggling on the spot like beginners. But the thing with watercolors is its a hard medium  to control that one can easily feel like a newbie anytime even if you been painting for many years already (*cough cough*). We were also tasked to paint the same subject boat on the water that Dino painted on his pad. I did picked some of his techniques. He was amazing and fast.

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The snacks, too, were great. After the demo and the individual assignments on the boat scene, it picture taking. And lots of talking and meeting other people. I think something great started that afternoon.


#Artambay Maasin


Last Saturday, the DEs Artroom held another #artambay in our home province in Southern Leyte. Sir Dino and Ethel are both from Maasin City, the capital of the province, where I also took up my accounting course. The event’s target audience are students and young artists from the city. ‘Young’ as in like I’m the oldest. Haha. Unlike in Cebu, the meetup was held early during sunrise at the Espina Boulevard (one of Dino’s favorite inspiration in his paintings). It was a plein air session with pan de sal. Most of the attendees are members of the local art group called ‘Debujo‘ which I co-founded just last year.  I wish I was not elected to lead the group since by the start of last summer until I have been super busy with work and academics (I’m studying at SWU for a masters degree, and this August for an FA certificate in UP). It feels bad not to spend more time with them. Lots of plans but not enough time to devote to the group. #Artambay was one of our rare ‘physical’ meetup.


(c) Rochelle Gerong/DE Artroom


For the Maasin edition of #artambay, Ethel single-handedly carried the whole event as she introduced the Daniel Smith watercolors and the importance of using artist grade paints. Dino has to go back to Singapore for work. The goal of the event is not to sell these products but to allow the young people try and to hopefully encourage them to embrace the watercolor medium.


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#Artambay Maasin was a very different setting compare to Cebu. One, we dont have a competitive watercolorist in the group to demo. I’ve been watercolor painting for four years already, and ‘competitive’ is still a distant dream. I did the demo anyway haha. Two, the kids and Debujo people just dont have the materials. We had to share all the brushes, including the Escoda ones, that I brought to the venue. Three, it was a peaceful, laid-back, scenic and joyous learning experience with the young ones at least the space are unlimited.  At the everybody got to taste Daniel Smith and Escoda, and people passing actually stopped by to say hi and check our works. #inspiring

   *     *     *

The past two Saturdays spent in two cities and two very different groups has been a great experience for me as an artist. It gave me perspectives on where I should go, whom I should hangout with, and whom I should strive to help. Being with those great artists in Cebu inspires me to be like them, to try to make use of my time to practice the craft. The need to take that leap of faith in UP Fine Arts was only validated. I have to learn and improve, even if it means years of temporary unemployment. Thanks to #artambay I also met people in Cebu whom I can hangout with on weekends. And lastly, I believe there’s something to be done to the budding artist in Maasin City. They may lack the materials but they were there to meet Ethel, to try Daniel Smith and to really learn the medium.  Also to have fun, lots and lots of it. Their presence means a lot not just as an absentee leader of Debujo but as a fellow student of the craft.  Hopefully there will be more gatherings like this in Cebu and Leyte.

Because #Artambay rocks!

by Tazza Cafe




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 Osmeña 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.]



Women. One of man’s greatest mysteries of all time. As we celebrated the International  Women Day last  Sunday, it was pretty apparent that the mystery gets even deeper. In Cebu City, they have this unique way of celebrating womanhood: an All Women Ultra-Marathon. AWUM, as if 42k in Cebu City Marathon is not enough. Girls nowadays really have come along way in terms of imagination and picking fun activities. Man, 50k? Deymmm, and they even called it the longest fashion show on Earth!

We the TOES group of Tacloban City and Leyte were invited by the organizer to be one of the running clubs who will man a hydration station. We really don’t know how to chew that offer, even I didn’t know what to expect of the event (not even sure if I could make it to Cebu for the weekend). But for our 10 strong and lovely Amazons in our group we accepted the challenge.  This is no 2013 where we sent one representative, this is 2014 and we got ten ladies to support and show our love . We’ve come a long long way in between, and Yolanda sure made us understand how precious these lady teammates are. They are everything, they are family.  We, the boys, can’t leave them there to run without any support crew or the least, cheerers. So literally, TOES goes to AWUM for the first time !

The Boys will do everything for these women! Our inspirations of the group, our superstars of AWUM.

The Boys will do everything for these women! Our inspirations of the group, our superstars of AWUM.

