• A week of absurdities and artistry

    Alice Bustos-Orosa

    Alice Bustos-Orosa

    There’s nothing that can brighten up the dreary workweek than reading about some of the most absurd things possible.

    It was an absolutely frivolous start of the week when my friend Allan tagged me in a post that left me (and apparently half the world) quite astounded. It was a post that simply stated that Hello Kitty isn’t a cat after all. Even more curious is that this well-loved Japanese icon is supposedly a little British schoolgirl born in London, and has a twin sister and her own pet cat.

    As most girls my generation grew up with this icon, it was naturally almost hilarious to even reconsider what Hello Kitty really is. Most people even commented tongue-in-cheek that luckily, Peanuts has confirmed that Snoopy is a real dog and that Disney stands firms about Mickey Mouse being who he is. I thought in jest that people really needed to find something more meaningful to do than argue about Hello Kitty.

    Then, thinking that the Hello Kitty debacle was absurd enough, the news talked about a proposed law that will ban taking selfies and of photos of people without their consent. Just how in the world will you fine a million Filipinos who take selfies every day is beyond me! This seems to vainly echo the previous talk about a bill that plans to arrest and fine people who cut in line. It sure beats me how these bills will be enacted. Does this mean a citizens’ arrest in the ladies’ loo may just be a possibility after all?

    * * *

    Moving on to more sensible topics, the National Museum Foundation hosted the 5th Annual bazaar called MaARTe at Rockwell Makati over the weekend. The expression “maarte” is quite unique to the Filipino language, as it does not lend itself to any direct translation in English. Maarte, which usually refers to a girl who is fickle, picky or melodramatic, can be construed as either a compliment or its opposite. Yet, a play on this Filipino expression, the bazaar’s name connotes the inherent artistry and unique design flair of Filipino craftsmen.

    As planned, my sisters and I decidedly spent the afternoon browsing through the variety of artisan jewelry pieces, handcrafted accent pieces, and finely embroidered linens at this one-of-a-kind bazaar. It’s not very often that we come across a showcase of the best of Filipino artisanship under one roof.

    Far from the typical holiday bazaars, MaARTe included only the best-curated pieces from the most promising young fashion designers, furniture and jewelry makers, and hand weavers.

    Far from the hoi polloi, to be honest, the crowd was every bit haute and a bit intimidating. As my sisters and I quietly admired displays in the various booths, we couldn’t help but choose a few interesting pieces ourselves—from mosaic accent crucifixes and art works from Campos; pure white cotton sleepwear aptly sold under the brand name Antukin; finely-embroidered linens by Olive Tree; hand-dyed piña shawls by Tepina; to unique leather bangles by Axessoria.

    But, in fact, there was just so much more to be had, from the colorful array of hand-painted fans, Ikat weave blankets accented with antique blue trimmings, and puffy dresser stools made with fine silk and satin.

    For us, every minute and peso spent at MaARTe was truly worth it. And so don’t be surprised that at the next MaARTe bazaar, you’ll be sure to find me again supporting the best of our Filipino craftsmen and women.

    In any case, an afternoon at MaARTe fortunately offset what was to be a week full of absurdities.


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