Friday, December 6, 2019

Helping Out A Fellow Artist: Robert as posted by kwenTAO

Here's something a little different. So I was scrolling through my Facebook Timeline as usual when I came upon this article shared by a friend. 

So basically, it's about Robert, a 20 year-old kid who is down on his luck. He used to be a call center agent but he got bullied out of work and his life has really slid downhill since. 

Nowadays, art is the only thing that brings him happiness. Now you might think that this is pretty normal -- but consider this excerpt from KwentongTao's interview with him:

"We have no electricity at home, so every night, I spend time in front of our neighbor’s house to have some light when I draw and when I read books. Until some Police officers confront me that it is not allowed to stay outside because of the new Oplan-Sita. So I decided to spend my time here in front of 7/11 store. Atleast no one will notice even you spend so many hours. And then, since I don’t have money, I decided to ask for alms. And some people buy my arts for 5 pesos and sometimes, they give me 20 pesos for one piece of art.
I don’t have money to get my requirements to apply for a new job. If I just have money to get requirements, maybe I already applied for a new job. But for now, maybe I don’t want to apply again with call center companies. I think I will be bullied again there. I just want to apply to a job as a cashier or store merchandiser."
Fortunately, Ernesse, the friend who shared this post had the idea of gathering used art materials from artist friends in Iloilo and pooling our resources together to send them to Robert. Of course, I jumped upon this opportunity to help out a fellow artist.

Now to be completely honest with you, I can definitely relate with the part of being an artist and how art brings joy to my life, but as for the bullying part -- let's just say that if I were in Robert's shoes, I'd probably be fired from my job for indiscriminate and very brutal use of force.
Still, it was a chance to help out someone in need and so we all agreed to meet up at SM City Iloilo just a few hours ago this 6th of December 2019. 

Initially, I went to the wrong area, but eventually Ernesse found me and introduced me to the group. Here are some pics of the event. I got to meet up with Ernesse and Antonio's friends and fellow artists Reese, Denzee, Mia, and Marvin... also, pardon me if I forgot someone, guys. I know Clarisse wasn't there. 
We decided to try Philpost at SM first, but they wouldn't accept some of the paints I was giving away, so we hauled all our stuff onto the car and drove on over to AP Cargo where we were able to successfully send it off. By the way, Reese sent a really huge trolley bag over. I'm sure Robert will make good use of it.

With that said, here are the things I sent: 

  • -Faber Castell 24 Classic Colored Pencils
  • -Colokit Watercolor Set
  • -Colour Sparx Colored Pencil Set
  • -Prang Watercolor Set with Mission Gold Titanium White in one pan
  • -Set of different pencils and an eraser
  • -Nagi fanart in watercolors with a little message for Robert

Also, a shoutout to Jimmie from MyArtLife. I'm sure you'll be glad to know that the art materials that I won from your channel raffle are in good hands. If any of you still remember, I actually reviewed one of those materials in one of my older videos. 

To Ernesse and company, thank you for the opportunity. To Robert, I hope you get back on your feet soon, bro. Have a Merry Christmas, from all of us.

Original Post from Kwentong Tao:
MyArtLife by Jimmie
Video review by me of the Colokit Watercolors

Monday, December 2, 2019

ナギちゃん お誕生日おめでとうございます! 12/3 Happy Birthday 2019, Nagi!

I may not have a whole lot of time for blogging anymore nowadays, but I will never forget the girl I fell in love. Here's some fanart for her birthday along with a video of me painting her. Born on December 3, 1991 in the manga's timeline, Nagi would be 28 years old now in our time. I bet she's older than most of you.

Also, I will never forget to inform the entire world that on April 12, 2017, Hayate x Nagi officially became a couple along with the canon ending of Hayate The Combat Butler.

I wish I could have done more, but I'm so pressed for time nowadays with my new job. 

I've also managed to obtain the last official Nagi figure: the third repaint of her cat version from Orca Toys. Got it used from Solaris Japan, but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have arrived yet. I'll be sure to take pictures when it arrives sometime this month -- I assume.

