Trying Something New

May 26, 2019 at 9:30 PM | Posted in Lifestyle, Photography | Leave a comment
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Lately, I’m at a crossroads of my life where I want to try something different that would eventually be beneficial for me, especially in terms of my career. I’ve long been interested in art and graphic design despite the fact that I don’t have any talent for it. I can’t draw or paint even if I try but I can very much appreciate art when I see it. And I’m practically clueless when it comes to graphic design. But I’ve always been fascinated with it. So much so that I’ve enrolled myself in a short course on graphic design.

My decision to enroll in a graphic design class was born not only out of my fascination with it but also out of my frustration in editing photos and images. At work, I had difficulty in fixing images as I didn’t have any design skills. So I was hoping that my very limited skills could improve if I join a class.

I signed up for a three-day course about two weeks ago and opted for a hands-on classroom experience as online video tutorials didn’t really work for me. Video tutorials left me with more questions than answers. I didn’t learn much. I wanted a comprehensive learning environment where I could interact face to face with the instructor and fellow students.

There were only six of us in the class and all of my classmates were professionals in various fields. They wanted to improve their design skills just like me. The course covered the basics but the instructor also taught us some advanced lessons. The class had a very casual and fun environment and I got to bond with my classmates. It was a very satisfying experience as the instructor was kind and patient enough with each student. We all received certification after the course.

Now that I have completed the short course, I’m hoping that I could apply what I learned. But I’m still practicing my skills and honing them. I’m not an expert yet.

 

Soul Taking Flight: My Phantom Experience

March 22, 2019 at 11:14 PM | Posted in Lifestyle, Theater | 4 Comments
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Is it possible to love something you’ve never seen before? In my case, it is. I became a big fan of musical theater after hearing the soundtracks of some of the world’s best classic plays long before I’ve even seen them. Growing up, I never had the chance to watch any of these classic plays because tickets to these shows were expensive and I couldn’t afford it. So I just contented myself in listening to the soundtrack and watching the film adaptations of these plays. But over the years, it has always been my dream to see the plays myself. I’m talking about beloved plays like Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and Starlight Express.

Among the classics, Phantom of the Opera is my favorite in terms of story and music. Having read the book from which the play was based on, I was really curious on how the story would translate to the stage.

When there was a world tour of Phantom of the Opera in 2012 and the production came in Manila, I wasn’t able to go and see it. Since then, I’ve regretted not going especially after hearing how spectacular it was. I never thought a world tour of the play would happen again but when I found out last year that there would be an Asian tour and Manila was part of it, I was ecstatic. I said to myself that I would not miss watching it this time. So I bought a ticket very early on last year, picking a seat near the stage for an intimate experience.

And it was all worth it! I watched the play last week and it was fantastic indeed! The costumes were lavish and spectacular, the set design was impressive and the performance was splendid. I was particularly taken by the Phantom’s performance, who was played by Jonathan Roxmouth. He’s every bit the Phantom I loved from the book – manipulative, menacing, maniacal, and arrogant but also had that soft side in him that no one ever saw except Christine. Speaking of Christine Daaé, the character was brought to life by Meghan Picerno, who was equally impressive in her performance as the young and naïve opera singer. I’m particularly impressed by Meghan and Jonathan’s vocal range and the depth they gave in each musical number.

The viscount Raoul was played by Matt Leisy, whose performance was a little dry in the third act. But then again, I’ve always found Raoul’s character to be dry even in the book. He’s just the type who’s too perfect. And I’m usually drawn to flawed characters like Erik the Phantom. Also notable was Beverly Chiat’s performance as Carlotta, the prima donna opera singer. She’s a delight to watch.

Stage view from my seat

In terms of venue, the Theater at Solaire is the host of the Manila leg of the play’s Asian tour this year. It’s my first time to be at the Theater at Solaire and I must say the place is a bit small and cramped. There’s not enough leg room in between seats and the stage is not that big. So it wasn’t able to do proper justice to the chandelier scene in the first act. One of my favorite scenes in the play was the masquerade ball and the entire musical number did not disappoint. But it could have been better if the stage was bigger.

All in all, it was still a memorable experience for me. To be able to see up close and enjoy the live performance including the live orchestra was an experience of a lifetime.

A World of Pure Imagination

February 20, 2017 at 10:30 AM | Posted in Art, Lifestyle | Leave a comment
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paintings-from-galerie-stephanie

Paintings from Galerie Stephanie

Art Fair Philippines just ended its annual run this week, and I’m glad that I was able to go this year. I missed the Art Fair last year and it’s a good thing that my friend Jess alerted me of the fair this year or otherwise I would’ve likely missed it again. Jess and I decided to check out the Art Fair this weekend.

weena-art-fair-2017

As expected, there were long lines again at the entrance to the fair. The venue was the same every year; it’s at The Link beside The Landmark mall in Makati. The art galleries were located at three different floors and Jess and I made our way through the enthusiastic crowd.

