Archive for the ‘Nocturnal creative outbursts’ Category


Thursday, 13 January 11

The inside cover of my Nightmare Sketchbook.

Still have a LOT of work to do. Wish I had more time. :(


Misty Mountains Adventure

Saturday, 1 January 11
Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines

A shot of the Banaue rice terraces on the way to Batad

Day 1: Monday, 27 December 2010 (on the road)

Location: Florida Bus Station, Sampaloc, Manila

Departure, Manila-Banaue, 22:45; ETA 07:00

Actual time: departure at 23:00, arrival at 07:15

Cost: taxi ride from home (100 pesos plus 20 peso tip—the taxi driver was nice!), bottled water (P25), bus ticket (P450)

Diet: Ritz biscuits, water, trail mix bar, gingerbon candies

Song: The Bridge of Khazad Dum by Howard Shore

Mood: Excited, sleepy

Road from the Batad junction to the Saddle Road from the Batad junction to the Saddle

Day 2: Tuesday, 28 December 2010 (Banaue-Batad)

Time: 06:15 – 21:00

Activities: breakfast in Banaue, haggling with the Mafia transport group for a reasonably priced ride to the Batad junction or The Saddle, 350 peso tricycle ride to the junction, stop-overs for pictures and side-stepping landslides, 4.5 hour uphill hike with my 20 lbs knapsack from the junction to the Saddle, another 2 hour hike to the viewpoint area, quick lunch and a beer at Simon’s Viewpoint Inn, a much-needed nap, a much-MUCH-needed shower, dinner, sleep.

Cost: breakfast (P150), 1 liter bottled water (P60), trike ride (P350), Room (P200), lunch (P115), a pail of hot water (P30), dinner (P100)

Diet: ham and eggs with red rice, coffee, lots of chocolate, water, corned beef with vegetable rice, San Miguel pale pilsen, cheese omelet, pancit, more chocolate, vitamins

Song: none. All I could hear was the sound of my ragged breath, trickling water, cracking wood, crickets, and the wind.

Mood: tired, scared, overwhelmed, proud, exhilarated, fatigued, catatonic


Steps leading to the Saddle

We opted to take the longer route --but less steeper road-- to Batad from the Saddle, but we hiked up these steps on our way back (faster but more dangerous hike for first-timers like us). It started drizzling 2 minutes before we reached the top.

Day 3: Wednesday, 29 December 2010 (Batad-Banaue-Bontoc-Sagada)

Time: 05:30 – 23:00

Activities: hike back to the Saddle, breakfast at a sari-sari store, long wait for the jeepney driver, rocky ride back to Banaue in the rain, quick lunch at a carenderia, 2 hour jeepney ride to Bontoc, 1 hour ride to Sagada, stroll around the city, dinner and beers at the Yogurt House, a beer in front of the Traveler’s Inn convenient store, hot shower, tummy trouble, interrupted-kinda-horror-story-sleep.

Cost: breakfast (P35), jeepney ride to Banaue (P150), lunch (P65), 4 Cloud Nine bars (P32), jeepney ride to Bontoc (P150), jeepney ride to Sagada (P40), room w/ own bathroom (P250), dinner and beers (P275)

Diet: trail mix bar, 1 pancake, 3-in-one coffee, 2 bags of Dory chips, pork adobo with rice and a bottle of Royal Tru Orange, Cloud Nine, Strawberry creme filled Sunflower crackers, water, butter mint candies, two spoonfuls of yogurt, 4 San Mig Light beers, roasted eggplant pasta, a bag of Okeji tempura style chips, vitamins

Song: Crazy by Alanis Morissette

Mood: fatigued, excited, contented, relaxed

Picture of a bench hanging over the Banaue rice terraces

Day 4-5: Thursday, 30/31 December 2010 (Sagada-Bontoc-Banaue-Manila)

Time: 07:15-03:00 (the following day)

Activities: breakfast at Masferre’s restaurant, tummy trouble still, 20 minute leisurely trek to the Lumiang burial cave, another 30 minute trek to the Sumaging cave, spelunking for 2 hours (with unexpected anxiety attacks!), 10 min jeepney ride to the Sagada town proper, 15 minute shower + packing, race to catch the last jeep to Bontoc, jeepney ride to Bontoc, jeepney ride to Banaue in the rain, tummy trouble again, lunch/merienda/dinner, bus ride back home.

