Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Glimpse to the "Bahay ng Arkitektong Kabitenyo" - UAP Cavite Chapter's Headquarters

The new "Bahay ng Arkitektong Kabitenyo" 
Yesterday, I attended the warm blessing and inauguration of the office/headquarters of the UAP Cavite Chapter,  of which I am a new member. True to its name, the "Bahay ng Arkitektong Kabitenyo" is home to more than 150 architects of the chapter and embodies the dreams and aspiration of every Arkitektong Kabitenyo while showcasing ingenuity in design and innovative execution. The structure is conveniently located at the Cavite Civic Center in Brgy. Palico, Imus, Cavite where other government offices and institutions such as the General Aguinaldo National High School, Civil Service Commission, LTO, Cavite State University-Imus Campus among others, making it accessible to almost everyone who is in need of its services.

Blessing and Inaguration.
Ceremonial ribbon-cutting with Arch. Mendoza
Then event was graced by the presence of  UAP National President Ramon S. Mendoza, fuap, officers from District B3 and UAP Cavite Chapter, sponsors, guests and members. After the ceremonial ribbon cutting, an ecumenical para-liturgy and blessing was presided by Rev. Fr. Antonio A. Roxas, parish priest of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish followed by greetings and messages from UAP National Pesident Arch. Mendoza, fuap, Area B3 District Director Arch. Richie Corcuera, uap, UAP Cavite Chapter President Calixto Kamantigue, Jr., uap and other officers; after which a healthy meryenda courtesy of Aling Tonya's Pulutan was served and shared by those who attended.
Fr. Roxas presiding the house blessing.

Team Work and Solidarity.
Being a new member of the UAP Cavite Chapter, I do not have much knowledge yet on how this great project came to be but I learned that it was an effort of the past and current chapter's officers backed by ardent support and donations, both material and financial, from members and sponsors. In the message of Architects Corcuera and Kamantigue, they recounted and thanked everyone who unselfishly and  tirelessly contributed in order to make the project possible. Several member-architects have not only shelled out a significant amount from their own pockets but also devoted their precious time and brilliant ideas and yes, even hard labor just to realize this dream. Several sponsors were also commended, not only for supporting the construction of this project, but also for always being ready to back up any endeavor of the UAP Cavite Chapter.  Specially mentioned sponsors were Arkiworx, Details, Boysen, Davies, HACSteel, HCG, IC Architecture and Landscape, Perfect Sign, Shaw Blvd. Glazing, SteelTech, Syngenta, among others. 

Green and Truly Filipino Architecture.
Seamless incorporation of the container van to the structure.
The "Bahay ng Arkitektong Kabitenyo"  is a 2-level structure with an open plan carefully designed with its end-users in mind. Needless to say, this building is a product of a truly innovative and brilliant minds, and is reflective of a genuine Filipino architecture. The main hall on the ground floor is similar to that of bahay kubo's "sala" with an open plan that can serve many functions such as product presentations, exhibits, meetings, and other activities. Forming part of the main floor on its eastern side is made of an old 40-foot long container van which perfectly blended with the rest of the structure. most of its sides are louvered wood, allowing maximum wind exposure and circulation while at the same time minimizing heat gain, thus, reducing the need for artificial ventilation and electricity.

Its shed roof is framed by a nearly 100-year old trusses, mostly of tanguile and yacal, from the demolished Sarao Motors Warehouse, while its roofing and steel decking is courtesy of SteelTech. Paints used were donated by Boysen, doorlocks were made of Faultless (which by the way has a 25-year mechanical warranty and a 5-year warranty on finish) provided by Globe International Distributor Center, Inc. Notable on its facade is a gently sloping ramp for persons with disabilities (PWD's), added not only in compliance to the BP 344 ( Accessibility Law) but also as a contribution to UAP's advocacy of making every public building accessible to everyone. A steel staircase painted in black on the far end of the building leads to the 2nd floor which serves as an office cum mini-library exhibits the UAP Cavite Chapter's numerous memorabilia of accomplishments and recognitions. Indeed, the chapter is one of the best UAP chapter as evident on the battery of plaques and trophies that nearly fills up the walls of the room. The office area terminates to an open balcony where one could enjoy the nice view of the serene landscape.

The building is not only aesthetic inside-out but also satisfies the requirement of a fully functional and sustainable building. The UAP National President Ramon S. Mendoza, fuap  lauded the chapter for this exemplary accomplishment being the first local chapter to have built such a great edifice for its office. MB

**special thanks to Arch. Jun Kamantigue and UAP Cavite Chapter for the photos.

** Arch. Michael Lorenzo Angelo L. Memoracion, UAP is a proud new member of the UAP Cavite Chapter.
More information about the author at

For comments and suggestions, please email or contact 0927 908 0850.

**special thanks to Arch. Jun Kamantigue, UAP and UAP Cavite Chapter for the photo.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Raising and Nurturing Young Artists

Me and 4-year old Kaira (2008)

I have always been amazed by our 7-year old daughter Kaira's keen interest to visual arts. She started scribbling as early as 1 year old and draw her first family portrait at the age of 3. By the age of 5 she can already apply basic coloring principles, tone and shadows and her composition does make sense and mostly family scenes, her dreams and wishes and just about anything to express herself. What more could she do 5 to 10 years from now? 

Some would say talent is an inborn trait, while others argue that it is acquired and developed as the person grows. Being a father to her, it does not really matter and I can say that it is pretty much a mixture of both innate talent which can be developed in time. 

Having such a talented kid is both a blessing and entails responsibility: to let her know how much I appreciate her talent and to do everything I can to develop such talent and bring out the best in her to achieve her full potential.

