Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Epoxy Art and its Philippine Royalty (Davao City)

"Unity", 41" x 41", epoxy on canvas. 

The pieces catch your attention. They glimmer from a distance, and upon closer observation, they look priceless. Gold, after all, is the hue worn by royalty. Speaking of royalty, these pieces hail from the genius of Lamberto "Obet" Acyatan billed as the "Grandfather of Epoxy Art". This surprised me. I've never heard of such medium. It's easy to disregard the idea, but proof of its valid existence and beauty were gallantly displayed at Felcris Centrale one morning.

My favorite would be the wall displays laid out like a tapestry. If you didn't know any better, you'd think they're a product of some Aztec master work or some holy Hindu relic. The designs reek with exoticism.

Aside from the wall displays, carved figures stand with faces on them; petals, faces, branches and vines. There's a clenched fist somewhere and, hold your breath, a penis spewing what seemed like grains. And wasn't this male genital resting on a vagina? The art fascinates. The other stand alone objects infact seem like phallic objects.

As it turns out, these pieces weren't inexpensive. Not by a long shot. Most of them individually fetch between PhP28,000 ($631.60) to PhP35,000 ($789.50). Good art is never cheap.

Liner notes reveal that Acyatan hails from the woodcarving town of Paete, Laguna, where he grew up. He creates forms and these become identities of boats bearing his medium. Acyatan is currently based at the Eden Art Center in Bayabas, Toril, Davao City. He paints and blogs, and features his poetry therein.

It fascinates me no end that an object as seemingly artless as an epoxy could be used to create such beautiful pieces. I take my hats off to Mr. Acyatan who creates these spellbinding masterpieces. During this exhibit, we were told we could take photos, and we're only too glad to introduce "Epoxy Art" to those who find their way here while navigating the web. I am in no position to discuss the medium, but I shall let the photos speak for themselves.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

"Cultural", 48" by 48", epoxy on canvas, PhP30,000.

Genitalia finds its way to epoxy art.

The head figures mostly wear a gear, scarf, etc. they must be inspired by folks from indigenous tribes.


Monday, April 27, 2015

The Market Scene in Digos (Digos, Davao del Sur)

As a child, the market wasn't a place of interest. I wasn't encouraged to visit it. It was congested, wet, hot and not the most pleasant place. Fast forward to 2015, I find market visits fascinating because you'll never know what to expect to find - the fruits in season, the flowers peddled, the food stuff available and its slew of very transient characters.

Digos City, some two hours south of Davao City, doesn't feel like a very cosmopolitan place, to be honest. The surroundings seem more rural.

Yellow pedicabs congest the clogged-up streets; one of the "ugliest" road scene I have noticed this side of the Philippines. I have heard that General Santos City is the same. Just the same, I don't like the clutter. The whole road system looks chaotic - no traffic lights and yellow tricycles that zoom away as they please. If this is a sign of urban development, then I'd have to say it is one ugly heck of development. But this is just my opinion.

The market scene on the other hand, fascinates. Let's take the case of a flower vendor who offers 3 roses for just PhP25. Huh? Where in the Philippines do you get red roses, three of 'em, as cheap as that? A trio of anthuriums costs PhP15. Can they get any cheaper?


Then there's a row of fruits selling golden mangoes (PhP55 to 60 per kilo), avocados, bananas (PhP25-35 per kilo), and the seasonal star apple ("kaymito") at PhP25 per kilo. What's interesting is, when I bought 2 kilos of star apples in SM Megamall's supermarekt, they fetched a hefty PhP150 per kilo, and they're not even half as sweet as these 25-peso Digos kaymitos.

Elsewhere, a mangosteen, not in season, costs PhP280 per kilo. Yes, they're plump and juicy, sweet-and-tad-sour wonder, but is almost a king's ransom. When they taste this heavenly, who cares about the cost?

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Very sweet star apples ("caymito", also shown below).

Star apple is also called caimito, abiaba, pomme de lait, milk fruit and aguay. In Vietnam, it is called "vu su'a" which literally means "breast milk". It is "swarnapathry" in Malayalam. There are 3 varieties in terms of color: purple, greenish brown and the very rare yellow which I still have yet to see. The green ones are very sweet. The fruit has anti-oxidant properties.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Punta Piapi Beach - Going the Road Less Travelled (Davao del Sur, Mindanao)

Have water and sand. Will make beach. Or so it seems.

One of my favorite moments is discovering unheard-of places like Punta Piapi, a fishing village at the eastern coast of Padada, Davao del Sur, located some 2 hours south of Davao City. County Piapi has this bucolic atmosphere and unfazed by the dizzying turn of events; this strip with little hint of commerce.

From the highway, I took a detour eastward until I reached the coast. The road was craggy, the road dusty, and there's lush coconut plantation everywhere. I saw a motorbiker haul away sugarcane plant to be fed to livestock, for cows, carabaos or goats. I turned left, northward, and found shanties lining the coast; colorful bangkas (outrigger boats) were docked facing the sea. There's hardly a beach strip.

I turned around and went southward. Roadside blocks looked colorful as they lead to more thatched houses rising on stilts. Finally, I found an elevated platform that looked like a jetty - beautifully piled stones make this makeshift fort. Towards the east, the Pacific looked vast and endless.

Further south, there are houses turned into stilt-standing cottages seemingly floating on waters. Two of these "resorts" are Napere Beach Resort and L. Razonable Beach Resort. There should be affordable fees if you wanted to use these cottages. But to be honest, the narrow strip of dark, but fine-sand beach was the more acceptable option for swimming. And it's for free.

The road is flanked by hill on the west and the sea on the east. Just between that is my free spirit.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Napere Beach Resort has cottage on water. At its background is another resort, L. Razonable Beach Resort with better-looking huts on water.

Little strip of beach beside the stone jetty.

Just across the jetty is this tree-lined shed with benches. You can park your vehicle here.

Sugarcane for livestock.

The way to Punta Piapi Beach, eastward.

Houses and docked boats.

Colorful roadside rails.

A sari-sari store looks like a complete one-stop shop. It even has firewood on sale.

The road back to the highway.