Only we had no idea whats ahead. All of the boys never really had any prior experience as a support crew, let alone how to freaking man a water station! Ftw, we’re runners and its all our first time to be on the other side of the race. And we don’t even have a budget so the finances were also critical, just P1k from the organizers. We ended up contributing whatever we can give (money, blood, sanity, time, sleep) to make sure we’re going to make 251 Ultra Dreamers happy!


The whole TOES crew all set up and ready for one unforgettable fashion show!


Busy busy busy!

Kilometer 22.
It turns out the formula for AWUM is simple
Girls = Kickass + Sexy + Runners + Super Models. The boys? Simple, Men = Tig.syagit + tig.masahe + tig.kawos + tig.bantay + tig.pagkaon. Out there at the Kilometer 22 near the Total Gas Station in Mandaue, we memorize those formulas by heart, as if our lives depends on it.  But it was so much fun!

The race started at 10:00 PM, and just 90 minutes later, the front runners placer already arrived! Man these girls are fast! I knew the sub-5 will be broken for the first time in AWUM history. For us, it marked the longest and busiest stretch of the race. Soon 250 incredibly gorgeous runners passed by our station. It was also the craziest experience we had!

Yeah some of us did lose something from Yolanda, I think it includes our sanity and gender orientation. Take for sample these two (still) traumatized TOES:


They were once decent gentlemen.. promise!

We wanted our station to be memorable even though we cant afford any lechon and sea foods and pastries or whatever KM20 and KM24 fed to the girls haha. So what we lacked in the food & budget department, our playful nature more than makes up for it. It was a festival out there as we greeted and cheered the runners, offering them water refills, grapes, bananas and chocolates and whatever we can provide in our sari-sari store booth. Sometimes we have to chase the runners just to smile and be annoyed of oru presence. These two bekes were our flagbearers (they used to be decent loving gentlemen). AWUM what you done?

But on a serious note, I was freaking out the whole time. As one of the pseudo-leaders/may-pakana of what the group  do which is 99% crazy fun,  there still a portion of unrest and worry on how the ladies are doing out there on the road. I think most of the guys felt the same as they always kept watch for some Pink uniformed ladies coming. It was massive relief when eventually all of them turned up in KM22. What a relief seeing them like the rest of the runners, happy and having the time of their lives! It was nothing but party atmosphere out there.

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And oh man, we just cant help and admire AWUM ladies. You don’t call it the longest fashion show on Earth for nothing, because out there the women really shine. Their beauty, their grace, their curves and their passion for running is simply overwhelming. And of course their outfits mattered, super! Really enjoyed watching and admiring those sexy apparels! By the way, Sen. Pia Cayetano participated in this event too!


Yup, that’s a Philippine senator passing by our hydration station! #proud


These are veteran runners left behind at the back. I guess they just want to make the most out of the registration fee! haha

The last wave of runners that passed our station clocked in at 2:00 AM. What’s funny is that those we’re my  dear friends from RunRoo,  Armie Gardie (who borrowed my visor and headlamp) and ate Rose Buenconsejo! Abi nakog nangasaag ning mga veterunners. 🙂 After that our group packed up and left no trace behind, as if nothing crazy and unforgettable happened. Suddenly, the ‘duka’ crept in. We’re now fighting for our won survival against the cruel temptation for bed. It’s so unfair for us to be out there just watching (#suyamuch) while the ladies having a good time getting drench in sweat, screaming muscles and getting high on endorphins. We truly are just mortal men, the women however are the goddesses of the night.

I got into a car and leaped frog ahead to lookout for the welfare of the TOES ladies. Fortunately they were all fine, aside from one who fell to the ground from a ditch, a few cramp incidents, and one forced to run barefoot. No major incident. Some of the boy went directly to the KM 48 to support the other running club there and cheer for the ladies as they take their  last chance for.. a retouch. Lol.

Finish Line
We went to the finish line by 4AM as we learned that there are already TOES who finished already. I was curious if ate Menchie broke into the Top 10. She placed 8th last year. I learned she placed 11th, injuries forced her to slow down in the last 2k. She was on the 6th spot all throughout. But hey, that still a tremendous achievement for the group! And perhaps the greatest gift we receive is that all ten our lady members finished strong and in one piece under the cut-off time! Yey! And the rest of the ladies crossed the line too. Just so many strong women in this part of the world.

