Historic Centre of Macao and How it “Changed” Me

Macao has a very special place in my heart. My dad used to be an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) for about six years. As the eldest of five siblings, I had the responsibility of joining him in familial celebrations such as Christmas and even Holy Week. Sometime in 2006, I even stayed there for about…

Baroque Churches in the Philippines: 500 Years of Christianity (Part 2 of 3)

In an earlier post about the UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS) collectively named the Baroque Churches in the Philippines, I have discussed the impact of Hispanic colonialism in Philippine culture. In particular, I was pertaining to how Catholicism influenced the everyday life of the Filipino people. I also described how the Church through the Hispanic…

Baroque Churches in the Philippines: 500 Years of Christianity (Part 1 of 3)

On 21 March 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed in the Visayas. Some say the landing was an accident. For others, the arrival of Magellan in Cebu was a necessary event in the history of the archipelago. Whatever perspective one believes, one thing is clear: Magellan’s arrival commenced the 333 years of divide et impera in…

Wealth, Power and Madness: Châteu de Versailles (Part 2 of 2)

As stated in the first part of my post about Versailles, the Palace and Park of Versailles (Versailles) today may be visited by tourists, art and history enthusiasts. Located south-west of Paris, trains take tourists and visitors to Versailles for around 45 minutes. A complex of more than 800 hectares, Versailles is the third most visited…

Pampanga Colonial Churches; Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical (Part 1 of 2)

I am Kapampangan and I am proud of my heritage. Most of the time, many Filipinos associate Kapampangan heritage with food. One of the most articulated cultural stereotype (in a positive sense) of a Kapampangan is her skills in cooking (hmmmm, Atching Lilian embodied!). This is also the reason why Pampanga is commonly associated as…

Wealth, Power and Madness: Châteu de Versailles (Part 1 of 2)

Three things come to mind every time Versailles is mentioned: Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette and the Treaty of Versailles (1919). Connecting them are wealth, power and madness. During Louis XIV’s reign, France was a leading European superpower. France fought three major wars: the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War…

Manila, Entangled!

This post is an excerpt from my book Buhol-Buhol/Entanglement: Contemporary Theatre in Metropolitan Manila (Bern et al: Peter Lang, 2017). ENTANGLEMENT is persistent in Manila’s historical narrative. Travel writer Pico Iyer has observed many contradictions in the city of Manila. For instance, he describes the gallery going to his hotel room as an extraordinary space since: “on…

Philippine Stories About the Origin of the Universe in Sansinukob Installation Exhibit

In February 2017, I co-led Salaysayan: K’wentong Bayan, Kaalamang Bayan (Storytelling: Folk Stories, Folk Knowledge), a festival celebrating Philippine folk narratives. The festival was UP Diliman’s participation in the 2017 National Arts Month. The centerpiece was Sansinukob (The Universe), an installation/outdoor exhibit featuring seven Philippine renowned artists. Together with a colleague from the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy…

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, an Indian Architectural Wonder

Early July 2017, a colleague from the University of the Philippines Diliman passed on a daunting task of delivering a lecture on digital humanities in Mumbai, India. The task was terrifying but the thought of Mumbai was seductive. Mumbai is one of five Indian cities in my bucket list (the other cities: Delhi, Agra, Goa,…

Stasis & Mobility: Launch Speech

Last night (19 October 2018), Stasis & Mobility: Nasa Dugo Natin Yan?! (An Exhibit on Philippine Genetics and Culture) was launched. The exhibit poses a general question: what is the role of culture and the environment in genetics? As I indicated in the program notes/exhibit catalog, this is not the first time the relationship between genetics and…