Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Photo by Marlon Cagatin

Go GREEN. Read from


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Angelique and J. back from the movie.

Watched Magnolia Blossom, the first episode of The Agatha Christie Hour sent to us by my sister Sylvia from Sydney.

Loved the sets, as usual. Statuary, chinoisserie, desktop props, lamps. Also the gorgeous tuxedos, gowns, jewelry, and long, cigarette holder.

Because this is an old production, there is an imperfect use of chroma key.

I must say, this is an atypical Agatha Christie, maybe because it was based on one of her short stories rather than on a novel. And no detective: no Hercule Poirot, no Jane Marple, no Tommy and Tuppence. The script is written in a very Ibsenian manner,with everything hinging on dialogue and repartee rather than action.
Lit the candles in our jack-o'-lanterns but I feel like doing nothing else.
A wet and chilly night in Cubao. I'm actually wearing a pair of woolen pajama pants to bed tonight.
The bus terminal of First North Luzon Transit is literally over the east wall outside our house. Angelique and Aubrey told me that they hear the barkers on microphones announcing the arrival and departure of buses. I warned them that they'll continue to experience that through November 3.

This evening I heard one of the barkers all the way from our dining room, albeit softly from where I was, while I was having dinner alone. I actually like the sound. It's like the voice of Charon calling passengers to his ferry. It also reminds me of the second episode, titled "The Raffle", from Vittorio de Sica's 1963 film Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni.
Home alone. Angelique and J. are having dinner out and watching a movie. Aubrey is at a Halloween debut party.
The October leaf falls off my planner.
It contained my novel's progress.
The November leaf will contain a new painting's progress.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Bought two small cloches for my Figuarts figures.

Met up with E2 for drinks (translation: to fill up my planner card with stickers). He brought me Chinese tea, a pop-up card featuring Japanese underworld creatures (I should have this framed), and a portable ashtray.

While at the coffee shop I suddenly realized that I'd subconsciously used E2 to pattern my character Paolo after, in my two novels _Cubao Ilalim_ (first and second books).

E2 accompanied me to buy stuff at Gateway, then we took a taxi to my house to hang out for two hours.

Caught Tiny House Nation's Halloween challenge on fyi,. Three professional designers were subcontracted to transform three tiny houses into a witch's lair, a mad scientist's lab, and a circus horror freak sideshow, and the community members were asked to vote for the best decor. The mad scientist's lab won.

The flaw of this challenge was in encouraging the designers to employ ideas and materials that "you can do in your own house". As a result, the overall effect was a hodgepodge of grade-school art projects and amateurish work. I even suspect that the mad scientist's lab won because it was the hardest to replicate.

Real decor, especially professionally made decor, is naturally expensive and difficult to achieve. Professionals are also never subjected to tight deadlines. They need not only creative space but creative time as well. Otherwise you don't bring out the best in them.
Lunch at home with Angelique and Aubrey.

Abductions are conducted by young extraterrestrials who are in "college" and are studying galactic life-forms--pretty much like our Zoology classes. Their specimens seldom come back alive because they usually end up being preserved in solutions similar to formaldehyde.

What I still don't know is whether they bother to ask permission from our world leaders or whether they operate merely like frog-pickers in swamps.
Will wait for the wet weather to pass before painting again.
Finally there is a Wandkeeper in Mindanao, albeit only one.

The Wands must continue pointing to the ground.
Drizzly morning in Cubao.
Good morning, Cubao!

The clouds are bowls of tofu pudding and tapioca.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Finished rereading Judge Dee at Work. It has a useful chronology at the end of the book. I should arrange all of my Judge Dee books on my Chinese shelf according to that chronology.
Never make the mistake of playing games with a game master.
Caught on AXN's Hellevator, finally, three contestants who not only won every challenge but went home with $51,000 in cash. How I wish I were eligible for that contest. I'd take two Spirit Questors of my choice with me.
Men who are gossips stumble into the graves they dig for others.
It is very annoying when TV movies use end titles that are too small and impossible to read. Yet, they do it all the time.

