Apr 29, 2011

Teenage Girls

Sometimes I want to grow up to become an inspired and spirited teenage girl--just like Zoe. She's the daughter of one of my favorite school co-moms Lizanne. Moved by Sara Kay, Zoe has gotten into expressing herself through spoken word. Here is one of her first attempts, in a video she also made all by herself...

I am far, far from my teenage years but have yet to fulfill some of the items on that promise list. Oh my. Time to get to it.

In the meantime, I have to thank the lovely Lizanne and her equally lovely daughter Zoe for showing me that we need not be bothered by the Cassandras who foretell of scary teenagers during these Days of Evil Internet and Loose Morals. Teenage daughters are even scarier, they add. Sometimes they are. Sometimes they're like Zoe.

Yours with optimism,

Apr 25, 2011

Mr. Messi

Except for pajamas at night, I haven't seen Mak and Tato in anything but football jerseys in the last freaking days. Eleven days so far. And counting. Serious, serious soccer mania. Mak even has the matching British accent to prove it . He's uhh... "five and a hawf".

Anyway, somewhere near their favorite shabu shabu restaurant and on our way to the ice cream bar, we chanced upon a petition/ gratitude wall the mall set up in High Street for Holy Week. Seemed like a good a time as any to pause and say thank you anyway. And so we did.

"saying" thanks

Mak: Papa Jesuss thank you for making soccer

Tato: Thanks Jesus For FCBarcelona
(with matching logo)

Happy Easter! O-le! O-le! O-le! O-le!

Apr 20, 2011

Wabi Sabi

The days slow down as Holy Week moves in so I'm in for some reminiscing. Are you old enough to remember or love Moby like I do? Rumpus columnist Rick Moody recently talked to him about his wild collection of drum machines. Makes one of the most interesting interviews, ever. In relation to his somewhat arcane obsession, Moby explained the Japanese concept of wabi sabi in the coolest way. A very cool read in it's entirety, actually. It also stirred up memories that made me blog today.

And what's a Moby post without a Moby song? Porcelain means so much to me, not just because it's an awesome piece of music, but because sometime in the year 2000, right after getting married, my then-new-husband and I spent time in Palawan in a cottage by the sea with the most soul-stirring view of the sunset. That sunset view was enhanced and made doubly-stirring by that song. Here's that view unearthed from a non-digital album...

Palawan 2000 sunset + Moby's Porcelain = Perfect Moment

Way back then we were younger and playing Moby on the Discman.

Oh and, it's not that I was too lazy to embed Porcelain in this post. I couldn't because the record-company-gods won't allow it. Whatever. Moby has many songs to love so let's listen to another one here. That one is to share with the kiddos who go for danceable beats. I think they'll like it.


Here are some photos of LilBro and I. That's MammaMia with us in the first shot too. Yes.. grainy photos. I am dating myself.

I've already written about how I only wanted a sister and didn't exactly welcome LilBro with open arms when he popped up into our lives. But I learned brothers were cool in their own way and turned extremely proud sis recently watching him realize his dream of being an Ironman.

We were usually up to no good way back when and probably responsible for most of the grey hair and wrinkles on the folks. But we're older, wiser, more mature now. More importantly, we're finally up to some good. And we'd love if you can help us out here. In LilBro's words:

Thank you!

Apr 15, 2011

Three Words

Somewhere tonight two young boys lost their mother. A man lost his wife. I lost a friend. And easily the strongest, most courageous person I have ever known gained her angel wings.

I hope this link from a facebook page works. Three Words is a three-minute video by Kelly Day. The message is simple but powerful. Because sometimes three words is all you ever really need. There's a little cameo over at the 00:15 mark.

As for you, I have three for you too: You are amazing. I will miss you.

Apr 13, 2011

A Little Date

You can have a house full of children and still take some time to go on one-on-one dates, yes? Sometimes this is done with the little girl, recently with the big boy. After his Foldabots workshop, we took a nice walk to what Bear considers "the best fried chicken in the world" a.k.a Bon Chon Ayala Triangle. Simple joys. I love how my 7-year-old date is so easy to please.

And then...

