long live olive

i am giriish

painter, writer,
designer, martial artist,

and these are my jottings...

Sumilon Serene

the infinity pool where this writer loves to laze the whole day away

Sumilon (derived from the word ‘silong’ meaning refuge) is an irresistible invitation to immerse one’s self in the serenity of open-air seclusion. The island’s breath-taking ocean views, lush tropical environment, and tranquil seas provide both secluded space and boundless peace that will ease and allow you to surrender to the leisurely flow of island life.
Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort is an unobtrusive development on Sumilon Island which remains one of Cebu’s best kept secrets. Located at the south-eastern tip of the mainland, it is part of the historic municipality of Oslob which is 125 kilometres from Cebu City and is in close proximity to Dumaguete.
To reach the island, one can take a scenic drive through the southern coastal towns and enjoy glimpses of Cebuano rural life. Outside city limits, a relaxing drive goes through tree-canopied highways with wonderful view of eastern seashores. One also passes through interesting towns such as Carcar with its 17th century church, ancestral homes, local delicacies and “chicharon “ (deep-friend pork rind), Argao with its caves and centuries-old church, Boljoon with its ‘Eli” or natural barrier against Moro raids and watchtowers, and Oslob with its Old Spanish cuartel ruins, 1788 church belfry, and “Mainit” medicinal hot springs.
The trip takes about two and a half to three hours and ends at the seaside reception hall of Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort where refreshing cold drinks are served by an attendant. From this point, one boards an outrigger for ten to fifteen minutes crossing towards the 24-hectare Sumilon Island.
Sumilon, with its crystal clear waters in varying aquamarine hues is a protected marine sanctuary. Four surrounding dive sites make it a popular, premier dive area. A visit to the island would be a perfect time to learn the basics of SCUBA from a PADI-certified expert instructor or to take further certification courses. For those who cannot equalize however, such as this writer, snorkelling is a good alternative to view aquatic life which is one of the best in the country.
There are numerous activities for those with unbridled sense of energy. There are rugged uphill trails for a challenging cardiovascular exercise which will be rewarded with a spectacular overview of the natural lagoon teeming with high mangroves undulating towards the sparkling sea. Further southward up the trail are the historical “Baluarte” (Watchtower) which was built as part of a warning system to thwart slavers and marauders in the 19th century and the “parola” or lighthouse amidst a protected tree park.

view from an old tree trunk that hangs over aquamarine waters

From Aquamania, the dive shop at the eastern beach area, one can rent paddle boats, windsurfing boards, and kayaks aside from snorkelling and diving gears.
For those who prefer lazing the day away, there are numerous “payag payag” or open bamboo huts draped with gauze in vibrant colors where one can read books, play cards or board games, indulge in sybaritic shiatsu massage or simply be lulled away by the soothing sea rhythms.
There are six cottages, each with two adjoining rooms and private verandas that look out to a breathtaking view. Each room has an area of 48-square meters and accommodates a maximum of 3 guests.

my favorite "payag payag" where i have late afternoon shiatsu massages

The Island Pavillion houses the resort's restaurant that serves delectable local and international cuisine. Adjacent to it are the bar where one can take island coolers or cocktails, and this lazy cancerian's favorite spot, the infinity pool.
Sumilon is an epicurean experience, a reverie with a translucent feel of a waking dream.

The Five Remembrances

i finally finished reading the book by Thich Nhat Hanh called ANGER (Wisdom for Cooling the Flames) and it made me realize how all these years i have been very unskillful in dealing with anger, both mine and another person's. i’ve always considered myself to be composed and tolerant but after reading his book, i realised that i still have much to work on and take care of.
i’m not going to write on the effective and practical techniques that this remarkable Buddhist monk described in his book now. i have yet to continually practice what i’ve read to be able to share it with conviction.
What i’m posting today are the Five Remembrances taught by the gaotama buddha & photographs i've taken through the years; images in my mind’s eye that will be hardest to part with...

I am of the nature to grow old. I cannot escape old age.
a red stone doorway to a sun-washed corridor @ AngkorWat

I am of the nature to have ill health. I cannot escape ill health.

fresh fruits for lunch prepared by Vince Escario on a holy week in Bantayan island

I am of the nature to die. I cannot escape dying.

desolate beach @ Panglao

All that is dear to me and everyone i love are of a nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them. I cannot keep anything, I come here empty-handed, and i go empty-handed.

Young monks @ Phnom Bakeang waiting for the breathtaking sunset

My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which i stand.

sand stone wall smeared with orange pigment and black soot @ siem reap

Filipino Martial Arts

World Eskrima, Kali, & Arnis Championship

cebu is host to the 10th world, eskrima, kali, arnis championship. these three forms of martial arts are aknowledged as original filipino. I chanced upon the initial rounds of bouts at the ayala center this afternoon after deciding not to head back to my atelier to work on SONA ternos.

here's a sample of full contact filipino stick fighting...

w o r k i n g

while intuitional inspiration flows...

i'm workin, workin, workin...

do you think i'll meet my end-of-the-month deadline?

centennial sketches

we had a centennial show for U.P. last weekend here in Cebu and guess who graced the occasion?

backstage @ UP Centennial Show

the Oblation incarnate ...

it's been ages, since i graduated from art school in U.P. Diliman and last weekend i participated in the show put up by the alumni. the show opened with the oblation dramatically coming to life @ center stage. this model jeremy was a perfect choice for the role; tolentino, the original oblation sculptor would have approved.

