Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Manila Vice – Art Exhibition in France

Two years ago, an art exhibition of Filipino artists was held at the Musée International des Arts Modestes in Sète, southern France. I got to know the event when I saw it being promoted by Telematin, a French morning show I watch everyday. Naturally, I got excited seeing my countrymen’s artworks shown on European TV as well getting exhibited on European soil so I thought I should share it with my Filipino readers all over the world.

Here are the images I took from the TV screen:


The Poster.


The French tv reporter wearing a Manila Vice t-shirt.


Works of 23 works of Filipino artists displayed were curated by Manuel Ocampo .


Ocampo, who has extensively exhibited his works in major art capitals around the world including Europe, Asia, and the United States, is on a personal mission to bring the Philippine art community on a par with its global counterparts.


Interview inside a jeepney which is part of the exhibition.




It includes a figure of Ex-President Corazon Aquino sitting on a chair. Notice that her feet are suspended on air…she was a small woman.


The Philippines is a country ruled by Politics and the Church


But despite a lot of problems, the Filipino is renowned for being an easy going person.


With poverty, crime and all the problems besetting them, all the Filipino can do is to pray that their life will someday get better.


Artificially-dyed chicks make brisk business in the Philippines because kids love to have them as toys, instead of pets.

Painted lovers

It’s Valentines Day and what’s a fine way to celebrate this special day with your loved one than to go on a virtual museum trip featuring some paintings about love. Take time to observe each piece and feel yourselves transported to another dimension. I am, already….

P.S.  This post is inspired by the same title of the Exhibition currently ongoing at the National Gallery in London.


Bacchus and Ariadne, circa 1682
~ by Luca Giordano (Italian, 1634-1705)
Oil on canvas
Kedleston Hall near Derby, UK

The god of wine with his exotic and noisy retinue comes to the rescue of King Minos’s daughter who’s been churlishly abandoned by Theseus on the Greek island of Naxos. Despite her crucial role in helping the Athenian prince kill the minotaur in the labyrinth of her father’s palace at Knossos on Crete, his ship can be seen sailing away. The coronet of stars floating above Ariadne’s head refers to her constellation in the sky which was to be her wedding gift from Bacchus who has fallen in love with her at first sight. (National Trust)


Paolo and Francesca da Rimini,1867
~ by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (English, 1828 – 1882)
Watercolour, gouache and gum arabic over pencil on 2 sheets of paper
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Daughter of Guido I da Polenta of Ravenna, Francesca was wedded in or around 1275 to the brave, yet crippled Giovanni Malatesta (also called Gianciotto; “Giovanni the Lame”), son of Malatesta da Verucchio, lord of Rimini.[1] The marriage was a political one; Guido had been at war with the Malatesta family, and the marriage of his daughter to Giovanni was a way to solidify the peace that had been negotiated between the Malatesta and the Polenta families. While in Rimini, she fell in love with Giovanni’s younger (and still hale) brother, Paolo. Though Paolo too was married, they managed to carry on an affair for some ten years, until Giovanni ultimately surprised them in Francesca’s bedroom sometime between 1283 and 1286, killing them both. (wikipedia)

El Beso (The Kiss), 1859
~ by Francesco Hayez (Italian, 1791-1882)
Oil on canvas
Pinacoteca de Brera, Milán

The painting represents a couple from the Middle Ages, embracing while they kiss each other. It is among the most passionate and intense representations of a kiss in the history of Western art. The girl leans backwards, while the man bends his left leg so as to support her, simultaneously placing a foot on the step next to him as though poised to go at any moment. The couple, though at the center of the painting, are not recognizable, as Hayez wanted the action of the kissing to be at the center of the composition. In the left part of the canvas shadowy forms lurk in the corner to give an impression of conspiracy and danger. (wikipedia)

John Everett Millais: The Black Brunswicker.

The Black Brunswicker, 1860
~ by John Everett Millais (English, 1829-1896)
Oil on canvas
National Gallery

The painting depicts a Brunswicker about to depart for battle. His sweetheart, wearing a ballgown, restrains him, trying to push the door closed, while he pulls it open.