I find it disrespectful to the entire production.
Depression is as destructive as resignation and despair.
Still rereading Judge Dee at Work.

After I've done that, will watch all ten episodes of The Agatha Christie Hour that my sister Sylvia sent us from  Australia.
The werewolf stepped out and ate a purple yam ice cream cone.
There is nothing like a good, wooden floor. It is the most hospitable flooring I have ever known.
Saw three things that I must go out and buy tomorrow while everyone is in the cemetery and everyone's mind is far from shopping.
A hacker is an envious person who knows that he will never get what he really wants in life.
It is good companionship, not romance, that drives away loneliness.
Not all artists are prolific by nature. Do not force yourself to produce more and more works like them if you are not naturally so. You will only burn out like a small candle.

To prevent this from happening to you, never compare yourself with artists who are prolific, or else you will not only burn out but be terribly frustrated with yourself as well.
Do not leave your trash in places of death. It is like leaving pieces of yourself there.

As a matter of fact, if you can help it, do not use the bathroom in places of death.

This is one thing I always remind the Spirit Questors whenever we are working in different locations.
Whenever a corrupt man pays his way to get what he wants, he actually buys a ticket to the future suffering of his own sons.
Good morning, Cubao!

The sun is a grinning jack-o'-lantern.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Caught the nth replay of the remake of _Ben-Hur_ on HBO. Actually it is not a remake, it is a deconstruction. I was able to appreciate it fully, but must warn others with biased expectations that:

1) It plays down anything supernatural or "miraculous". It is mainly about the brotherhood of two men.
2) It is digital and employs drones. Hence, some of the angles are unusual.
3) Its protagonists are "nobodies". The employment of the star system was not considered in casting.
4) Many scenes were protracted and embellished with additional dialogue.
5) It is not a "Lenten movie", the kind that some people tend to worship, conveniently forgetting that most "Lenten movies" were created in Hollywood.
6) It completely avoids anything that is melodrama. Just when a scene is about to get emotional, it suddenly pulls back.
Dinner at home with the granddaughters.

Brought out our old collection of half-masks. Aubrey is attending a Halloween debut party, and Angelique and J. a costume party.

Aubrey doesn't want to wear a half-mask. Angelique chose a half-mask for herself. We will let J. choose one for himself when he arrives.
The flower man buzzed by. I bought two strands of white flowers for the shivalingam.
Three-hour, deep tissue massage.

It always feels most rewarding after finishing a novel.
Back home from jalan-jalan with the granddaughters. It was the perfect day to go to the center. No crowds, no devils' traffic.

Lunch out, groceries, bought joss sticks, a biggish loupe, and another potion rack for myself, added stickers to my 2018 planner card, then the granddaughters shopped for clothes.
Good morning, Cubao!

The sky is trellised with white-grape vines.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Caught a replay of Dan Brown's Inferno on HBO. The best I can say about it is that it is quite faithful to the novel. The women in this story are at least no longer foils to the Wikipedia dialogue of Tom Hanks, who looks so much older and puffier here that I couldn't help but wonder if he will end up looking like John Huston in Chinatown by the time they do the next sequel.

One scene gave me the chills both when I was reading it and when I was watching it. It's that one set in the attic of Apotheosis of Cosimo I. That scene always reminds me of the time when Alan R. Holst was Cultural Affairs Officer and we were working on a particular Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation project. Tina Paterno brought us to the highest attic of the San Sebastian Basilica, and we looked over the backs of the antique paintings on the ceilings. I wondered if anyone had ever fallen there. Later, Tina offered to take us even higher, to the top of one of the belfries, but Allan and I very intelligently declined.
Caught a not-so-appropriate Halloween replay of a waterfront-house hunt on fyi,. The couple were hunting for a house in Puerto Rico. They ended up buying a house right on the beach. Quite eerie when the woman said, "It's the front seat to a tsunami", to which her husband replied that no such disaster ever happened there in 20 years.

