Sunday, June 9, 2019

Hayate Reflections: My Thoughts On Art


Sharp contrasts of bright green and dark shadows lend an alluring and almost otherworldly ambiance to this lush green forest. The seemingly random placement of the trees belie the artist’s subtle intent—which is to draw the viewer’s attention into the blank space at the upper left portion of the painting wherein the paper’s natural whites were purposely left intact in order to create the illusion of shards of light – sharp as daggers piercing into the thick veil of foliage below... is the kind of insincere, artsy, pseudo literary description that relies on empty prose and complex-sounding words to make something out to be more than it actually is. It’s also not the kind of description I’d ever want to give any of my paintings.
You know how long it took me to think up that description? All of 3 minutes at the very moment that I decided to start writing this essay. In fact, I could make up artsy sounding, insincere descriptions like that all day long – but I don’t, because I don’t like them.

Now let me tell you the real story behind this painting. This was a background done in around 10-15 minutes for an upcoming video game for desktop and mobiles called Miseria – which I did all the background art for. What I was really thinking as I was painting this piece was something more like “Ok, let me splish splash a few trees here and there, oh and we need some leaves there.  You know what? Let’s leave that area blank so that it looks like the light is filtering in through the leaves – oh yeah, that looks perfect! You’re such a genius, me.”  And you know what? I’m pretty sure that to some extent, all visual artists have the same kind of mindset as I do when they’re painting. I mean, forgive me if you’re actually thinking up all that empty pseudo-literary prose as you paint – and I guess you’d be the exception, but let’s get real, people. Let’s not put up any more barriers than there already are to art.
Anyway, I am lordcloudx, and today, I’m here to tell you about my art and the reason why I paint/draw the things that I do as well as a few of my pet peeves with how art is often perceived by other people. If you’ve seen my “Philosophy of Art” video before, you can think of this as an update, or a reaffirmation of sorts of the stuff I’ve said before.
I Am A Beauty Seeker
I have always been attracted to beauty – specifically, feminine beauty. As such, you might say that I have very heterosexual tastes. Certainly, I don’t consider myself to a part of the LGBTQ+ BBQ WTF LOL community, but I have a general disdain of communities in general anyway.

To get back on track, I have always been attracted to pretty pictures – specifically of the anime persuasion. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I limit myself to only manga/anime art. I can definitely appreciate the natural beauty of a colourful piece of scenery, or the complexity of an architectural drawing from an isometric, 3-dimensional perspective.

And for me, beauty in my personal art is rather simple to obtain – just add Nagi. It’s that simple. Whenever I draw/paint something for myself, I just think of how I can draw Nagi and make her look beautiful in my eyes – and in the eyes of other onlookers, and that is basically the entire philosophy behind my art. There’s no complex backstory, nor any attempt to shape society, nor some deep-seated psychological quandary behind what I do. I just like drawing Nagi because I love the character for who she is. Also, if you really take a good look at Nagi, she is actually far from perfect, even in appearance. Obviously, she’s short and flat-chested, and as far as her face goes, she’s definitely cute, but there are definitely many different anime characters who can be considered cuter and far more beautiful than her, but of course, Nagi will always be perfect in all her tiny imperfections for me – and that is all that really matters.
So to sum things up so far: I like drawing pretty pictures – and those pretty pictures usual end up being Nagi. No complications whatsoever here.

The Things I Dislike In Art

While art always has that element of individual preference to it, there are some things in the art community at large in my area that really set off all the wrong triggers in me. So let me talk about them for a little bit.

1.       The Wannabe Picasso Bandwagon

Yes, of course, I do understand the impact (not exactly the appeal) that the abstract expressionist, impressionist and pop art movements had in art history, but let’s face it, those days are long-gone and nowadays, it’s basically a free-for-all, for all kinds of art. With that said, what really ticks me off the wrong way is when I see exhibits on display with the kind of ambiguous, pseudo-literary narrative that I made as an example at the start of this video and paintings on display featuring women with wonky anatomy, asymmetrical features and nonsensical elements like the sun melting into a woman’s skirt and becoming a part of the pizza pie embryo of life or something similar – well, you probably know what I mean.
Maybe it’s just me, but I believe that these kinds of art that rely on the “viewer’s imagination” to fill in the blanks or makes use of pseudo-literary descriptions to make a trashy piece look like “high art” is just extremely pretentious and cringe-worthy. The worst part is when you see several pieces by the same artists and some are clearly lacking in the basics of good anatomy, color theory, perspective and lighting and other skills that a “professional artist” should possess some degree of competence in.

