Ilocos Futures

When I checked Vanessa Miemis, emergent by design, blog roll on culture hacking I read that a culture hacking conference will be held in the US this year. Dubbed as the Agile Culture Conference 2012 the convention explores the promise of culture analysis, culture design and culture implementation in society and the workplace.  The conference aims to discuss how culture is fast becoming  a “gating” factor to satisfaction, productivity and learning. Culture hacking was defined by Agile as the art or science of “modifying a culture for personal betterment and the betterment of others.” Inspired by hacker ethos and software re-engineering paradigms, culture hack is the process of taking things apart (deconstruction) to create new things, ideas, systems and worldviews.

When I received the invitation from networks to submit an abstract for the conference I emailed some friends in the World Futures Studies Federation to catch up with the idea…

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ASEAN Art Exhibition 2012

The ASEAN Art Exhibition that was held at the Southern Thai Art Gallery in Thailand featured the works of prominent mixed media artists and sculptors in Asia. Art exhibits include the works of “metal and bolt” Visayan-Maharlikan based visual artist Mr. Florence Cinco (Philippines).

Florence, as the name implies brilliance or elegance, is a, if I may, a multi-valued and multi-awarded visual artist. Known in the Philippines as a “full time missionary artist”, Florence have won a number of prestigious national and international art awards. Florence won the Grand Prize of the 58th Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) Annual National Art Competition, Mixed Media Category in 2005 and the Grand Prize of Metro Bank Art and Design Excellence National Competition, Sculpture Category in 2004. His unwavering determination and amazing perseverance earned him the Juror’s Choice,at the GSIS National Painting Competition, Abstract Category in 2009; the Jury Award at the Embassy of India, Laos PDR in 2006; the Honorable Mention at the 58th AAP Annual National Art Competition, Sculpture Category in 2005 and Juror’s Choice Open Fine Print National Competition in 2004. A seasoned artist, Florence have had 10 solo exhibits and 39 group shows in country like Thailand, Japan, Malaysia and Laos.

A transcendent inspired artist, Mr. Cinco uses intuition, mythology, culture-based self-concepts, microvita science and spirituality to create art. For more please check ArtSlant page global artists – florence cinco – at or florence personal site at

A couple of photos captured by Florence and friends at the ASEAN Art Exhibit 2012.

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Posted by on August 1, 2012 in Artists at Work


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Mga Kwentong Styro: Juan Tulas 2nd Styro Art Exhibit

Art at its most significant is a distant early warning system that can always be relied on
to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen.
Marshall McHulan

Juan’s operative habit to create art is rare and his artworks may be likened to Thomas Aquinas “arts of right reason.” The saint if he had the chance to see Juan’s artworks would certainly comment ( I am pretty sure of this) and write “not for the will with which a craftman does a work, but for the quality of the work I say commendable.”

Of course, Aquinas had not live in a time where styros packaged his lunch, the aesthetics of Juan’s artworks would suit his taste of creative fine art.  Juan is one of the few “artists” in the Philippines which experiments by combining wit, fantasy, activism and nature. Elani writes “as styrofoam would take a million of years to recycle itself, it could take only a few seconds to dilute it into art.” Using the past, the present and the future as hiscanvass, Juan gave us his “kwentong styro”.

So, let us all dilute this residual wastes and turn them into beautiful artworks. Recycling millions of styrofoams would mean producing millions of colorful artworks!

For more visit Juan’s styro-artworks exhibit at the Samtoy Bookstore, La Tabacalera Lifestyle Center, Laoag City.

hanging amihan

Roots 1

Roots 2


Tree Chanters

Green Bomb


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Bangkok Art Experience at the Phil. Embassy in Thailand

The Philippine Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand in partnership with MASA (Malalayang Alagad ng Sining at Adhikain) held the “SINING PINOY Sariling atin, Pagyamanin natin”, a Filipino artists visual art exhibition  last June 10 to 14,  2012. The art event coincided with the Filipino Community Barrio Fiesta celebration of the 114th Philippine Independence day at the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok Thailand.

 The exhibit featured excellent paintings of oil, acrylic, watercolor, pen and ink from  Arao Salamat,  Joel Vedad, Juan Elani Tulas, , Manorainjan Luna,   Raquel Mogado, Ibunsod Querijero, Dr. Sainuddin Moti, Sherwin Paul and Vincent Christopher Gonzales, Antonio Pelobello Jr.,  Ma. Theresa Karla Bugayong, Melanie Lou Del Villar.

The Philippine Embassy website in Bangkok reported that the exhibit also included exposition of the Maranao inspired Darangen dolls of Dr. Sainuddin Moti of Marawi City which first appeared in the Prague Quadrennial 2011 celebration in Czech Republic. Other activities  of the art project were the joint “En pleine art” session with Thai artists at Suan Luang Rama IX park and Art safari in museums and art galleries around Bangkok  The exhibit aimed to promote the Philippine art and culture, appreciate Thailand art and culture, and to develope camaraderie between Filipino and Thai artists by the means of collaboration and interaction (Source:

ARAO SALAMAT, a 30 year old Filipino visual artist/art educator/Philippine art and culture advocate is the founder of MASA and the organizer of the said art project. Congratulations to all the exhibitors, the Philippine Embassy in Thailand, partners and enthusiasts.

