Last night must have been a curious kind of evening in Manila -- the kids were at the Taylor Swift concert and the women were at Chippendales at Resortsworld, so the men were left by themselves.
Well, I didn't have kids at the concert and I was very kindly offered VIP second-row seats to Chippendales last night along with a large group of fun ladies, which was very tempting to take indeed. However, for some reason, I was just not in the mood to look at naked men on a stage yesterday, so I decided to pass.
Instead, I spent the evening with X looking at art of all kinds -- yes, some naked men included, but fortunately on a canvas -- at the annual Art in the Park at Salcedo Village. Organized by my schoolmate Trickie Colayco-Lopa, Art in the Park offers affordable art literally on the grounds of Salcedo Village Park.
FROM CHAOS TO CALM
What a fun and relaxing evening it was, especially after coming from the Travel Expo at SMX (where Travelife Magazine has a booth...do visit us, it's the last day today) where every step felt like navigating Shinjuku Station in Tokyo at rush-hour. We arrived just as the sun was setting and the whole place felt like a very relaxing cocktail party -- the kind we all would like to go to rather than the types we're usually forced to go to. Wine and other drinks were being served amidst the greenery, there was wonderful music playing (a mix of very cool music on a CD or iPod and live musicians) not too loudly, and the whole park was strung up with pinlights and some artistic light installations. It made the atmosphere very romantic in a not in-your-face way, and it was really fun just to sit around casually taking in the scene in-between eyefuls of art.
To top it off, Art in the Park was filled with friends and acquaintance -- some I hadn't seen in a long while -- including old schoolmates, long-lost friends, media friends I'd traveled with, and gallery owners. So it was pretty nice to catch up with people amidst al fresco art, wine and music, with the weather just right.
ART UNDER 20,000 PESOS
The other attraction of Art in the Park, of course, is the incredibly affordable art. Everything is supposed to be below PhP20,000. There were about three dozen galleries exhibiting a very eclectic assortment of works -- from iron sculptures to prints and watercolors, to canvases strung up by the children's playground with artists still painting on them. Talk about art in real time.
I wasn't really looking for anything in particular, but X was in search of a beautiful bowl to hold some stones he'd brought back from a surfing trip; so we walked all over the park several times in search of the perfect bowl. It was fun puttering around the galleries and discussing the things we liked and didn't like. We'd done this also at Manila Art last year, when X had accompanied me to inspect the works for auction. He does sculpture in his spare time, you see, so he has an artist's eye for form and line; and I took most of his suggestions to heed when I purchased works on auction last year.
REGRETS THE MORNING AFTER
Along the way at Art in the Park last night, I spotted a small Mother and Child on canvas going for a song, with the artist standing right beside it as well. "What do you think?" I asked X, holding up two similar paintings of the Mother and Child. X replied: "I like them. But I like the one on the left better because it's more interesting."
It was indeed painted very quirkily in an attractive way -- the kind I like -- but for some reason, my wallet stayed in my bag. Of course I woke up this morning regretting not having bought it, as I've just found the perfect spot for it in my bedroom.
All in all, a most wonderful evening -- and the kind of evening Manila sees too little of. It offered enjoyable culture even for moderate budgets, and even for those without a budget.