27 September 2010


J's FB status last Saturday: "After attending a Hello Kitty-themed children's party, we were off to a tattoo convention. How's that for yin-yang balance?"

From pink...

To black...
I love the range of colors that paint our dating life! =)


Now, allow me to share my inked hubby's thoughts on "Dutdutan X: A Decade of Artistic Ink," written Saturday, Sept. 25. (Maybe one of these days I'll also share a photo of his amazing back piece. *wink*)

Top Three Mainstream Moments at Dutdutan X

Okay, Philtag's event is a decade old. But Philtag is the Philippine Tattoo Artists Guild and Dutdutan is a tattoo convention. Never mind that there was a mixed martial arts competition yesterday and a bikini open tonight, but I have never seen the World Trade Center filled with so many people. On second thought, alternative has been mainstream since the '90s. I just wonder whether their appreciation of tattoo is beyond skin deep.

3. Local tinseltown's current toast, celebrity couple Robin Padilla and Mariel Rodriguez posing atop the hood of a vintage muscle car.

2. Robin Padilla asking for permission from his “wife” if he can take off his shirt on stage and show off his tattoos: “Magpapaakalam muna ako sa asawa ko. Dahil ang mga tattoo ko ay dating pag-ibig. Ayos lang ba na ipakita ko?”

1. Robin Padilla showing off his tattoos: “Alam n'yo po, ako rin ay punung-puno ng tato!” Then shows his collection—one on his bicep, one on his chest, and one on his back. It's just that his three fistfuls—even when combined—will be dwarfed by the single backpiece of the little girl in one of the booths, gamely posing for photographs, exposing a bit of her boobies.

Anyway, after seeing all the tattoo flash, tattoo artists, and tattooed people, I'm now itching to shave my legs. Nothing kinky, though. I just want to get large leg pieces. I'm thINKing of having them done by Tatay Nero, the famed founder of Philtag, with his pointilism style.

The right leg will be a contemporary rendition of ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints), inspired by the works of Masami Teraoka and Hisashi Tenmyouya, perhaps with a hint of modern hentai or traditional shunga.

On the other hand, or more aptly, leg, it will be a reworking of the propaganda posters of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, circa Mao's era, jazzed up by the Propaganda Pop and Cynical Realism art movements of the '90s, as represented by the works of Wang Guanyi and Yue Minjun, respectively.

My piercings have almost all closed up and I haven't been inked for over a decade. Maybe, it's about time.

25 September 2010



A reproduction of Wang Guangyi’s** artwork. My eco-friendly shopping bag costs only RMB70 or PHP413, from a stall in Yandai Byway (shopping area near the Drum Tower).


I had dumplings and noodles every chance I got. The steamed pork soupy dumplings from one of the food stalls at the Oriental Plaza are THE BEST! (RMB 18 or PHP106.2 for six pcs.)


An almost empty H&M at Qianmen Avenue. There were only around ten shoppers per floor (this branch had three floors) when we were there. There were no lines in the fitting room, at the cashier...Happiness!

Entrance to the Qianmen shopping area...

Lovely lamp along Emperor's Avenue...

**Wikipedia: Wang Guangyi (1956), is a Chinese artist known for being the leader of the New Art Movement circles that erupted out of China after 1989 and for his Great Criticism series of paintings, using the images of propaganda from the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) and contemporary brand names from western advertising. As an example, Artinfo notes that one of Wang Guangyis’s Great Criticism paintings “responds to the recent influx of advertising by juxtaposing the Coca-Cola logo with an image of a Chinese soldier, appropriating the visual iconography of both the Chinese Cultural Revolution and American pop art.”



In one of the galleries, while paying fo

r our purchase...

Chinese Man:

Where are you from?


(UH-OH. I looked at J. I was too scared to answer.)


We’re from the Philippines.


(Will he shout at us? Kick us out of his gallery?

Blame us for th

e August 23 bus bloodbath? My heart was beating too fast!)

Chinese Man (as translated by J):

You look Chinese ("zhong guo ren," literally China person). She very pretty ("hen piaoliang").


Oh. Xie xie. (“Thank you” in Chinese.) *blush*blush*

(Big sigh of relief. Kuya, tinakot mo naman ako!)

But you can't blame me for being paranoid.
Saw this banner at the entrance of one of the galleries...

We didn't enter the HK Art Museum. I didn't feel "welcome," hehe.