"I've never tried wearing a thong, i've turned down BENCH before. i don't know why i actually did this," jeremy told me.

i retorted that there was nothing wrong with it because he wouldn't keep that form forever and this was all for the alma mater.

speaking of my alma mater, i had been looking for some brushes and oil paints for the commissioned mural i'm working on and i chanced upon some discarded sketchpads from the early 80's.
impressionist suede suit, denim jumper with poet shirt, new romantic purple suit

these are some sketches from that era... when i was an idealistic art student who dabbled in fashion design.

high waisted pants, frock coat and pleated shirt.

Erotic Art, NY Style

What’s beautiful beyond the banal in sex?

New York, the epicentre of art. For me, that thought is more exciting than thinking of New York as fashion capital. Thus, when the opportunity to be there for the book launch of Jing Ramos’s Beach Houses: Cebu Architecture by the Sea arose, I did not hesitate to grab it. And taking the opportunity proved to be my wisest artistic decision yet, as the wealth of works of art in its museums was totally inspiring and a session of Erotic Life Drawing Workshop at its Leslie-Lohman Gallery was a rarefied experience of establishing one’s aesthetic aspiration.

At the MET, MOMA and The Guggenheim Museum, I reconnected with my aesthetic aspirations. Although these museums' collections of objets d'art were interesting, offering the viewer a deeper understanding of the museum’s origins and insight into the vision of the museums' founders through works by Wasilly Kandinsky, Robert Delaunay, Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, and so forth, the erotic drawings session at a Soho basement gallery were what sparked off this artist’s creative reconnection.

George Gozum, a college colleague, now a successful New York graphic artist, urged me to attend and made the reservation for a class at Leslie-Lohman Erotic Life Drawing Workshop where he regularly participated. Initially started under Harvey Redding’s direction in December 26, 2000, classes have been held twice weekly ever since with Rob Hugh Rosen sharing in the direction.

This session started with a handsome, well-built, six-foot, Chinese-American model in a black mesh thong coming up the low platform to do the first fifteen-minute pose. “This is conservative and gauche, even our models in basic college figure drawing classes were completely naked,” was the underlying but recurring thought that kept popping up in my head.

There was the regular five-minute interval to rest, enjoy some snacks and drinks, comment on each other’s posted works and then the session resumed with the subject divesting completely. Directed by Rob Rosen, the model played with desire, generating erotic space within him and radiating with the dynamics of looking and not looking at the artists. Totally aware of being looked at, he proceeded and maintained generous penile erections for the next three poses.

Art is prolific but the concept of sexual imagery in the traditional visual arts has remained marginalized as pornography. In less sophisticated venues, such as Cebu, I have experienced puritanical censorship when my paintings of black and white minimalist brushwork of male and female nudes were unceremoniously removed from the wall a day after they were hung. Not surprisingly, in view of this taboo on eroticism, life-drawing classes generally remain rigorously de-sexualised, purely academic and mundanely unchallenging.

Far from being mundane however, New York is at the frontier of liberalism, particularly in homoerotic art. There, art lives and evolves. There in the room full of drawing male artists, the subject proceeded to stroke his genital for the last five minutes of his last fifteen-minute pose, charging the air with dynamism and finally breaking the almost-meditative silence with an ecstatic moan.

Ecstatically, on a parallel vein, I arrived at my aesthetic aspiration. Finding beauty and inspiration in that fleeting moment, rendering the most confident line drawings of the male nude in twenty years. Those sketches bore the seed of aspiration; they defined what’s beautiful beyond the banality of sex. They marked the essence of my autumn in New York as an artist.

There was a book launch scheduled the day after I left the city that never sleeps. “Dirty Little Drawings,” was envisioned by Harvey Redding and Robert Richards as a way of making erotic artwork produced by over sixty participating artists readily available and affordable. The images were chosen from the thousand that the gallery exhibits yearly for its increasing number of collectors. Although unable to stay for the launch, I had the chance to interact with other artists and have them sign their artworks in my copy of the book right after the workshop session.

As for this artist’s sketchbook of incipient erotic life drawings, they remain in a Cebuano friend’s Soho apartment. There, they shall always be best appreciated.

Man & Divinity

haven't been to the Sistine but...

i got comissioned to do a mural for a house in Alabang; these are details. it's ambitious but i don't intend to copy the original rather, echoe the theme of divinity in man. i'm hoping this will turn out to be inspiring since my last exhibit was in 2000.

Dharma in the Dark

DHARMA hiding underneath the table designed by Luisa Robinson...