Writings

Over the years I’ve developed a penchant for sending email blasts to friends, usually inspired by a line from a book or a movie, or sometimes a new encounter that tugs at the heart. Sharing them here hopefully to engage, send out warm hugs and offer an inviting hand to you and those who are also searching and looking to “build the shrine within.”

My favorite posts

I put together some of my fave essays — those that I read and reread the most — into meditation prints for an art fair in 2012. Available for viewing and sharing here: Montalut Meditation prints

Hope these help bring you to a place where you can smile in your heart or cause others to smile in theirs. xo

(Click on the title to read the full post)

  • Starting the New Year early My birthday falls on the 15th of December, and it always feels natural for me to start my new year’s resolutions on this day, a full two weeks ahead of the norm on January 1st.  This year, I decided to push it even earlier and start my personal new year on December 1st with this ...
  • Painting in delight: nudes from life Last Saturday a lot of people were downcast and angry from the sneaky Marcos burial, but I’m thankful I still got to end the day in delight. Saw the Nutcracker ballet for the first time (happy music and smiling dancers–sure to uplift!), and went to a live nude drawing/painting session that lasted til 11pm…the kind ...
  • We all need extra hugs these days. From @montalutartstudio – I don’t think I’ll ever tire of giving hugs. Here’s a baby hug and restful sleep to go with it… The world surely needs it especially after the crazy turn of events this week. Baby hug and sleep Oil pastel on board 9 x 11.5 inches November 2016 #drawing #oil #sleeping #baby #rest #hug
  • Tree cutting day Got to my parents’ house today and saw workers about to cut off big branches of this tree, which was overgrown and causing damage to the wall and fence. I’ve never witnessed a tree cutting before and, not to be dramatic, but I felt a sadness come over me. I asked mom if she talked ...
  • WIP: Revisiting Rembrandt Yellow really makes me happy! When the kids left I picked up my fattest palette knife and just went crazy with this new piece. #wip #acrylic #painting #women #yellow It’s happening more or more these days that the title of a piece comes to me in the middle of painting it. I think it helps complete the ...
  • Paddleboard in the city Here’s a close up of the second work, done in colored charcoal. Had to rework it today to bring out the colors and the whites but it really made me smile to see it come alive again. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just paddleboard our way to work everyday? #lifegoals #sup #drawing #charcoal #dailycommute ...
  • Framing Which frame do you think is better: Black or white? I’m always at a loss when it comes to framing. Any help much appreciated! #art #frame #black #white Been experimenting with framing, and ended up with these two today. What do you think? Do they look happy in their new clothes? ???? #frames
  • WIP: Taal Volcano after a hike Here’s my friend, Billy, holding a #wip portrait I did of him after we hiked the Taal volcano in Talisay, Batangas last month. Known as the world’s smallest volcano, it is actually a crater within a crater, with many other volcanoes next to it inside this big lake. Been wanting to do the hike ...
  • Studio Visit: Painting with kids It was an afternoon of giggles, Pokémons and ice cream at the studio today, with special visitors bringing their bursts of sunshine to the space. Was a great push for me to use paints again…and despite the dreary rain, I kept picking up my yellows ????#thankyou #painting #artday #children #visitors
  • Art Study: Expressionist to Contemporary Selfie Here’s my expressive self-portrait done from memory. #selfie #drawing #blue Selfie Pastel on paper 12×18 inches October 2016 Our final studio session for the art retreat was to do a self-portrait in the now, to find the thin line of quiet between the art that pushes and the art that pulls (according to James Joyce, this is where proper art ...
  • On a primeval day… Good morning! What a verse to start the day with. Happy painting! #art #gift #language #steiner
  • Art study: Renaissance to Expressionism Started off this weekend transported to the Renaissance, putting on the hat of an apprentice eager to learn the old ways from drawing a work of the great Masters. #arthistory #transformativepowerofart #renaissance #drawing After a half hour break, we moved on to copying a Rembrandt, which was an exercise in light and shadows. Rembrandt did over 90 ...
  • New on instagram: @montalutartstudio Moving over my art posts from now on to @montalutartstudio. Please head on over there and follow for art adventures. Thank you hugs! @Regrann_App from @montalutartstudio – Plant and flow Pastel on paper 12×18 inches 2016 They say that anything you put in a circle heals itself. The mandala is an “essence container”, found in a multitude of cultures ...
  • Good morning, everybody! Some morning sunshine from Lubao, Pampanga for your Saturday 🙂 #sunrise #pradofarms
  • Boat in the city Just saw a boat on the river. Kakatuwa naman! Chiangmai feels in Pasig. ???? #boat #city #river
  • Alice and the cat “Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.Alice: I don’t much care where.The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.” An ode to one of my most cherished books. #aliceinwonderland #charcoal #drawing ...
  • Ballerina Ballerina Charcoal on paper 9×12 inches 2013 For sale at P500. #ballerina #drawing
  • Last night. #moon
  • Elderly Ifugao Elderly Ifugao 8.5×11 inches Charcoal on Board 2013 P500 Half photo, half drawing. #drawing #woman #ifugao #elderly #charcoal
  • Catalog of Montaluts for Sale – coming soon! Starting to catalog my works since the early 2000s and coming face to face with old pieces has been such a delight, like unexpectedly finding money in an old wallet or running into an old friend! Will be putting up an online catalog soon for all available Montaluts for sale. Watch out for it! #montalut ...
  • Montalut Open Studio – September 2016 If you’re in town this long weekend, I’ll be having an open studio (my first!) on Monday, September 12, 2016. Selling new works and a lot of my early works. Let me know if you can make it 🙂 Montalut Studio is in the clubhouse complex of Acropolis, Libis, Quezon City. Look for the blue ...
  • Bananas Can you name at least 5 varieties of bananas grown in the Philippines? The most nutritious one is the saba, which is boiled, prepared with sugar syrup on ice or deep fried and served like barbecue on a stick. For me, the best is still to eat it as is, raw and healthy! Bananas Graphite on ...
  • What’s out there? What’s out there? Graphite on Paper 9×12 inches 2013 For sale at Php500. #pencil #drawing #ladder #wall #man
  • Boys and a kite on a windy day Boys and a kite on a windy day Graphite on Paper 9×12 inches 2013 For sale at Php500. #kite #fly #boys #pencil #drawing
  • It’s a beautiful day! The mountains are out. Can see the river too.
  • Hand Hand Graphite on Paper 9×12 inches 2013 For sale at Php500. #pencil #drawing #hand #fingers #longliveandprosper
  • Panda Hug Panda Hug Graphite on Paper 9×12 inches July 2013 For sale at Php500. #drawing #panda #hug #pencil
  • Nagtabon Beach Will be posting a series of drawings for sale, starting with this sunset sketch of Nagtabon Beach, Palawan. Colored charcoal on Paper 9×12 inches July 2013 For sale at Php500. Other drawings and sketches also available to buy. #sea #beach #palawan #nagtabon #sunset #drawing
  • Home and Family Big hugs to my family who came over to bless my new home today! Thank you for the love always and cheers to merry and golden days here! #family #home #blessing
  • Fishie Fishie Oil on canvas 2003 (reworked 2016) Picked up this old fishie today while playing with glazing techniques and gave it a nice blue tint. Added a fresh coat of yellow and voila! It’s ready to swim again. #fish #swim #painting #montalutstudio
  • WIP: Jesus (commissioned work) Happy with the progress on my Jesus painting today. Been frustrated with the flatness I was getting, so I decided to bring out my oil paints to lend body and softness to the work. It’s slowly getting there… Extra pressure to get the face right, especially since the Divine Mercy devotion is all about the ...
