The Mandala Chronicles

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It all started with the sketch pads I bought from a Japanese discount store. I have no talent in drawing, mind you. I intended to use it as a journal, and if the mood strikes me, doodle on it too. So I bought four pads and stacked in on my bookshelf only to realize that I still have to go through three more notebooks before I can get to the sketch pads. *insert guilty, impish grin here*.

Two weeks ago, a Filipino celebrity posted her coloring book (for adults) and showed the completed page for her fans to ogle at. I didn’t know there was such a thing called Coloring for Adults. Indeed the drawings are more sophisticated even for a Beginner’s level and the drawings for those who want to “Advance” are more ornate and intricate. Needless to say I was intrigued. This is something that I can do on my spare time. I’m not a good artist but I attended a summer art class when I was 14 and dabbled on sketching and shading vases as well as coloring IMG_9058our illustrations with Cray-pas Oil Pastel. I enjoyed that a bit and did quite well. It was my brother, however, who consistently excelled in all departments that involve art – from music to drawings – he got gold medals on all accounts. What an artist.

No sooner than you can say “color” when I found myself in an art supply store and filled my shopping cart with coloring pens and  pencils, and crayons – both traditional and twistable ones (well how about that? we didn’t have these when I was in grade school so I just got to have it). Got me some flexible kiddie rulers too! And stencils for engineers and architects. My weapons of choice are a Pilot micro-point pens and some cheap ball point pens and markers. I was more stringent on colored highlighters. It felt like cheating to color everything in one easy swipe so I bought pink, green, blue, orange…okay, okay – I went beyond the primary colors. Geez. So my stash was an odd mix. And so were my feelings.

MandalaByDaye_2015Aug (13)Where will all these lead to? I spent $20 on a whim. I still have four unread novels to get my mind off “him”. Breakups are so expensive. There I admit it. Let’s just hope that my “sadness” will be long gone before I’ve used up all my $20 worth of art supply. Hah. Art as therapy? Hell, yeah.

I remembered hurrying home that day and laid out everything on my bed (see photo above). My eyes were all sparkly. Look at those colors…so vibrant. I was gushing. I thought of pulling a Madonna and imitate her on that Material Girl video – rolling on stacks of dollar bills and bling-bling but I MandalaByDaye_2015Aug (7)can’t because those green rulers aren’t exactly cheap. My heart has been broken so I can’t afford to break the rulers and my bank account.

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what to do. I drew a circle and worked my way from inside out. I made a few ugly start and well, to this day, my drawings still aren’t crowd pleasers. The space in between are uneven. I overlapped shapes, miscounted the number of shapes to be drawn, colored beyond the lines. Just plain messy. I screwed up a lot during the first week. I gave up on Mandalas and started drawing flowers free hand and with a little help from stencils, succeeded in completing a couple of drawings that looked

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pretty decent. Mom liked it a lot so that was pretty encouraging.

MandalaByDaye_2015Aug (9)So I continued on through the late evenings. I watched videos on You Tube and learned along the way. I can get better. I believed in this. When you’re addicted, yes, you too would believe that you can fly…high.

So what else did I learn at this early stage of my foray in the fine arts of growing Mandalas?

Lesson # 1. Know what you want before hoarding art supplies. Do you want to color or draw? Had I given myself that chance to be more judicious I could have invested more in vary-sized pens and highlighters. Lesson # 2. Make friends with the rulers. Learn how to use them properly to make the details more refined and clean. Lesson # 3. Study don’t copy. It is inevitable for patterns to be similar with others but make your own mark. Grow your own Mandala. It will be as unique as the time and devotion spent on tending to your own rose garden, if you have one. Have patience in making those minute details. You can’t force a flower to bloom. Mandalas are better appreciated when it’s not hurriedly done. I learned those lessons the hard way – because it shows:


Yes. I tried to finish those before the mouse ran down the clock and I turn into a squash. I should have set it aside and went to bed. That way, I could have approached it refreshed and re-inspired.

I am still working my way through the learning curve. I noticed that as I got better the more patient and disciplined I have become. It’s like I’m growing along with my Mandalas and like it, I’m a work in progress.

So much for “Break-up Therapy” – this is all about me now so let’s put on some music and have fun.

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SIARGAO: Another Big Splash from the Bucket List


Siargao. Touted as the “Surfing Mecca” of the Philippines is but a teardrop of an island with diverse beach lines ranging from powdery white sand, to mysterious pools of mossy, charcoal gray rocks that has endured the temperamental moods of the Pacific Ocean for eons.

It is simply for these reasons why I’ve always kept Siargao in my mind since I’ve read about this slice of heaven in 1995. But for nearly two decades, my hopes of reaching this far-flung place was becoming dim. No luxury of time and money could afford me a trip to a place so remote, until I was blessed with the company of two brave souls, with iron-fortified backside to endure  the 11 hours bus ride to Surigao City with me. It also helped that they have the intestinal fortitude to hold their guts in after three hours of getting tousled around by waves just to get to the Island.


If I had an entire week, I would gladly stretch it into a month and just spend lots of time watching the waves and the surfers from the old, wooden view deck in Cloud 9.


 Besides the usual town tour which basically consists of gorging on Aventino’s pizza and seafood from any of the roadside eateries, one can simply rent a boat and spend a couple of nights in any of these two islands: (1) Guyam


 (2) Daku

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Or perhaps an afternoon at the Naked Island which is basically a sand bar. Do the customary jump shots and release the little kids in us to frolic on the sand.


 At the end of our stay, we decided to just simply forget time and have a slice of community life. We found our little moments of immersion on Malinawon Beach where old and young islanders converge to eat, play, and catch up on local news and gossips.

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Idyllic. Rustic. Laidback. These three little words are enough to convince me that this won’t be my last visit to Siargao.

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