I wonder whether the house is still standing there after the hurricane happened, and I wonder where that couple are now. 
The only times I ever kowtowed, on my knees and with my head touching the floor, were in Chinese temples. It's the body position of ultimate humility, and I recall having a wonderful feeling every time I did it.

We are all trained never to kowtow to anyone. If anything, we are even trained to think too highly of ourselves.

If you've never done so, try it on your bedroom floor. As you bring your head to touch the floor, think of yourself in relation to other people, to your country, to the rest of the world, to Planet Earth, and to Nature. The insights you gain from this body position will amaze you.
Dinner at home with Aubrey.

Angelique and J. are at a party.
The streets outside our house are quiet. Not a car in sight.

All of the devils' traffic, of course, is on the expressways.
Every artist strives to achieve fame.

Yet, the biggest indices of his success are his family's happiness and the love they share.  
Still rereading _Judge Dee at Work_.

After that I'll go back to studying the mahjong oracle. I want to master this more than other types of divination. I've contemplated each mahjong tile and they truly speak to me.

I will probably be the only mage in the Philippines with a deep knowledge of this Asian oracle.
One of the most disturbing realizations of all is when you have been taking someone for granted, have often been seeing him or her around, have been indifferent to that person all along, then suddenly learn that he or she has always been in love with you.
It is not cyberspace that is impossible to delete things from.

It is the memory of those who offended you and who did injustices to you.
Nothing should ever discourage you from doing what you do best and what you like doing most.

That is why I shall be writing and painting until the day I die.
To be a writer and a painter is to enjoy the solitude of one's writing room and studio, and not have to directly confront one's audience.
Nature gives us three powerful cleansers: sunlight, sea water, and fresh air.
Finished proofing my novel on-line. I do that to see exactly what the readers see.

Managed a few minor edits as well.

Now I am truly done writing it. 
Two cups very black espresso blend.
Good noon, Cubao!

The sky is a setting of white luncheon plates.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Whenever I am writing or painting I always contemplate some kind of fetish and bring it around the house with me. I then place it on my computer table when writing or on my taboret when painting.

This is the fetish I used when writing _Cubao Ilalim: Ikalawang Aklat_. I bought it at the Tarsier Sanctuary in 2013 when the restoration of the Panglao Watchtower was in my portfolio as program officer of the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation.

Our 2017 Halloween

Witch candle holder that my sister Sylvia sent us from Australia a few days ago

Haunted house parking sign. I bought this at Rustan's 30 years ago. Good Halloween decorations are not disposable. They are put in storage and used over and over again.

We have four witches that my sister Sylvia sent us over the years.

Tiddly Tabitha. The last witch we received a few years ago.

Dancing skeleton. My sister Sylvia sent us this very recently.

You are a complete disaster as a human being if you are unable to see the good in everybody.
Was about to buy a vigil candle for the kuman thong, but Mongkut led me away from them and brought me, instead, to the sales display of small lanterns and tea lights.

Bought a lantern and bamboo-scented tea lights.

Bought family altar candles plus scented tea lights for our lanterns.

Top, Left to Right: Candle for my son Nelson, candle for my daughter-in law Ivy

Bottom, Left to Right: Nielsen's candle for her father, Nelson, my sisters Remi and Alice's candles for our parents

Bought scented tea lights for Aubrey: rose, lavender, citronella, and peppermint.

Bought bamboo-scented tea lights for the kuman thong.
They will be lit 3:00 PM on All Saints Day all the way through the night of All Souls Day.

Tony Perez's Art of War: The best, the most effective, and the most unforgettable vengeance is that which is dealt by your spirit guides and not by yourself.
Failures in life are the quickest to criticize and ostracize others.
Ongoing excavation at Araneta Center. This used to be the plaza where they set up food stalls for Christmas, right outside the Cubao Hogwarts Espresso Station.

