Archive for July, 2021



It’s been over a year now and while the lockdown has restricted us to our sacred bubbles and sanctuaries, I am particularly entertained by how productive my Nieta has been with her art. Since the pandemic changed our new normals, Nieta has had 3 solo exhibits and a spattering of group exhibits. Of her artworks, some evoke more Covid memories in my book. I’m sure the ones who purchased these art pieces would look back to these times whenever they view and hopefully appreciate the meanings behind these expressions.

Art By Anna Bautista

Her models revolved around our household staff and condominium’s maintenance and security crew. In her 3rd solo exhibit, her recurring theme of consumerism marked her artistic interpretations of the fruits, plants and flowers mostly found in the gardens. Some expressions even found its way on silk scarves. And resin trays.

Anna Bauti’s 3rd Solo Exhibit
Anna Bautista’s 3rd Solo Exhibit at MODEKA Art Gallery
Exhibited at Pintô Art Museum July 12-25, 2021

In between her 2nd and 3rd Solo Exhibits, she painted for charity projects and group exhibitions. Here, she drew inspiration from the “new normal” permeating our daily lives as well as current social issues. It was even interesting to discern that very rare but relevant political concerns in her artworks.

“Sapin-Sapin”, inspired by the ABS-CBN Shutdown

Her 4th solo exhibit dwelled on everyday chores —- seemingly “gray matters” or dull moments which are now punctuated by interpretations of how life can be made more exciting with pockets of colour to cheer us on. Truly, pandemic fatigue and lockdown depression can set in, but one’s attitude (and I say, gratitude) is what it takes to brighten our moods. Just like how many of us found joy in growing plants, herbs and flowers. Or in enhancing our kitchen skills like baking and cooking. The new norm may stick for a few more months, even years. And with such, new skills are deployed to strike a new balance in our lives.

It may be a while before the next solo exhibit next year. After all, she was on a roll since 2020. Now a college graduate and gainfully employed, Nieta has to mindfully manage her time. Good luck, apo.

Art on Scarves by Anna Bautista

The Sweetness of Doing NOTHING. I know. It’s been over a year of NOTHING-ness. That’s why it’s all sweeter to step out of our sanctuary to enjoy the Baguio breeze in perfect harmony with Nature, your travel and foodie buddies and some moments of reflection. Never mind the hassles of antigen tests prior to the trip. Nor the “isolation” since we stayed the whole time in MJV Retreat House except for 2 trips for lunch and snacks. There was simply no need to explore Baguio since MJV alone is enough. The Heritage and Eco Park with its rock gardens, outdoor sculptures, pine trees, bamboo grove, labyrinth and flower gardens are more than adequate to soothe your nerves. Truly a balm for the soul.

Our morning hike a la Camino de Mirador was like a hiking retreat replete with narratives brushing up on local history and recent events. There were many meditation spots, sitting/rest areas, and scenic views. There is also the option of going up and down the nearby Lourdes Grotto. After the hike, MJV’s coffee nooks and many viewing decks and terrazas are ideal relaxation spots whether the sun’s out or it’s all fogged out. Or one can visit the Iñigo Cafe to savor their baked goodies, refreshing fruit juices and aromatic brew while enjoying the views and the cool temps. Shutterbugs will have a heyday snapping photos here and there. To be honest, you don’t even need company to stay happy here 😇

While here, I found it pure luxury to hear live masses and to actually take communion. Those online masses have become the norm and to actually sit on the pew, listen to the homily and line up for communion seemed nearly surreal. The Vigil Room at the corner of the Retreat House provided a view of the Torii Gate on a promontory overlooking the city. Just lovely. A borrowed photo below confirms this. Hard to imagine MJV under the Japanese occupation during World War II, but this iconic gate symbolises that war’s end (75 years since 1945 when it was inaugurated in 2020).

Ctto: Rick C
Mirador Jesuit Villa Retreat House

My room here overlooks the flower garden and labyrinth. Seated on the bed, one can actually wait for the fog to clear and watch cars offloading the guests and also those circling the labyrinth in prayerful meditation. Every nook and corner here has coffee/tea stations and the flowers not only adorn the meditation spots with their beauty but with their fragrance. In another area, men are busy constructing a barbeque/grill area overlooking the “3 rings” which symbolise the Holy Trinity. In a separate area stands an impressive sculpture of Christ’s Redemption. The Rock Gardens and Bamboo Grove have a hiking trail thoughtfully marked with clear signs and gentle reminders. Over time, the Mirador Heritage and Eco Park has become a major Baguio attraction for tourists and local families to enjoy. It’s a site best coupled with a hike up the Lourdes Grotto.

Just 2 of the 3 rings, symbolising the Blessed Trinity

Another day here wouldn’t hurt. Another visit even hoped for. I heard the persimmon farm has a November harvest schedule. 😋 A retreat may sound like one’s perfect excuse. But truly, you need not have a reason to visit here. Nothing isn’t bad. It may even be sweet. And really, all you need to do is listen. It’s the best prayer. 🙏