Digital version
For the digital version of her, I just stuck with 2D hard colors. i know many people prefer the more painterly feel of other artists, but honestly, although I am capable of it, it just doesn't sit well with me.
Watercolors on paper
This is the original version of the artwork -- the one that you see me painting in the video. Also, the pose is not quite original. I copied it from a Miku digital fanart that was doing the exact same pose. Of course, I did use my own figure for the reference.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Hayate Reflections: Watercolor Painting Nagi

For some reason, I forgot to post this video on my blog. Here I am painting Nagi again as usual. Her pose and expression are based on the Miku noodle stopper figure.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Video Only - Orca Toys Nagi Sanzen'in White Cat Version

Just a short video to break the curse of me not uploading any new videos recently. I got a new revolving solar display stand for my favorite Nagi figure recently and thought I'd show her off. Apparently, only 3000 copies of this figure were ever made -- quite appropriate since Sanzen 三千 means 3000.  

Monday, September 2, 2019

Weathering With You 天気の子 Spoiler-Free Review and Some Hina Fanart

For the record, I personally don't care about spoilers, but I'm not one to impose my personal ideals upon others -- and if you disagree with me, then that's the difference between you and me. Food for thought.

Just got back from the cinemas and… “sensually enchanting” would be the most appropriate adjectives that come to mind when it comes to Makoto Shinkai’s latest piece, “天気の子,”  (which was translated to “Weathering With You” for some reason. The accurate translation is “child of the weather” or “weather’s child” or even “girl of the weather”). With that aside, the production values definitely live up to the hype. The movie is basically an audio-visual feast for the senses with an entrancing soundtrack, breathtaking animation, and the cool, calming, yet extremely detailed scenery (and product placements) that anyone familiar with Makoto Shinkai’s previous works might have come to expect. Therefore, over-all, I’d say that the movie was simply a delight to watch and actually quite timely since we’re in the rainy season right now in the Philippines.

The Supernatural And The Mundane

A common motif in Makoto Shinkai’s movies is the marriage of the supernatural and the mundane and this latest movie is no exception. Set in Tokyo, “Weathering With You” presents life in the big city with a tongue-in-cheek approach. We get to see glimpses of the actual living conditions of the everyman (sorry lgbt bbq+, not everyone is interested in your inclusive exclusivity) in Tokyo and particularly, we get to see how life must be like for two teenage runaways, the main characters Hodaka and Hina, and the common problems they face, such as difficulty in finding employment because of being underage. In fact, the movie shows several adult-themes including a brothel, a love hotel (basically a hotel that specializes in romantic couples) and some degree of violence against a minor as well as gunshots.

With that said, these elements all mingle quite naturally with its supernatural elements based on Japanese folklore, which is quite evident in Hina’s apparent power to control the weather.

Strong Supporting Cast

Drawing a comparison to Shinkai’s previous work, while Your Name was all about the two main characters with an only mildly memorable supporting cast, the same cannot be said for Weathering With You. Hina’s ladies man of a little brother Nagi, the ornery yet ultimately kind-hearted Suga, and the charming Natsumi are all very likable characters in their own right who each play a vital role in moving the movie’s plot forward.

A Less Than Stellar But Ultimately Satisfying Plot

Speaking of the plot in general – this is perhaps the movie’s weakest point. While it is by no means a train-wreck of a story, it can get dragging at certain points because of the linear nature of the storytelling. Furthermore, while it can get cathartic at times, it doesn’t really achieve the heights of Shinkai’s older masterpieces such as “5 Centimeters Per Second.”

Yet, while it might not be technically an aesthetically beautiful story, the strongest plot point of this film lies in the final choice made by Hodaka.  I love the fact that he chooses the selfish route and affirms that he’s fine with this in exchange for “changing the world forever.”  This is literally the kind of stuff that got me hooked on anime in the first place. Sometimes it’s not just about saving the world, being the altruistic one and thinking of the common good, nor restoring the status quo – sometimes it’s just about what really makes you happy – and I’m personally quite delighted that Hodaka chose to follow his heart rather than his mind in the movie’s climax.

Fanservice and Nods

Fans who rode the hype train to this movie from Your Name will definitely not be disappointed as far as fanservice goes because you will see some very familiar faces that give subtle nods to the co-existence of the Makoto Shinkaiverse across different films.

Personally, I was amused at the two Pretty Cure cosplayers who enlisted Hina’s service.

