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Kids enjoy learning about farming

A leisure farm in Taiwan has a way of inculcating the importance of agriculture in the young minds of kids and their parents. This is at the Tongshan Rice and Tea Resort, a member of the Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association based in Yilan county. We visited the place recently in the company of other journalists and travel agents. What did we find when we arrived there? About a dozen kids less than 10 years old accompanied by their mothers. The kids were really enjoying straining and mixing the medium for producing mushroom spawns. Tongshan township is where 40,000 people, mostly farmers, reside. Several years back, Tammy Chien decided to convert an old warehouse into a learning center with focus on farming. The town’s four main products are rice, mushroom, pomelo, and …

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La Divina

Elegance was not perfection Neither was it an illusion It was the trail of a scent A woman left behind   It was the fingers on the lips That stopped vulgarity from spilling out Not secrets shared in whispers But stories told in consideration of others   Elegance was not a dress you put on It was you in every detail of the dress Silk shimmering as it caught the light It was the gleam that shone through it   Elegance took no two-hour dress time Or a shower with every change of clothes You glided through every day From moment to moment with a pigeon’s haste   There was glamour in taking your time Easing slowly into the hours Yet every second you considered precious And never, never were you a minute late   Good taste was no better than good manners Boorishness was simply bad taste There was danger in self-entitlement It is now turning us all into savages   It might …

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Proudly Filipino

By Carissa Cruz Evangelista  Philippine design is ultimately very special because it comes from Filipinos, an amalgam of Malay, Chinese, Spanish, American cultures mixed with the poetry and fervor of our folk Catholicism, the rich colors and textures of our Muslim heritage, and the tropical beat and crashing waves of our beautiful archipelago. SET IN GOLD, SILVER, AND BRASS From these influences, our brand Beatriz was born, as well as the plethora of Filipino designers and homegrown brands whose styles run the gamut of sleek and simple lines, wild and colorful creations, natural and recycled art, woven and beaded wonders; metal sculptural visions of mermaids, spiders, flowers, and leaves mixed with semi-precious stones set in gold, silver, and brass. Our design journey at Beatriz started years ago when I came across the beautiful tapestries and woven art …

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Value for craftsmanship

By Rosvi C. Gaetos Centuries-old hand skills. An abundance of fine materials across the archipelago. Boundless resourcefulness and creativity. Building on all these and more, the Philippines takes pride in a rich tradition of design and craftsmanship. With the likes of Kenneth Cobonpue, Ito Kish, Vito Selma, and Stanley Ruiz making waves in international design shows, and the creations of fashion designers Francis Libiran, Michael Cinco, and Monique Lhuillier being donned in Hollywood red carpet events, the creative industries are alive now more than ever. Years back, the demand for handicrafts plummeted when China came in and the local industry couldn’t compete with its low pricing and faster manufacturing technologies. Online shopping has also cut considerably into the market. The brick-and-mortar was feeling the squeeze—whereas department stores in the US would have full floors dedicated to décors and home accessories, they now have feature areas that are getting smaller and smaller. But perhaps the fact that technology wasn’t fast in coming to the Philippines proved to be a blessing for our artisans, because most of the hand skills have been preserved across the generations. Despite the challenges …

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The emotional and mental benefits of exercise

In my middle age, I decided to choose one exercise that I could do regularly, and continue into old age, and I eventually chose swimming. During the years that I lived in a house, I had a pool of my own in the backyard, where I swam each morning. Now that I live in an apartment building, where the pool is available to all the tenants I was concerned about pool traffic, but I soon found out that when I went out to swim at around 7:30 in the morning, no other swimmer was even there, and I had the pool to myself for my daily laps. Yayas and children came later in the day to use the pool. There is a new trend in healthcare called “lifestyle medicine,” which advocates …

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This week in arts & culture

Kaida Contemporary presents “Biophilia,” a solo exhibition by Mark Dawn Arcamo. With his recent works, Mark intends to present  positivity despite all the bad news pommelling us from different directions whether through mass media, the web, Barber’s tales, mindless office chitchat or Facebook newsfeeds. His paintings’ smooth surfaces are broken down into spectrums of muted colors, with horizons sliced into sharp-edged segments. They come with a floating central figure in parts, beauty in pieces, incomplete, for the audience’s imagination to fill in the blanks. Flying airplanes and falling debris embellish Arcamo’s visual implosions, challenging one’s senses for attention, much like internet click bait that lead your browser to a different page. The artist continues the sensibilities he developed early this year in his previous shows tackling society’s obsession with social …

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What happens when 94 exorcists get together?

There’s a scene from one of those movies about exorcism where the priest, a fictional Jesuit played by Anthony Hopkins, is performing the ritual when his cellphone rings. “Father” Hopkins picks up the phone with his left hand and talks into it as his outstretched right arm continues to drive out the demon that has possessed the young woman he is trying to heal and make whole again. Years earlier, the first and most memorable (because it's the most frightful to me) movie about demonic possession, The Exorcist, was to provide the template, so to speak, for succeeding films of the genre by exhibiting scenes of the patient (or victim) levitating, speaking in a deep basso profundo voice, turning his or her head 180 degrees, spewing slime from the mouth while the tongue …

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Down the designer’s road

By Andrea J. Portugal A pipe dream. This is what a career in Interior Design was to me for the greater part of my adult life. I’d looked up the definition of a pipe dream, and all the green lights went on—an illusory or fantastic plan, hope, or story. Nothing could be more fitting. I am from the cable TV-generation of girls who grew up holding TV schedules with great reverence. Our lives were planned around the timeslots of our favorite shows, and we couldn’t afford to miss a show, because there was no going back. Downloading episodes was still unheard of. If you wanted to watch something, you had to know when it was on and you had to plop yourself down in front of the TV to watch, pesky commercials and all. Apart from the Gilmore Girls, …

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On making things beautiful and making beautiful things

Farah Abu has one mission: To make things beautiful and to make beautiful things. This is more than a creative philosophy, it is her life purpose and the artistic energy radiating from this desire allowed her to triumph over the challenges that would have deterred designers of a weaker spirit. Today, she stands as one of the brightest, most innovative jewelry designers in Manila. Glamor has long been deeply associated with the life of a successful designer, that oftentimes the long and uphill road they have trudged to get to where they are, becomes overshadowed. Farah, however, recalls her humble beginnings with enthusiasm and humor. “I remember doing everything by myself,” she says with smile. “A tiny girl setting up her booth while everyone else had their assistants/workers. I’d be lugging my suitcase and paraphernalia with pride (in my best dress and high heels) and wouldn’t care about what other people thought. In a 12-hour bazaar, I wouldn’t take a toilet or lunch …

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Myth of the matchmaker on the moon

Silver or gold, the moon hangs in the night sky. Like a balloon. A pendant. A ship. A reminder of our past when homo sapiens had time to gaze at it, weave legends and myths?  Or a beacon to our future when science catapults us out there, up there, to start a new breed of outerspace citizens? Whatever you think of the moon, the one truth is that it is the most lonesome, awesomely attractive thing in the universe as soon as darkness falls. Poets immortalize its magic, lovers fall under its spell, women’s moods swing according to its phases (bright, brighter, fully bright). Mystics have tried to explain its allure, farmers time their harvests by the light of the moon, and calendars predict and record its waxing and waning. Who’d imagine that …

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