  • WIP: Everything is in me   Not sure yet if this is done but I want to call it “Everything is in me”. #wip #acrylic #painting #montalutstudio #rainbow #tikbalang
  • Me, Sun Me, Sun 9×12 inches Acrylic on paper 2009/2016 Sometimes it’s nice to pick up something and allow it to open a floodgate of memories. Reworked this old piece from my early days today. I miss painting these faces. #acrylic #painting #montalutstudio #sun #face
  • Flow Flow 24×36 inches Acrylic on tarpaulin August 11, 2016 #acrylic #painting #montalutstudio
  • A summer gone Came across this in my drafts, written a year ago…and funny that it seems I’m on repeat this year. — We’re now in month 8 of the year and looking back at Summer 2015 pictures makes me wonder how all of that could’ve happened in just seven months. Back-to-back heartbreaks, recovery, purging, breakthroughs, identity building, crossing thresholds, birthing.  Seems ...
  • polymath in relationships I’ve always been most curious about people. They say “I love you” is just another way of saying “I find you endlessly fascinating”. How wonderful, isn’t it? It just becomes tricky when we find a lot of people fascinating (which is usually the case for most of us)!
  • what is real? Classic question in college philosophy: if a tree falls in the forest, but no one witnesses it, did it still fall?  What is real? Let’s simplify things and say that yes, it’s the witnessing that makes the falling real. My follow up question is this: what constitutes witnessing? What does it mean to witness? Does one witness with the ...
  • is the world getting better? This past month, I’ve been called naive. They asked me where I get my information TED — all optimistic, ideas and collaboration driven spaces Is it naive to listen to these conversations over the conversations that comprise traditional news and pop culture? Does it limit the conversation to a bubble? Are spirit and science finally meeting? Is to take a side ...
  • remembering our deeper selves I opened an old journal the other day and read open-hearted entries on love written by 28-year-old me.  I cried. I didn’t realize I felt so deeply once upon a time.  I’d forgotten. The pain was not in reminiscing the pain, but in realizing how much I’ve possibly missed out on because I’ve held back since ...
  • Ayutthaya We braved the midday heat to explore temple ruins at the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam. Happy I managed to sneak in a quick 30-minute sketch! #pleinair #painting #temple #ruins #ayutthaya #thailand   Final work after finishing touches at the studio: Ayutthaya 9×12 inches Acrylic on canvas July 2016 #pleinair #acrylic #painting #temple #ruins #ayutthaya #thailand
  • I love my body I love my body 24×36 inches Acrylic on tarpaulin July 2016 It took me 35 years to be able to say that I love my body. When I look at the mirror every morning, I now honor my skin, hair, eyes, nose, belly, legs and feet exactly as they are. Bodyshaming is something we all do, whether to others ...
  • By the Mae Ping River I love the sea and rivers and anything with water, and was smiling from ear to ear when I was in Thailand and had easy access to them. Sharing snaps and paintings/sketches from the trip below: Happy to spend my last day in Thailand ferrying on the Chao Phraya River. As someone who loves boats and anything ...
  • Creative Space: CAMP, Chiangmai I’m in Chiangmai to feel out the co-working spaces here and CAMP in the Nimman district (hipster side of town) just blew me away. Open 24-7, serving all sorts of drinks and snacks, and set up to invite you to vegetate and spend hours and hours here. Sockets are everywhere, there is indoor table/floor seating (with pillows!) ...
  • Painting in Chiangmai Found my painting spot, yay! Thank you, CAMP. Amazing mountain and city view. #mountains #chiangmai #sunset Chiangmai 9×12 inches Acrylic on canvas July 18, 2016 #acrylic #pleinair #painting #chiangmai
  • Mountain temple visit Was hoping to finally find a good painting spot (scenic, quiet, with space to sit and stay put for a good while) in the mountain temple grounds today, but didn’t expect Doi Suthep to be swarming with tourists. Also felt wrong to bring out my gear in a temple, so I did what I thought ...
  • Hello from Chiang Mai! Finally settling in here in Chiang Mai. Love the area inside the old city with cobblestone streets and quaint shops and restos. Great for wandering around, even with the occasional drizzle. Happy there’s so much green everywhere! Seems the Thai aesthetic uses a lot of gardens to bring in the outdoors. This morning I woke up ...
  • WIP: Divine Mercy Finally started my Divine Mercy painting. It’s huge–38 x 50 inches! Commissioned by a priest who was the first stranger to knock on my studio door and ask if I would paint something for their church. Doing this with mindful devotion to draw in more good vibes for the studio and the work that I ...
  • Back in pine tree country! Love this! Pretty wood from fallen trees ready to be used in the community garden at Dominican Hill, Baguio City. #greens #baguio #garden One last hurrah before heading home! Baguio weather and views are so conducive to puttering and sitting by balconies. #sketch #mountains #baguio Baguio 9×12 inches Pen on paper July 4, 2016 Quick sketch over coffee yesterday. Haven’t picked up ...
  • Creative Space: Mama’s Table, Baguio City Another sensory treat from last night–a buffet of pinks, blues and florals at Mama’s Table private dining at the ancestral hilltop home of Chef Vicky Tinio. The living and dining areas consisted of a big hall surrounded by picture windows and wooden elements that served as a warming curtain from the biting cold outside. #creativespace #baguio ...
  • Creative Space: Ili-likha, Baguio We walked into a wonderland this afternoon! Whimsical nooks and crannies in a multi-storey living space by artist Kidlat Tahimik. Felt like I was in post-apocalyptic Waterworld, kulang na lang si Kevin Costner. #artistvillage #baguio #creativespace #Ili-likha Mosaic art inside Ili-likha Artist Village. #creativespace #baguio My favorite space in this crazy cozy place. No slippers please! #creativespace ...
  • Adam and Eva My first completed commissioned work! Thanks for letting me be part of this happy moment in your family, Mia and Pete. For Adam and Eva 18×14 inches Acrylic on canvas June 30, 2016 #acrylic #painting #tagaytay #lake #montalutstudio
  • Look at that sky. #monsoon #rainclouds #blue #sky
  • You and I You and I 24×36 inches Acrylic on tarpaulin June 24, 2016 #montalutstudio #play #acrylic #painting
  • Framed, walled and almost ready for sharing! Displaying old and new works for sale and planning an open studio weekend in July but if you want an early sneak peek, let me know. #montalutstudio #painting #art #forsale
  • Tarpaulin paintings Got my first donation of tarpaulins today. Now all rolled up to ease any folds away…but wow look at that heap! 15 paintings waiting to happen. Thanks so much, Karina, and to your mom for the goodies! #upcycling #tarpaulin #montalutstudio
  • My first muse My first muse 12×8 inches Acrylic on paper June 14, 2016 Once upon a time, I would paint the sun, day in, day out. The sun was my resting place, the one subject that let me stop thinking and just paint away. Maybe someday my quest for the meaning of Montalut will lead me back to sun and light. #sun ...