"The Oneiric Time Piece" by Marc Aran Reyes

“The Oneiric Time Piece” by Marc Aran Reyes

I was a bit annoyed that some of the galleries at the fair were just advertising displays from major sponsors of the event. To me they were like in-your-face ad campaigns and kind of ruined the artsy atmosphere at the fair.

jess-weena-at-art-fair-phils-2017

But compensating for that were a massive set of galleries teeming with works of art from Filipino contemporary artists and a few from foreign artists. There were just so much beauty and creativity at the fair that Jess and I were simply awed by the amazing pieces. From classic canvas paintings, surreal sculptures to pop art and quirky art installations, there was something for every one at the fair.

"Rise to Heaven, Fall the Sky, or Hover in Between" by Geraldine Javier

“Rise to Heaven, Fall the Sky, or Hover in Between” by Geraldine Javier

weena-at-art-fair-phils-2017

As always, I’m attracted to paintings so I lingered on those pieces that I found particularly interesting. I was intent on admiring some of the pieces that there were times that Jess and I would wander apart from each other and we would be lost in the crowd. But we managed to find each other after a while.

"Humani Machina" by Daniel dela Cruz

“Humani Machina” by Daniel dela Cruz

"Blood Angel" by Suzann Victor

“Blood Angel” by Suzann Victor

It’s a great feeling to go to the Art Fair with someone who shares the same enthusiasm in art as I do. It was my second time to the fair but it was Jess’ first and we both enjoyed our time there.

"Balance of Humanity" by Anton del Castillo

“Balance of Humanity” by Anton del Castillo

Zen

January 28, 2017 at 9:26 PM | Posted in Health, Lifestyle, Musings | Leave a comment

In this day and age, people have become accustomed to multitasking. This especially holds true in the corporate world where there is a misconception that it is better to multitask to be more efficient at work. I myself have become a victim of this unhealthy practice. I was a workaholic before and I got used to multitasking because in a fast-paced corporate world, that’s what was expected from everyone.

But over time, I came to experience the side effects of overworking and multitasking. I suffered from creative burnout and my brain wasn’t as sharp anymore as it used to be. My energy levels dropped and I felt mentally exhausted most of the time. I even tried taking vitamins to keep my energy levels up. But it wasn’t as effective as I had hoped.

It’s been years since I had a long relaxing vacation. I’ve been missing out on so many things. And last year, my life was so toxic that I had to cleanse my mind from all the negativity and bad vibes. One day I gave myself a break. I went to the park and allowed myself to relax and enjoy my surroundings. But I know I need more than that.

zen-philosophy-quote

Photo credit: beliefnet.com

Lately, I’m thinking of starting to live a balanced lifestyle. I plan to give more time for myself and enjoy life. I always believe in living in the moment and taking time to appreciate the simple things in life and be one with nature. But certain obligations and limitations prevented me from doing just that.

This year, I am hoping that I will have time for that, and that it will be the start of a long-term balanced lifestyle.

A Purr-fect Afternoon

June 15, 2016 at 12:51 AM | Posted in Animals, Food and Dining, Lifestyle | 1 Comment
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Ever since I found out last year that there was finally a cat café in Manila, I was excited to go and visit the place with my friends. I love cats and was always curious about the famous cat cafes in Japan. It’s a good thing though that cat cafes have sprung up in Manila in recent years. Pioneering the cat café in Manila is the Miao Cat Café.

Miao Cat Cafe interior

Miao Cat Café – the name of which is a pun of the word “meow” rather than an actual Chinese name – is located along Congressional Avenue in Quezon City. It took me a long time to visit the place mainly because it’s too far from where I live. And due to conflict of schedules, my friends and I kept postponing our visit to the cafe. But last Monday, my friend Jess and I finally had the time to check it out. She brought along her 8-year-old son with us.

My first impression of Maio Cat Café was that it was simple, practical and cozy. The café’s interiors are decked with pathways, ledges and scratch posts for the cats. Customers have the option to sit at tables with chairs or lounge comfortably on the carpet with throw pillows. There were a couple of loft tables too. Of course, I wasn’t really there for the decors. I was there for the cats.

Miao Cat Cafe entrance                Miao Cat Cafe interior 2

There were about eight or so mixed breed cats inside the café. I spotted a couple of Persian cats and a Maine Coon but I forgot what the others were. Most of the foreign breeds were napping at the time we were there. The only cats that were wide awake and active that time were two local rescued cats and a black Persian. The café has a few policies about the cats. We weren’t supposed to pet and disturb the cats while they’re sleeping.

cat on a piano at Miao Cat Cafe

It was afternoon on a Monday when we visited the place so there was no crowd. In fact, we were the only customers there at that time so we had the place all to ourselves. The food at the café was delicious enough. I especially loved the pink cappuccino frappe I ordered along with the fish and fries.

Weena with orange cat

I was able to pet some of the cats there. From what I could tell, the cats were properly behaved and kept a fair distance from our food. The rescued cats though kept staring at our food and came close enough to sniff at the table. One of them was really friendly that I was surprised when he suddenly plopped on my lap and made himself comfortable.

  Weena, Miko & Jess at Miao Cat Cafe    Weena with cat on lap

Spending the afternoon at the café was worth it. I loved the cats and would have stayed longer to pet them. I don’t have a cat at home because the admin of the condo complex where I live does not permit tenants to have pets. Thanks to Miao Cat Café, I finally had my feline fix even for just a few hours.

Weena with Jess and Miko

pink cappuccino frappe, fish & fries at Miao Cat Cafe   tables at Miao Cat Cafe

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