Cost: breakfast (P100), cave guide + jeepney ride from Sumaging (P250), 1.5 liter bottled water (P20), a pack of Sagada arabica coffee grounds (P175), frozen yogurt to go (P100), jeepney ride to Bontoc (P40), jeepney ride to Banaue (P150), lunch/merienda/dinner (P140), bus ride back to Manila (P450), midnight snack (P70), taxi ride home from the Florida Cubao bus station (P50)

Diet: corned beef with pandesal, papaya, fried plantain, frozen yogurt with fresh strawberries, Cloud Nine, pancit canton, Royal tru orange, arroz caldo with egg, watermelon flavored Fit and Right drink, water, vitamins

Song: Beautiful by Trading Yesterday

Mood: fatigued, sick, peeved, sad, accomplished, melancholy

Things I realized along the way

  1. I am extremely unfit (shame, shame, shame), which is why I am determined to go back to my daily ashtanga yoga practice.
  2. I also need to eat better. I’ve been pushing limits when it’s really not the time or place to do it– drinking all night, snacking on fatty processed foods, etc. I’m not young anymore and could get a heart attack from my careless decisions and apathy. Not only that, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis almost 10 years ago and I’ve been lucky enough not to have bad attacks and relapses. I should not be a slave to my condition, but I also should not ignore it. Fatigue is my constant companion and I am prone to melancholy bouts because of MS, so I should be more aware of what I do to myself and not take my health for granted.
  3. I’ve always known that I love being in the mountains more than going to the beach, but being there is different from getting there. I need to prepare myself more (physically, mentally, emotionally) for the journey. I can’t just apparate on top of a mountain whenever I feel like it; I have to earn my way to get there and stay there.
  4. Again, I was ashamed to realize that I was not only physically unfit, but I was also mentally weak. I was able to go up and down the perilous trails on sides of mountains and inside the cave, but my mind was plagued with negative, self-defeating thoughts the whole time. Sad, really. The trip became more draining because I was physically being taxed by the mountain and I was mentally flagellating myself at the same time. Again, shame, shame, shame.
  5. Realization number 5: my comportamiento, my performance, how I reacted during the trip made me see–actually made me admit to myself what I had already suspected in a long time—that I’ve turned into a shrinking violet, a scaredy cat who doesn’t want to take risks anymore and have refused to participate in her life. I checked out on myself a while back, I bailed, I let myself down all because I do not want to get hurt anymore, don’t want to fail, and don’t want to be disappointed.
  6. But, despite all the negativity I created for myself, I realized that I can achieve anything if I put my mind into it. It makes me look back to the times when I’ve achieved something or overcame something seemingly impossible… I’ve done it before, so I should be able to keep doing it again and again.
  7. Which makes me wonder why I haven’t been doing it…
  8. And makes me think that 2011 is the perfect time to do it!
  9. Synchronicity or messages from God or the Universe is an oh-so-real thing. I wasn’t planning to go on this trip, even thought about backing out, but I threw my doubts out of the window and got on that bus and did it. This was exactly what I needed to clear my head and rediscover myself.
  10. It’s the first day of the new year, a new decade—Stardate 1/1/11 ;o) –it’s like my life’s counter just rebooted and it’s giving me a new slate, a fresh start. That innocuous trip to the Cordilleras might have been the first step that gets my life back on track, the thing that sweeps me back to my destiny.

Hobbit feet! ;o)

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door…You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo Baggins of the Shire


Wednesday, 15 December 10

I think it’s time to revive this blog. For real. It’s 3:58AM and that’s my brilliant thought for the day.

Dream a little dream of me

Wednesday, 24 March 10

DRAFT: “Dream a Little Dream of Me”


“Revelations: the 3rd Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards”

STEPH moves towards Neil.

Hi, Neil!

NEIL turns and smiles warmly at Steph.

Hi there! How are you?

I am good now that I’m here. How are YOU?

I’m good, good, tired, but good.

Neil turns and gets Steph’s comic books. Steph wants to keep the conversation going.

Thank you for coming here… blah, blah, blah…

Neil notices that he is holding a copy of Sandaman #1 (The Sleep of the Just) and Sandman Special #1 (“Fables & Reflections – The Song of Orpheus”). Smiles.

Are these yours, Stephanie?