Still, next to The Great Wall, the 798 Art Zone was the other Beijing attraction that got me really excited. I loved it here! It's a haven of creativity -- rows and rows of art galleries, bookstores, cafes, dress and souvenir shops. Art installations abound!

Above: Italian Gallery

Above: inked cherub

Above: caged giant

Above: Hang tough, Mister!

Above: red lipstick

Above: A Red Guard?

Above: Emperor & Empress?

Above: one of the Cafes

Above: concrete car

We had lunch at the Timezone 8 Bookstore & Cafe, as recommended by Frommer's (the only book I brought for this trip)...

Above: My pink passport holder with "Beijing Day by Day"

J had the Art Book Lover's Burger with salad and fries. It was very good.

I had Chicken Satay with Salad and Green Tea Smoothie. Yummy!

This is one of our dream business ventures, a bookstore cum cafe... (Sarap mangarap!).

798 Art Zone: Definitely a must-see!

Address: 798 Art Zone, Dashanzi Art District, JiuXianQiao Road

Commute: Get off the Dongzhimen Subway Station, proceed to the Public Transport Hub, take Bus No. 401.

Bus fare is only RMB1 each (Php6 each). Bus Ride is approximately 30 minutes, with traffic.



It was raining too hard and we got to the Village too late (closing time na). We weren’t able to explore the area, giving us another reason to go back -- someday soon.

The Bird's Nest
Beijing's National Stadium
(We were taking photos from the tents because of the heavy downpour.)

The Water Cube
Beijing's National Aquatic Center

Thanks to J's monopad, we can take 2-shots ourselves. =)



We took the wrong bus going to Badaling! As shared from my Ano'ng Trip Mo blog entry, getting lost is part of the fun when designing our own itinerary.

So here's what happened: As per our web research, we’ll have to go down at the Deshengmen subway station and take Bus No. 919 to Badaling.

But apparently, buses with the No. 919 do not share the same route. You still have to check their destination by asking the driver / ticket lady or reading the sign (in Chinese and English) on the bus / bus stop. We didn’t do either, our bad! (The wrong bus was off to Nan Kou!)

Good thing the Bus Ticket Lady was kind enough to suggest that they’ll just drop us off at a stop near Badaling, to catch the correct Bus No. 919. She even wrote down directions in Chinese – something we’re supposed to hand the driver.

So on a lonely bus stop, somewhere in the mountains to The Great Wall, we finally got into the correct Bus No. 919.

Confession: The view of The Great Wall from the bus got me teary-eyed. I was overwhelmed by excitement and awe! Dun pa lang, alam ko na, the trip (and all the aberya that came with it) was worth it.

The forecast was correct: it'd be rainy that Monday morning, Sept 20.

Bulol on a Watch Tower at Badaling, The Great Wall of China

We didn't mind the rains.
Who would complain with this amazing view?!

Wet weather at The Wall.

We're here! We're actually here! The rain didn't dampen our spirits.
I’ll never get tired of saying this – if a couple can lovingly hold hands and laugh while being lost during a rainy day, in a foreign land, they must really be meant to journey through life together.

We made it up to only six towers. It was too slippery. Maybe we could have climbed higher if it were sunny. As a mountaineer, J wishes to scale all (or at least most) of The Wall's sections. So we made a pact to go back -- one day soon.

Some practical info:

Total travel time from the city to The Great Wall is approximately two hours via bus. (Should have been less if we took the correct bus, hehe.) Bus fare: We paid RMB6 (Php36) each for the Wrong Bus. Plus another RMB8 (Php48) each for the Right Bus. Total fare: RMB28 or Php168.

Badaling Entrance Fee: RMB45 (PHP265.5) each



Simple joy: the sight of willow trees!

More sights from the park...
Above: The Bai Ta which houses Buddhists relics

Above: Raise the Red Lanterns!

Above: Love the view from up here!

Above: ornate ceiling

We appreciate that the guards were kind enough to let us in again (for free!), to use the toilets.

Entrance Fee to Beihai Park: RMB2 each (roughly Php12 each)

24 September 2010



I love how green the park was! It felt so serene. There were elders dancing, singing, playing Chinese checkers, doing Tai-chi.

My favorite photo from the Park, taken by J.

The view of The Forbidden City from Jingshan Park

Entrance Fee to Jingshan Park: RMB2 each (Php12 each)