Also, it amuses me that main female character is Hina and her little brother is Nagi :)

Some Minor Complaints

I do have some minor complaints about this movie, of course. While the soundtrack is a joy to listen to, I do feel that the use of an insert-song while portraying a timelapse is a bit overused and jarring. It was used only two times in the movie, but that was twice too much for me – especially since I’ve seen it used before in almost the very same fashion in Your Name. It’s not enough to put me off on this movie, but it was a bit distracting.

Furthermore, while the lore behind the supernatural elements in Your Name was fully-fleshed out within the movie, the same cannot be said for Weathering With You. There were definitely attempt at subtle exposition here and there and the lore itself was quite interesting, but I feel that there just wasn’t enough of it crammed into this 2 hour movie for me to feel any sense of connection to the supernatural lore.

Also, as usual, the translation is a bit iffy in spots. Why do they always insist on listing the full name of the character whenever someone says “onee-chan” or uses some similar honorific? I know that calling someone “big sister” doesn’t sound that natural in English, but it’s also pretty off-putting when the subtitles say one thing and the character is obviously saying another. For the record, I don't agree with any of these conventions established by fansubbers as well as professional translators.

Over-all impressions

The lore aside, Hina is cute and that’s a plus for me – always. Over-all, Weathering With You is an aesthetically pleasing feel-good movie with a story that will have you leaving the cinema with a smile on your face.  If you were expecting another “Your Name,” you might feel a bit disappointed, but watch the movie for what it is, and I guarantee you’ll find it quite enjoyable.

Nagi approves of this movie

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Painting Hatsune Miku for 8/31/2019 With Anilinky Watercolors

Miku's birthday is a good time to try out the Anilinky Watercolors I bought from Deovir. Over-all, the watercolors have a very rich and deep color and they're very highly pigmented. They actually remind me of Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors. There's 24 colors over-all and two types of white.

Anyway, I'll leave you with the video right here.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Zig Kuretake 12 Color Watercolor Palette Set -- Impressions (video)

Over-all, I really like this watercolor set. The colors are nice, highly pigmented and vibrant -- although lacking in intensity and they really do work great for anime style illustrations.

I'd imagine they'd work great for florals and caligraphic stuff as well -- although I personally don't do those. I wouldn't recommend these for landscapes unless you're deliberately going for a washed out look.

The colors also mix very well.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

I have a RedBubble Account btw.

Just letting you know that I have a RedBubble account. Follow the link to see more of my stuff. Also check my pixiv account:

Or tell me if you want to request a specific design. Most of the artworks I've done can be found tagged Fanart in this blog.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Hayate Reflections: Time To Gloat About Tonikaku Kawaii Chapter 67

Thanks to anonymous for the heads-up on Tonikaku Kawaii (call it Cawaii if you like just coz that's how it's spelled in English in the magazine, I know, I know...)
So anyway, I got sick again. As the seasons change, my throat acts like some kind of barometer because I have rhinitis and my throat and nose always act up whenever we transition from hot to cold weather.
Speaking of hot weather, Tsukasa is quite hot here.
With that out of the way, I’m just chiming in today with a quick update on Tonikaku Kawaii, Kenjiro Hata’s latest manga -- and probably an update that I should have done sooner. Anyway, in page 9 of chapter 67, we have a cameo of Hayate and Nagi being all kissy-kissy, lovey dovey with each other as Kaname educates her senpai on the different meanings of kisses.

Of course, this was all in Kaname’s imagination, but when the author of the manga draws the two main characters of his former manga this way, I think it leaves little doubt as to how he wanted them to end up and how to properly interpret the ending of said manga -- even if you think they’re not the Hayate and Nagi that you remember -- don’t worry, son. Memories are idealized most of the time. You’ll get over it.

Anyway, this is lordcloudx gloating and out for now.

