The art of creative packaging

She came into my life like a happy song, bringing with her an arsenal of arts and crafts. Tita Inday is my dad’s sister, and because she is my baptismal godmother I have, through the years, been the very happy and fortunate recipient of all things nice and pretty. See, Tita Inday is one of those people who never just gives a present as is. Always she slips it into or wraps it with something handmade and pretty, making something already nice and special even more so. The way she does it feels easy, almost nonchalant, as if she just put everything together as the gift was on its way out the door. She used to make and give me hand-painted porcelain plates and trinkets, all of which I have kept. They are precious to me. She makes beautiful bookmarks from scratch and by hand, with the nicest quotes. I never tire of receiving them. When she would visit Lolo Tingting in Ormoc it was always a happy time for me, as she would afford me the chance to also play with whatever new craft she would be into at the moment. I remember making artificial flowers and putting veins and texture on artificial leaves using some special heated tool. She was Martha Stewart even before I knew there was a Martha Stewart.


Today, I fell in love with you

“Claire de Lune” by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, dated 1886

You — that will be auctioned off two days from now. By the time this sees print you will have been sold — very easily at that, I surmise — to someone who I hope (more like know) will love you as much as I do. Maybe for him/her, as it was for me today, it will also be nothing less than love at first sight.

You are dreamy, done in muted shades of browns and beiges, misty green and gray, soft blues, pale gold, hints at the faintest shade of peach/pink evident only on the bare arms and neck of the lovely lady. Oh, the lady. She is seated gracefully, regal yet relaxed, assured — of what, I cannot say for sure. She sits there, knowing she is beautiful. She does not try to be someone she is not; she just is. I wish the artist were right beside me so I could ask him: Who is she? Who is she to you? The lady is painted lovingly, almost reverently, and she sits there stoically, looking far away, as if in two places at one time. She sits on the grass, in her soft frock, looking every bit a goddess as her thoughts drift far, far away. The more I look, the more I see. And love. Oh, how easy it is to only have eyes for you.

We don’t live on bread alone, we need butter, too

Illustration by Rey Rivera

This week, it was a lot about bread and butter. And oh, quite a few burgers.

Juliana woke me up gently but insistently one morning, urging me to join her and eat what she proclaimed was “the best butter ever.” Together, and while I was still sleeping, she and her Daddy had apparently made the kitchen their playground once again. The day’s ingredient was butter, the whole beautiful block melted first, and then mixed with mushed slivers of gently roasted garlic. The fragrant pool of light gold liquid was then poured into a little round ceramic pot with ears and a lid, something that we’ve always had in the cupboard, but one I never quite knew what to use for (well, now I do). The whole thing went into the ref, to firm up and be perfect and special the way it was meant to be.