No, it's not a treasure hunt. Cubao is more or less comprised of adobe.

The werewolf drew first blood today.

On to saving stickers for his 2018 planner, which is also an excuse to buy drinks for friends.

In the meantime my granddaughters will be saving stickers for their Starbucks planners. (And will, presumably, be studying more often at their favorite Starbucks branches.)

Jalan-jalan day.

When I came home Allan and two young men from Cagayan de Oro had been waiting for me for half an hour.

There is now one Wandkeeper in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao!

Good morning, Cubao!

The sky is a double-face bathroom mirror.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Back to rereading _Judge Dee at Work_.
Read my new novel, Cubao Ilalim: Ikalawang Aklat (2017), on

In case you missed the previous novel, Cubao Ilalim: Unang Aklat (2016), it's on
Now proofreading Chapter 21.

When it rains, it pours.

Always let it rain creative writing and painting.
Planning to do another portrait after I post my new novel in cyberspace.

Missing the smell of linseed oil and turpentine.

Maybe I'll do God Of The Wolves.
Now proofreading Chapter 19.
Now proofreading Chapter 17.
Do not do more than one major thing at the same time.

Doing several minor things at the same time is called multitasking.

Doing more than one major thing at the same time is called suicide.
Good noon, Cubao!

The sky is a sculpture gallery.
Now proofreading Chapter 15.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Dinner at home with Aubrey.

Angelique and J. are having dinner out.

Gave food to the cafe staff and the security guards.
Now proofreading Chapter 13.
Now proofreading Chapter 11.
Now proofreading Chapter 9.
There are men who wake up in the morning and wish there were someone beside them.

There are men who wake up in the morning and wish they were all alone.
There are people who need to douse their passion for magic after a brutal self-assessment of their current status.

Has magic made them better persons?
Has magic improved their careers?
Has magic made them successful in other fields?
Has magic solved their problems?
Has magic made them well off in life?

If the answer to those questions is consistently "No,", they are better off abandoning magic and doing other things for the sake of their own survival, development, and evolution.
Now proofreading Chapter 7.
Now proofreading Chapter 5.
Hoping to stay home today. Leaving the house prevents me from writing and painting.
Good morning, Cubao!

The sky is clustered with blue balloons.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tony Perez's Art of War: Never be distraught by people who try to put you down. They will reap what they sow, and their spirit guides will allow it, to teach them a life lesson.
L., light a candle to Kwan Yin, Goddess of Mercy.
Been sleeping nine hours every night since I finished writing my new novel. That happens all the time; my brains are recharging.

Taking proofreading slowly, like savoring dark chocolate. I should be done before Halloween.
Angelique's law professor assigned the class to watch and comment on Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution (the movie). We have the book but, alas, not the DVD.
The werewolf stepped out and ate an avocado ice cream cone before dinner.
Yesterday evening Nielsen sent a vigil candle for her father, Nelson. We will light it on All Saints Day.

Now proofreading Chapter 3.
Off-line the whole day. Attended to three tedious chores.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The front porch still smells of fragrant incense.
Aside from containing a record of your activities and your personal reflections, a diary marks the patterns of each date. For example, reviewing your diary will show you what happened on October 23, 2015, on October 23, 2016, and on October 23, 2017.

You'll be surprised how true it is that history DOES repeat itself.

Go further. Ask yourself why that is.
Ended my novel at Chapter 22.

Will begin proofreading tomorrow.
Now at the end of the day and wondering whether I can do some work on my novel.

The Spirit Questors Perform A Tuob, Monday, October 23, 2017

W. Visits From Singapore, Monday, October 23, 2017

Looked into my crystal ball.

Women will have two or three attractive options to choose from today.
Good morning, Cubao!