By the way, don’t forget that I do art commissions for $6-$25 right now depending on complexity. I definitely prefer traditional art that I can send directly to the client, but I can of course do digital art as well. I’ll leave a link in the description and you can just email me directly at lordcloudx at gmail dot com and let’s talk.
Fanart Corner

I've noticed that people are "so much more aware" of depression nowadays and that's great... still, have a fanart.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Hayate Reflections: My Thoughts On Art

Sharp contrasts of bright green and dark shadows lend an alluring and almost otherworldly ambiance to this lush green forest. The seemingly random placement of the trees belie the artist’s subtle intent—which is to draw the viewer’s attention into the blank space at the upper left portion of the painting wherein the paper’s natural whites were purposely left intact in order to create the illusion of shards of light – sharp as daggers piercing into the thick veil of foliage below... is the kind of insincere, artsy, pseudo literary description that relies on empty prose and complex-sounding words to make something out to be more than it actually is. It’s also not the kind of description I’d ever want to give any of my paintings.
You know how long it took me to think up that description? All of 3 minutes at the very moment that I decided to start writing this essay. In fact, I could make up artsy sounding, insincere descriptions like that all day long – but I don’t, because I don’t like them.

Now let me tell you the real story behind this painting. This was a background done in around 10-15 minutes for an upcoming video game for desktop and mobiles called Miseria – which I did all the background art for. What I was really thinking as I was painting this piece was something more like “Ok, let me splish splash a few trees here and there, oh and we need some leaves there.  You know what? Let’s leave that area blank so that it looks like the light is filtering in through the leaves – oh yeah, that looks perfect! You’re such a genius, me.”  And you know what? I’m pretty sure that to some extent, all visual artists have the same kind of mindset as I do when they’re painting. I mean, forgive me if you’re actually thinking up all that empty pseudo-literary prose as you paint – and I guess you’d be the exception, but let’s get real, people. Let’s not put up any more barriers than there already are to art.
Anyway, I am lordcloudx, and today, I’m here to tell you about my art and the reason why I paint/draw the things that I do as well as a few of my pet peeves with how art is often perceived by other people. If you’ve seen my “Philosophy of Art” video before, you can think of this as an update, or a reaffirmation of sorts of the stuff I’ve said before.
I Am A Beauty Seeker
I have always been attracted to beauty – specifically, feminine beauty. As such, you might say that I have very heterosexual tastes. Certainly, I don’t consider myself to a part of the LGBTQ+ BBQ WTF LOL community, but I have a general disdain of communities in general anyway.

To get back on track, I have always been attracted to pretty pictures – specifically of the anime persuasion. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I limit myself to only manga/anime art. I can definitely appreciate the natural beauty of a colourful piece of scenery, or the complexity of an architectural drawing from an isometric, 3-dimensional perspective.

And for me, beauty in my personal art is rather simple to obtain – just add Nagi. It’s that simple. Whenever I draw/paint something for myself, I just think of how I can draw Nagi and make her look beautiful in my eyes – and in the eyes of other onlookers, and that is basically the entire philosophy behind my art. There’s no complex backstory, nor any attempt to shape society, nor some deep-seated psychological quandary behind what I do. I just like drawing Nagi because I love the character for who she is. Also, if you really take a good look at Nagi, she is actually far from perfect, even in appearance. Obviously, she’s short and flat-chested, and as far as her face goes, she’s definitely cute, but there are definitely many different anime characters who can be considered cuter and far more beautiful than her, but of course, Nagi will always be perfect in all her tiny imperfections for me – and that is all that really matters.
So to sum things up so far: I like drawing pretty pictures – and those pretty pictures usual end up being Nagi. No complications whatsoever here.

The Things I Dislike In Art

While art always has that element of individual preference to it, there are some things in the art community at large in my area that really set off all the wrong triggers in me. So let me talk about them for a little bit.

1.       The Wannabe Picasso Bandwagon

Yes, of course, I do understand the impact (not exactly the appeal) that the abstract expressionist, impressionist and pop art movements had in art history, but let’s face it, those days are long-gone and nowadays, it’s basically a free-for-all, for all kinds of art. With that said, what really ticks me off the wrong way is when I see exhibits on display with the kind of ambiguous, pseudo-literary narrative that I made as an example at the start of this video and paintings on display featuring women with wonky anatomy, asymmetrical features and nonsensical elements like the sun melting into a woman’s skirt and becoming a part of the pizza pie embryo of life or something similar – well, you probably know what I mean.
Maybe it’s just me, but I believe that these kinds of art that rely on the “viewer’s imagination” to fill in the blanks or makes use of pseudo-literary descriptions to make a trashy piece look like “high art” is just extremely pretentious and cringe-worthy. The worst part is when you see several pieces by the same artists and some are clearly lacking in the basics of good anatomy, color theory, perspective and lighting and other skills that a “professional artist” should possess some degree of competence in.

