A few days ago, I found myself lingering along Padre Burgos drive, marveling at the grand structure of the Philippines' hub for the historical arts. It hasn't been long since my last visit, so before that day I wondered to myself how much the actual building has changed.

It was good to see many of the familiar paintings, like the puzzle-like abstract work of H.R. Ocampo, as well as the obviously famous Spolarium (that I couldn't take my eyes off even for most of the trip). the huge rooms held numerous exhibits, some new and others old, however the newer installations weren't as innovative and inspiring as I had hoped they'd be...

I stayed for a while, exploring the museum's older historical collections. Despite being a fan of more modern types of art, the best thing for me about these kinds of heritage works is the powerful link to the country's past. I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one who finds the story-side of art bewildering and notable, but these days the younger crowds don't seem to appreciate it as much as my generation batch did.

During the afternoon I headed back over to Mandaluyong and had lunch with some friends at the Shangri-La mall. I must say their art galleries need a little bit more exposure in that secluded section of theirs... The owners should have oriented the layout distribution better if you ask me, but somehow I doubt that business tycoons think much about art galleries other than the fact that they supply them with insanely expensive paintings and sculptures for their homes.

Ahh 2011.. what a year you are for technology. I wish I could say you paid the same attention to culture, but I'm still waiting for your younger brother 2012 to show you up. Indeed it's been a quieter year for the Philippine art scene. Apart from some national competitions (AAP and Shell's NSAC among others), I haven't seen much activity. Maybe that's why I yearned for some cultural semblance of the past. Philippine art is great at its core, but sometimes I wish people would pay more attention to using it as a means of greater expression in this new strange world filled with wireless doodads and gadgets.