Photos credits to Manoranjain Luna and Juan Tulas.

Manoranjain Luna

Juan Tulas and his styro-art works

Arao Salamat and the MASA group at the Phil. Embassy in Thailand

Mano Luna

Juan Tulas Art

Philippine Embassy in Bangkok Thailand


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Art Experience Bangkok 2012

Juan Elani Tulas, one of my former econ stud, a fast emerging local artist, joins the Bangkok Art Experience 2012. The group will showcase Pinoy creativity in Thailand. The leg will  begin on June 9, 2012 at the Philippine Embassy Grounds in Bangkok and culminates on the 16th of June at the Art Safari in Bangkok Museum and Galleries. An Arao Salamat advocacy, the event aims to raise funds for the benefit of 24/7 kids community in Quezon City.  Congratulations to all participating artists!


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Butterflies, Pink Blossoms and Transmodernism

The Pink Resilience

The Pink Resilience

When I was a kid I remember seeing thousands of Gumamela flower. In the early 90s, our city was adorned by thousands of plum blossoms in red, yellow and orange. I remember using it as a garland and we picked dozens of them and made and blew hundreds of sparkling Gumamela bubbles. The experience was really subliminal and partly emotional. It is sad to note that the flowers and the bubbles are gone. The Gumamela are rarely found even in the remotest villages. I never knew about the Gumamela metaphor until I learned that it was the national flower of China and Taiwan. China Airlines, the largest airline in Taiwan wears the pink blossom. In Chinese culture, the pink blossom is a metaphor for strength, beauty and the resilience to overcome adversity. I saw a lot of Gumamela flower n Tamsui, Taiwan. The ceasing of the flower might give us an idea on where and what we are now. Decoding the flower is a good way of knowing who and what we truly are as Asians.

The Great Tamsui River from TKU Cheuh Sheng International Center. 2012.

Canal is formed when Water Comes

And then I arrived in the Tamsui District of Taipei, Taiwan.

I learned that Taiwan was geographically and topographically similar to Bangui, Pagudpud and Adams of Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It shares the same sea. Its mountain range, its native trees, flora and fauna are similar to that of the Tamsui District, Taiwan.  The precipitation and the weather is exactly the same. Tamsui is surrounded by water – the sea and Tamsui River. Tamsui is abundant in exceptional scenery with a rich blend of culture and natural wonders.

The Mighty Tamsui River

The three municipios will learn a lot if they visit the Tamsui district. If and when they aspire for an urban development fit for a village-ecological future oriented city Tamsui is the place to be. The mayors of these municipalities should visit Tamsui, Taiwan. Tamsui is a nature-oriented, ethnic-culture sensitive, tourist friendly future city. I was told that the Spaniards briefly occupied the area and renamed it to Casidor in the 17th century to facilitate trade with China and Japan. The Spaniards were expelled later by the Dutch. Tamsui (Danshui in English) started as a small fishing town that slowly became a center for tourism, fishing and trade port in the north of Taiwan. In fact, one of its national historical monument is Fort San Domingo. The fort has a history of over 400 years and the British used it as a consular office. They also have the Little White House. The Spaniards built in 1862.

Tamkang University: Simplicity, Truthfulness, Firmness and Perseverance

I stayed at Tamkang University (TKU) International House, my host. And so I went around the campus known as the “City of Intellect” and learned that Tamkang University is the first private university of Taiwan. It has four campuses namely: Tamsui Campus (The City of Intellect), Taipei Campus (The Sea of Knowledge Navigator), Lanyang Campus (the Garden of Wisdom), and Cyber Campus (The Space of Knowledge Explorer).

Today, TKU is ranked 9th by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan and in Asia’s Top 50 university. Around 30,000 form the diverse student of TKU and partners with 28 sister universities around the world (Source:

Chinese Palace Style Classroom

Established in the 1950s its “Triple Objectives of Education” in nurturirng academic growth are: globalization (spatial pattern of the future); information-oriented education (the life pattern of the future); and future-oriented education (the time frame of the future). Its motto is “SImplicity, Truthfulness, Firmness and Perseverance.

I was able to visit the Statue of Mr. Chang Ching-Sheng (founder), Liu Sheng Memorial Science Hall, Retaiku International House, the Business and Management Building, The College of Education Building, the Cheuh-Sheng International Conference Hall, the Carrie Change Fine Arts Center, Cheuh Sheng Memorial Library and of course The College of Liberal Arts Building.