The clouds are dragon boats preparing for a race.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Depression is always the crash that follows overstimulation.
Calling it a day for writing.

And tomorrow may not be a writing day at all, because W. arrived from Singapore and is spending an entire afternoon with me.
Into Chapter 22.
Fascinated with the nuances of words and how they are presented to the reader.

While writing my novel I am using different versions of "KUNG HINDI" that do not mean the same thing:

Example: "Bumili ka ng sapiro KUNG HINDI ka makabili ng diyamante."

KUN' 'DI = Not that but this
Example: "Nagpunta ako hindi sa supermarket kun' 'di sa palengke."

KUNGDI = Otherwise
Example: "Sumama ka sa akin. KUNGDI, hindi na kita babatiin kailanman."
Into Chapter 21.
Every artist is challenged to remain sensitive no matter how much life has dealt him callouses and scars.
A huge step toward identifying with someone you admire is taking on his unique penmanship.
Be placid but also be serene, for two different words surely cannot mean the same thing.
You cannot take away something from someone if he has already given it to someone else.
If you can ride the back of the wolf, it will bring you to the beginning of time.
Within every man there is a hag, within every woman, an ogre.
Aubrey and I tried hot Korean noodles for lunch again today. This time around she used only half of the chili packet. But, the noodles were still VERY hot.
The sky is a deserted highway.
Good noon, Cubao!

Looked into my crystal ball.

This will be a morning of delays for men, but nothing to be upset about.

The delays are preventing you from meeting accidents.

Into Chapter 20.

But, I'll stop now and resume tomorrow. I don't want to go to bed with my mind still lighted up like a bulb.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Into Chapter 19.

Because, when there is nothing else to do, I write.
Dinner at home with Aubrey.

Angelique and J. at a party.
Wanting someone to win does not make that person a winner.

Wanting someone to lose does not make that person a loser.
Eros rears his head in times of disaster.
The werewolf stepped out and had a purple yam ice cream cone.
No man is ever irrational all of the time, but there are men whom you catch only during the moments when they are irrational.
Remember this, that an asshole is often right, except that you call him that and resent him for showing you that you are wrong.
Strive to be a guiding light but never an inspiration, for it is inspiration that all too often leads the immature to mediocrity.
Your favorite mug should give you as much pleasure as what you drink in it.
Whenever you paint with colors, see them as the berries and pastries and confections that you love to eat.
Black is a form of red, because, over time, it becomes a light red.
Fold or fragment trash before placing it in the trash bag.
The head of the pack is leader, but it is always the lone wolf who is king.
In a tropical country the werewolf will always crave ice cream.
There are spider webs you need to leave be, for they entrap the insects that would kill you.
If you look at a clothed man and can imagine him naked, can you also look at a naked man and imagine him clothed?
Only friendship with tangibility lasts.

The Enchanted Weed

When I was in Fourth Grade our classroom teacher would take us out to a field to practice calisthenics, a Nazi youth exercise I always loathed. In-between sessions we were made to sit on the grass. I recall being fascinated by the weeds that grew between the clumps of grass.

There was one type of weed I always kept an eye out for. Whenever I tore leaves off it, it emitted an unusual perfume I'd never smelled before. I must have been nine or ten then. It's been 56 years, but never again did I find or see that particular kind of weed once more.

Years later I became resident playwright of the school's children's theatre for eleven years. Once, while attending a rehearsal, I sauntered out to the old field to search for that weed, but only to find out that the field had been cemented over.
He feeds the monster so that the monster will not feed on him.
Whenever you look back, you actually step back.
There are many ways to say goodbye, and one of them is to not say goodbye at all.
Too much compassion will always lead one to marry someone who is not the right one.
Jalan-jalan day. Cubao on a Saturday! Voices and music and the shuffling of crowds. Strangers whose minds I can read, whose hearts I can hear. Smiles and sad faces. Weaving through the world of the living.

