• Philippines,  Travel,  Travel journal

    Two weeks in Bohol

    Last May I went to Bohol for some R&R (they call it self-care these days, I guess). It was a much-needed two-week break from being “over-peopled” and it was also a chance to get some art/work done in a new environment. It wasn’t my first time in Bohol. I was there last year for my friend’s wedding and I found Panglao island just beautiful: I decided to go back to Bohol when I was choosing where to go for vacation. I chose Bohol because it had the right combination of elements I was looking for in a working vacation: it should be a place I’ve been to before so I can…

  • Illustration

    Make Art That Sells, Week 4: Editorial

    I was excited for Week 4 of Lilla Rogers‘ Make Art That Sells class– Editorial week. Prior to this class, I wasn’t really sure what editorial illustration is. It turns out it’s illustration for magazines, newspapers, books– anything editorial that has a need for an accompanying illustrated piece to depict the concept or content of a written article. Our assignment for editorial week was to make a map of the town or city you live in. Maps are constantly being commissioned, especially for magazines, so this is a lucrative market to make art for. Making an illustrated map has long been on my long list of to-do’s for my portfolio.…

  • Arts & Crafts

    Tres Marias: art up for auction for the benefit of the survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan

    If you’ve been following my Instagram, you’ve probably seen me posting progress pictures of a matryoshka doll set I’ve been painting for the past few weeks. In 2012, I bought a set of black chalkboard matryoshka dolls from Muji. I love Muji’s stuff– I always think their “blank” products are perfect for customising (see the Muji colored pencil tube I turned into a kokeshi doll). Their matryoshka dolls aren’t any different. These chalkboard nesting dolls came in a set of five with white chalk included (I’m trying to look for a product link online but Muji seems to have discontinued producing these dolls). I bought the dolls knowing I would…

  • Odds and Ends

    Super typhoon Haiyan: where to donate if you’re overseas

    Photo: National Geographic   By now, most of my international followers have heard of the widespread destruction in the Philippines’ Visayas region, brought about by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan). Yolanda, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, is the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall, and it left a wake of devastation in its path. Metro Manila (where I am) was largely unaffected, but Yolanda went “island-hopping” as it made landfall multiple times over several islands and provinces across the country, uprooting trees, tearing roofs off houses, destroying everything in its path, and causing storm surges (waves rising above sea level due to the wind blowing…

  • Illustration

    Roughs, sketches, storyboards, and final art for Aki Alupihan

    I just realized I never posted about this project I worked on late last year. Actually, there have been a few projects I haven’t blogged about, but let’s start with this.   Bobim Papasin, the author of my first illustrated book, Ang Munting Anghel, wrote a short story about Aki, an alupihan (Tagalog word for centipede) and his family. Bobim got me to illustrate two scenes from the story and he entered the manuscript in Singtel’s 2013 Asian Picture Book Awards. Unfortunately, the entry didn’t make it to the finals but coming up with work like this, especially on a tight schedule, is reward enough for me. It’s a story…

  • Philippines,  Travel

    Calaguas, an unspoiled beach destination for the Boracay-weary

    I’m a contributing writer for lifestyle and travel website When In Manila and I wrote this piece on a remote, undeveloped beach in a province in the Philippines. Sharing this with my readers (all three of them)— despite the “third-worldliness” of this country, I love living in the Philippines and places like Calaguas being within reach is just one of the reasons why. * * * When in Manila, ask any urban-dweller about the best beach in the country and you are guaranteed a popular answer: Boracay. And why not? Boracay’s blindingly white powder-fine sand and its clear, azure waters have spoilt us Filipinos. The Philippines’ top tourist destination has…

  • Odds and Ends,  Sunday Snippets

    Sunday Snippets: on speaking English, how I draw sunblock, and the land of Oz

      I don’t remember what I was thinking of that prompted this quick, warm-up drawing I made last week. But it’s a true story and during my last trip to the US almost a year ago, I got asked that question more times than I can count in a span of two months. One such incident was when I visited my cousin at her college dorm in Irvine and I was introduced to her American roommate. “Your English is so good!” the roommate exclaimed, after I answered the requisite questions on where I was from and how long I was staying in the States. She wanted to know how I…

  • Japan,  Travel,  Travel journal

    Illustrated travel journal: Kansai region, Japan

    It’s been a year since my Japan trip, and I still have not finished my Japan travel journal. Seeing its been a year and there have been other trips since, I am giving up on ever getting it done and just posting what I have so far. Hihi. Osaka Castle park My first autumn! The onigiri as illustrated in the journal. Assorted sushi and maki from the supermarket My washi tape loot. See related entry about washi tape here. Kiyomizudera temple all lit up. Read my other Japan entries here, or view my other illustrated travel journals.

  • Philippines,  Travel,  Travel journal

    Bacolod travel journal

    Two trips in three weeks! Eagle-eyed readers (all two of them) might’ve seen my previous Wordless Wednesday entry and assumed I was traveling. Indeed, I was! I was in Seoul, South Korea last week but before I can get to that, I have yet to post a blog entry of a trip that came a couple of weeks before– Bacolod city, in the Visayan province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. People go to Bacolod primarily for the annual MassKara festival (mass = many, cara (Spanish) = face, maskara (Tagalog) = mask), a street festival filled with colorful smiling masks and costumed street dancers. There are dozens of similar festivals in the…

  • Illustration

    That awkward moment where I talk about boys I’m too old for

      One of my freelance projects I worked on while in the US are these paper dolls of a British boyband that’s really making waves these days: One Direction. However, since I’m old (no, not THAT old), don’t watch TV, and live under a rock (a.k.a. working from home), I have to admit I have NEVER heard of them until I got the assignment from Summit Media (publishers of magazines such as Candy, Real Living, local versions of Esquire, Cosmo, etc) as they were releasing a collector’s edition fan magazine about the band. Prior to starting the project, I asked my 18-year old American cousin if she has heard of…