Musings on E.E. Cummings and the Balaw Balaw Art Gallery of Angono

nothing like colorful, papier mache bare-nekkid ladies to inspire artistic creativity. i love ’em, that’s for sure.

“Poems Are Made For People”

was the title of my collection of poems transcribed through the means of my mother’s trusty silver-grey Olivetti typewriter from the 80s, when I was 9 years old.

the lighting in this place is very similar to a museum—shadowy, with very little natural light coming in
papier mache big heads (o diba, may santa claus pa! merry summer christmas!)

My mom was secretly proud of my writing, and would limit her not-so-subtle bragging to the inner circle of relatives that came together at our house at the occasion of some family rejoicing which would as a matter of course include an entertainment program of some sort.

something about the dark, eerie, and unearthly beauty of religious artifacts that transfixes me on the spot…

Since I could neither sing nor dance (well, everybody including myself assumed that much anyway), my “special number” was reading aloud from that collection.  This was way before I had any inkling at all about such hefty matters as copyright protection, infringement, the successional rights of heirs to intellectual property, and lastly but certainly not by any means the least of all, the concept of lawsuit.

balaw balaw dining area

So I remember my childhood collection when two weeks ago I chanced upon, and (of course) acquired, this wonderful canvas eco bag at Powerbooks with a sketch of  the face of the  great American poet E.E. Cummings.

wood art, second floor

He started writing poems, and decided to write a poem every single day, at the age of about 6 years old.  Cool little boy.  Fancy that, a 6-year-old writing poems, and making that conscious career decision. So I seek out his poems blog after blog, specifically it is at moments after i have dreamed, and I get stung by this familiar block to public literary pleasure which basically states that “you cannot read this on this site because it had to be removed upon demand by the copyright owner.”  Of course.  I remind my eager- beaver-then-disappointed-as-hell self that commercial gain  doesn’t determine whether or not the use of a copyrighted work constitutes infringement.  So, I say, self, move your lazy arse and go to the local bookstore and buy that book.

care for a rooftop garden with tiny hanging pots? i most definitely do!

I ask my 12-year-old eldest child (the first beloved offspring of this totally unknown, un-celebrated poet) what he thought poems are for and if they were important, and he says “well, not really.” Sigh.

I tell my son, poems are important.

Just like all the other forms of art.  They are important not only to those who created them and have exclusive rights to their use by virtue of copyright.  They are important to the rest of us (yes, YOU, super cool, aridly stoic, don’t- care- for- deep dude) because we all need to experience beauty, sometimes in forms that we can’t even begin to truly comprehend in the strictly cerebral way because there is a part in all of us that can sift through all the nonsense or abstractness or gibberish and make sense of it, inevitably resulting into this highly rated value called Happiness.

my favorite artwork: re-purposed coke bottles. just looking at them makes me happy.

That’s why places like this little town called Angono  in the Province of Rizal, Philippines, which is dubbed The Art Capital, is to me a destination that cannot be left out in your list of things to do while you are in this country.  Traveling by car from Southern Manila, with a lunch break and a side tour to Daranak Falls in the neighboring town of Tanay, it would probably have taken us less than 2 hours to get here at Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant and Art Gallery.

Nope, you don’t have to be as old as I, nor be “artistically inclined,” nor be like me and pretend to be artistically inclined, to get a kick out of artsy places like this.  I know my resident video-game addicts respectively aged 4, 6 and 12 had a blast.

By the way, the food was great too.  We had our dinner here.  We just walked in, and managed to get a table probably because we were there by 5:00 p.m.  The place was pretty soon full of diners.

How would you like an artistic dining experience?

Thanks for stopping by 😉

See you again!


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