Certainly, it’s none of my business, but when you see people being drawn in and influenced by pseudo literary narratives into assuming that “this is high art” all the time, it kind of is – especially when people dismiss your own art all the time as “oh, it’s just anime.”

2.        The Talkers And Accessorizers

Of course, while abstact, expressionist art – especially from those lacking in basic drawing skills tend to tick me off, those people are still much better than the talkers and accessorizers. Have you ever come across a know-it-all who offers their brilliant “critique” and has this insatiable urge to redline and correct every piece of art they come across online? Chances are that these are also the same kind of people who will tell you to buy the most expensive pieces of art equipment that you can so that you can “level up your game” and even urge you to start creating your own paints out of gum arabic and your choice of pigment because that’s how a “real pro” does it.

Well, while there’s always the wild exception who can actually walk the talk, if you ever come across this kind of individual, it’s probably best to ask that person for some actual examples of their art. Chances are that you’ll discover something quite amusing. I’ll leave it at that.

3.       Communities

I did say that I hate communities, didn’t I? Anyway, the unfortunate reality is that if you desire any kind of recognition for your art, it’s really not about what you know, but about who you know. As a recent example, I hardly get more than 10 likes for any new artworks I upload publicly to my twitter, FB, and pixiv account. I’m not really one to self-market much and my favorite subject is from an anime/manga from another decade, basically.

So one day, I saw mikumiku_ebooks make an amusing post on twitter, so I decided to draw a piece of fanart dedicated to this tweet about Miku winning the Iron Throne in the Game of Thrones TV series – and suddenly, from out of nowhere, I got 1.8k likes and over 500 retweets in a single day. To be honest, this is more attention than anything I’ve ever produced in my 20+ years as a writer/artist/creator has ever received before.

To get back on track, art communities – especially if they are isolated to a particular locale like in my area, often tend to fall into a group mentality and will only recognize and promote fellow artists that join their community in the first place.

I can of course understand this kind of mentality for the purpose of self-gain, but when the same art community often says things like: “art is open to all” and how “art is a great equalizer for everyone,” I hope you’ll pardon me for thinking that these art communities are being hypocritical.
Is it an ode to Animal Farm perhaps? Art is a great equalizer, but artists in our community are a little bit more equal than others? I suppose that’s the only way for the contradiction to make sense.

Stop Being Pretentious

In conclusion, if you consider yourself an artist or at least a connoisseur of art, I implore you to stop being pretentious. If you want to paint/draw something, then do it, but don’t try to delude others into thinking that you were doing it for some higher purpose that transcends human existence while hiding behind a thin veil of eloquence. At the end of the day, all we visual artists really want to do is to draw pretty pictures and nothing more – and there should be no shame at all in admitting this.

I am lordcloudx and I like to draw pretty pictures – that is all.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Manila Trip 2019 - Day 5 (final)

In all honesty, I didn't think this final day would be worth blogging, but as it turned out, it actually was. So here I am again with the final chapter of this year's trip to Manila.

We started the day by cooking the last of the bacon and eggs that we'd bought at the start of the trip, as well as finishing off our supply of bread. Check out was at 12:00 PM, so we decided to make the best use of our room and come down by around 11:00-11:30 AM.

My aunt and cousin arrived at our hotel room by around 8:00 AM. My cousin would be coming home to Iloilo on the same plane as us, while my aunt had to leave to make it back to work by 1:00 PM.


By 11:00, we'd finished packing up everything and we were ready to check out. Things went pretty smoothly and we left our heavy luggage at the hotel reception. We'd be coming by to pick them up by around 4:00 PM. The hotel was near the airport and we had plenty of time to explore Manila a little bit more before our 7:35 PM flight.

We walked straight through The LandMark mall and into Glorietta wherein my mother bought some megamelt ensaymadas as a "pasalubong" (sort of gift/souvenir for the people back home).