  • Great Arrow Great Arrow 12×12 inches Acrylic on canvas June 12, 2016 #acrylic #painting #mountain #greatglen #wonderoftheworld #scotland
  • Table Mountain Table Mountain 12×12 inches Acrylic on canvas June 12, 2016 #acrylic #painting #mountain #sea #seascape #wonderoftheworld #africa
  • Giant Steps Giant Steps 12×12 inches Acrylic on canvas June 12, 2016 #acrylic #painting #seascape #sea #giantscauseway #wonderoftheworld
  • Artist Inspiration: Angel paintings by Fernando Modesto Chanced upon these angel paintings by Fernando Modesto this morning. Really liking this Filipino painter. Soft feathery palette reminiscent of Chagall. On exhibit til June 15 at Shangri-la Makati.
  • Mattea Mattea 20×16 inches Acrylic on canvas June 6 & 9, 2016 At the painting party of my goddaughter, Mattea, I invited her friends to do a group painting as a gift for her. We used a prepared palette with all the colors laid out (big mistake!), and in 5 minutes our group masterpiece turned into a big birthday ...
  • Musel Musel 12×18 inches Acrylic on canvas June 9, 2016 Added finishing touches today to this portrait of my good friend, Cez, painted at a forest reserve north of Manila two weeks ago. Was a slow painting day because I deviated from my normal blue tones to give way to warmer browns and yellow greens. Seems I’m moving towards a ...
  • Batanes Batanes Acrylic on canvas June 9, 2016 I’ve painted this house atop a cliff many times, but this time it came out calm and at ease. What an interesting greeting as my first painting at the new studio. #calm #play #acrylic #painting #montalutstudio #mountain #sea #batanes
  • All in a day’s work Inspired Thursday.L-R: Collaborative portrait with my 7-year-old goddaughter, Mattea. Plein air portrait and landscape. Studio work. #acrylic #painting #montalutstudio #happy
  • Studio visitors: Tita Clay So thankful for this visitor who graced my (new) studio with her powerful presence! Blank canvases ready for a day of painting. Happy painters at lunch break 🙂 #wip #acrylic #painting The talented Tita Clay with her palette knife painting debut. Such confident strokes befitting a confident woman. Was a joy to paint with you again after ...
  • Getting there! #studio #makeover
  • 19 scoops of kilig! Happy birthday, dear Crisi #Repost @milkteacookie with @repostapp・・・Pampasaya
  • Happy for this green space in the city. Hope you're having a calm and restful morning today, friends.#pleinair #painting #lamesa #ecopark
  • Done for the day! Excited for all the good vibes this sign will be welcoming to the space. Opening doors real soon. #welcome #studio #montalut
  • Omy! Didn’t realize #tarpaulin would make such an awesome #blackboard! New option for teachers, #DIY mommies and crafters out there. So easy to make too. Just paint with acrylic, let dry, and use with #chalk. Great #repurposing idea for all those elections paraphernalia.
  • New studio door sign on the way! Painting a new door sign for my studio (getting ready to open it up!) and this lilac came out. That blue from a #wip behind it is also very nice Might switch back to my default blues by the end of this…will see! Started painting to quiet the mind so don’t want to overthink ...
  • Look at those swirls!#simplejoys #studio #mixingpaint
  • back on the road Two years ago I found myself pinned down to a daily schedule, accountable to people I was tasked to lead and serve. I did my best to deliver, but that endeavor did not prosper economically and came to an end last month. The personal and communal growth it fostered cannot be doubted, and will always ...
  • Creative Community as an Alternative to traditional education Here’s an excerpt from a paper I wrote in October 2015 on Alternative Education: This idea is still a work-in-progress, but the key points here are that it must be grounded in a creative community that will shape and support it (mentally, financially, psychologically, and spiritually). The school will exist ...
  • U.S. Department of Arts and Culture More echoes of the dream in other parts of the world! Have already enlisted as a Citizen Artist as a start to widening the network and dialogue. 😉 I imagine a future where there are cultural centers in every town, arts bodegas on every city block, and a Culture Corps bringing creative engagement to hospitals, ...
  • Busy busy! Busy busy! Today was all about readying the stage. I’ve forgotten how tiring prepping for creative work can get. Happy to oblige.
  • Mirror, mirror, who do you see? They say the people we meet are mirrors that help show us who we are. Have you tried turning around and being your own mirror? I have yet to paint a self-portrait that looks like me. Mirror, mirror, who do you see? 12×18 inches Acrylic on canvas April 27, 2016 #acrylic #beach #painting #selfportrait
  • ADD painting. #simultaneous #wip #studio
  • Balsa Balsa 12×18 inches Acrylic on canvas April 27, 2016 A “balsa” is a bamboo raft that makes for happy lounging at sea. Last weekend I took my niece, Patrice, to a windsurfing cove in Anilao, Batangas. We sat on the balsa at midday, wind blowing from all directions, fishes swimming underneath, and I set out to paint. Of course ...
  • Still chasing the sunrise… Good morning! ???? #sunpower #anilao #batangas #sunday #morning
  • Happy Tuesday everyone!#thisisthelife #summer #bataan
  • Midday quiet#bataan #sea #beach
  • Sunrise-sunset Sunrise-sunset 12×18 inches Acrylic on canvas April 14, 2016 Spent the morning finishing this painting, which I started on Guinto Island, Palawan last week. It was a humid and sticky day but the sky went crazy to impress us by late afternoon. The night was filled with constellations and shooting stars, and we couldn't stay away from the water ...
  • anticipation and the danger of happy memories I just went through a life exercise in anticipation and harvest. Those who know me know that patience is one of my weakest points. Months ago, I planned to make space for something possibly life-changing. It’s tricky to frame something this way, then consciously work on downplaying it while it draws near, just to avoid any false ...
  • Alex Alex 8×10 inches Acrylic on canvas April 6, 2016 Painted on a moving boat while on a camping expedition. Comes with splashes of seawater and breeze. #pleinair #painting #onthespot #acrylic #figure #portrait #taophilippines #palawan #adventure”
  • The island life The island life 12×18 inches Acrylic on canvas April 5, 2016 #pleinair #painting #acrylic #beach #taophilippines #palawan #adventure
  • Sunrise on Cadlao Island Sunrise on Cadlao Island 12×18 inches Acrylic on canvas April 4, 2016 #pleinair #painting #acrylic #beach #taophilippines #palawan #adventure
  • mistakes and moving on I made granola for the first time today.  It didn’t work out. I kept thinking it’s okay.  Mistakes before mastery, that’s how I do it in the studio.  When I used to experiment with new materials, rule of thumb was always, “No hesitation; bring on the mistakes.” The raw material in this case was food, and I ...
