A good photo is like a magnet; it pulls you closer


What is a good photo?When I was in high school, Panorama, the Sunday magazine of The Manila Bulletin came out with an issue with Imee Marcos on the cover. She was leaning on a tree, lips barely apart, unsmiling with a far-off expression on her face, looking not at the camera but past it as though she wasn't aware that it was there. The photo, if I remember correctly, … [Read more...]

The sky, filtered


I was looking for a sky photo in my hard drive for this week's Photo Friday challenge and the most recent is a wide shot of the Victorias sugar refinery and thick white clouds in the sky. The original and unfiltered photo would have sufficed but I wasn't sure if, to the ordinary viewer, the series of buildings was more noticeable than the sky. So, I went about making the … [Read more...]

Solving the puzzle of Alfonso Ossorio and “The Angry Christ” mural


Except for the architecture, I'm really not into churches. But, during last month's visit to Negros Occidental, when we were told that we ought to see the church of the angry Christ, it sounded so subversive that my interest was immediately aroused. We drove to the church inside the Victorias Milling Company agro-industrial complex, there was a wedding and it was difficult … [Read more...]

The mangrove and the wharf in Cadiz


When my friends and I left for Negros Occidental two weeks ago, we had no idea what we were going to do there. We were four friends from the U.P. College of Law -- Laly, Lisa, Ida and myself, plus Ida's and Laly's kids -- and none of us had been there before. All we really knew was that food in Bacolod is oh, so good! We agreed that we wouldn't draw up an itinerary and … [Read more...]

It is a grievous mistake to call The Ruins the Taj Mahal of Negros


The Filipinos' penchant for drawing parallelisms between a foreign phenomenon and a perceived local version is mind-boggling. Although meant as flattering, the obvious irony (sadly missed by most) is that any comparison is, in essence, derogatory as it sets the foreign phenomenon as a standard and the local counterpart as a mere copycat. Erik Mana, dubbed the David Blaine … [Read more...]

The sun sets in Cadiz


During our seven-day stay in Negros Occidental, we spent most afternoons swimming. On one side of the pool at the hacienda in Cadiz was an unobstructed view of the horizon where the sun set. On those afternoons that we went swimming, at around 6.00 p.m., we'd be excitedly checking cloud formations and the chance of taking good photos of the sunset but there was only one … [Read more...]

Chapel of the Cartwheels in Hacienda Rosalia


We visited three churches in Negros Occidental. The first was the San Sebastian Cathedral. It's an old structure and has its attractions as such but the facade was covered with tarps about the Catholic Church's war against the Reproductive Health Law and I lost interest. It didn't help that right beside it was an imposing two-story brick building that turned out to be the … [Read more...]

Creating moods with lights and shadows


There is probably no better example of how to use lights and shadows to create a visual mood than to cite horror films. I think of Nicole Kidman walking into a fog in The Others; of Chloe Grace Moretz sitting barefoot on a swing at midnight in Let Me In; of Piper Laurie surrounded by candles in Carrie; and of Peter Wyngarde, in silhouette, standing on a tower in The … [Read more...]

Oro, plata, mata: the house, the stairs, the superstition


In 1982, Peque Gallaga directed Oro, Plata, Mata (Gold, Silver, Death), a multi-awarded film about the lives of two families, the Ojedas and the Lorenzos, in Negros during the second World War. To this day, Oro, Plata, Mata is still considered one of the finest Filipino films ever produced with its superb production design and the performance of a stellar cast. It will … [Read more...]

7 days in Negros Occidental


The simplest way to explain the seven-day inactivity in the blog is to say that I went to Bacolod City. But that wouldn't be accurate. The more precise way to describe the last seven days is to say that a group of friends from the U.P. College of Law, some of whom brought their kids along, finally managed to find a common free time to accept the long-standing invitation of … [Read more...]