Steph, a bit disoriented, thinking—He knows my name?!? Did I introduce myself?—and quickly realized that she wrote her name down (along with the lines that she wanted him to write on her books) on a piece of paper and handed it to one of Neil’s assistants before going up the stage. She wrote down “Steph”, though, and not her full name.


Neil turns away and starts signing Sandman #1. He dots the eyes of the man on the cover.

I got that one when I was 18 (Thought bubble: WRONG. I was 17 going on 18)

Neil chuckles.

That was a long way away…

He turns to Steph and grabs at his curls…

My hair wasn’t gray back then.

They both laugh, Steph tries not to faint, and Neil goes back to signing the comic books. Steph leans closer (Thought bubble: he’s holding my comic books! MY comic books!). Tries not to drool.

Blah, blah, blah. Mutter, mutter.

Neil finishes signing the books.

I have something for you.

Neil turns and smiles.

Oooohhh… what is it?

Steph hands him a small envelope.

It’s… It’s just a… I made you a thank you card… for inspiring me to create. (Thought bubble: CRAP, CRAP, CRAP. Do not get emotional! Do NOT tell him that you’ve always thought of him as your Godfather for creativity. CRAP)

Neil smiles, gets halfway off his seat, plants a kiss on Steph’s cheek and hugs her.

Thank you. Steph, you are so sweet. Thank you very much.

Steph is a bit dazed.

Thank YOU. Bye.

Steph grabs her comic books and Neil thanks her again.

Buen viaje. (Thought bubble: What’s “Buen viaje” in English again? What is it? He didn’t understand you!!! DANG.)

Neil smiles, turns and grabs the next batch of books to sign. Person #275 steps in and introduces herself to Neil. Steph exits clutching her comic books close to her heart.

(Thursday, 18 March 2010, Manila)


Sunday, 22 June 08

Detail of Sirens Installation

Sculpture from SIRENS Installation

Painted plaster + abaca rope

22 x 12 x 6 inches

June 2008

I feel as if I have just given birth. I am sure it doesn’t come close AT ALL to the real thing, but I still feel like a new mom… The ULTRAMAR exhibit opened last Thursday (June 19th) and I unveiled my works to the public: an installation composed of 5 hanging plaster sculptures and a 3D collage. I was working on another one, but it broke. :( Clay does not dry well in this weird weather. Grrrr… See, I have to deal with some sort of abortion as well. Sigh.

Anyways… my works will be on display until the 3rd of July. If you are in Manila, please try to see them at the Astra Gallery, 2nd floor LRI Design Plaza, 210 Nicanor Garcia Street (formerly known as Reposo St), Makati City, Manila. The building is in front of Alliance Francaise Manille. Astra is open Mondays-Fridays from 10AM to 7PM. Don’t forget to sign the guest book—leave me a note, please! ;)

PS. By the way, check out the photos of my works here.

Procrastination becomes her

Wednesday, 21 May 08

I am having one of my monumental artist blocks and panic attacks, so I am going to indulge myself a bit and give in to a little procrastination. Hey, most of my best works come out when I get lost in nonsense and let the creativity thing kick in in my head. Madness, madness, madness…

My friend Tiffany tagged me a while back (via email) and asked me to write “10 things about me you didn’t know” and set the following rules:

– Each blogger must post these rules first.
– Each blogger starts with 10 random facts/habits about themselves.
– Bloggers who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their 10 things and post these rules.
– At the end of your blog, you need to choose 10 people to get tagged and list their names.
– Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog

Sounds easy enough… Here it goes:

1) I found comfort in cold ears when I was young. I used to stick mine right next to the air-conditioning vents and would wait till they were at the point of freezing and falling off. Then I would lie down and touch my ears until I would fall asleep. Good luck trying to psychoanalyze that!

2) I was born yellow. Yes, as in jaundiced, and stayed that way for weeks.

3) I was a preemie (which explains number 2). I was supposed to be a Virgo or Libra, but considering how stubborn and determined and hot-headed I was, I forced myself out of my mother’s womb and came out a true-blue Leo.

4) I burst into tears when I read that they shaved off Aslan’s fur. Not the hair, not the hair… I was 7 (I think).

5) I used to put a flashlight against my right eye and turn it on. I loved staring at the light bulb up close. That explains the glasses.