  • Do you need a jolt? Last night someone I just met told me that I came across as an academic artist more than one that created art. The observation gave me a jolt. Earlier that day, I also visited my old studio and felt a cutting nostalgia for my old life, when I’d spend hours on end in that white room, surrounded ...
  • my precious A quick sketch of one of my closest and dearest friends, who is family to me in more ways than one. Honoring you, for calling me out, for all the encouraging, editing and listening. Loving you even from far away, Ate.
  • Thank you and goodbye, 2014. How was your 2014? In August, I did a mid-year review for the widening that was New York, and wow, looking through those doodles now, I wonder how things could’ve taken a turn so bad after a moment of wonderment like that.  I didn’t know it then, but I needed that refilling of the well to ...
  • when choices become a non-choice: dating in Manila I wrote this a month ago. My circumstances have changed since then (aha!), but it continues to amaze me how things can make a 180 degree turn in an instant.  Everyday, anything (and everything) can happen. So much to be thankful for, friends. Let’s be blessed. 🙂 xx I remember a rule I learned in sales early on–make ...
  • Remembering New York, Summer 2014 (Part 4: Working Outdoors in Central Park) I discovered the joy of painting outdoors with Teacher Elaine Herbosa and the rest of the painters at L’Arc en Ciel in early 2013. We would travel 2 hours each way to head to the beaches of Batangas for the day and paint under the scorching sun with our oils and makeshift easels. Paintings would ...
  • Remembering New York, Summer 2014 (Part 3: Abstract Paintings) I loved waking up to a painting day everyday at the Art Students League.  My schedule ran from 1:00pm-9:30pm, which now seems long and exhausting, but I especially enjoyed staying late nights at the studio, working on Abstract Paintings under Frank O’Cain. Here’s my very first output from his class: I am still; I am moving. Acrylic on canvas paper 18×24 ...
  • Remembering New York, Summer 2014 (Part 2: Painting from Life) On Week Two at the Art Students League, I switched to a painting class, still under Mary Beth McKenzie, and came up with these portraits. The small double portrait was a struggle for me, so for the next poses, I opted for solos. I also discovered the joy of painting on unstretched canvas pads–perfect for ...
  • Remembering New York, Summer 2014 (Part 1: Large-Scale Drawings) I’ve been dreaming of taking classes at the Art Students League for years. Imagine my glee when I finally arrived in New York last summer, and more so after signing up for my first official class: Large-Scale Drawing under Mary Beth McKenzie. I bought my large-format paper, metal clips, charcoal, Hake brushes, and ink, and ...
  • what are your questions? A friend likes to greet me with, “What is your story?”  It is his way of cutting through the small talk and being present in every conversation.  I am always thankful to be asked this, and it has defined our friendship for years, giving it a premise (and promise) of “I am interested in you, and ...
  • A Day at the Beach A Day at the Beach Acrylic on canvas 12×15 inches September 23, 2014 For this project, we were asked to change the color of a universally known subject to effect a change in meaning or perception. I chose a subject that finds meaning in being blue: the sea. It is familiar to us and envelopes us, comprising two ...
  • No more previews, please. I never liked watching trailers. And no movie, restaurant, book reviews for me either, please. They preempt the experience. I get a high out of experiencing things raw, with no bias, no inkling of what’s to come. No one likes spoilers, but even previews are a no-no for me. I’d rather take the risk of sitting ...
  • Pausing for relevance In light of what is happening around the world these days — wars, disasters, privacy breaches, dying economies, corrupted morals, misplaced values in business and education — I sometimes wonder if my self-indulgent essays are worth anything. To me they are a necessary purging, and I can sleep at night thinking all this is necessary ...
  • what do you do with anxiety? I had strange dreams last month. This female creature was in one of them. She was a gypsy-medium-crone with three pupils in one eye and five in the other.  She was part of a 4-nightmare series that came one after the other, all in one night. I rarely have dreams related to personal circumstances in my life, ...
  • A widening. Just got back from New York City. A friend called it a life-defining trip even before I left — and it has become that.  Very much. It’s difficult to describe the breadth and depth of where I am right now. I feel so wide. Or widened.  Widening. I looked through photographs from the trip to try to ...
  • It’s time to go home. You know you’ve been stuck doing the wrong things when you don’t get to spend time with yourself anymore. I wrote someone just tonight: things have been too noisy in my head. I’ve been away far too long. Time to go home, Jo. Time to create again. * * * I’ve been planning a proper New York trip in years, ...
  • Hello 2am habit I’ve been waking up everyday at 2am, to the glare of white lights unintentionally left on — meaning I fell asleep midway through work– and not being able to sleep again until the morning sun begins to peep in. I’m leaving for an “epic trip” in a week, and I’ve been anxious about it for a ...
  • Painting murals on my new canvas I’ve been wearing a new hat for the past month and a half, and one that has always been close to my heart: that of a teacher. My family now runs a preschool, with me at the helm.  We’ve been elated at the wide possibilities ahead and also overwhelmed by the new responsibilities that come with ...
  • Banding together: I just visited a farm school! Today was my second visit to the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan — a hub for social enterprise and community-building inspired and fueled by the indomitable spirit of Gawad Kalinga. I have much to process from this afternoon, but for now, before it disappears, I want to commit to words my heart’s jump for ...
  • Spirit and practical Over the weekend I met someone who was so accomplished in the business of helping others, but when talk turned to spirit, it came out that he didn’t believe in God. For him, after we die we belong to the worms. He believes in science, in what is practical and tangible, and discounts anything that ...
  • I’m a sophomore! Such a big sigh of relief now that school is officially over — and that in four months (yes, we have a loooong summer break this year), I will come back as a sophomore, hopefully with my hands, heart and art spirit renewed and ready for another round of deadlines and art-making. Here’s a distillation of ...
  • You have a match! “You have a match!” Materials used: Plaster and GI wire Date completed: March 31, 2014 (back view) Online dating is a whole new world I’ve recently explored, and it’s both exciting and scary. There are some hilarious days, some dull ones, but mostly it gives me a unique insight into men and women interacting in a free space…no physical, ...
  • Wired: a visual essay on consumption “Wired” Materials used: Plaster and GI wire Date completed: March 20, 2014 What do we consume? Does it nourish us? (back view) #sculpture #plaster #wire #consumption #technology Instructions for the plate: PLATE #3: Balance, Emphasis & Economy, Proportion This plate aims to illustrate the application of the principles of design through three dimensional art making, specifically, the principles of balance, emphasis & economy, ...
  • Lifecasting my hands and feet Our feet have many stories to tell. Every new story begins with a prodding, a yes, a step — but who tells us where to go? And who tells us when to stop? “Go, go over there, then stop.” Lifecasts using two-piece molds Material used: Plaster Date completed: January 30, 2014 Meditation piece on repetition, variety, and rhythm. Still part ...
  • Art for Yolanda (ongoing fundraiser) Proceeds of the following works will be donated to rebuild efforts for #YolandaPH survivors. Please let me know at montalut@gmail.com if you’re interested to buy! ********** When Supertyphoon Yolanda hit last November 8, 2013, I was stunned.  Along with the rest of the Philippines (and the world), I went through disbelief, helplessness, anger, grief and the nagging cry ...