Since I was a bit antsy from being prevented from buying Miku's book yesterday, this time, we also went straight to the toy store where I'd bought some of Nagi's clothes before and I bought another Barbie (whose fate is sealed) and my mother bought me one more set of clothes for Nagi. I like this series of Barbie Dolls. They're just the same height as my Nagi doll (around 24-25 cm, so a bit shorter than the standard barbies at about 28-30 cm).




After that, we made our way to one of the Glorietta mall's many exits and booked a Grab Car to the Power Plant mall nearby.

We arrived at the mall at about 12:20 PM. We had a nice lunch at Kenny Rogers Roasters -- and by the way, for the people in Iloilo City, they have better tasting coleslaw here for some reason. The cabbage is finely chopped instead of the larger chunks that they use in SM City Iloilo's Kenny Rogers branch.

After lunch, my mother walked around the clothing stores at the 2nd floor of the mall, while my cousin and I went straight to Fully Booked. I scored this Light Novel: I Want To Eat Your Pancreas -- which comes highly recommended by my sister (actually she was looking for it about 2 years ago)


We just took a walk around the entirety of the mall after this. I saw a place where they were selling 1/4 to 1/2 scale superhero/heroine figures... meh, Nagi is 1000x cuter -- as you can see.


Having toured the entire mall (Power Plant is fairly small -- smaller than most Iloilo City malls, but it's packed with stores. Great use of floor space), we went back to our hotel to unload our purchases a bit.

We still had plenty of time since it was only 2:00 PM by the time we arrived at the hotel, so we took a short walk back to Glorietta again. This time around, there was someone called "The Piano Man: Martin Avila" -- and upon research, he's apparently, been a premier lounge pianist for 3 decades. He was extremely impressive so my mother stopped by to clap for him and I took a video just to show you... hopefully, the audio quality will be ok. Also, the little girl trying to get him to say hi to her was pretty funny, if a bit bratty.



Our legs were getting tired after this, so we went around a bit looking for some mini cheese cakes and we were about to go to Kumori, when I spotted this coffee shop that sold boxes of 6 mini cheese cakes for only 300-350 php -- which is a far cry from the 1000-1300 php per half-dozen boxes that Kumori sells. My mother bought a box for us and then we made our way back to the hotel to pick up our luggage.

We booked a large car to take us to the NAIA Terminal 3. It was a short drive since we took the skyway (with a 35 php toll) to get there. After checking in our heavy luggage, we went inside Terminal 3's mini mall. (Yup, malls are a huge thing here in the Philippines -- both literally and figuratively.)

After looking around a bit, we settled down for dinner at a local restaurant called Max's. The food was great -- and actually not too extravagantly priced for a diner that's located inside the airport.

With dinner out of the way, we were off to the pre-departure area. So to top things off, the last thing I did before leaving Manila was to draw the cover for my black paper drawing album. Naturally, it's Nagi. I also noticed I had an audience of a few kids watching me. My mother told me that their parents had pointed at me earlier so the kids could watch... I actually enjoy having an audience as I paint/draw. Anyway, I finished the cover before our plane was ready for departure.


The plane left at about 7:40 PM. During the flight, we experienced some mild turbulence during the plane's ascent and descent because of the stormy weather. It was actually a bit scary at one point, but at least the cabin lights didn't involuntarily go out like it did during this one flight I was in with my sister some years ago. I suppose it was a good experience for my cousin who was taking only her second airplane ride -- a nice, stable flight on the way to Manila, and a bumpy ride on the way home.

So for my final thoughts -- this trip was very nice over-all, although a bit disappointing at times, but that's just how things ago. It was a nice eye-opener however, because it made me realize a few things about my life as well and what kind of direction I should be trying to take.

And with this, my Manila trip for 2019 is officially over. In the end, I actually managed to buy a few more things for myself -- which is enough to satisfy me. Thanks for reading through the entire experience with me. I'll see you next time in future travel posts to come. For now, this is lordcloudx out.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Manila Trip 2019 - Day 4

We started the day with breakfast inside our hotel room. We need to finish off the groceries we'd bought at the start of our trip because we're leaving tomorrow. My mother had set a meeting with a friend in the Greenbelt area just next to our hotel by lunchtime.

We spent the morning just watching TV inside our room. Just in case you didn't know, the Warriors won and Raptors fans are probably quite salty about it.