Bought three things here and four things there. Considered watching a movie in an Atmos theater, but did not when I remembered that it would lop off hours from my day. Watched with wonder, instead, a sales display of Christmas village houses that lighted up and played carols. I could have stood there forever in front of the miniature skaters and train riders and churchgoers and dancers spinning and gliding under my nose. I was nine years old all over again. Yes, nine was the age when I learned how to dream.

Passed on all of those for practical reasons. First, those villages were bedecked with snow, and snow, because it is outside my frame of reference, immediately alienates me. Second, one needs a huge room to store Christmas villages. And also be prepared to spend hundreds of thousands on it. As it is my Bruce Lee collection is already growing uncontrollably, and I have put my foot down and told myself that I want only three more.

Now back at home with two cups of very black arabica, keeping my mind from all thoughts about my novel, yet being besieged, nonetheless, with hundreds of ideas for paintings and more novels and plays.

I pick up my notebook. It is time to make a list of all of the projects I must complete in 2018. 
Everyone strives to be better than everyone else, but it is all too easy to identify who really is the best.
Hoping this can be a weekend off my novel.
Good noon, Cubao!

The sky is a pond of lotus flowers.
We die, and our bodies are pressed into the earth. Time passes. Cities are built on top of our graves. The people in those cities die, and their bodies are pressed into the earth, in turn, above us. We all go deeper and deeper into oblivion. And then, when we wish to be remembered, we tremble and we make the earth shake. We shoot out of volcanoes, our voices loud and fearsome, our faces spectacles of fire. The living run away from us, because we are no longer what we used to be.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Into Chapter 18.

Calling it a day for writing. Really.
The werewolf stepped out to go to the burger stand after nightfall.

He felt the holiday breezes already.
Into Chapter 17.
All of my answers, responses, and reactions are on my blogs.
Do not stone heaven to open its gates. Instead, go to the heaven beside you and make it the most beautiful place ever.
A choreographed day. Angelique and Aubrey had their passport application interview appointment today.

Aubrey went early to school then met up with Angelique and me for a quick lunch at Taco Bell. We parted there half an hour early for their interview.

After the interview, Angelique will go directly to law school and Aubrey home.
Good day, Cubao!

The sky is a white linen sales display.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Checked my notes.

Chapter 16 is difficult and might take me longer than usual.
Dinner alone. Aubrey decided to go straight to her bedroom to sleep, and Angelique and J. had dinner together in the dining room.
Into Chapter 16.

Had to wait for Angelique, Aubrey, and J. to come home, and managed one more while waiting.
Into Chapter 15.

But I'm calling it a day for writing.

Magical Respite

One of my Luzon antique dealers brought over an old painting that no one wanted to buy. I considered it an interesting Thursday scanning activity for the Spirit Questors.

The painting doubles as a coin bank; it has a slot an inch and a half to the top. Some portions of the painting have been scraped or rubbed off--perhaps due to cleaning, perhaps due to a deliberate attempt to efface certain images.

The subject is a boy in a stance reminiscent of Saint Florian or Saint Michael the Archangel. He is wearing sunshades. His right hand holds the strap of a satchel that is slung over his right shoulder. His left hand holds a dining fork pointed toward a small bonfire on the ground.

He is dressed in a white shirt and red pants. The left pant leg is ragged and torn off at the knee. The right pant leg is neatly cut off above the thigh. His left foot is bare, his right foot has a rubber shoe and a sock. He is standing on a cloud of smoke from which arise tall flames of fire.

The boy has a halo and gold wings.

On the right side of the painting there is a white lizard or salamander. It is huge, out of proportion, and it looks like it is floating or clinging to the side of a rock. The background could be either a mountain or a cave. However, there is a scalloped outline or bigger halo that dominates the background, as in the Guadalupe image, suggesting that another principal figure was painted in behind the boy but was completely scraped off.

This blog is continued on Tony Perez's Electronic Diary (December 8, 2017 - ) , on . ...