AWUM. What an experience! First time to volunteer in a race and we sure did lost our voices by the day from shouting and cheeering. We beat the duka too haha. But what really amazes me about this race is that AWUM unites all of the running clubs in Cebu for just one goal: to celebrate a Woman’s worth in the world. We celebrated not of victory and eternal glory, but AWUM was made to showcase the incredible strength of women physically, mentally, and socially. And there’s no better way to do it but through an ultra marathon! Along with it is an epic gathering of runners, it was a festival out there! Lots of food and lechon were served. Registration fees, well spent. Kudos to the organizers and all of the support crew who made this event ultra-fun and ultra-successful. To my super idol Doc Willie Estepa, thank you very much for bringing the TOES to Cebu and thank you for giving us the chance to be part of this year’s AWUM. All rice!


At the end of the race, when every medal was given, when every shots taken, and  when every mouths were filled: two words came out as I surrendered to the duka. Incredibly AWUM.


shopping shopping din pag may time sa J. Centre!


Matalom kiddos reunited, again.

joseph prince baltazar

Her majesty’s final retouch.

our lucid intervals.


“Asa ang sunblock?”




All photos: Stolen from Facebook. Hahaha

coverpage ccm

I think it’s safe to assume that every runner’s dream is to complete a full marathon. That’s 42.195 kilometers or 26 miles, and that distance alone is such a crazy idea to me this time of the year in 2013. And look at me now pursuing that dream in 8 days! So what made me do it? What are the reason behind? The people, the events, the ideas that made me decide to pursue the Marathon Dream.

Before that one must take note that I’m no beginner in running. I’ve started running three years ago but I only got serious in running and joining races last year. I had my first 10k only last March! Before that running has been a hobby, a me time activity every morning when I have the time. I run because I love it, not because of some PRs and distances. I ran in the oval, I ran half-naked and barefoot in Boracay, I run in the hills of Libas, I ran in my neighborhood. These are places where people doesn’t run, thus no fun runs at all. I thought racing is expensive and just waste of money. I was wrong. In 2013 I got addicted and fell head over heels with it. Yes, I’ve been training for this marathon the whole of 2013.

route map

So here are my 7 reasons, in no particular order, of why I will join the CCM:

1. CERC & RunRio Collaboration- I know that Cebu City Marathon is organized and founded by the legendary Cebu Executive Runner’s Club (CERC), and through the years it has the reputation of being one of the best organized races in the running calendar. This year they spiced things up a big way, they just added RunRio (the country’s premiere running organizer)  into the mix. OMG! I love Coach Rio’s RunRio Trilogy especially that crazy RUPM experience. And just the thought of experiencing it all over again in CCM? Wow!

2. The Medal – it’s so badass that runners are worshiping it already. My precious… I’ll be hearing that battle cry on the road comes raceday.


3. BQ/International Event – yup two reasons in one. They’re the same though. CCM this year got accredited IAAF AIMS  as a Boston Marathon qualifier. Man, BM is the Holy Grail of running. Thus that makes my first ever marathon attempt an international one.  But please utang na loob, don’t expect me to qualify in Boston, that’s somebody else’s dream. Me, I just want to make #4 proud..

4. The Chic – Okay, okay there goes that saying again, behind every great man is a woman.  This is Ma’am Iste  (of Sun.Star) and Ma’am Rose (of & favorite aspect of my running career, mga chix. Pastilan. Matud pa nila babaye lang ang hinungdan sa tanan.. kiligon man lamang ta ana.

But on a serious and honest note, I owe this particular girl a lot. I never met her yet but she did save me from running alone and  afraid of joining races. I bumped into her blog about her full marathon experience in CCM last year and  I knew this girl is so badass.  I got to try that Marathon too! Now it feels so good to have someone to blame in case I fail my marathon. Lol. And for clarification purposes: Yeah I refer to her as a ‘crush’ due to lack of available term. I really have a deep admiration on this girl’s life especially her being a  philanthropist and a traveler. She’s one rare woman of substance. I just want to meet her, nothing more.

