Category: Journal Art

Gold. Greed. God.

My journal entry today is about the history behind the legendary city of El Dorado. It’s about how Spanish Conquistadors “civilized” the Muiscas of Colombia and looted their gold. They thought that the Muiscas had a secret stash of gold somewhere because they had an overabundance of it in every household, and they threw away gold items everywhere. They didn’t understand that the Muiscas didn’t see gold as something to be hoarded but as items to be surrendered in an act of worship. What followed sounded so familiar, with our country being a colony of Spain for centuries. The Muiscas were forced to give up their gold, their way of life, and their religion. It’s yet another dark chapter in the history of Christianity.

I enjoyed drawing this imaginary building in the imaginary city of El Dorado. It’s a small drawing but there’s a lot of details involved. It was very therapeutic for me because I feel that focusing on the little details of the drawing forces my mind to let go of the noisy thoughts that are swirling around in my head. It was very relaxing.



I watched the documentary series Surviving R. Kelly and I felt so sad that those young women went through what they went through. What’s more horrifying is how people responded to them during the time when they first went public with their allegations of abuse. Instead of feeling outraged, many people presumed that they were only after his money. That’s the struggle with going against a successful man. Instead of going against one person, victims go against a whole system that instinctively closes ranks around him. It’s also disquieting  how the adults around him were complicit participants in his depravity by either helping him procure young women to be invited to the studio or house parties, or by accepting as normal how he’s always surrounded by apparently underage women at home or at the studio.

If the testimonies of the survivors, former employees, colleagues in the industry, even his own siblings (one of whom still don’t get why his sexual preference for underage women is wrong) are to be believed, then like Harvey Weinstein’s behavior, R. Kelly’s behavior became an “open secret”. The adults around them worked to keep him happy and making music and money. It’s horrifying. The young women who were seduced and then later intimidated by his money and fame, never really stood a chance, what with this whole ecosystem of complicity in place and actively working to entrap them.

I’m glad this documentary came out, and that the #MeToo movement has provided the momentum to address such a terrible culture in the entertainment industry. There is much to be done, but rejecting this terrible behavior no matter how talented  or successful a person is, that’s a good start. Things may be moving along so slowly, but I think times are beginning to change. People are beginning to speak out and refusing to normalize this kind of behavior. If nothing else, the documentary should encourage us to take a long, hard look at our own attitudes about sexual abuse allegations and how we react to allegations leveled against successful men.

Currently Reading: Duterte Harry

Here’s a journal entry I wrote yesterday about a book I am currently reading, Duterte Harry by Jonathan Miller. This is such an important subject to us as Filipinos, and I feel that the issues raised by the writer are worth taking a closer look into. The book showed a lot of promise, but I must admit that many of the things he wrote especially towards the end are repetitive. It seems a bit rushed and could have used better editing and polishing up. In any case, it’s a very interesting read and offers good insight into the current president of the Philippines and the cult of personality surrounding him.

Book Hangover! Monsoon Mansion.

I’m relieved to finally have some time to journal last night. The new year opened with a lot of challenges and I’m only beginning to catch my breath. Here’s a journal entry about a memoir that I recently read called Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes. At first I had a hard time getting into the tone of the book. The language felt off, like the dialogues don’t sound like something kids would say. If you stay with the book, though, her writing style shapes up and begins to make sense. There’s so much about this book that really resonated with me. Some of it reminded me of my own childhood challenges, and a lot of it reminded me of my mom’s. Except that she was born into privilege and money. There are so many things to unpack and uncover in this novel. This journal spread actually couldn’t cover everything that I wanted to write about it, so I’ll probably make a second one. I’m going to write this up as one of my favorite memoirs. Review to follow soon-ish.

Pens in the photo: Lamy 2000 (inked with Platinum Carbon Black) and Franklin Christoph Model 02 (inked with J. Herbin Rouge Hematite)

The Heavens Declare

Today’s journal entry. I’m currently rereading one of my favorite books, Lee Strobel’s The Case for a Creator. Maybe I’ll make more pages to cover all my favorite parts of the book.

I used to think that science and faith are incompatible. It’s not something I verbalize or look closer into. I just grew up shrinking away from all the unpleasantness that usually came with the topic. At church, most of the preachers I listened to talked about science as if it’s the enemy to faith. I personally didn’t give it too much thought. I kept science and faith in separate compartments, so to speak. Until I read this book. After the first time I read it, I find myself rereading every once in a while. All the details about the world around us are just mesmerizing and awe-inspiring. Everything from the delicately choreographed orbits of the planets around us to the information written in every single cell in our body…all of it amazes me. The more I learn about the world through science, the more I learn about the Creator, and the more worshipful my heart becomes.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1