  • River paddling River paddling 12×18 inches Soft pastel on paper January 18, 2014 Drawn based on a photograph of a stand up paddleboarder in a river in Holland #drawing #pastel #SUP
  • Filipino master series#3: Amorsolo in triadic colors High fashion 16×20 inches Acrylic on canvas January 17, 2014 The provincial life is seen as one with very few wants. It is simple and self-sustained, and very easily one can while away the days living slowly. Contrast this with the high fashion of living in the city, with stimulants vying for attention left and right, and ...
  • Sunset Sunset Oil pastel on paper 12×18 inches January 18, 2014 With photo reference #drawing #sun #sea #boat #sailing #metime
  • Hiddle doodle It’s a hiddle doodle! 10-min sketch. #leftoverpaint #drawing#motivation
  • Sanctuary Sanctuary Oil pastel on felt 26×22 inches January 14, 2014 Drawing of my studio
  • Filipino master series#2: Manansala in analogous colors Papayas and rolling the dice. 16×20 inches Acrylic on canvas January 10, 2014 Just signed my second painting for the year, yay.   This one’s a visual commentary on food and diet.   After years of eating “healthy food”, I’ve realized that eating is, above all else, a social activity.  I’ve felt the isolating effects of being a health ...
  • Filipino master series #1: Ocampo in complementary colors Who turns heads when we pray? 16×20 inches Acrylic on canvas January 8, 2014 We pray, often with a litany of petitions or thanks.  We surrender to the Mighty Hand that controls everything, but really, who is this person/being/creator who has the last say?  And are we really frozen statues who have no say in how our ...
  • Kiesha Gmorning! Here’s a #drawing I made for my goddaughter, Kiesha. 9×12 inches Charcoal and graphite on paper December 26, 2013
  • Doodles to close 2013 Was tossing and turning in bed so pulled out my journal and doodled the year away. December 31, 2013 #goodbye2013 #doodles Thank you for the rainy day. Pen on paper Journal series What lies ahead? Pen on paper Journal series 2013   Happy days. Pen on paper Journal series 2013 I wish, I wish upon a star Pen on paper Journal series 2013 Hello, 2014 Pen ...
  • Gmorning! Sketchbook time over the holidays Went for a day trip to the beach just because I wanted to see the sea before the year ended. So glad for girl friends who are as crazy as I am. Kaladkarin when needed! #Pleinair #sketching #beach #goodbye2013 #drawing #subic Missing the sea already. After lunch siesta Charcoal and pencil on paper 12×18 inches December 28, 2013 Others from the ...
  • Merry Christmas, friends! Cheers to the Light in our life travels– let’s find hope and delight in the everyday. 🙂 Everyday Light 12×18 inches Oil pastel on paper December 23, 2013 Drawn from an image from the movie, Life of Pi #oilpastel #drawing #sea #boat
  • Mountains, sky and a sketchbook of inviting pages. Great way to welcome the coming of the Christ light tonight.
  • Mountain and sea: Developing my own style Mountain and sea. Oil pastel on board. 20×30 inches. December 17, 2013 #drawing #painting #beach #elnido As a finale to the Adopt-a-Master series for drawing class (I chose to make tributes to Van Gogh), we were asked to do an open composition in the same size, this time in our own style. Teacher gave us this peg: “Years from now, ...
  • Outdoor painting and art fair at the Greenfield District in Mandaluyong (across EDSA Shang). Happening now til 8pm today. Go if you're in the area!
  • Because everyday is an art attack day. Our colored siopao ready to turn into giant beads. #papiermache #beads #paper #craft
  • Van Gogh tribute: Four plates that adapt his style #drawing #pen #ink Field with coconut 20 x 30 inches Pen, ink and pencil on board December 5, 2013 Tribute to Van Gogh’s Wheatfields. Task was to replace one element — I took out the cypress and put in a buko tree. Pruning the vines under rainclouds Pen and ink on board 20 x 30 inches December 5, 2013 Composition using ...
  • What came out last night. May balak yata akong lumipad. O magpalipad. Mukhang makulay ang 2014. 😉 cheeers! #freepainting
  • Lantern fever in Fine Arts! Everyone's a busybee preparing for the annual Lantern Parade. Parang fiesta. Will be my first time yay! Save the date, Dec18.
  • closing 2013: a visual diary ***Warning : long and self-indulgent post.  Sharing for you, friends, to bear witness.  To those that do, thank you.*** The new year always starts early for me.  I mark it on my birthday, the 15th of December. Yolanda has made it a struggle to welcome the coming year with joy, and on top of that, am so ...
  • transitions November-December is the darkest time of the year, both literally and spiritually. Christ was born in December, as the light in the darkness. Hanep no? Never became aware of it or considered it until now, that it’s probably why birthday blues also hit me. I’m moving with the season. Twenty days ’til 33. Thirty days ’til the ...
  • So happy to be working with color again! And to be playing with oil pastels in a new way: smudging and brushing with linseed oil. Work in progress. Oil pastel on 15×20 primed board. Second attempt below. Resisting the urge to smudge. First layer of heavy strokes. Mom @bigbons this for you. Love xx #oilpastel #drawing #painting I think I’ve found my new fave medium!
  • Back to doodling. My first work in the new studio. She looks sad. I'll call her Yolanda.
  • Mandala in Plaster Mandala: Centering at 32  Plaster 12″ x 16″ x 1″ October 2013 We were asked to do an autobiographical relief (that means a half-sculpture, like a raised drawing) using clay as a mold.  We were to mark the clay with found objects that were special to us. Can you make out the different objects embossed on my mandala? ...
  • Self-portrait using lines: spider web installation Halloween came early to UP this year. We had spider webs all over the Fine Arts department as early as July: Self-portrait using lines Plastic straw 1′ x 1′ (portrait dimensions) July 2013 Task was to make a spider web using any kind of thread, and somewhere in there, put our face. I chose this spot because there were so many nooks ...
  • Sneak peek. Creating a creative space. Coming real soon! #montalut
  • A Coral garden made from plastic bottles Coral garden PET bottles and white latex paint 12″ x 12″ x 12″ September 2013 My first green art, made from recycled plastic bottles. I wanted to make something I’d love to keep and display at home, so I thought of arranging “plants” under the sea that I could easily put on top of a table later ...
  • A zoo in whimsy gray Flat shapes and patterns in gray Poster paint on board 10″ x 15″ August 2013 Can you spot the 10 animals in the painting? This was one of my favorite plates for this semester. Basic instructions were to draw outlines of 10 animals on paper, cut them out and arrange them on the board for tracing. They ...
  • Self-portrait by points Self-portrait Pen on board 10″ x 10″ June 2013 Pointillism This was our first plate for Visual Perception class. We used a photo reference that we divided into 64 squares to form a grid, for transferring point by point onto an illustration board. The points were no joke to make, and one blackout grid would take me over an hour to ...