We made our way to the Greenbelt Mall by 12:00, but the friend sent a text that he had a meeting right now and by 2:30 PM, so we could only meet up at around the 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM time window. My mother decided to call off the meeting since it seemed it would be a hassle for him as well.




After that, we had lunch at the Glorietta Mall inside of Shakey's. We'd actually accumulated quite a number of credit cards rewards points, so we used up all the coupons we accumulated and had lunch basically for free.

With lunch out of the way, we walked back to our hotel and freshened up a bit. Then we walked our way to the MRT station which was through The Link, The Landmark, Glorietta Mall, and had a bridge going into SM Ayala Mall. We met a former student of my mother's -- a successful architect who had his own unit right here inside our hotel! He asked to have coffee at around 9 PM together and my mother agreed and said she'd message him via FB.

While it still wasn't rush hour the train cars were already packed with people. We got off at the Shangri-La Plaza Hotel/Mall and then just walked into the Mega D/Fashion Hall wing of SM Megamall.


My mother bought something at Zara and then we met up with my cousin and aunt who had already been there since 1:00 PM. She also wanted to buy a pair of shoes, so we just sort of wandered around a bit until she found something she liked at Call It Spring.

After this, we just sort of blindly walked around looking for a place to eat until I spotted a Super Bowl restaurant which was still open. We thought all the branches had actually closed down years ago -- we were wrong. Anyway, Super Bowl was great as usual.



With dinner out of the way by 6:30 PM, I led us to the Deovir (art store) branch that I'd found last year to see what kind of art supplies they had. I ended up buying an Artlinky Student Grade watercolor set for 432 php, my mother offered to buy it for me instead though -- so yeah, sure.

Next, we walked around a bit again to find a place to eat dessert. I decided to check out a Fully Booked store that we passed by to see if I there was something I wanted to buy. I saw a Hatsune Mix manga for 960 php and was all set to buy it, but my mother talked me out of it because "1000 pesos is still 1000 pesos and it's not something that I really like," apparently... ok. I saw this same manga and tried to go back for it in Fully Booked Power Plant last year, but ok. I was tired anyway and undeniably I'm jobless and shouldn't be spending money on these things. Maybe I should just go for another online job as soon as we're back from vacation. I really should so that I can do the things I want to do again -- actually, I think I will.

Anyway, I suggested we find a place near the exit of Mega D for dessert and we settled on a place called St Marc, or something like that. The dessert was some kind of ice cream soft serve on a cone with nuts and stuff as toppings. I dunno everything felt a bit tasteless.

After that, it was time to go home. We went our separate ways. My aunt and cousin took a taxi home while we booked a grab car -- oh, a student of my mother's suggested using a credit card and it really did hack off a lot.

We arrived at the hotel by 9:00 PM. My mother was justifiably tired, so she canceled the coffee meeting with her student. We still have some packing up to do anyway.

With that said, that concludes this day's entry. I don't think I'll be blogging our final half-day here, so I hope you had fun with me on this short journey. Oh, and here are all the things I could afford to buy while on the trip.

Gooodbye.




Sunday, June 2, 2019

Manila Trip 2019 - Day 3

Today was a bit more laid back than the previous ones. We started off with some light breakfast inside our rooms and then went straight to the pool by 8:00 AM.

Miraculously, through youtube tutorials and some coaching from my friend, Roop (online), I'm now able to swim freestyle while breathing normally in and out of water. Anyway, Prince Plaza II's pool is kinda small, so I can actually swim the entire length of it in 3-5 strokes.

After about 15 minutes, the pool got pretty crowded with people, so my mother decided to come out. We made our way back to our hotel room by about 9:10 so she could make it to the 10:30 AM Holy Mass at the Ayala Chapel, which was literally just in our hotel's backyard. Of course, I managed to take several nice pics of Nagi in her bikini before we left.







I took my mother to the chapel and she told me to go ahead and shop around the malls for a while and we'd meet up in an hour. In case you didn't know, I'm an atheist and my mother respects this.

I made my way to the Glorietta mall and my first priority was to buy some black paper at the Fully Booked store there. I bought a black paper sketchpad about 12x12" for 580 php. I also saw a manga called "All You Need Is Kill," an entire compilation in one. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of being able to buy all the things I want for now, so I decided to give that a skip since I can easily read all kinds of manga anytime anyway online.

