Hari Sonik is huge





When I first saw the invitation to Elmer Borlongan’s first art toy collaboration with Secret Fresh Gallery, I was so thrilled I texted the gallery’s Bigboy Cheng right away. Of course most if not all the 45 pieces they made were sold or spoken for. Elmer Borlongan is who he is. And the toy genre has become a very strong player in the art scene.

Hari Sonik is freaky looking. So freaky that both Patrick and I think it’s cool. Hari Sonik represents what most Pinoys love and celebrate – music. And I love the name. Sounds so like a Pinoy joke. And no, the speakers don’t work. It’s art. Smile.

When I asked Bigboy how big it was (thinking it was good enough for a console table or niche), he said it was 3 ft tall. OMG. The size of Stella.

We had to see for ourselves.


There they are.


I finally met the man! Our very generous donor in UNICEF’s Auction for Action.


And another artist I admire – Plet Bolipata, Elmer’s wife. Here we are in front of a life sized Hari Sonik. There were six of these big ones produced.


Caught this one by chance. Elmer and his nieces and nephews.


So, yeah. Hari Sonik is a bit big.

Now everyone at home is freaked out. Haha.



Zarah’s art



Last Saturday was a crazy busy day. Sophia had her theatre activity. Patrick and I had a gazillion errands to run. Lily and Stella stayed home watching Lalaloopsy and Monster High downloads. Then halfway through the day I remembered that we missed Lily’s math supplementary lessons. Oh well, the world didn’t fall apart.

While getting my act together for that busy Saturday, I checked my email and found this attachment from my friend Zarah Hernaez. And everything just slowed down and I was brought to tears.


Sketch by Zarah Hernaez
“Daphne. She’s a Mom.” by Zarah Hernaez
Digital painting on Samsung Galazy Note 10.1


I didn’t want to have to explain her portrait of me. Her letter put everything into context. I asked Zarah’s permission if I could publish her email.

I hope you like the attached. I did this on the Galaxy Note 10.1 but I hope I’ll get to do an acrylic on canvas one of these days. I wanted to do one of your glamour shots but that’s just not you. Not to me anyway. You will always be the doting, hardworking mom running around with the three girls with no make-up and loose hair to me. That is when you’re at your most beautiful but then, you also look like a Disney Princess so it doesn’t really matter if you’re made up or not (even when you don’t believe it sometimes). But…God is fair because you’re also a mom who calls me in the middle of the day to accompany her to school because her little girl’s cute eraser got stolen.Haay, nako.

It always amuses me when people say you look unapproachable and serious when you’re so funny, silly even. I think you’re closer to shy than unapproachable. You are blessed with 3 beautiful, creative, silly and intense little girls, a lot like their mom. You are blessed because you’re a blessing. Thank you for being someone who listens and has been giving me great advice the past several years (or advice passed on from Daddy Oseña).


So yeah, she knows me real well. Even Patrick, when he read this, said that Zarah’s got me all figured out. To think we “met” in Flickr and Livejournal . Now she is my constant What’s App conversation. And more than that. She’s a good friend.

I’ve known about Zarah’s art for a few years now. She painted portaits of Sophia and Lily in acrylic on paper. Back then she said she only did paintings of children. And she did it well. Her style isn’t your typical pretty and perfect photo-realism. I’d say there’s a bit of an Expresssionist in her. I don’t know how she does it. I was formally trained in Fine Art Studio – did everything including oil painting the classical way. I had never figured out how to paint a face.

Zarah’s talent is so raw that whether she uses real paint or a stylus on a Samsung Galaxy Note, she is able to communicate her art. Not only does she have hands that are gifted, but she has eyes that can see what others don’t. Hard to believe her real job is in the corporate world. I always try to tell her to pursue her art.

Last night she sent me another digital sketch. This one is more made up. It made me laugh. And blush.


Sketch 17018349
“Daph. Glamazon. Haha.” by Zarah Hernaez
Digital painting on Samsung Galazy Note 10.1


Check out Zarah’s porfolio here. Or email her at zhernaez@gmail.com for commissioned work. Something tells me she’s going to be a very busy artist Thank you Zarah.



Secret Fresh x Elmer Borlongan





I’m dying here. Secret Fresh is about to launch Elmer Borlongan’s first art toy.  Hari Sonik encapsulates Borlongan’s distinct “Pinoy everyman” that we see in his paintings. Borlongan likes to paint snippets of Philippine life; and one aspect of this, the Pinoy’s love of music is the focus of the toy Hari Sonik. I’m dying because it’ll only be released in limited edition of 40 pieces! Gasp.




Secret Fresh bridges anew starting collectors with established artists as they collaborate on producing limited edition art toys such as with Christian Tamondong, Lynyrd Paras, Charlie Co, Luis Lorenzana and now with Thirteen Artist awardee Elmer Borlongan who has also represented the Philippines in various international art festivals. His works are also in the collection of the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and the Singapore Art Museum. He has also illustrated a number of children’s books published by CANVAS. — Press Release, Secret Fresh.


Elmer’s donation to UNICEF at the 2012 Auction for Action was one of the most coveted pieces. You can read about it here and here.

For more info on Hari Sonik, check out Secret Fresh in Facebook.





Travel photography



Ever since I had my micro four thirds camera systems – the Olympus PEN EP3 and Olympus OMD EP5 – I have not touched my DSLR (Nikon D90). I remember my trip to India, I still lugged the D90 around. It was so heavy, I couldn’t carry anything else. But with the mirror-less systems, I can achieve all the functions of a DSLR without the bulk! In our Shanghai trip, I used the Olympus PEN EP3. Plus, no more bopping my kids in the head by accident with a heavy camera! Ha!

Here are some stunning travel photos from ace photographer Kim Lau of Singapore, all using the Olympus OMD or PEN cameras.


Apricot drying at Duikar Valley, Pakistan
Olympue E-1, Zuiko Digital 11-22mm F2.8-3.5


Minapin Glacier, Pakistan
Olympue E-1, Zuiko Digital 11-22mm F2.8-3.5


Damascus copy1
Al-Buzuriyah Souk, Damascus, Syria
Olympus PEN E-P2


Taj Mahal, Agra
Olympus E-1 Zuiko Digital 11-22mm F2.8-3.5


KIM LAU copy



Meet Kim Lau at Photoworld Asia 2013 as he speaks about travel and his techniques on Saturday, February 2, 2013 4pm at the Glorietta 5 Activity Center.



The Gruffalo




Book your tickets at ticketworld.com.ph