After lunch at the Balaw-balaw Museum

If you’re a Mac user and you have a WD hard drive to store your files, well, let me tell you that Sam’s 350GB WD hard drive, only three months old and still under warranty, seems to be out of commission already. Her MacBook won’t read the drive’s content and she’s more than a bit problematic. We can have the unit replaced but that will mean losing ALL her files and most of the photos in that drive are for school work.

Sam has a photo project due soon and it was the problematic hard drive that brought us to Angono yesterday. She had to reshoot some 48 photos, I was thinking of a place with lots of visuals and I thought about Balaw-balaw Restaurant which, I knew, had some sort of art gallery. We had lunch at Balaw-balaw then went up to the second floor which, as it turned out housed not an art gallery but a museum. What’s the difference? In an art gallery, the art works are for sale. In a museum, nothing is for sale.

It was a museum of wood sculptures. Small pieces, huge pieces…

… many with religious themes.

I like watching Sam at work…

… so I took photos of the photographer.

Then, I took photos of the wood sculptures that fascinated me the most.

The mother and child above must be well off because the child even has a toy.

The mother and child in this next piece, well… my imagination ran wild.

Notice the child’s eyes? Not exactly Filipino eyes. And I wondered if he was part-Chinese. In the 19th century, people of mixed races weren’t accepted the way they are accepted today. And I wondered if the torn umbrella and the hole in the mother’s sleeve mean they has been cast out by her family and were living in poverty.

Now, this next piece is obviously the figure of a warrior. Why two faces? Looking at the expression on the faces that share one eye, and both faces wear the same expression, I think the artist is trying to convey motion — as though the warrior was swiftly looking left and right at two or more enemies in front of him and assessing how best to defend himself.

And this last piece… I can’t quite decide if the woman is in agony or in pain, or both.

I have a very vivid imagination? Well, I studied Humanities under THE Ricaredo Demetillo. For an entire semester, we did nothing but look at slides of paintings, sculptures and architecture. I may not have been his most diligent student but I did learn a lot about art appreciation in his class.


  1. says

    Now that’s a disaster. Perhaps it’s time now to invest in an external storage solution for backup purposes.

    There are a lot of portable external hard drives now that will fill this role. Most of it has become cheap thanks to higher capacity drives in the 1TB+ class.

  2. says


    Interesting and lovely collection. How old/new are the sculptures? It would’ve been awesome if they had descriptions/writeups of some sort to find the story behind the art.

    As for the hard drive — I’m assuming that she has one of those portable Western Digital My Passport drives. For very important stuff I recommend not using any sort of portable solution simply because movement and transportation alone, over time (and with vigorous/frequent movement/transport, yes as short as 3 months), will destroy those drives, given that they’re still disc-plates with needle readers that could scratch them.

  3. says

    Jhay and Jon, any suggestions? This is the third portable hard drive that crashed on us (one was mine with pics from 2002 to 2006).

    Jon, yep, pity there was no one in the museum but us. If there was a curator or something, we could have asked for some background on the pieces. Maybe because it was Sunday…??

    Yes, it’s the WD drive but not the more expensive (kasi, mas cute) passport series.

  4. says

    That’s the 3rd portable HD that’s crashed? Were they all from WD or other brands too?

    One other solution would be to not only use the portable HD drive but to store online. Services like Carbonite aren’t bad given that you get unlimited storage.

  5. says

    My strategy is to have a lot of high-capacity SD cards (for your case, CF), then upload to a desktop-bound external hard drive and re-upload from the CF to a different desktop-bound external hard drive (ideally a different location altogether).

    Since your family is Mac-centric I recommend getting WD MyBook external drives that have firewire.

    For cloud storage, the only service I’m familiar with is DropBox, but it’s expensive (USD200/year for 100GB) so I guess that’s not the way to go.

    If it’s purely photos, perhaps private Flickr albums on a Flickr Pro account?

  6. d0d0ng says

    But naked? ;)

    Only a child can ran around naked signifying innocence or lying still.

    But this is a grown-up adult with her eyes open. The artist wanted to convey the woman’s longing for freedom who is very sensitive, artistic and emotional with the capacity for intense relationship.

  7. says

    Different brands.

    Yes, I’m considering online storage too. Might be the best under the circumstances since virtual servers do redundant back-ups daily. I’ll check out Carbonite, thanks. Any more preferred services? Panic situation already.

  8. says

    On the last pic, too- quite intriguing but great artwork…I think she was grieving the loss of something, or someone…yun bang really extreme sadness.

  9. says

    I agree on the WD MyBook external drives, it would be like a digital vault for your photos that just stays on your desk/table. It’s easy to setup your Macs to automatically backup the photos to the WD external drive.

    If you’re a bit of an OC like me, I still take time to copy my files and photos to DVDs and store them in inert sleeves to prolong the disc-life.

    Getting a MacMini instead of an external drive gives you the option of using it as a ‘live photo display’ box. Hook up a small LCD monitor and just run the slideshow as a screensaver. This way, everyone, including guests, can see and enjoy the photos if nothing interesting is on TV.

    Though the same could be achieved with the WD MyBook External hard drive as some models can be connected to an LCD TV and stream photos as a slideshow.

    You might also be interested in some digital photo storage/archiving tips from the Smithsonian Institution Archives:

    It’s extreme for some, but I know it would be of a great help to you and Sam since you both are photographers.

  10. says

    I’ll let Sam read this ha. We’re bringing back the WD unit to the store where we bought it (warranty and all) and we’re hoping they can at least retrieve the files. Nakakaawa si Sam, too much work to redo. Once we resolve the issue of this particular unit, we’ll look into all the suggestions in this thread. Of course, price is a factor hehehe