After that, I wanted to buy something for Nagi as well and I just randomly went inside a toy store nearby and I saw they had several Barbie Dresses in stock. In the end, I went for a full Barbie Doll because her dress looked like it would really suit Nagi. There were actually two dolls that had some nice dresses and I couldn't decide, so I took Nagi out and asked the store attendant which dress she thought would suit her better -- she chose this one. Nice choice. Pink really does suit her better. The other dress was a blue denim skirt with a white top.

Well... you know the fate of this doll -- better prepare yourself Barbie, Nagi's going to strip you soon. This doll cost 799 php -- which is about the cost of an ordinary 1/6 scale doll outfit -- so it's a good buy. Also, I can give away the doll as a gift (with a hand-me down from Nagi, of course).

Next, I went to National Bookstore to buy a plastic envelope for my art portfolio and then I made my way back to the chapel to meet up with my mother. We walked around a bit to find a place to eat and ended up settling inside of the Old Spaghetti House inside the mall. The food was great -- and again, pretty reasonably priced. Also, my mother was still a bit hungry after the meal -- quite surprising considering how little she usually eats. 

We finished lunch by 1:00 PM and of course, my mother gets her usual Senior Citizen's discount. 

Oh, and Nagi is wearing a new outfit for lunch too.



We walked over to the adjacent SM Ayala mall after lunch wherein my mother bought a few things for herself and for a friend, then we walked back to the hotel. We stopped by to buy some snacks along the way first.

At the hotel, we actually managed to get a little bit of sleep until 4:00 PM. A friend was coming over to pick us up and treat us somewhere by 5:00 PM. 

Greg arrived at exactly 5:00 PM sharp and he brought some gifts for the both of us -- which was really nice of him. We took a grab car to Bonifacio High Street inside some new mall where people were lining up (it seems they'd been there for hours according to Greg) to try out the burgers from Shake Shack. Apparently, it's the new big thing in burgers here for some reason. Greg had some connections and was able to expedite the waiting time via a proxy. He told my mother and I to take a walk inside the mall for a while -- which was really great because I managed to score another new outfit for Nagi at Hamley's. The mall had a Michael Kors branch too -- and according to my sister, this is a horrible brand :D.



After finishing our burgers (my mother had a hot dog), we took a little walk around Bonifacio High Street. I thought the place looked pretty familiar -- and I was right, this is the place that connects to Serendra and eventually, just across Market Market. As for the burger, I'd say it tastes a lot like Burger King, but the tomatoes and lettuce are a lot fresher and it's lighter on the dressing -- which is a good thing. It wasn't very heavy on the stomach, but still satisfying.

Since we were in the Serendra area, I decided to pay a visit to Fully Booked and it's a good thing I did because I was finally able to buy some half pans of Titanium White watercolors there. Daler Rowney Aquafine with a lightfastness rating of 3 stars -- pretty good. It's about on par with White Nights.

I also saw a Hatsune Mix manga, but again, no manga for me unless it's really rare since I have to watch my spending for a while until I can find a stable source of income or go back to school --- depending on what I decide eventually.

After that, we tried taking some group selfies with the three of us together, but it wasn't working out with the bad lighting. Since it was getting a bit late, we took a grab car back to the Greenbelt area near our hotel and had dinner at Peri Peri Chicken. The food was great, but honestly, I was a bit full from the burger earlier so I was barely able to finish my meal. We asked the waitress to take our group pic there too.


With dinner done, we walked back to the Hotel and then said goodbye and thank you to Greg. 

It was a pretty laid back day over-all, but I managed to buy quite a few things for myself and Greg is always a very accommodating host and a nice guy in general.

Since we were back at the hotel a bit earlier than usual, I had plenty of time to paint, so I finished this piece -- my piece from our Manila vacation, "The Avocado Harvest" in Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors. This concludes my day 3 entry. See you tomorrow for our final night here in Manila.

One observation I'd like to share is that the way you speak English seems to be a way of defining your social status here in Manila. If you speak English in a particular way, people can immediately discern whether you were educated in a prestigious university or if you're basically poor. Of course, learning English at an early age and acquiring a native speaker's accent is not that hard anymore since everyone has access to the internet nowadays, but it's really become endemic to our culture to judge people from the way they speak English. It's a detestable attitude, but it is what we do here in general. Hopefully, things will change in the near future as Filipinos learn to become more of global citizens rather than being stuck in their own tiny bubbles of existence.