5. My Tribute to Cebu – I started running in Cebu, and I believe it is most fitting that I do my Marathon Dream in that beloved city. Cebu will always be a favorite City to me, and I’ll always bear the burden of not being able to come back and work out there again because I’m needed here in Southern Leyte. And through CCM I’ll be able to pay my utmost gratitude for Cebu’s wonderful gift of running. It’s a credit long overdue, and I hope I will succeed. The timing is just so perfect, you know; it is Sinulog Festival, Cebu’s crowning glory, and in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda the Cebu Running Community was all there in full support for us Leyte Runners. Every meter, every dose of pain in that marathon  are my sincere thank you to the Queen City of the South. There’s just no other races I’d rather run after my Marathon Dream than in Cebu City Marathon.

6. Sinulog Festival – please refer to #5, it’s already there. And it’s the time of the year to be in Cebu! On the race course there will be Sinulog dancers, bands, lots of cheerers, runners in costumes and yes a whole lot of food. lol.

Only in CCM, fellas.

Only in CCM, fellas. Photo credit from the CCM page:

7.  I have a statement to make –  I don’t live in Tacloban, I run there. Yolanda came & devastated our city. If there’s one thing I want to save in Tacloban, it’s the running community out there. I’ll do everything to save that city’s running culture. So this CCM I’m taking on a bigger role of more than just running a marathon, I’m carrying  the burden of HOPE for the whole Tacloban  and Leyte Team that will represent in CCM thanks to the full support from Cebu’s running community. It will be our statement run that no matter what happened in our place, no matter how much we lost in the storm, Yolanda is not stopping us from running for our Marathon dream! Yes, our time will suck but we will overcome. We just survived Yolanda, and CCM is definitely our stage to show to the world that We are Alive & We are Never Hopeless. We shall rise again.

Never Gone

We, the Yolanda survivors, will be there.

So there goes my reasons why I’m running my first marathon at CCM. The closer it gets, the more reason I got in making it out alive and yeah still kicking . CCM is and still our Dream Marathon. It is not your ordinary fun run, it’s a marathon of greater significance and it is something a lot more personal to me and my running brothers in Tacloban. So I hope to see you all at CCM 2014 and pray for us runners out here in Leyte for a successful run and to the organizers who have stood side by side with us to make sure we make it out there.

CCM, let’s have a date with Destiny.


I have nothing to eat.” This is one of the most heartbreaking words I have to hear the past few weeks.

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the island of Bohol and nearby island provinces last week causing massive damage to infrastructure and have claimed about 200 lives. But that is only the beginning.

What is left after the devastation are thousands of hungry mouths. These are the same people who have lost some of their loved ones,  their houses and their since of dignity leaving at the mercy of the relief operations. Ten days after the disaster, there are still villages and communities that are still to be reached by the relief efforts. Ten days after the quake, relief goods are starting to go down.

Bohol is just across my hometown in Southern Leyte. We also felt the ground shake that fateful Tuesday morning. It was strong and lasted longer than most of the earthquakes we’ve ever experienced. But out there in Bohol, as we later learned, it was twice as strong and a million times devastating. My province was spared, Bohol and Cebu wasn’t as fortunate.

Now the damage has been done. The entire Bohol Island still on its knees.  Morale is low, stomachs hungry and mouth thirsty. This time it’s our time to rise on the occasion. Let us help our brothers. Let us show them they are not alone, that they are not abandoned and forgotten. These disaster coverage are no media propaganda teleseryes, these are real circumstances that needs immediate actions.

We simply have to help. In my case I already cancelled the rest of my running events for the year and instead donated the registration fees to the relief effort. It wasn’t much, but I know that amount can give me some peace from the crying voices I hear at night. This coming Halloween break I might go to Bohol to help in the relief efforts. I still have to make a few calls but I’m all hoping and ready to become a karagador and packer. Besides, the Bisaya dialect I’m sporting is very much the same accent found in Bohol. Ninja ni bai!

For donors, you can always send your relief goods to ABS-CBN and GMA. But when it comes to money you can always send it to these two certified non-Napoles NGOs: the Philippine Red Cross (through here) and World Vision Philippines (click here). Your donations, no matter how small, will come a really long way. Together let’s make a stand and make no mouth utter these dreadful words no more…

“I have nothing to eat.”


[Manila Times] Children from Sagbayan town in Bohol beg for food and water from passing vehicles on Wednesday, nine days after the 7.2 earthquake crippled the province. Fears of famine and disease have been raised, especially in the far-flung places where the national and local governments are unable to extend assistance on a regular basis. Photo By Rhaydz Barcia


Photo from

Photo from

photo from



The following sequence of events happened in a span of 24 hours of my life. It’s a long narrative so if you have other things to do you can leave and return later. But at the end of the day my life, as I know it, comes full circle.