  • Documenting: the first months of school I started this blog to deposit all my art, writings and ideas in one place, but been such a delinquent for the past four months.  It’s easy to say that school got in the way, but I hope I can build up the habit of documenting on-the-go (and do it soon! the new semester starts ...
  • Sand sculpting My new fave thing to do at the beach: sand sculptures! Working with plaster last semester opened me up to creating 3D forms using wet-dry and powdery material, so I gave sand sculpting a go while on vacation this week. I started digging and came up with a mound that just seemed to ask for a face. ...
  • My first sand art #boracay #montalut Katuwa! Shouldve done this from day1! Mom saying hello to my sand fishie. Last day for #sandart today. Wish the beach was always just 5 mins away! #sandsculpture #boracay
  • “The good things grow better. There is always a new surprise each time you see them.” -Robert Henri, artist and teacher #buko #tree #sky
  • Every movement in nature is orderly Every movement in nature is orderly, one thing the outcome of another, a matter of constructive, growing force. We live our lives in tune with nature when we are happy, and all our misery is the result of our effort to dictate against nature. In moments of great happiness we seem to be with the ...
  • Taking a breather: thank you 1st sem! What a sight for sore eyes! Or in my case, sore everything–thumbs, fingers, aching back and legs– all from too much creative pounding for the past five months. Art school has definitely arrived, and in a fury at that.  I never expected an art course to be so demanding: 3-hour sleep cycles in between non-stop creative ...
  • A welcome break from sandcastles. More sand art please! #superman
  • Spoils and casualties of the day: pink and blue face casts (yay!), dead face mold (thanks for a good run), and broken mandala (I sat on it huhu).
  • Experimenting with colored plaster. They look so yummy. #plaster #face #casting #wastemold
  • I now have a twin. #face #casting #plaster #sculpture
  • We made a mold of my face today! Eureka moment tom morn when we cast it. Ty Tin! #face #casting #wastemold #plaster #larolarolang
  • Drawing finals: On-the-spot charcoal figurative Female nude I Charcoal on toned board 20×30 inches October 1, 2013 Female nude II Charcoal on board 20×30 inches. October 3, 2013 Last #drawing session for the semester. #nude #drawing #onthespot #last2weeks
  • Photo emulsion transfer: green living Playing with photo transfer on glass. Nice frosted texture! Good alternative to decoupage. #acrylic #emulsion Process is to apply emulsion on chosen newsprints,  let dry and repeat until a filmy layer forms (ranges from 5-10 layers).  Wet the paper side and rub out the fibers before attaching onto your medium of choice, in this case a ...
  • Plaster bas relief: Mandala Lessons learned: get the mix right, be joyful while working, if digging deep make it count. Pwedeng life lessons na rin! Plaster bas relief ruins. Major fail. Huhu. Back to square one. Flu go away!
  • Gmorning! My first #mandala or "essence container". Thank you to artist Van James for the opening. #happyvibes #centering
  • Feels like home: garlic ginger magic potion. Always a pick-me-upper. We blend raw with banana and calamansi. #bawang
  • 40 years this year. Love you mom and dad. Xx Charcoal on paper 9×12 @bigbons
  • "Windy Crisi" Charcoal on paper 9×12 #drawing #journal #pagmaytime @milkteacookie
  • Have never been happier to see the sea. #dagat
  • Back to the grind: paperboat sculpting. Sunday morning fun!
  • Montalut Studio and Creative Space: visioning A physical gathering place for innovative, positive, and active dialogue by way of art, green tech, and wealth creation.  Think art salons of the olden times, but Pinoy version (with abundant food! and laughter! and doers! Bawal all-talk), and with lots of playful spirit.  An open and friendly place for ideas to germinate and get implemented. This is ...
  • Why I’m Choosing to Study Painting This is the closest I have to an artist’s statement. It was my college application essay, written in early 2013.  Because I’m a lola and initially missed the essay requirement on the checklist,  I barely had an hour to put my big “WHY” into words.  No fluff.  Work-in-progress. Thankful for the knife of time pressure . Why I’m ...
  • Who are your mountains? I’m climbing a mountain tomorrow, and amidst the flurry of packing and preparing, I am here, writing and space clearing. Why do we climb mountains? A quote from the baul of 2005: You cannot stay at the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what ...
  • Painting outdoors: tapping raw energy Spent last Tuesday at the beach, on my second plein air painting session. Was a hot and humid day but I was just happy to finally understand (or begin to understand) why so many artists brave the elements of painting outdoors. Standing on a hill facing this cliff gave me a surge of energy ...
  • my homecoming: a lesson on texture and patience “Make it Rain” Oil on canvas, February 2013 My first oil in 7 years. Painting has become my default answer to the question, “What makes you happy?” But for over 10 years now, I’ve been saying it without actually living it.  Someone I’d just met called me out on it recently– I haven’t seriously painted either because #1 ...
  • two extremes I’ve been attending weekly study groups on inner work, and I’ve been out and about more than the usual — partying, drinking, eating. A friend recently pointed out that one can’t do both at once.  And it’s true.   They cancel each other out.  No gains to be had from either one. All the inner work is set ...
  • 2013 is a sponge year — possibilities again! Used to say this a lot. Then the world of heartbreak and responsibilities happened. Glad to say I’m slowly believing it again. Vacillate. We are always swaying. It’s healthy. Two mindsets* :  Positive mindset is firm, not easily swayed by externalities. Most passionate people are of this mindset. Negative mindset is a sponge, easily influenced by the outside: people, events, ...
  • go now… Great reminder for the new year. There is an urging now, at 32, to reclaim the wonder of the 20s…all with the delight of ferocity and restraint. I have done right by 31, the house is done. What is next? One step at a time: wander, wonder. I find very little need for words ...
  • what music do you listen to? Wow, Bonobo just takes me to another place. A carnival… …a castle in the sky… …a painting heaven where horses fly… Pink horses! What music. 🙂 Thank you for the music.  
  • beautiful day, everyday OH WHAT JOY! I finally set up my studio yesterday, and the possibilities of play and just getting busy with my hands again — they’re just so tangible now. If there is such a thing as smelling joy and the future, I’m smelling them right now. Hugs to you, friends. May you know what ...
  • A love interest A friend recently referred to dating as having a love interest, and it made me realize how clean that phrase is. Love interest. No pretenses, no ambiguous meaning or indirect association with which to confuse it. It is clean cut.  It captures romance, not to trivialize it, but quite the opposite — to make it more explicit. “I am ...
  • Infinity and the perks of a barkada I saw a good movie the other day. It’s been a while since I smiled at the movie house. Celebrated friendship of a young, natural kind — the effortless, foundational friends we encounter earlier in life but carry with us forever. Forever’s a cheesy word when we let it be one, but really, it’s beautiful.  They ...
  • I say to you… It feels nice to be asked. But sometimes, what we really need is to do the asking.
  • Can you come out and play? What’s your fairy dust? Who’s your fairy dust? …
  • Life as we know it Heartbreak and joy. They are twins. I grew up with twins. They have their own world — they connive, they plan and execute, or sometimes they plan to have no plan — the given is that they do everything together. Whether you invite heartbreak or joy into your life, expect the other to come galloping ...