Taipei 101: A Transmodern Skycraper

A landmark skycraper in the Xinyi District of Taipei, Taipei101 is the tallest and the largest green building in the world. The building was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification in 2011. The building was ranked the tallest in the world until 2004. 101 is iconic it symbolizes the fusion of Asian culture and technology. The structure is transmodern (it combines high-tech architecture, technology and feng-shui, ancient mystical science and traditions) and function like a sundial when face by the sun. I was told that its layer light displays the seven colors of a spectrum (rainbow) and one color coincide with the days of the week. Truly, 101 is one of the best skyscraper in the world and embodies transmodern way of thinking, aesthetics and icons. The 101 is a pillar of Asian creativity.

Chiang Kai Shek and Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall: Standing on the Shoulder of Giants

And then I was standing on the shoulders of giants. I was fortunate to have visited the memorial halls of Chang Kai Shek and Sun Yat Sen. Jiang Jieshi in Mandarin, Chang was a prominent political and military leader of 20th century Republican China. Known for transforming the Whampoa Academy as one the most sophisticated and advanced military school in Asia, he led  China until a civil war broke out and the Communist Party of China ousted the Nationalist Government to Taiwan. Chang Kai Shek ruled as President of the Republic of China in Taiwan until his death in 1975.

Of course, Chang’s predecessor Sun Yat Sen, a Chinese revolutionary and founding father of the Republic of China, was responsible in overthrowing the Qing Dynasty. Sen was a uniting figure in the post-imperial China. He was one of the so-called “Four Bandits” that fought the Qing Dynasty. His legacy of the Three Principles of the People and the Five Yuan Constitution continues to guide Taiwan’s political system and bureaucracy. Sun Yat Sen in my book is one of the most inspiring figures of the early 20th century. His biography, speeches, writings on government and democracy is a must read. Professors, young leaders and historians will learn a lot by reading Sun Yat Sen’s writings.

Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

Sun Yat Sen ended the 2000 years of Dynastic System in China

Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

The National Palace Museum: Chinese: Arts, Music Culture and History  

The National Palace Museum exhibits a fine collection of Chinese arts, culture and history. Originally founded in 1925, the NPM collection numbers to more than 680,000 objects making it a premier museum of Chinese art and culture. Most of the artifacts found in the Forbidden Palace are housed in the National Palace Museum. The Republic of China shipped around 600,000 artifacts when the civil war raged between the Nationalist government and Communists. The NPM is a fully evolved museum and employs the latest digital technology in cultural innovation and industry. The NPM plays a vital role in shaping the future of museums and its role in contemporary life and society.

NPM features the following exhibit:

  1. The Mystery of Bronzes
  2. Nature and Human in Unison: Smart Cravings of Jade and Beautiful Stones
  3. Uncanny Feat and Celestial Ingenuity: The Carving of the Ming and Qing Era
  4. Art in Quest of Heaven and Truth: Chinese Jades through the Ages
  5. The Bell and Cauldron Inscriptions: A Feast of Chinese Characters – the Origin and Development
  6. Rituals Cast in Brilliance: Chinese Bronzes Through the Ages
  7. Special Exhibition Gallery
  8. A History of Chinese Ceramics
  9. Painting and Caligraphy
  10. Rare Books and Documents
  11. Arts from the Qing Imperial Collection
  12. Splendors of Qing Furniture
  13. Religious Sculptural Arts

The Museum Layout is quite massive and a visitor would need at least three to four days at least to tour the two exhibition areas including the library building. You can also visit the Zhishan Garden without extra cost. General admission is priced at NT $160 that’s more or less about 200 in Philippine peso.

The museum also has a Children Gallery, a multimedia auditorium and offers creative workshop classes.

Metro Arts

Yes the Taipei train and subway stations was passenger friendly. But more than that was the Metro train exhibiting modernist and even futuristic art works. The public art that I saw were children artworks.The artworks were distinctive, delightful, thought-provoking and inspiring. Work of arts can be found in a number of stations.

Spring Optimism

Last day in Taiwan was a time well spent. We went to the National Palace Museum, the Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, the Sun Yat Sen Great Memorial Hall and of course Taipei 101 – the tallest shopping mall  in Asia (formerly known as Taiwan World Financial Center). It would have been better if we were able to check the Martyr’s Shrine, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Confucius Temple, Spot Taipei, the North Gate and the National Museum of History. We hope to visit them soon.


Posted by on May 11, 2012 in All we need is the Arts


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Ilocos Futures

Edge Y Ilocano

The edge y Ilocano has arrived and they will, literally and virtually, create or perhaps disrupt the next 40 to 60 years of Ilocos history, society, arts, futures and culture. I am pretty sure they won’t write their history like what their predecessors did,  the baby and mid-life boomers that relied on typewriters, politics and law, government, liberalism, superstars, dictators, ideologies, the cold war, crude oil, traditional media, unrestrained economic growth and capital markets. The generation that was hook into Roman and Renaissance myths and “Coke is it” metaphors, their “boomer” heroics, I think, are about to end.

Of course, we cannot deny the details of the so-called “Aquarian prosperities” that happened in the 1970s which was a cool thing, the heydays, however, were short-lived. Tragically, I say, the legacy of the previous generation concludes with the worst global economic bankruptcy, social inequity, unemployment and environmental damage…

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