Certainly, it’s none of my business, but when you see people being drawn in and influenced by pseudo literary narratives into assuming that “this is high art” all the time, it kind of is – especially when people dismiss your own art all the time as “oh, it’s just anime.”

2.        The Talkers And Accessorizers

Of course, while abstact, expressionist art – especially from those lacking in basic drawing skills tend to tick me off, those people are still much better than the talkers and accessorizers. Have you ever come across a know-it-all who offers their brilliant “critique” and has this insatiable urge to redline and correct every piece of art they come across online? Chances are that these are also the same kind of people who will tell you to buy the most expensive pieces of art equipment that you can so that you can “level up your game” and even urge you to start creating your own paints out of gum arabic and your choice of pigment because that’s how a “real pro” does it.

Well, while there’s always the wild exception who can actually walk the talk, if you ever come across this kind of individual, it’s probably best to ask that person for some actual examples of their art. Chances are that you’ll discover something quite amusing. I’ll leave it at that.

3.       Communities

I did say that I hate communities, didn’t I? Anyway, the unfortunate reality is that if you desire any kind of recognition for your art, it’s really not about what you know, but about who you know. As a recent example, I hardly get more than 10 likes for any new artworks I upload publicly to my twitter, FB, and pixiv account. I’m not really one to self-market much and my favorite subject is from an anime/manga from another decade, basically.

So one day, I saw mikumiku_ebooks make an amusing post on twitter, so I decided to draw a piece of fanart dedicated to this tweet about Miku winning the Iron Throne in the Game of Thrones TV series – and suddenly, from out of nowhere, I got 1.8k likes and over 500 retweets in a single day. To be honest, this is more attention than anything I’ve ever produced in my 20+ years as a writer/artist/creator has ever received before.

To get back on track, art communities – especially if they are isolated to a particular locale like in my area, often tend to fall into a group mentality and will only recognize and promote fellow artists that join their community in the first place.

I can of course understand this kind of mentality for the purpose of self-gain, but when the same art community often says things like: “art is open to all” and how “art is a great equalizer for everyone,” I hope you’ll pardon me for thinking that these art communities are being hypocritical.
Is it an ode to Animal Farm perhaps? Art is a great equalizer, but artists in our community are a little bit more equal than others? I suppose that’s the only way for the contradiction to make sense.

Stop Being Pretentious

In conclusion, if you consider yourself an artist or at least a connoisseur of art, I implore you to stop being pretentious. If you want to paint/draw something, then do it, but don’t try to delude others into thinking that you were doing it for some higher purpose that transcends human existence while hiding behind a thin veil of eloquence. At the end of the day, all we visual artists really want to do is to draw pretty pictures and nothing more – and there should be no shame at all in admitting this.

I am lordcloudx and I like to draw pretty pictures – that is all.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Manila Trip 2019 - Day 5 (final)

In all honesty, I didn't think this final day would be worth blogging, but as it turned out, it actually was. So here I am again with the final chapter of this year's trip to Manila.

We started the day by cooking the last of the bacon and eggs that we'd bought at the start of the trip, as well as finishing off our supply of bread. Check out was at 12:00 PM, so we decided to make the best use of our room and come down by around 11:00-11:30 AM.

My aunt and cousin arrived at our hotel room by around 8:00 AM. My cousin would be coming home to Iloilo on the same plane as us, while my aunt had to leave to make it back to work by 1:00 PM.

By 11:00, we'd finished packing up everything and we were ready to check out. Things went pretty smoothly and we left our heavy luggage at the hotel reception. We'd be coming by to pick them up by around 4:00 PM. The hotel was near the airport and we had plenty of time to explore Manila a little bit more before our 7:35 PM flight.

We walked straight through The LandMark mall and into Glorietta wherein my mother bought some megamelt ensaymadas as a "pasalubong" (sort of gift/souvenir for the people back home).

Since I was a bit antsy from being prevented from buying Miku's book yesterday, this time, we also went straight to the toy store where I'd bought some of Nagi's clothes before and I bought another Barbie (whose fate is sealed) and my mother bought me one more set of clothes for Nagi. I like this series of Barbie Dolls. They're just the same height as my Nagi doll (around 24-25 cm, so a bit shorter than the standard barbies at about 28-30 cm).

