Ask Me Anything is a series of questions given by my friends and answered by me, Angel! If you have any questions that you would like me to answer, or if you’re just plain curious about me (because I am such a superstar), feel free to send me a message!
1. What’s the strongest image you have from your childhood?
I have a way of remembering memories that my closest friends would know – it’s like remembering a capsule of time complete with the colour of light, the feel of the air, the smell (and when I “see” that stamp of memory again in some future time, I will remember the old memory so crisply and almost painfully, because I can almost touch it but it’s not there..)
One of the strongest pockets of memory I have in my childhood is the rain in Manila, particularly the strong stormy ones, the kind that make the schools call off classes and send everyone home. Of course being children, this is one of the best things that can happen to us! I distinctly remember that feeling of anticipation – waiting in our classrooms looking outside, desperately wishing that they call off classes already.
In high school, we sometimes hang out for a little bit in the school canteen when classes are called off. I remember the chocolate granita I used to buy there all the time! Now when it rains heavily, I wish for that chocolate granita..
What’s even better is when I wake up to a grey, dark morning with the heavy raindrops crashing on the roof and secretly smiling to myself because more often than not, it means there are no classes for that day! I love snuggling back in the covers and enjoying the cool air from the rain. Later in the day, I’ll watch cartoons on TV – Cedie, or Heidi or The Little Princess. My grandparents still had their small carinderia downstairs then, so I’ll just go down and get a bowl of warm goto (rice porridge with meat) or sopas (creamy chicken noodle soup). It was so cozy.
2. With which famous personality would you most identify with?
I never really thought about it! Maybe a mixture of Kirsten Dunst, Julian Casablancas and Victoria LeGrand? And the talent of Vincent Van Gogh (but not his anxieties and luck haha). And of course, the woman who I share my birthday with: Amelia Earhart.
In addition to being an aviation pioneer and the first aviatrix to fly across the Atlantic, she is a true women’s rights advocate. She worked with coaching women in their careers, and inspired them with her passion. She said:
Life really begins when you have discovered that you can do anything you want.
– Amelia Earhart
3. What’s the nicest poem in Filipino and how would you translate it?
I don’t really have a favourite one, so I did some research. I came across a really nice poem from Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. It’s called Awit ng Manlalakbay (The Song of the Traveler). You can hear me reciting it here, and you can read the text of the English translation further down. 🙂
Awit Ng Manlalakbay
Kagaya ng dahong nalanta, nalagas,
Sinisiklut-siklot ng hanging marahas;
Abang manlalakbay ay wala nang liyag,
Layuin, kalulwa’t bayang matatawag.
Hinahabul-habol yaong kapalarang
Mailap at hindi masunggab-sunggaban;
Magandang pag-asa’y kung nanlalabo man,
Siya’y patuloy ring patungo kung saan!
Sa udyok ng hindi nakikitang lakas,
Silanga’t Kanlura’y kanyang nililipad,
Mga minamahal ay napapangarap,
Gayon din ang araw ng pamamanatag.
Sa pusod ng isang disyertong mapanglaw,
Siya’y maaaring doon na mamatay,
Limot ng daigdig at sariling bayan,
Kamtan nawa niya ang kapayapaan!
Dami ng sa kanya ay nangaiinggit,
Ibong naglalakaby sa buong daigdig,
Hindi nila tanto ang laki ng hapis
Na sa kanyang puso ay lumiligalig.
Kung sa mga tanging minahal sa buhay
Siya’y magbalik pa pagdating ng araw,
Makikita niya’y mga guho lamang
At puntod ng kanyang mga kaibigan.
Abang manlalakbay! Huwag nang magbalik,
Sa sariling baya’y wala kang katalik;
Bayaang ang puso ng iba’y umawit,
Lumaboy kang muli sa buong daigdig.
Abang manlalakbay! Bakit babalik pa?
Ang luhang inyukol sa iyo’y tuyo na;
Abang manlalakbay! Limutin ang dusa,
Sa hapis ng tao, mundo’y nagtatawa.
Here’s the English translation:
The Song Of The Traveler
A withered leaf which flies uncertainly
And hurled about by furious hurricanes,
So goes the traveler about the world,
No guide, no hope, no fatherland, no love.
Anxiously he seeks a better fortune
And fickle fortune always takes to flight;
A shadow vain that mocks at his desire!
For her the wanderer has plowed the seas.
Driven on by hands invisible,
Wandering from land to weary land,
Only memories to keep him company,
Of loved ones and of bygone happier days.
A tomb perhaps upon the desert
Calls him–refuge sweet of peace,–
Where, by his country and the world forgotten,
Tranquil he may sleep who knew such pain.
And if they envy this sad traveler
When he speeds so swiftly round the world,
Ah, little do they know that in his soul
Exist an aching void for want of love.
Should the wanderer turn back to his country,
And to his home, it may be, make his way,
He would find but snow and ruins everywhere,
All love destroyed, and sepulchres,–no more.
On, then, traveler, pursue your journey,
Stranger to the land where you were born.
Letting others sing their songs of love
And feel their joys, you fare on again.
And traveler, as you go, do not turn back,
For none will shed a tear to say farewell,
Go, pilgrim, try to drown your sorrow,
Because the world but scoffs when strangers grieve.
4. What causes instant happiness?
A Phoenix song!
Particularly this one (especially, this video!) :
If this won’t make you smile just a little bit, I don’t know what will! 🙂
5. If you were a painter, what would end up on your canvas?
I wish I could paint! Right now, I’m very attracted to Dutch Golden Age paintings, especially still life with vibrant flowers against a dark background.
Master of the Veneration of Maria, Lilies and Thornless Roses in a Glass Vase
Abraham Mignon, Still Life with Squirrel and Goldfinch
Abraham Mignon, The Nature as a Symbol of Vanitas
Jacob van Walscapelle, Flowers in a Glass Vase
Jacob van Walscapelle, A Swag of Flowers
Abraham Mignon, Bouquet with Cat and Mouse Trap
In contrast to still life’s solid and vivid compositions, I would also paint a dreamy, almost-fading-away piece like those of contemporary Dutch painter (my favourite!) Chris Berens‘ works. I’ve never seen anything like his work before.
I interviewed him for Arts Holland a couple of years back. These photos are from his Amsterdam series. You can read the interview here and see more of his amazing paintings here.
Chris Berens, (Rendesvous At) Brug 36
Chris Berens, The Spinsters of Oudeschans
This set of questions is brought to you by my good friend Mario de Vries. Mario is a talented interior and design artist who works at Moooi Amsterdam. He loves bonfires, dreams of living in Norway someday and believes he was a sailor in his past life.