Working Title/Artist: The Storm Department: European Paintings Culture/Period/Location: HB/TOA Date Code: Working Date: 1880 scanned for collections

The Storm, 1880
~ by Pierre-Auguste Cot (French, 1837-1883)
Oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Probably referred to the novel “Paul et Virginie”, first published by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre in 1788. Evidence of this interpretation comes from the specific motif of the couple running from the rain and covered by a billowing drapery corresponding to a famous and often illustrated scene in Paul et Virginie:

One day, while descending from the mountaintop, I saw Virginie running from one end of the garden toward the house, her head covered by her overskirt, which she had lifted from behind her in order to gain shelter from a rainshower. From a distance I had thought she was alone; but upon coming closer to help her walk I saw that by the arm she held Paul who was almost entirely covered by the same blanket. Both were laughing together in the shelter of this umbrella of their own invention.” (wikipedia)

82Lovers in Green, 1914-1915
~ by Marc Chagall (Russian-French, 1887-1985)
Oil and gouache on paper, mounted on cardboard
Private collection

NGI 2358

Hellelil and Hildebrand, The Meeting on the Turret Stairs
~ by Frederic William Burton (Irish, 1816-1900)
Watercolour and gouache on paper
First exhibited in 1864

This richly coloured watercolour painting depicts the ill-fated lovers Hellelil and Hildebrand, meeting on the stone stairway of a medieval tower. The princess and her bodyguard had fallen in love but her father regarded the young soldier as an unsuitable match for his daughter and ordered his sons to kill him. The painting captures the couple’s poignant final embrace. Burton was inspired by the story of the ill-fated lovers told in an old Danish ballad. The poem had been translated into English in 1855 by Whitley Stokes, a lawyer and philologist, and friend of the artist. (National Gallery of Ireland)

Aphrodite, Ares & Eros/ Venus, Mars & Cupid, 1st Century AD
(Mural found in the ruins of Pompeii)
Fresco, Imperial Roman IV Style

Venus (Aphrodite) reclines half-naked in the arms of Mars (Ares) the god of war. Their sons, the winged Cupid (Eros) and wingless Formido (Phobos) (?), play with the arms of the god.



The Embrace, 1893
~ by Gaston la Touche (French, 1854 – 1913)
Pastel, 1893
Musée des Avelines, Saint-Cloud


The Lock, 1777
~ by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732 – 1806)
Louvre Museum

The painting shows two lovers in a bedroom, with the man locking the door. (wikipedia)


Le Baiser (The Kiss), 1969
~ by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
Oil on Canvas
Musee National Picasso

The painting shows two heads joined by a single line occupying the entire pictorial space. Picasso does not hesitate to deform the faces in order to bring them closer together: “Of the two, he makes but one, to express the intimate fusion that takes place during the act of kissing.” The noses mould themselves into a mutual contour; the mouths bite each other; the woman’s eyes, both of which are visible even though she is shown in profile, have moved up her forehead, which is tilted back. (

A Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day, or simply “A Huguenot”, 1852
~ by John Everett Millais (English, 1829-1896)
Oil on canvas

It depicts a pair of young lovers in an embrace. The familiar subject is given a dramatic twist because the “embrace” is in fact an attempt by the girl to get her beloved to wear a white armband, declaring his allegiance to Roman Catholicism. The young man gently pulls thearmband off with the same hand with which he embraces the girl. The incident refers to the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre in 1572 when French Protestants (Huguenots) were massacred in Paris, leading to other massacres elsewhere in France. A small number of Protestants escaped from the city by wearing white armbands.

The Kiss, 1908–1909
Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862-1918)
Oil and gold leaf on canvas
Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

A perfect square, the canvas depicts a couple embracing, their bodies entwined in elaborate robes decorated in a style influenced by both linear constructs of the contemporary Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement. The work is composed of oil paint with applied layers of gold leaf, an aspect that gives it its strikingly modern, yet evocative appearance.

goodbye-alfred-guillouAdieu! (Goodbye!), 1892
~ by Alfred Guillou (French, 1844-1926)
Oil on canvas,
Musee des Beaux-Arts de Quimper

The last kiss given by a father to his drowned son

Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet, 1884
~ by Frank Bernard Dicksee (English, 1853-1928)
Oil on canvas
Southampton, City Art Gallery