I had to pass by an art gallery to get a little work/research done, but turns out my date really enjoyed this detour as well, thanks to this Briccio Santos installation...

He couldn't get over the clever tunnel installation, totally unaware of those valves and number codes alluding to the gas chambers of the Holocaust. Okay, I'm only guessing the allusions because the artist apparently spent time in Germany to better understand Immanuel Kant, Edmund Husserl and Merleau Ponty. Who are Husserl and Ponty? Anyway, I will stop digressing now.

That this was about the artist's "philosophical musings on reality and illusion" was lost on him. For this 7-year-old, Lego-loving, Foldabots-making, Visual Spatial Dude, it was all about the visual spatial trickery of installation artist, painter and film-maker Briccio Santos.

His exhibit at the Manila Contemporary called Numbers Revisited runs until this May first. Bear's review of Santos' work: Whoah! [Pause] What the?! Hahaahaaa! Awesome! Can I go inside (the tunnel) Mom? Take a picture of me pretend falling!

That picture above is in case you're still falling (oops, sorry, pun) for the visual trickery. I loved the installation too, by the way.

Apr 10, 2011

Random Cuteness

The Rumpus publishes these extraordinary mini interviews of ordinary people--like a cab driver in Syria or someone's brother who happens to have both autism and schizoaffective disorder. It's an idea that is brilliant in its simplicity. As they solicited for more of these interviews under 600 words, they explained "we like to hear from your friend with a Neil Diamond obsession, your neighbor fawning over his pet ferret, your best friend’s mom; the random nooks and crannies of planet earth."

Here's something from our random nook and cranny. Inspired by those mini interviews, I thought... we capture our kids' moments-in-time with pictures, why not capture them in words? So here are my kids randomly interviewed by me at age 5 and 7.

Just a matching Totally Random Video made months ago.
Cheese! from Nikka Santos on Vimeo.

What's good about being a kid?

Chicha: It's soooo nice when kids go inside a pretend house in the playground to fit inside the small door.

Bear: Practice writing and toys.

Did you say practice writing just to impress me?

Bear: No. I really do!

What is your favorite toy?

Bear: LEGO, because I like to build.

Chicha: Piny Pon because I love to change clothes. I like Barbie too because I can change her clothes.

What's the worst part of being a kid?

Bear: All the homework.

Chicha: Smoking is bad for kids.

How old are you?

Chicha: Five

Bear: You know. Seven.

How old am I?

Bear: 35? 30-something. I forgot.

How about Daddy?

Chicha: [Giggling] 85!

Bear: [Catching the giggles] He's 85 and getting flabby here [pointing to tummy and laughing even more].
Picture taken by her brother.

What do you think you'll be at my age?

Chicha: Teacher.

Why do you want to become a teacher?

Chicha: I want to take care of kids and make them learn.

Bear to Chicha: You have to be patient.

And you, [Bear]?

Bear: LEGO designer. Because you get to work the whole day. I love LEGO. It has been named the most popular toy in the world. Twice! The first time I got it, I liked it.

Do you like grownups?

Bear: A little bit. Oh, I mean half and half.

Explain what you mean.

Bear: Some I like, some I don't.

Chicha: I don't like the manong that calls me cute.

Bear: That's a good thing Patris.

Chicha: I don't like it.

Bear: You don't like compliments!? I like directors.

You mean… movie directors?

Bear: Yeah. Because the movies I like may be theirs. Like RPG Metanoia and Despicable Me.

Chicha: I love mommy and daddy. I don't like robbers! I don't want them to get my toys.

More silliness with the camera.

Do you like school?

Chicha: I like school very much because I like teacher Icca, Nissa, Teacher Mark... [names so many other teachers it will eat up too much of our 600 words]

Bear: Yeah, because I get to do fun stuff with my classmates.

What's fun to do in your school?

Bear: Math games and outdoors.

How can they make school better?

Bear: Everything has to be fun while learning. Like Math olympics and stuff and the multiplication race.

So you like math. How about Reader's Workshop? Or Writer's Workshop?

Bear: I love Reader's a little bit, Writer's a lot. It's like I'm practicing my writing and I need to practice. Reader's is okay, but I already know how to read. I like comics! Tintin is the best. I have to poo. Make [Chicha] answer those questions.