The first hour started with a job interview in one of Cebu City’s biggest and most prestigious non-profit organization. There I sat talking to this beautiful young woman probably a year or two older than me; she’s the head of a department where I am applying. I was calm, relaxed and confident just like the many interviews I’ve been through. To make it short, I have that one by the numbers. I am not really a hundred percent committed to the job opportunity since I’m with an organization already and I’m still very much hopeful for that government post. It’s just I really appreciate that organization’s social impact in the lives of many and I want to be a part of it if given the chance. The offer was at par with what every other Cebu based companies can offer, which is really not much to fed a family. But with a boss like her, a company like that, and a city to kill for what more can I ask for?

But I was still unsure whether to grab the opportunity until she dropped the bomb: the company will sponsor for a CIA review course. That’s Certified Internal Auditor, we’re talking about international accreditation and a big freakin’ gateway to global opportunities (and fortune). I was like “Holy Shit!” Now my head hurts trying to decide the many crossroads I am suddenly facing right now: should I go for that organization, or stay with my present company, or pursue the government position. And just recently going for a shot at becoming an artist for a living (which is kind of suicidal the way my country view the Art Industry).

NBS: a pencil stump, a 5B Staedler pencil, and a #12 round bruch for painting.

Alright, becoming an artist is already out of the question. I just can’t pursue that passion for now, I have a career to build. It’s really just a hobby in order to satisfy that congenital itch in my hand to create something out of an idea, emotion or something from the soul. But anyways, right after the exam I went to my favourite internet café and downloaded a half a gigabyte worth of videos on watercolour tutorials, tips and techniques. After that I even dropped by at SM Cebu’s National Bookstore to buy some art materials. This is a serious hobby after all.

In that same mall, I was very fortunate to know that the Drum Tao (The Art of the Drum) crew from Japan is in the building to perform! Drum Tao’s a famous group of Japanese drummers, musicians and martials artist well that’s what the world label them, but in reality these guys are awesome ATHLETES. Why, you have to see them perform to get the full picture. The performance is only a 30-minute free sneak preview of their performance this Saturday.  It was one hell of an experience in a lifetime. They are just so fun to watch, it’s like having a ‘drum porn’so heart pounding, mystical, relentless, fearless performance.  My jaw dropped and my hand hurt from over clapping. They are so bad-ass.

photo courtesy from TraveLife

I have to travel to my hometown that night so I boarded a ship. There I met someone who made me an art mentor even for a very short while. She’s only a young girl but I noticed her immediately when I saw her doing something while facing her laptop. I approached her closer and found out she was drawing the face of the late Kurt! And I noticed she was struggling and techniques aren’t helping. So I introduced myself as a probinsyano self-proclaimed artist, fortunately she talks to freaky strangers like me so I give her a few Drawing 101, especially smudging using a paper stump.  I even let her watch my on the spot demo (poor book) :

It’s a new experience for me teaching something I’m not really good at, but it felt good and satisfying that somehow I gave another soul a reason to keep drawing and appreciate arts. I even gave her the paper stump I just bought from the bookstore earlier.

I reached home by dawn and caught a few hours of sleep before heading to another city this time to give something even more precious than time or money: LIFE. It’s a blood donation day for me and I can now introduce myself like this, “Hi I’m Lester, I’m 24 years old, and I donated blood 24 times.” I don’t really keep a count until it’s the time I’m about to donate. It’s already a seven year old thing for me and I think I’m not yet halfway before I stop donating. I don’t even remember how I started but it’s something I love to keep doing. Yes, donating blood is a thankless thing to do since you don’t really whose going to benefit from your blood. But that’s why I love it –  a pure act of kindness without ever thinking of something in return.

Hi I’m Lester, I’m 24 and this is my 24th.

But that donation is special, I met the beneficiary. A mother was there pleading to a Red Cross receptionist to give her a bag of blood because her son fell from a tree badly that he needed an operation. Unfortunately, she’s not allowed for some reasons unless someone fills in for the blood. That someone turned out to be me. At first I was hesitant to be her on the spot donor because I’m also going to use the blood too for my cousin, but anyways I’m stupid so I obliged.  There goes my 24th donation, I’m glad I was able to help another soul.

And that wraps up an entire day into the life of this human being. I hope you learned a few things about myself and my life, because I sure did in the past 24 hours.