BLOG ... latest entries

» 2009 DecemberFrom now on our troubles will be miles away.

It is actually a difficult thing to follow the encouragement blasting through loudspeakers everywhere this season: 'tis the season to be jolly!' On the one hand, gifts are starting to trickle in. There is always the childlike anticipation that mounts in us when we see a wrapped present (although what we wish for these days has evolved from pining for a simple doll or two, into things like a trip to Spain or a year's worth of fancy dinners every night).

On the other hand, there is the tedious preparation of presents. While I do enjoy shopping for gifts for people––it is also a way of 'updating' myself with friends, when, say, I find myself choosing baby favours for an old classmate for whom I'd chosen a sleek pair of leather pumps the year before––the lines at the cashier areas are impossible. Suddenly, as if it had been a hidden fact all along, department stores seem to become appallingly badly-designed! Suddenly the corridors are too narrow; suddenly the aisles feel very cramped; suddenly escalators are where they should not be. Suddenly, a sprawling shopping mall feels like a tiny broom closet.

But after this little 'combat for the counter', the trip home becomes a more relaxing affair.

• • • • • •

This year, instead of physical presents, Gus and I have decided to give something special. I have talked about the Capuchin Tertiary Order of the Holy Family, [»] and their project which I support. We've found a way to extend the beauty of their endeavour to friends and family members who, we know, will be willing to help as well.

At the close of this year, several orphaned girls––in the many ways that one can be orphaned and left alone––will have a brighter, more hope-filled 2010 to look forward to.

• • • • • •

In the mornings, as is a tradition here, we strive to attend the Misa de Gallo, Morning Mass, which is held everyday at our local parish for 9 days until Christmas morning. A novena mass as it is, with origins in Spanish-occupied Philippines. It starts at four in the morning; a feat, considering that on a typical day, I'm the type to sleep at 2am!!

But then that is why they say that this is the season to be jolly––not for the self, selfishly, but for others and for how you can become better as a person. I come to look at it like an end-of-term examination (in both senses of the word): How am I different this year? and From all the things I have learned both fortunately and unfortunately, how can I put them to practice?

I like to start with simple, real things. Something as commonplace as waking up an extra hour or two earlier is a small achievement, which can snowball to bigger things like designing items for the next show earlier in the show season. Something as everyday as perfecting the Palao family lemon pie can actually find echoes in business decisions when weighing which draft to put into production.

Season's Greetings!!

Labels: , ,


2008 OctoberB

Immediately after settling down from the trip to India, we traveled to Bacolod the weekend after for the inauguration of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters Chapel in Talisay. It was, one could say, a complete family affair; with me and my husband Gus was the family of my sister, Marian and K. We took a land trip––that means we rode our cars to a barge that traversed the distance between the port of Toledo, to San Carlos in Bacolod, and then rolled off from there––to the novitiate house that I spoke of in my earlier posts. It was finally completed, and the sisters were so kind as to invite us to the blessing.

We all decided to take advantage of the situation, kill two birds with one stone. Apart from myself, the rest of the family has not had the chance to visit the site yet, and this was the perfect opportunity; my nephew was home for the term break as well.

The trip itself takes around two hours to get to the port on the other side of the city, another one and a half hour on the barge, and still around two or three more hours to get to the mountains of the site. We visited the sisters' orphanage along the way, meeting with the girls of the centere.

When we arrived at the novitiate, everyone lent a hand: in preparing for the opening rites, in getting everything for the dinner afterwards ready. It was a little tricky, because I planned for it to be a garden party. The wind was too strong at first for the torches to stay lit!

Late in the afternoon we commenced with the blessing. Even the best-laid plans are not immune to unexpected little surprises, and just as the procession was to enter the chapel, the lights went out. A complete blackout; for the novitiate located in a vast area of farmland, "dark" was literally only a few shades lighter than pitch black! Not to be deterred however, we continued with the ceremony in candlelight...

...and sure enough the lights returned immediately after the final blessings! Shall we call it theatrical? Maybe. I'd like to think it was nicely choreographed. Apart from that, like all good designs, a little natural wabisabi here and there contributes to a perfect experience.

Labels: ,

» 2008 September

And yet, another pleasant surprise! Just as I thought that the glittering event of the Panama launch [»] was stellar enough, stirrings in the other side of the world bode of similarly interesting happenings! Our friends of Abaca India [»], has invited us to the launch of our designs in her furniture shop and showroom located in Mumbai (Bombay). This will be on the 9th of October 2008.