  • Landing na. Now going on night #7 in my new home, after a grueling two-year wait, and it feels surreal that I’m actually able to sit down and properly write again. Amidst the workload I have to do (business-wise, house cleaning-wise, creative-wise), I insist on this critical me time tonight to essay out my thoughts. After being consumed ...
  • Look up Have you looked up lately? How lovely to always be in awe. To look up, smell the smells, take it all in. There is a greater world around us, bigger and more marvelous than the world of Me-Myself-I.
  • what gets you out of bed in the morning? What is the mountain of my life? It’s not money. Is this why I’m not rich? No amount of brainwashing will make me endure slaving over money. I wish I could’ve been wired otherwise. I see ambition on friends’ faces and hearts and used to wonder if I felt envious, but my truth is not in that ...
  • Climb your mountain, he will climb his, you meet at the top. Rilke said this about love and lovers: When I turned 26 I started asking for specific gifts for my birthday — romantic wishes, if you will — and for two years I was on a winning streak. I became a firm believer of “Ask and you shall receive,” just as much as “Be careful what ...
  • Wishful thought: spring in the Philippines Over here, when flowers bloom and fruits are aplenty, we know that summer has come. Not spring. I’ve never lived through the four seasons, so what little I know of the changing weather patterns and life cycles of winter, spring, summer and fall, I know from movies and stolen visits to the US or Europe. I experienced my ...
  • Quiet and bridges I saw a TV feature on a Chinese painter the other night. Asked about his process, he said that everyday, he keeps quiet. He sets aside time to be quiet, then he paints. And he does these alone. It’s a solitary act, to paint and create, and I’ve returned many times to the question of whether ...
  • When words fail When I was 23, I met a man who swept me off my feet. He was 29 and tall, had a warm smile, soft hands, and deep curious eyes. He was an economist who one day just packed his bags, went to the mountains and disappeared. I met him on a gap moment, when he ...
  • New year, new directions Why are beginnings so wonderful? When we begin, we also automatically end, and this journey of the transition, and the call to see it through, makes such events so joyful, and demanding.
  • chirpy pill Time to be happy–it’s so tiring to be sad!
  • so…everything crumbles. now what? Been trying to answer this objectively, without emotional heaviness and without the musts and shoulds– what happens when you realize everything passes, everything ends?
  • friendship and refuge “Society has been able to create refuges of every sort, for since it preferred to take love-life as an amusement, it also had to give it an easy form, cheap, safe, and sure, as public amusements are.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
  • a passing The cloud has passed, or has nearly passed, and wow.   I’m slightly worried it went by so fast.
  • a change of heart re TV? I haven’t paid attention to TV for over six years now, but today I couldn’t cast it aside so easily. What was on? Local news.
  • what is forever? Next to love or romance, friendships are stable, non-volatile. I used to think it’s because friendships , particularly soul friendships, last forever. But what is forever?
  • hush now I grew up loving the word “dreamer”.
  • un-happy When was the last time I was happy?
  • letting them out to sea Here are some that found new homes during the 10a Alabama art fair— fare thee well, my friends!
  • Montalut at the Indie Art fair this weekend at 10a Alabama, New Manila Woohooo! Finally decided to ‘get out there’ and sell my paintings– hope you can drop by this weekend, and come home with your own montalut ;P Let’s SUPPORT INDIE ART xo     More info at the 10a Alabama Page.
  • on rivers and losing friends Losing a friend is difficult.   But sometimes an old friendship needs to be reviewed using the very same guidelines that created it.
  • painting Kuy (step-by-step) Kuy is the diminutive (i.e. pet name or lambing) for Kuya or big brother, and this painting was a Christmas gift for my one and only big bro, Paolo.
  • what persists? When all goes well in our lives–no hang ups, no loose ends to tie, no big goal or duty to give ourselves to– what happens? What remains? Maybe it’s not a question of what is left behind, but of what pushes forward, what persists?
  • relevance take two? I gave paintings away to friends on my birthday as a thank you, but also as a social experiment: I wanted to see which works would most appeal to the people closest to me (and which wouldn’t), and who among my friends would actually do as I asked and send me a pic with ...
  • THANK YOU show for my 30th, yay! Had my first one-man show at the twins’ bar in San Juan as a BIG THANK YOU for the 30 years that were, and for the 30,40,50,or more that will be 🙂
  • no birthday blues this year Happy to say there are no birthday blues this year, I’ve crossed out about 22 items on my 30 before 30 list, and am really in a good place now. Holding a BIG THANK YOU show on my birthday, yay.
  • do you ever want to be sad? Everyone I know wants to be happy… but is there also merit in choosing to be sad?
  • back to quiet Been terribly busy this past month, shuffling in and out of town– and I’ve neglected many things: my apartment (so dusty now boohoo), raw diet, and worst of all, sleep! Should add that I haven’t painted nor read in a looong while 🙁 So looking forward to my Palawan solo adventure in ...
  • house designing This is my most recent work: a house plan. I am building a house. My house. Before 30. That’s something I wrote I would do before December, and with grace, it is here before me– what I asked for. THANK YOU from the deepest of my heart.
  • being mommy Why do people want kids? What brings a woman, for example, to willingly surrender her love, time, effort, money and body to a young person who will “own” her for the rest of her life?
  • relevance “A painting doesn’t have to have a profound meaning. It doesn’t have to ‘say’ a word. We fall in love for simpler reasons.” (Harley Brown)
  • walking towards the light “Don’t be afraid to walk forward. You’re walking towards light, Jo.”
  • there are two fears — which is yours? Inertia is fuel for the lazy.
  • painting mom and dad (step-by-step) At one point I started talking to my painting, saying “Hello, Papa; hello, Mama”. It felt strange but also reassuring, to recognize them, or for them to come out and meet me… as if they were consenting, that I was doing something right…
  • what happens when the wanting ends? I’m at the end of my rainbow, and I don’t know what to ask for. I don’t even crave for food anymore. I don’t have intense feelings for anything.
  • where, nowhere “Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to. Alice: I don’t much care where. The Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”
  • the days go numb Why does life have to be a cycle? When you’re happy, you know something sad is coming next.
  • forced doodles and rilke I always come back to Rilke. And Rilke always brings me back.
  • for jon A gift.
  • my first acrylic painting, yay! Also my first completed self-portrait.
  • waiting for the world to change When does waiting shift from being passive to active?
  • beyond the barren field are mountains
  • why is sleep so inviting?
  • what’s your truth? One of my favorite questions, and also one of my favorite answers.
  • gifts for friends Old cards I made for friends, maybe in 2000.
  • meditation I tried meditating seriously for the first time last night, and I saw this.
  • don’t be amazed by the light of your teacher, there is more Sometimes we are guilty of beholding people we admire, and wish to emulate, and we fail to recognize that what we hold so sacred and highly in them is just a shadow of the light that they themselves hold sacred.
  • Oh thou I! “I went from God to God until they cried from me in me, ‘Oh thou I!'”
  • drawing from life My first sitters!