After that, we made our way to one of the Glorietta mall's many exits and booked a Grab Car to the Power Plant mall nearby.

We arrived at the mall at about 12:20 PM. We had a nice lunch at Kenny Rogers Roasters -- and by the way, for the people in Iloilo City, they have better tasting coleslaw here for some reason. The cabbage is finely chopped instead of the larger chunks that they use in SM City Iloilo's Kenny Rogers branch.

After lunch, my mother walked around the clothing stores at the 2nd floor of the mall, while my cousin and I went straight to Fully Booked. I scored this Light Novel: I Want To Eat Your Pancreas -- which comes highly recommended by my sister (actually she was looking for it about 2 years ago)

We just took a walk around the entirety of the mall after this. I saw a place where they were selling 1/4 to 1/2 scale superhero/heroine figures... meh, Nagi is 1000x cuter -- as you can see.

Having toured the entire mall (Power Plant is fairly small -- smaller than most Iloilo City malls, but it's packed with stores. Great use of floor space), we went back to our hotel to unload our purchases a bit.

We still had plenty of time since it was only 2:00 PM by the time we arrived at the hotel, so we took a short walk back to Glorietta again. This time around, there was someone called "The Piano Man: Martin Avila" -- and upon research, he's apparently, been a premier lounge pianist for 3 decades. He was extremely impressive so my mother stopped by to clap for him and I took a video just to show you... hopefully, the audio quality will be ok. Also, the little girl trying to get him to say hi to her was pretty funny, if a bit bratty.

Our legs were getting tired after this, so we went around a bit looking for some mini cheese cakes and we were about to go to Kumori, when I spotted this coffee shop that sold boxes of 6 mini cheese cakes for only 300-350 php -- which is a far cry from the 1000-1300 php per half-dozen boxes that Kumori sells. My mother bought a box for us and then we made our way back to the hotel to pick up our luggage.

We booked a large car to take us to the NAIA Terminal 3. It was a short drive since we took the skyway (with a 35 php toll) to get there. After checking in our heavy luggage, we went inside Terminal 3's mini mall. (Yup, malls are a huge thing here in the Philippines -- both literally and figuratively.)

After looking around a bit, we settled down for dinner at a local restaurant called Max's. The food was great -- and actually not too extravagantly priced for a diner that's located inside the airport.

With dinner out of the way, we were off to the pre-departure area. So to top things off, the last thing I did before leaving Manila was to draw the cover for my black paper drawing album. Naturally, it's Nagi. I also noticed I had an audience of a few kids watching me. My mother told me that their parents had pointed at me earlier so the kids could watch... I actually enjoy having an audience as I paint/draw. Anyway, I finished the cover before our plane was ready for departure.

The plane left at about 7:40 PM. During the flight, we experienced some mild turbulence during the plane's ascent and descent because of the stormy weather. It was actually a bit scary at one point, but at least the cabin lights didn't involuntarily go out like it did during this one flight I was in with my sister some years ago. I suppose it was a good experience for my cousin who was taking only her second airplane ride -- a nice, stable flight on the way to Manila, and a bumpy ride on the way home.

So for my final thoughts -- this trip was very nice over-all, although a bit disappointing at times, but that's just how things ago. It was a nice eye-opener however, because it made me realize a few things about my life as well and what kind of direction I should be trying to take.

And with this, my Manila trip for 2019 is officially over. In the end, I actually managed to buy a few more things for myself -- which is enough to satisfy me. Thanks for reading through the entire experience with me. I'll see you next time in future travel posts to come. For now, this is lordcloudx out.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Manila Trip 2019 - Day 4

We started the day with breakfast inside our hotel room. We need to finish off the groceries we'd bought at the start of our trip because we're leaving tomorrow. My mother had set a meeting with a friend in the Greenbelt area just next to our hotel by lunchtime.

We spent the morning just watching TV inside our room. Just in case you didn't know, the Warriors won and Raptors fans are probably quite salty about it.

We made our way to the Greenbelt Mall by 12:00, but the friend sent a text that he had a meeting right now and by 2:30 PM, so we could only meet up at around the 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM time window. My mother decided to call off the meeting since it seemed it would be a hassle for him as well.