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Manila Trip 2019 - Day 2

Since we bought some groceries yesterday, we had a light breakfast inside of our hotel room. After that, we got prepared and booked a car to take us straight to Manila Ocean Park where we met up with my aunt and cousin. 

The Ocean Park is actually just one big building with lots of nature-centric attractions. This trip was my Aunt's treat and she bought everyone unlimited tickets for the entire day. 

The Ocean Park is actually relatively small, but they hold shows at staggered times within the different areas of the building to keep you busy throughout the day. Also, there are several commercial stalls selling all kinds of goods and services as well as a few snack stands and restaurants scattered throughout the building.

We started out by going through the creepy crawlies section that features all kinds of lizards, snakes, amphibians and exotic insects inside of glass cases. I managed to take some nice pics with Nagi inside this section.



After we were done with this room, we went to the Oeanarium that featured all kinds of fish and sharks. The most impressive portion of this attraction for me was the 180 degree transparent tunnel that allowed us to see the sharks and rays from their underwater artificial habitat. I found it quite amusing because you can actually get all kinds of impressive pictures like this one:

But first... you need to deal with crowds of people who are trying to take pics too like this one below. It kind of looks like a mixed aquarium. On one side, we have all kinds of marine life and on the other side, we have all kinds of homo sapien life.





Upon exiting the oceanarium, we went outside of the main Ocean Park building to see the Sea Lion show. Although it was hellishly hot outside, there was a canopy cover for the guests seated at the grandstand and the two sea lions were quite impressive and well-trained. It was something that would have probably held more fascination for me as a kid, but still, it was worth watching.

We exited the attraction and made our way to the main building after the show. I forgot to mention this earlier, but since the floor space of Ocean Park is relatively small and it was a Saturday, the place was packed with people -- also, it was Cebu Pacific's (a local airline) family day for their employees and they were celebrating it inside of the park.

Anyway, once we got back inside, we had some lunch inside one of the packed restaurants and then went to the birds of prey area wherein the guests could freely interact with the raptors which were kept inside of the park. The birds didn't seem likely to attack humans and they were prevented from going completely outside of their area via nets that formed a very large dome over their enclosure. No Nagi pics here because there's no way I'm risking one of those birds snatching her up. If any of these birds weren't endangered enough before, I might just make them go extinct entirely... :)


This area also led outside, which was perfect because we went back to the area where they held the Sea Lion show to watch a bird show. This show wasn't quite as impressive and was frankly a bit embarrassing for the trainers since some of the macaws outright refused to play any of the games or got visibly frustrated when they couldn't solve some of the puzzles that their trainers were coaxing them to play. The raptors looked very impressive as they flew across the audience however.

When we got outside after the show, there was a man selling some flying mechanical bird/glider hybrid that actually flapped its wings outside. I've seen these before. They work like wind-up helicopters. I asked him how much it cost and the Ocean Park security guard saw this and immediately chased him away. Apparently, he wasn't allowed to sell here -- and of course, the Park management are well within their rights to refuse such vendors -- however, looking at the obviously destitute looking vendor, it just led me to think that this is one of the reasons why communist ideology is seeing a big revival among compassionate intellectuals nowadays. I personally don't believe in it, but there are times when capitalism just appears to be the incarnation of evil -- this was one of those times. I tried looking for the man later on, but he was nowhere to be found. I planned to buy at least two his wares from him even though I only wanted one -- and all because I saw how harsh the guard had treated him.

This incident made me think that attractions like the ocean park come with a cost, and I don't mean monetary. Where is the humanity in this situation exactly? I know the guard was just doing his job, but the demeanor with which he carried out his duties felt downright inhuman.

Anyway, with that disheartening experience aside, the next portion of the trip was pretty nice. We went to this barnyard area wherein they kept bunnies and rodents -- but the fun part was the top floor where there were all kinds of small colored birds that you could interact with. I think they were lovebirds. The attendant there told us that we could feed them with birdseed, but it wasn't even necessary. The birds perched on our arms and even our phones. One blue-colored bird got so comfortable on my mother's hand that it outright refused to leave even when we were all set to leave the area. I managed to coax it to my hand and leave it on a tree branch eventually. Also, a careless woman did a quick 365 degree twirl with the birds all around her for no good reason and stepped on and visibly crippled a yellow bird -- sigh, people can be such animals with their ways.