Do you like books or comics?

Chicha: I like to draw.


It's fun to make lots of art.

So you're an artist...

No. I'm a learning artist.

And that ends that Mini Interview. Wondering how they'll react to this one day...

Apr 9, 2011


Someone is in love with Foldabots. It's origami meets transformers melded into uniquely Pinoy robot characters such as Buhawi, Bangis and Astig. Now there's more to life than LEGO for this little guy.

Tamarax in robot mode

Tamarax in creature mode.

Thank you architect, artist, children's book illustrator and writer Jomike Tejido for also being an awesome papercraft toy designer.

Bear with Teacher Jomike

As a big summer bonus, Bear got to workshop with Jomike himself, who also happens to be such a nice guy. The Foldabots Kids' Workshop poster at The Heritage Museum screamed Learn! Invent! Create! So we were so there…

In this 3-day workshop, kids learn Jomike Tejido’s creative process of conceptual design, prototype construction, and final art of making robot toys. Kids hone not just drawing skills, but their spatial relations as well, including:
- Basic paper engineering and strength of forms
- Basic 3D drawing and coloring
- Character design
- Descriptive writing

The final product: a craft book compilation of all participants’ works.

And here it is...

The Book. Their Book.

Here are some of them in the Artists' Profile page...

The craft book contains characters they developed, designed and made into Foldabots on their own. They even thought of really unique powers, like John's Dreadshot who can"control reality with his intellect and uber coolness." How esoteric! There's also Tim's Patay who "can kill Lubobots (bad foldabots) in an instant" and whose "canon can serve as a cleaner of pollution." I just love crazy, inspired ideas from kids.

But I have to say, one of the youngest Foldabot creators in this batch made my favorite… check out Bear's Lightbot. According to him, "Lightbot has a powerful shield and is armed with electrical powers. He can fly into space with his powerful wings."

These 6-to-17-year-olds all designed and created their own Foldabots. Imagine that.

Noise levels in the normally quiet museum went up when they were there. Proof that chaos can be productive. They had a blast!

Hope everyone is enjoying their summers!

Apr 5, 2011

Home is Wherever...

MacDaddy would kill for a daughter. Don't get me wrong. He's head over heels, totally in love with our two but a little one all decked in pink and pigtails with matching googoo eyes and an irresistible smile would totally blow his mind. I love telling him about how his friends with teenage daughters are going absolutely nuts now that the young boys are starting to make their presence felt attack. Case closed.

Frustrated musician MacDaddy would have loved to be dear old dad on this video. Most adorable thing I've seen in a while.

But this is real life over here at our home. (with special participation of BCF/ Neighbor)

I love my boys. Dancing on plastic tables with scissors and all.

Apr 1, 2011


A writer whom I admire wrote, "Poetry presents itself unannounced." I read that this morning from his Rumpus email, where I also learned that before becoming a much-admired novelist, essayist and editor he started writing as a poet.

This is striking because, I had found it a bit funny that Bear's class of first-graders were asked to try their hand at poetry. At age 7? What can come out of that? Their Writer's Workshop started with units on drafting How-To's, writing about Small Moments, then moving onto Personal Narratives, Fiction and Non-Fiction. These all made total sense to me. But Poetry?

Then again…

Poetry presents itself unannounced. Writers really just have to let it out. Unleash. Abandon self-consciousness. It is, indeed, the most basic, most important aspect of stringing words together to express thoughts and emotions, and spin stories. Even young writers can, as Bear's Teacher Tina explained to her students, "look at something and describe it in a different way." Instead of the usual, try the unusual. Bear's first attempts...

It's like a knife
with black blood
in the hands of a thief

A meteorite
crashing to Earth

White Board
Like a knight's shield
Super strong
Defeating a dragon

Looking at his first attempts at poetry and his own imaginative metaphors, the whole poetry-at-age-7 thing really makes sense. I get paid for my writing, but I could still learn something from first grade Writer's Workshop. Even Stephen Elliott confirms this. Time to pay attention to my inner poet and write better than usual!