After that, we had lunch at the Glorietta Mall inside of Shakey's. We'd actually accumulated quite a number of credit cards rewards points, so we used up all the coupons we accumulated and had lunch basically for free.

With lunch out of the way, we walked back to our hotel and freshened up a bit. Then we walked our way to the MRT station which was through The Link, The Landmark, Glorietta Mall, and had a bridge going into SM Ayala Mall. We met a former student of my mother's -- a successful architect who had his own unit right here inside our hotel! He asked to have coffee at around 9 PM together and my mother agreed and said she'd message him via FB.

While it still wasn't rush hour the train cars were already packed with people. We got off at the Shangri-La Plaza Hotel/Mall and then just walked into the Mega D/Fashion Hall wing of SM Megamall.

My mother bought something at Zara and then we met up with my cousin and aunt who had already been there since 1:00 PM. She also wanted to buy a pair of shoes, so we just sort of wandered around a bit until she found something she liked at Call It Spring.

After this, we just sort of blindly walked around looking for a place to eat until I spotted a Super Bowl restaurant which was still open. We thought all the branches had actually closed down years ago -- we were wrong. Anyway, Super Bowl was great as usual.

With dinner out of the way by 6:30 PM, I led us to the Deovir (art store) branch that I'd found last year to see what kind of art supplies they had. I ended up buying an Artlinky Student Grade watercolor set for 432 php, my mother offered to buy it for me instead though -- so yeah, sure.

Next, we walked around a bit again to find a place to eat dessert. I decided to check out a Fully Booked store that we passed by to see if I there was something I wanted to buy. I saw a Hatsune Mix manga for 960 php and was all set to buy it, but my mother talked me out of it because "1000 pesos is still 1000 pesos and it's not something that I really like," apparently... ok. I saw this same manga and tried to go back for it in Fully Booked Power Plant last year, but ok. I was tired anyway and undeniably I'm jobless and shouldn't be spending money on these things. Maybe I should just go for another online job as soon as we're back from vacation. I really should so that I can do the things I want to do again -- actually, I think I will.

Anyway, I suggested we find a place near the exit of Mega D for dessert and we settled on a place called St Marc, or something like that. The dessert was some kind of ice cream soft serve on a cone with nuts and stuff as toppings. I dunno everything felt a bit tasteless.

After that, it was time to go home. We went our separate ways. My aunt and cousin took a taxi home while we booked a grab car -- oh, a student of my mother's suggested using a credit card and it really did hack off a lot.

We arrived at the hotel by 9:00 PM. My mother was justifiably tired, so she canceled the coffee meeting with her student. We still have some packing up to do anyway.

With that said, that concludes this day's entry. I don't think I'll be blogging our final half-day here, so I hope you had fun with me on this short journey. Oh, and here are all the things I could afford to buy while on the trip.


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Manila Trip 2019 - Day 3

Today was a bit more laid back than the previous ones. We started off with some light breakfast inside our rooms and then went straight to the pool by 8:00 AM.

Miraculously, through youtube tutorials and some coaching from my friend, Roop (online), I'm now able to swim freestyle while breathing normally in and out of water. Anyway, Prince Plaza II's pool is kinda small, so I can actually swim the entire length of it in 3-5 strokes.

After about 15 minutes, the pool got pretty crowded with people, so my mother decided to come out. We made our way back to our hotel room by about 9:10 so she could make it to the 10:30 AM Holy Mass at the Ayala Chapel, which was literally just in our hotel's backyard. Of course, I managed to take several nice pics of Nagi in her bikini before we left.

I took my mother to the chapel and she told me to go ahead and shop around the malls for a while and we'd meet up in an hour. In case you didn't know, I'm an atheist and my mother respects this.

I made my way to the Glorietta mall and my first priority was to buy some black paper at the Fully Booked store there. I bought a black paper sketchpad about 12x12" for 580 php. I also saw a manga called "All You Need Is Kill," an entire compilation in one. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of being able to buy all the things I want for now, so I decided to give that a skip since I can easily read all kinds of manga anytime anyway online.