Next, it was back inside the building and this time, we took a trip to the Superhero toy collectibles area. This place featured DC superheroes quite heavily. There was one room dedicated entirely to Superman toys. Naturally, I had to make Nagi strike a pose with them... also, she's cuter and prettier than Supergirl -- also sexier. 




After this, we just sort of wandered around the other attractions we hadn't been to yet except for the premium ones such as the underwater diving which wasn't covered by our unlimited tickets. There was an area where we could see where they bred the marine life they kept in the park and an area where they kept some penguins -- many of which were bred in captivity.

We were done with the park by about 3:00 PM, so we booked a car to take us to SM Mall of Asia. My cousin was looking for a particular store -- and I was amused to find out when finally found said store that it actually had a branch inside of SM Megamall -- the place we went to last night. Anyway, I bought a Miku keychain... not that well made, but it's Miku anyway. I was also wearing my Miku sword throne shirt today -- so it's quite apt. This keychain only cost 70 php.

Our next stop was at the S'Maison wing of the SM Mall of Asia -- we went there because it's a nice secluded area that not a lot of people go to/know about because it's connected to the SMX Convention Center and the high-end Conrad hotel. My cousin and I went straight to the Fully Booked store over there while my mother and aunt decided to go to the public lounge area to rest up. I was pondering about what I should buy for myself this vacation inside of the store and I've decided that it's going to be one set of medium-sized black paper (great for pastels and colored pencils) and/or a new waterbrush set, and of course, one doll dress/clothing set for Nagi.

My cousin bought some books for herself and then we went to meet up with my mother and aunt downstairs at the lounge area. We still had time so we decided to take a trip to the Venice Grand Canal mall since my cousin said she wanted to go to a place that's great for pictures. This place is excellent for pictures. Here are my best pics with Nagi :).





After a brief walk and some picture-taking time, we had some lunch inside a restaurant that my mother chose for us and they actually had a reasonably priced menu for a restaurant in this area. The food was great -- especially the garden salad they served with some custom dressing, lettuce, red beets, croutons, and chicken.

We took a short walk towards Dairy Queen for dessert. We had some fun watching the men working out at the Gold's Gym at the top of the building across us. I was also pretty amused at this really well-muscled looking guy who couldn't do a single pull up even though he tried several times. (I can do 10 in good form and I'm not even that sculpted -- challenge me here and I'll upload a video and show you :P)'

This was the last stop for us for the day and we all went home afterwards. I have to say, this was a very colorful, if a bit exhausting day. There were quite a few ups and downs here and there, but one thing I'm grateful for on this vacation trip is that I'm currently unemployed and therefore, I'm actually not actively thinking of any work backlog -- which I had to do in all of our previous vacation trips from the last few years. I'll need to think about what I want to do going forward after this vacation trip, but for now, I'm quite satisfied with life.

Also, I started this sketch on a 12x12" watercolor painting this night just before I wrote this blog. I hope/expect to finish it before this trip is done. It's called: "The Avocado Harvest." Anyway, I need to turn in for the day. We're going swimming tomorrow and meeting a friend. I also need to buy my souvenirs tomorrow since we're already leaving by Tuesday. Anway, see you for tomorrow's blog.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Manila Trip 2019 - Day 1

Hey there! lordcloudx here typing from my phone turned pseudo laptop. Just in case you're confused, check out the pic of my setup on top. Basically, I connected a USB otg converter into a USB hub and then connected my mouse, portable HDD, and keyboard to it.

Anyway, back to the trip. As you may know if you follow my travel blogs, I take a trip with my mother to Manila every year at around this time. Our flight was pretty early. We left Iloilo at about 5:55 AM and arrived in Manila 30 minutes early. It was a very smooth flight and even my cousin who was taking her first plane ride wasn't shaken -- although she did admit to being surprised by the initial speed during takeoff. (I'm sure it gets to everyone at first).