6) I saw the Lion King (the musical) in Dutch in 2004. Thank God I saw the movie.

7) Speaking of which, I was carrying a Lion King toy from McDonald’s when I was mugged in Madrid. I passed out for about 5 seconds and found myself lying on the ground looking straight into Simba’s beady eyes. I was overcome with anger, got up, grabbed my stuffed lion, and ran after my attacker.

8) I wasn’t allowed to drink soda or eat anything sour when I was a kid. I was extremely acidic.

9) I was confined in the hospital for mumps when Mount Pinatubo erupted.

10) I used to get tanned (toasted, more like it) during school fairs from riding the Octopus all day. I am not afraid of heights or whiplash.

I don’t always follow the rules so I am not tagging anyone (and this could be considered as item number 11). I’ll just leave this open for anyone who would like to spill and share 10 things about themselves. Go ahead… Knock yourselves out.

PS. Gossip Girl episode 18 has finally finished downloading. Procrastination rules!

Loosening my grip

Friday, 25 April 08

Breathe in, breathe out. My head is still out of whack, but at least I am starting to see myself again… or at least a semblance of Steph. The image, though, is still ambiguous and fuzzy, and the cracks are still there. I need to just keep breathing till I figure out what to do. I just hope I don’t huff and puff too much and blow pieces of myself all over the place!

I was talking to a friend last night and I kept wailing to her over and over again, “I was fine last week. Everything was rosy and sweet. I was fine last week.” Life is unquestionably uncertain and the Universe has an unbelievably twisted sense of humor. I know it, you know it, even your Grandma knows it, and yet we all get surprised when the wheel turns and we find ourselves in the bottom rung. How did I get here?

My tarot card of the day is Heart. Yeah, it’s not from a normal deck; it’s from my friend Dori’s set. I try not to read my own cards, but I give in once in a while, pull out one when I need clarity. It does help you get a grip on your reality and see your situation with different eyes. Sometimes the cards that come out are so ridiculous; they kick me in the butt and drive some sense into me. How low should I go before I can go back up again?

Going back to Heart… it means, “Muscular thumping love. Hark the rhythmic beat of the core, feel the systems of flow, new life pumped into you. Self-love, a priority. Heart’s desire. Compassion without self-sacrifice. An open flower in your chest.” I always get this card. I guess I still don’t get it. I contemplate on all the statements and I can see how they can all relate to me… and I still don’t get it. I know exactly what to say when I’m reading someone else, but on me…? Forget it.

I am exhausted and depleted. My friend advised me to just breathe and just listen and sit still. Life is unpredictable and leaves us no breathing room, but I can try to loosen my grip and try not to take control of the uncontrollable and just learn how to breathe through it all. So here I go… gently breathing in and out… trying hard not to sound like my dear Darth.


Tuesday, 22 April 08

I’ve been up and down like mercury the whole weekend. I’m physically exhausted and I am mentally incapable of doing anything constructive, not even to put one foot in front of the other and move on. I’ve been trying to establish order or some kind of pattern within just so I could make sense of everything. I was never really good at this. My spirit growls in hunger and I have no idea how to feed it.

I wish that the weather would cooperate for once. I can’t stand any more of this heat. I feel pan-fried and desiccated and ready to be served up to some god to be consumed and discarded in bits and pieces. I need a massive blizzard to feel uninterrupted again. Now I understand that when an icy heart melts and no one is around or is willing enough to catch it, it goes away forever and leaves an unfathomable, frosty gorge in its stead.

I’m scared of having one of those days again. I still feel inept and pathetically ill-equipped to face another one of those curve balls the Cosmos tries to throw at you when you are not looking. I should have known this would happen. And here I am again, watching teardrops explode and enduring little earthquakes. I’ve seriously underestimated my capacity for feeling. Solitary confinement sounds incredibly logical at this moment.


Monday, 24 March 08


This is Minerva. I created her as an “illustration” for a local magazine.

I’m exhausted. I wish I could write right now. I’ve been dying to write for days… but my brain refuses to cooperate! UGH. Sigh. I feel so guilty for neglecting my blog so I uploaded one of my digital collages instead. At least I have a new post, right? ;)

Wearable Art by Steph

Wednesday, 27 February 08

New Look

Oh, by the way, I have a new collection of handmade jewelry! Please go to my multiply site and check out the photos. For more information on how to get them, please email me at