Elle Décor India will be there, and I will conduct a designers' forum/ workshop in one of Mumbai's architectural universities. We will also be visiting the charming artisan city of Kutch in the Gujarat region, to look at their beautiful and world-renowned products. I don't think I could get any more excited than this! Definitely the daily grind of the workplace is tinged with just the right kind of anticipation and excitement, and I am having my niece and assistant, K, help me with my presentation.

Fortituously, this will coincide with the celebration of the Diwali Light Festival [»] in India. I am hoping for––literally and figuratively––an even brighter afterglow in the form of design inspiration and brilliant discoveries where material and material sourcing, handling is concerned. Nobody has left India without emerging with some sort of "enlightenment," artistically or otherwise; the Beatles are a famous example.

I am excited to find out what India has planned for me.

• • • •

Last weekend was a rest day for most of the world, but was a field day for me! I wouldn't want to call it 'work' because, first and foremost, this is an honour for me to see to the designs of the house of the Great Designer, and second, because the location of the novitiate of the Capuchin Tertiary Sisters [»] in Talisay, Bacolod, is in the middle of the most peaceful place in the world.

With my staff of two and the kindly nuns, we finally set up the interiors. Below is an inlay detail of one part of the fixtures. This wall/ lighting installment is of fiber glass, and lights up with warm yellow lights from behind. The leaves, reminiscent of the MaiTai collection [»], are meant to evoke security and peaceful seclusion, as how canopies of trees serve as demarcations of solace from the world.

Well there's another week, and the Mumbai Project to look forward to! A little tired from the very long land trip from the novitiate site (2 hours to the dock, 2 hours travel over sea via barge, and another 2 hours to ride from the port in Bacolod, to the rural area itself), but it's nothing coffee and looking at production runs can't fix!

As promising as it seems to be, and as diligent as everyone else involved is, there are still loose ends that need to be covered, financially. Whatever little the sisters can receive in terms of donation is very much welcomed. There have been a few snags––after all, these are expected given it is a long-range progress monitoring––but always a challenge that presents itself even in desing: how can this problem be solved?

Labels: , , ,

» 2008 June

I have talked the last time about how the Capuchin Sisters have achieved success in the lives of countless little girls in the city, and how honored I was to have been a part of it. Sometime last year I was approached by the indomitable Sr. Luz Maria Buitrigo with a proposal: in the quiet regions of the neighboring Bacolod City (in the Negros island), the order means to put up a novitiate for young women.

Now, planning a chapel and planning a novitiate are two completely different things. The former is simply a part of a whole, which may be taken separately; to do the latter, is like starting from scratch and taking it all the way to the architectural drawing boards. Needless to say, a rather monumental project compared to the last.

• • • • •

However, if anything is to be learned from this, is that a labor of love is begotten by love. The aesthetics that lend themselves to me when I think of a piece of furniture, expands to include an entire living space! Beyond that, the energy and combined talents of friends and family who are willing to contribute give fire to this endeavour.

One way I would like to look at it is that this is a big, blank canvass that has been given to me, with the challenge: how do you, with what you have been given, express yourself and be grateful to The One who has given it to you?

I would think this is a challenge we all face every day in our lives––be we faced with scaled pencil drafts, or the computer screen, or a blank wall––though sometimes we may be very blessed to be given the opportunity to focus on something such as this.

Labels: ,


  · April 2008
  · May 2008
  · June 2008
  · July 2008
  · August 2008
  · October 2008
  · January 2009
  · February 2009
  · March 2009
  · September 2009
  · December 2009
  · January 2010

Previous Posts
  · IN THE MORNING OF THE TIGER » 2010 January-Februar...
  · HERE COMES THE SUN » 2009 September • Wading, waki...
  · TURNING SEASONS » 2009 September • CHANGE. While...
  · THE SHOW GOES ON » 2009 April • Reflections on Ceb...
  · A PACKAGE FROM A FRIEND » 2009 February Needless...
  · PLEASANT SURPRISES » 2009 January The world we l...
  · FINISHING THE SACRED 2008 OctoberB Immediately a...


Back to top   

Debbie Palao New Collections2009 © Copyright Debbie Palao, Design Ventures Cebu Inc. All rights reserved. Patents pending.