  • what makes a friend a best friend? “There are warm places in every person’s soul. These places can be filled with feeling for others, and those others can be aware of this feeling. Something passes between persons who carry in themselves a warm feeling for each other: Feeling itself flows through those souls and unites them. And openness towards ...
  • on living alone Cheers to fighting for the everydays that matter.
  • toys and childhood When I was in late grade school, I always used Peter Pan to describe myself–the boy who didn’t grow up– and I was nene that way. Always with lit up eyes when it came to fantasy and role-play. I honestly believed I was never going to be a grown up.
  • loneliness
  • be the fish Inspired by Rumi.
  • ready for mailing “Snail mail is now poetry.”
  • memory vs. presence “Sweet is the memory of Jesus, giving true joys to the heart; but sweeter beyond honey and all else is his presence.”
  • complements and distractions Time to weed out what matters less, and work on what matters more.
  • I say good morning to my God I found painting this as my morning prayer more meaningful than mouthing words.
  • dead stars Do you have dead stars? What illumines your path, what do you hold highly, maybe even reverently, that gives you hope, and the strength to do what you have to do? And how do you know if your shining star is dead or alive?
  • do you smile in your sleep? Someone told me she caught me smiling in my sleep recently, as if an angel was with me or was watching over me…
  • “Oh Thou, before whom all words recoil.” What do we move towards? Whom do we move towards? Who is waiting for us at the end of this all?
  • have the courage to die first “What is the new going to be based on? Where is the power to create the new going to come from?”
  • frivolities What do you do when vacations become what you need to escape from?
  • show me the way Clarity. Please. I will wait.
  • oh sadness! here today, gone today Rilke does it for me every time. I hope you also know your happy place, friends, and that you know the way there!
  • i can feel the possibilities Travel light.
  • flow like a river “May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children…”
  • be earth now, and evensong.
  • welcome to the sun years When I turned 29 a month ago, my friend Ces welcomed me to my sun years. She said that the turbulent, excruciating period of years 27 and 28 are over (oh thank you!); it’s now time to shine and come into my own. 🙂
  • fall in love again in 2010 Love is serious and demanding–it’s the older brother that needs to be responsible, that needs to make the difficult choices. Falling in love is the bunso, the cheeky one who gets away with being naughty and creating a mess. Just because.
  • do you have time? “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to.'”
  • love is not it “Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love.”
  • why we must pick our battles “The heart has the ability to experience so much—and we don’t have much time.”
  • i am a violent fire… Try saying it out loud. What happens?
  • My 30 before 30 Oh the great adventures begin!
  • let it flow This theme’s been surrounding me lately, that life is about flow. Best to be like water, or the river that runs with and through everything.
  • creativity in slow doses Slowburn is just as valid, probable, and effective.
  • are we floating yet? My epitaph will read “She was brave.”
  • lundag lang! “There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.”
  • i want! “When you die God and the angels will hold you accountable for all the pleasures you were allowed in life that you denied yourself.”
  • there are no happy endings “…because nothing ends.”
  • quietness
  • go out into your heart “You are not surprised at the force of the storm–You have seen it growing…”
  • begin! “Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.”
  • on waiting Real waiting is not “doing nothing”. It is VERY effortful, to trust that everything will work out in the end.. and work out not necessarily as planned.. For to wait is to be gentle, and flexible, and that’s not as easy as it sounds. In this day and age of instant everything, we’ve come ...
  • we belong to people “The occasional gathering…no matter how brief, keeps the heart and mind in touch with the most fundamental of joys: belonging.”
  • how do you say goodbye to a good thing? “I’m in love with a girl who’s in love with the world / and I can’t help but follow / though I know someday she is bound to go away / and stay over the rainbow / gotta learn how to let her go / over the rainbow.”
  • on death and iloveyous it happens every time someone i know dies– i get this compulsion to tell everyone i love them, to right every wrong, even those wrongs that are still pending there’s that urgency, a jolly sort of rushing, not because there’s no time, but because the best time is now
  • on being grateful What moves us to say those words out loud? THANK YOU. Thank you mom, thank you dad, thank you lover, thank you sister, thank you friend.
  • permission to dream “When I snoop into the lives of artists I admire, I generally find people who at one time or another have taken charge of themselves and given themselves some sort of permission to act on their dreams.”
  • greed “Why would men so mismanage their lives? Greed, he thought, was what ruined so many. Greed–that desire to crowd into a moment all the enjoyment it would hold, to squeeze from the hour all the emotion it would yield.”
  • do you want to wake up? When we go inside ourselves and ask the questions that need to be asked, what happens? And what do we lose when we don’t?
  • how do artists spend their everydays? Drinkers! Procrastinators! Night Owls! Exercisers! Nap takers! How validating to know my own habits are spot on for creative output… 😛
  • our penchant for nostalgia “We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today. I don’t think it was, and I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great. If you’re hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and ...
  • a billboard I dont mind seeing everyday Reminds me of something I read before: dreamers are meticulous– all the dream details are planned out because the biggest plan of all is to make the dream come true. We should have designated “national vision boards” lining our main streets, with only one purpose: to inspire.
  • harvest year Every December 31st, it’s become a tradition for my brothers and I to stay up and wait for the first morning of the new year to arrive…With weaker knees and less eager drinking this year came the realization that somehow, we’ve graduated from the usual revelry and fireworks. Still, the first dawn of 2008 failed ...
  • openings “Openings come quickly, sometimes, like blue space in running clouds. A complete overcast, then a blaze of light….”
  • The Burden of HOT I wouldn’t want HOT for a boyfriend. I’m a bad snob, but the stereotype stands until proven wrong from firsthand experience: HOT=boring=dull=no personality. Or to be more fair, HOT=distracting. There’s too much going on, too noisy physically, to even attempt to glimpse a personality, what more listen for an honest voice. The possibility of establishing ...
  • habits for the busy “Renew your body by shaking up routines, opening to new experiences.When people get busy, they rely on habits–wearing the same clothes,eating the same food, taking the same route to work–to save time and thought.”
  • MERRY CHRISTMAS HUG! 🙂
  • vision “an entrepreneur must find the status quo unacceptable”

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My other writings

I started blogging in 2005 as Manilarat, determined to find beauty in Manila, the city we love to hate. That passion project was inspired by a short stay in Spain in 2004–my first solo trip, and an adventure worth its own blog (maybe more!), if only I chose to document it better! I knew then what it meant to fall in love with a place, and I’ve since taken it upon myself to promote the Philippines as exactly that–a beautiful, charming country worth the love of both Filipinos and would-be visitors. Join me in finding beauty in the everydays, in Manila and beyond at manilarat.montalut.com and together let’s boldly proclaim that “manila, you’re not that ugly!

In October 2010, I made the first concrete step in “being green” and bought a property in an aspiring eco-city south of Manila. Follow my adventures on sustainable living in the Philippines on MyNuvaliHome.com.

Fiction work

Once upon a time I wrote a short story. And I felt like I won the lottery when someone thought to publish it.

Quizas
March 2006
Story Philippines

It was my first fiction piece; never did a follow up. Someday maybe… maybe… maybe… 😉

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