After that, I wanted to buy something for Nagi as well and I just randomly went inside a toy store nearby and I saw they had several Barbie Dresses in stock. In the end, I went for a full Barbie Doll because her dress looked like it would really suit Nagi. There were actually two dolls that had some nice dresses and I couldn't decide, so I took Nagi out and asked the store attendant which dress she thought would suit her better -- she chose this one. Nice choice. Pink really does suit her better. The other dress was a blue denim skirt with a white top.

Well... you know the fate of this doll -- better prepare yourself Barbie, Nagi's going to strip you soon. This doll cost 799 php -- which is about the cost of an ordinary 1/6 scale doll outfit -- so it's a good buy. Also, I can give away the doll as a gift (with a hand-me down from Nagi, of course).

Next, I went to National Bookstore to buy a plastic envelope for my art portfolio and then I made my way back to the chapel to meet up with my mother. We walked around a bit to find a place to eat and ended up settling inside of the Old Spaghetti House inside the mall. The food was great -- and again, pretty reasonably priced. Also, my mother was still a bit hungry after the meal -- quite surprising considering how little she usually eats. 

We finished lunch by 1:00 PM and of course, my mother gets her usual Senior Citizen's discount. 

Oh, and Nagi is wearing a new outfit for lunch too.

We walked over to the adjacent SM Ayala mall after lunch wherein my mother bought a few things for herself and for a friend, then we walked back to the hotel. We stopped by to buy some snacks along the way first.

At the hotel, we actually managed to get a little bit of sleep until 4:00 PM. A friend was coming over to pick us up and treat us somewhere by 5:00 PM. 

Greg arrived at exactly 5:00 PM sharp and he brought some gifts for the both of us -- which was really nice of him. We took a grab car to Bonifacio High Street inside some new mall where people were lining up (it seems they'd been there for hours according to Greg) to try out the burgers from Shake Shack. Apparently, it's the new big thing in burgers here for some reason. Greg had some connections and was able to expedite the waiting time via a proxy. He told my mother and I to take a walk inside the mall for a while -- which was really great because I managed to score another new outfit for Nagi at Hamley's. The mall had a Michael Kors branch too -- and according to my sister, this is a horrible brand :D.

After finishing our burgers (my mother had a hot dog), we took a little walk around Bonifacio High Street. I thought the place looked pretty familiar -- and I was right, this is the place that connects to Serendra and eventually, just across Market Market. As for the burger, I'd say it tastes a lot like Burger King, but the tomatoes and lettuce are a lot fresher and it's lighter on the dressing -- which is a good thing. It wasn't very heavy on the stomach, but still satisfying.

Since we were in the Serendra area, I decided to pay a visit to Fully Booked and it's a good thing I did because I was finally able to buy some half pans of Titanium White watercolors there. Daler Rowney Aquafine with a lightfastness rating of 3 stars -- pretty good. It's about on par with White Nights.

I also saw a Hatsune Mix manga, but again, no manga for me unless it's really rare since I have to watch my spending for a while until I can find a stable source of income or go back to school --- depending on what I decide eventually.

After that, we tried taking some group selfies with the three of us together, but it wasn't working out with the bad lighting. Since it was getting a bit late, we took a grab car back to the Greenbelt area near our hotel and had dinner at Peri Peri Chicken. The food was great, but honestly, I was a bit full from the burger earlier so I was barely able to finish my meal. We asked the waitress to take our group pic there too.

With dinner done, we walked back to the Hotel and then said goodbye and thank you to Greg. 

It was a pretty laid back day over-all, but I managed to buy quite a few things for myself and Greg is always a very accommodating host and a nice guy in general.

Since we were back at the hotel a bit earlier than usual, I had plenty of time to paint, so I finished this piece -- my piece from our Manila vacation, "The Avocado Harvest" in Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors. This concludes my day 3 entry. See you tomorrow for our final night here in Manila.

One observation I'd like to share is that the way you speak English seems to be a way of defining your social status here in Manila. If you speak English in a particular way, people can immediately discern whether you were educated in a prestigious university or if you're basically poor. Of course, learning English at an early age and acquiring a native speaker's accent is not that hard anymore since everyone has access to the internet nowadays, but it's really become endemic to our culture to judge people from the way they speak English. It's a detestable attitude, but it is what we do here in general. Hopefully, things will change in the near future as Filipinos learn to become more of global citizens rather than being stuck in their own tiny bubbles of existence.

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