“The romance portrayed in this painting is phenomenal. They have eyes closed as to be completely lost in the moment. Juliet’s arm on his neck pulls him in, even as his hand on her arm prevents this. The frustration and tragedy in the entire play is present in the painting. The passion is such, that romeo cannot even pass into the room before they embrace. To risk ALL for love. It is the ultimate expression of devotion. The desire to be loved is inherent in all humans whether or not one will (or can) admit this. The story that this painting eludes to, is a manifestation of these feelings.” -Robert Plank
(wikimedia commons)

Saturday walk in Saint Hippolyte

Surrounded by vineyards set at the foot of the Haut-Koenigsbourg,  colourful half-timbered houses and home of the Rouge de Saint Hippolyte or Pinot Noir of Alsace cultivated since the Middle Ages.

After that lunch in Osthouse, it’s time to continue the journey.
We set the GPS for Colmar, 50 minutes, it says.  “That’s too far.  I don’t want to keep driving endlessly in the motorway.” says H.   But more than halfway to Colmar we saw a brown sign ,”Haut-Koenigsbourg”.  I remember reading an article in our monthly town newsletter about this medieval castle  in Alsace,  one of the most visited monuments in France.  ” Let’s go there!”

We saw the silhouette of the castle perched high on the mountain before us but what caught our attention was the town that we were passing through.

Saint Hippolyte, Alsace


“Tour des Cigognes” (Stork’s tower)

This medieval-looking tower is the first to welcome you  upon entering the town.  It is the lone survivor of the 14th century fortified wall that protected Saint Hippolyte from enemy invasion.  Named “Stork Tower” because of a stork that used to nest there.


The domed steeple of the  14th century Parish Church of Saint Hippolyte.


The main road where it’s highly recommended to explore every alley on foot as there are plenty of interesting buildings to discover:  16th century Rennaissance and 18th century Baroque houses as this town used to be the home of the Dukes of Lorraine.


This blue house reminds us of Hansel and Gretel’s cottage in the woods.





On the left is the 16th century fountain of red sandstone, now a historic monument.


Doors on the ground floor are normally wide for easy  transporting in and out of materials for wine production.


These small windows are fascinating.   My guess (1) that they are source of lights in the cellars of the house, (2) or they are made small so that passers-by couldn’t see what’s going on inside.

As soon as I find the answer, I shall post it here.

Signs of  a wine-growing region is apparent in the facades of houses.




The Germanic influence is so strong as you can see on the metallic signs and even in the size of houses.


One of the many wine cellars of the town.


Wine cellars competing for attention.


Here is Charlie posing amongst the vineyards.


We shall return at Springtime when the leaves on this vines are out, and again in the summer when they get heavy with grapes.


Done (for now) with the town, we drove up to Haut-Koenigsburg but it started to rain and visibility was getting bad so we promised to come back when the weather is better.


But I couldn’t leave without taking a photo of the castle!

A brief stop at Spital am Pyrhn, Austria

Why is it that everytime we are in Austria we always tend to sing “The hills are alive” of Julie Andrews? There is something in this country that blows us away even if it’s only a cattle farming community such as Spital am Pyrhn. Literally means “village in the mountains”, Spital am Pyrhn is set in a picturesque landscape famous as a skiing resort in the winter and an equally popular hiking paradise the rest of the year. What makes it attractive for nature lovers is that, it is the gateway to the Kalkalpen National Park, the largest forest region in Central Europe, which boasts of hidden gorges, untouched mountain streams, caves, fantastic flora and fauna, among others.

If only we had more time, we would have loved to explore the forest and Charlie would have the ball of his life. Oh well, we might just go back, after all, it’s not too far away from where we live..

IMG_4936bWaking up to a staggering Alpine scenery like this makes us yearn to explore the ever so beautiful Austrian countryside more and more
@Haus Johanna, Spital am Pyhrn, Oberweng, Upper Austria..










20151104_090754bThat red and black pole is a snow marker, as the name suggests, is used to measure the depth of snow
and to mark the boundary of the road when it is too covered in snow..








20151104_085327bA children’s playground

20151104_091142bThe start of a hiking path as symbolized by the pairs of shoes.