Drawing is her daily pastime.
We can only do so much as a proud and supportive parents. As she enters her formative years, I remember playing with her and devoting that precious time as much as I can. It was also important that we were able to provide lots of avenue for expressing her talent by giving her piles of scratch papers to draw on, coloring materials, coloring books and exposing her to other activities in order to enhance her talent.

Commendation and posting her works on the wall and online made her feel acknowledged and valued as a young artist. But instilling creativity in her doesn't necessarily mean glorifying every work that she knocks out on the wall. It was important that we compliment her by the great work she made but more than that, it always come along with a question of what the work is all about, why she created it and how she feels about her work. There is always a challenge about how she could have done it differently in order to look better. This is to ensure that the value of critical and creative thinking does not stop the moment she gets the  positive feedback she is looking for. 

Kaira presenting her work before a family audience.
Despite all these, I feel that I am only doing very little for what she needs. I probably need more time and effort in order to keep up, and I have been looking forward to have that moment where she could be enrolled in an art/painting class soon.

Isah Myka, her 5-year old sister is also now showing clear signs of inclination towards visual arts. What's surprising is that each of their works have their own style and character. For instance, Myka is fond of pure and clean lines, light colors with mostly fashion and fairytale subjects while that of Kaira's are mostly done in relatively rough lines, heavy colors and family oriented themes. 

It amazes and gets me excited every time I come home from the office and they come up to me bragging about their masterpiece for the day. 
Isah Myka proudly presenting her work


I Miss Binutong, I miss My Lola As I Miss My Childhood

Photo Credit: Karen BolaƱos
Binutong - Lola Andang loves to cook this during special occasions along with ibus, suman and linukay. When I was a kid, I would sit down on the floor made of bamboo wooden slats in our Lola's kitchen in order to watch how she makes this special food. This is made of malagkit (glutinous rice) cooked in coconut cream, sugar, and few salt, then while it is still half-cooked, a scoop of it is placed in a spread of layered banana leaves. The edges of filled banana leaves is gathered together and tied like a pouch and then cooked further in boiling water or thinned coconut milk to complete the cooking. Binutong is traditionally served with hot chocolate and grilled or fried dried fish. Lola does this so perfectly that I wouldn't want to miss this during fiestas and family reunion.
My Lola Andang

It just came across my mind how it was called such and by the term itself, it probably came from  the root word "butok" or to "tie a knot" as the mouthwatering meal is wrapped and tied in layers of banana leaves in order to confine the flavors inside white it is being cooked. 
Seeing this posted along with most of my favorite bicolano delicacies at   brought me a lot of memories from my childhood and my Lola. Thanks to "Culinaria Albay" community page in facebook.

My life during childhood is like that of the binutong. It was so simple yet the essence from within is so rich that anyone would love it. I never had any expensive toys back then, but it was the best and happiest part of my life. No complicated issues, no grudges, no finances to think about, no stressful job, no schedule to catch. Just simply me, enjoying each and every minute of life, trusting, believing and loving. 

A Virgin Blogger's Recollection

This is my first time ever to try blogging. I know this is long over due for something I want but I hope this brings me back to my passion of expressing myself through literature.

I've been wanting to try writing my insights, thoughts, experiences and just about anything under the sun for a while but I've been lost somewhere with the complications in life and other priorities. It has been almost a decade since I rest my pen in journaling my experiences; a lot of things has already happened and this site hopes to bridge the gap between my old and my renewed me.

Life as a Dominican pre-novice at Letran Calamba
Alright, so where do I start? Let's see... way back year 2000, I found myself in deep contemplation on what to do with my life and muse on what would be God's plan for me. I was a postulant in a Dominican Seminary back then in Calamba, Laguna trying to decide whether to push through with another stage of my Dominican formation or whether to go outside the world and live my life as an ordinary layman and continue finding out who I really am and my purpose in life.

And so I found myself back to my hometown in Legazpi City and at the portals of Aquinas University of Legazpi studying Architecture. Thanks to the generosity of Rev. Fr. Mon, Mendez, OP for accepting me as a Rector's Scholar of the university. Architecture has always been my interest and passion since childhood.

While in Aquinas University, I tried to live and learn as much as I can, with very little resources I have. I took part-time job to earn and sustain my schooling, been active in campus ministry, school politics and volunteers movement. I can say that I made the most out of my 5-year stay in the campus and the the best thing was, I met one of the most important persons in my life.

After graduation, I worked for a year or two in the university's NGO arm as a community development worker and moved to manila after the horrible typhoon reming that struck Bicol in 2006. I've been living in a nocturnal world since I stayed in manila working in a BPO industry. Four years in a BPO is long enough and it was not bad after all. I met all sorts of people, I was able to accomplish a lot and learn from my work and my colleagues. While working in a call center, my passion for architecture never really left me, but I admit, I became the least of my priorities until early this year. Thanks to my best friend for pushing me to enroll in a review class and take the board. And so to the review class we went and after sleepless nights of refreshing our minds with architecture and Novena masses and lots of prayers, the big day came. Then the next time we knew, we're already architects! Realizing such dream would not be possible without the support of my ever loving wife, my family and friends and above all, it would never be possible had He did not will it to happen. The moment I knew I passed was so euphoric. In fact, such term could be an understatement of what I felt back then.
"It's never too late to be what you might have been"

Right now, I am working for one of the world's largest bank's business process services while at the same time building my own small architectural firm. Life is hard but that would not stop the world from moving. I am living one day at a time with the hope that everything will fall into the right place and be able to live life in its fullness. I may have had lots of failures in life, lots of mistakes left and right, BIG and small. But the lessons in life are what matters most.

My adaptability to situations had been proven in the course of time. My faith has been tested and myself pushed to the limits. With all these I became a better person that I am and will continue in life's journey hoping I am able to service my purpose here on earth.