I passed the time during the flight by watching a few episodes of Tate no Yuusha and the latest ep of One Punch Man S2. After claiming our checked in baggage without a hitch, we simply booked a grab car (works like UBER) to our hotel in Makati. We stayed at the same hotel last year. The building is kinda old, but you can't beat the facilities they offer in the room for the price. Aside from the usual TV, Aircon, WiFi, there's also a full-sized refrigerator, an electric stove and a microwave (remind me to take a pic of it tomorrow.)





However, we couldn't check in until 2:00 PM, and it was only 7:00 AM. We had a lot of time to kill, so we just left our heavy luggage at the hotel lobby and wandered around the Ayala Circle for a bit until the malls opened at 10:00. I managed to get a few good pics of Nagi at this point.

We were already pretty tired by the time the malls opened. We entered The LandMark mall first in order to get into Glorietta. My cousin is into books and as for me, my main agenda was to find some acrylic and/or watercolor titanium whites to replenish my supplies. We went to find the Fully-Booked (a local bookstore that sells art supplies and other stuff too) branch inside of Glorietta. By the way, if you're familiar with the place, the food court is currently closed for renovations.


After a brief visit to Fully-Booked, I couldn't find my titanium whites and my cousin couldn't find whatever she was looking for so we decided to head for National Bookstore. Btw, in case you didn't know, the Ayala Center consists of several malls all connected by an overpass called The Link: Greenbelt, The Landmark (a department store mall), Glorietta, and SM Ayala.

On the way to National Book Store, some people wanted to give my mother a free sample of some beauty products called Origani even though she asserted that she wouldn't be buying. In any case, they really liked her and gave her several samples on her skin and a mini-soap to take with her anyway.

At National Book Store, I was quite surprised to see the sheer amount of art supplies they carried that we didn't have back in Iloilo City. I found a mini tube of acrylic titanium white, still missing my watercolor whites, but I bought it for 89 PHP (Sakura).


After that, we were all hungry, so we went to the SM Ayala food court next to the supermarket for some quick lunch. It was some Chinese place we chose -- good food, reasonable prices. We then bought some groceries since we decided that we'd be cooking breakfast inside the hotel. My cousin would be staying with my aunt who lives here in Manila. My Aunt would pick her up after lunch though, so she was staying with us until then.

After grocery shopping was over, we took the long walk back to our hotel to check in. We were all pretty tired at this point. After receiving the keys to our room, I took the opportunity to shower and get some rest. My aunt arrived a few minutes later and we decided to just rest up a bit in the room and then go mall hopping again to SM Megamall wherein I'd finally get to try out ice skating for the first time. It's something I wanted to try since last year. Actually, I was pretty confident since I know how to use in-line skates/roller blades and I've heard they're almost the same.


We left for Megamall at about 4:00 PM, but it was hard to book a car there. Also, the travel time was atrocious at over an hour. Anyway, we got there at about 6:00 and I saw that the new Mega D building had an Art Bar (artist shop) branch. It was there that I finally got my titanium white watercolors (Mission Gold). Also, there was this totally obnoxious guy in there who was looking at the open sketch area and said in a totally arrogant tone to his female companion, "look at these tryhards showing their art." This is the kind of guy that deserves a bullet to the head immediately. He looked like a total wananbe artist too. Goatee, beard, long hair... and a really tryhard American Accent.

Anyway, after that, it was time to go ice skating. Actually, I think i did pretty well for a first timer. It felt a little bit more slippery than roller blades at first, but eventually, I got used to it -- unfortunately, my cousin who never skated before took a mild tumble. Anyway, nothing serious.

When we both decided that we'd had enough, my mother and aunt were nowhere to be found -- and they had our phones with them... fortunately (or so I thought) I brought an extra phone, but it had no sim card. I could still connect to mall wifi and call them though -- but it seems my mother didn't think that it was me calling because she was positive that I left my phone with her.

After waiting for about an hour, they finally came back and we had dinner, but not before I discovered that my mother totally flubbed up taking a video of my first ice skating session.

Here's a video of me skating.

I actually had to come back to the skating rink after dinner for this video because my mother shot the first one and she had no idea how to use my phone. My cousin took this clip. As you can see, I'm a bit cautious, but yeah, I can get by.

After that, it was time to go home. We were all quite exhausted -- especially my mother and aunt.

That concludes day 1 of our trip. We're going to Ocean Park tomorrow and I've never been there before. It should be good. Also, Nagi will be wearing a swimsut with pants or shorts, I think.