I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Of Boatmen and waterfalls. My very first job in movies happened a few days right after I graduated from high school. Hemisphere pictures was hiring crew for a Vietnam movie being shot in various provinces in the Philippines. I got in on the recommendation that I knew how to draw. Which was entirely neither here nor there as I was going to be a grunt weilding a house brush most of the time. That was how I got to work on "Apocalypse Now."

Half-way point. Stopped for lunch by this cascading falls. One of many leading up to the main one.

The last location I worked in my few months stint was the municipality of Pagsanjan (pronounced, Pag-sang-han) where the falls of the same name is located, and also where Martin Sheen's boat inched along to get to Marlon Brando's temple. A typhoon wiped out the set I was working on and the river rose up the jungle canyon walls. I saw the plaster and burlap parts of the temple, soggy and limp, floating down the river with the storm showing no signs of abating. It was every man for himself and soon I was on a bus trudging through floodwaters headed for Manila.

I hadn't been back until now. This last trip home I wanted to finally get to the falls myself and also glide by the location of the set. The boatmen knew to hype this up though it was rather anti-climactic since all that's left are a few stone steps well into be being claimed by the moss and jungle.

The river ride on bancas (wooden boats) is quite exhilirating, traversing 14 rapids against the current! I didn't do any work, the boatmen did all the heavy lifting. Literally. We just sat in the boat got carried over rocks like precious cargo. The Pagsanjan falls at the end of a box canyon is quite a sight to see and the roar of the water completed the spectacle. After you arrive you see that there is an option (an added fee) to be dragged in on a raft right under and behind the falls!

From under the main falls. Camera all wet. Even took some little movies. Check the links below this post for little movies

That was so awesome! I highly recommend that if you were to stop over Manila do get the hotel to arrange a day trip. You'll have a grand time. Be prepared to get wet, and have a spare set of dry clothes waiting for you at your car. Also great rainy or in the heat of summer. Mabuhay!

Pagsanjan movies
1,2 and 3.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Visited a volcano. Having a blast.

Hike and draw. Taal volcano is about two hours away from Manila and not as angry as Mayon these days. Couldnt' fly to Legaspi City anyway with my schedules and this little beauty was quite accessible. The drive brings you to Tagaytay City where people with signs saying "boat to Taal" flag you down (be judicious and choose only Tourism Bureau sanctioned ones). The boat ride takes you across the fresh water lake (refreshing)for about fifteen minutes. You land on the island and go on a 45 minute hike...up. After huffing and puffing (you can rent a horse and guide for about $12) you end up at the lip of the caldera looking into the interior lake. What a grand view!

UPDATE Fixed--Movie clip of Taal here.

I attracted a crowd. Even this gentleman was curious about how I was going to draw what they see everyday. The gun was loaded. He was the local security person of sorts. Friendly, if rather loose with the decorum of his office.

After a few more drawings it was time to drink coconut juice and finally eat the coconut meat. Notice the improvised spoon made from a slice of husk.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Of course. A volcano.

Mayon Volcano. Known for its nearly perfect conical shape of all vocanoes, Mayon is also the most active volcano in the Philippines. And, as luck would have it, getting rather testy lately. It's 212 miles south of Manila, so I'm well away from any fiery retribution. I think. Flights might be affected. Doesn't seem to faze the locals.

Never gone to see the volcano myself, and maybe this isn't the best time to. And my schedules don't have that much wiggle room right now. Really.

I hope the drills work. I wonder if they get any more gear than just hankerchiefs over their faces. Troubling photos.

Wikipedia on Mayon volcano
Philippine Officials:Volcano May Erupt

UPDATE:Alert level 4 raised as Mayon eruption ‘imminent’

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Flora. A postcard design before the trip.

Photoshop. May need to refine this a little more.

Twelve years. Been planning a trip back to the Philippines since forever. One thing I learned from the last few years of doing books, Japan jaunts, Sketchcrawls, galleries and con appearances it this: Planning doesn't work. You just do it. Variables and obstacles will show up, plan or no plan.

But this one has been hitting a lucky streak. Different. Classmates from way back have been very helpful in organizing meetings and talks. Tess' uncle, Ted, just hustled and got a talk schedule into place. Going back to the old college, UST College of Fine Arts, and a few other schools. I'm preparing a Keynote file to do a rant. Even got a Macbook for the trip. Sweet. It's like butter.

Tired and frantic, because there's other things in life that will ask for attention. But inspite of that I did get to most of my checklists (there's a few more to do, but hey...). Now, watch me forget my passport or something moronic.

Thanks to all back home who've been so instrumental in getting this together. And I'll be seeing you all in less than two weeks. Meanwhile I gotta refine my presentation. Wait, my throat's all scratchy, and I'm achy all over. Sigh.


University of Santo Tomas