I'm a Mariner's granddaughter. I was born and spent my early childhood in a coastal town in the Philippines called Navotas, located north of Manila. It is dubbed as the "Fishing Capital of the Philippines" because the livelihood of many of its residences were derived directly or indirectly from fishing and its related industries. I was surrounded by shipyards, piers, ports, open fish markets, salty air and smell of patis (fish sauce).
My big brother and I lived with my grandparents during the school years when we were children.
My Tatay Peles (grandfather) made his living from the Pacific Ocean by building engines for ships. He also owned commercial fishing boats. The nightly ritual was for my Tatay Peles to grill the day's catch for dinner. We would take walks to the beach pier at the end of the street to watch sunsets. He was also an avid collector of found artifacts from the Sea! I inherited some of the sea shells from his collection.
My Tatay Peles was also into into orchids, gardening, and crafting all kinds of beautiful things such as cabinets, sewing kit boxes, banisters and so much more. He put it in so much detail into his crafts. He was a very talented artisan. I'm hoping that one of these days, my mom will pass down to me the Ship in the Bottle that he made. (Mom: I know I'l exactly where to put it in my studio...) I also would love to find the nautical maps from his sea travels to integrate them into my mixed media art pieces.
How I wish my grandfather is alive today, so we can enjoy creating and gardening together. But I definitely feel his creative spirit when I'm making art and from being around the same things that he treasured.
Thanks Tatay Peles for giving me such profound maritime influence and memories...
THE SEA (Pablo Neruda, On the Blue Shore of Silence)
I need the sea because it teaches me,
I don’t know if I learn music or awareness,
if it’s a single wave or its vast existence,
or only its harsh voice or its shining
suggestion of fishes and ships.
The fact is that until I fall asleep,
in some magnetic way I move in
the university of the waves.
It’s not simply the shells crunched
as if some shivering planet
were giving signs of its gradual death;
no, I reconstruct the day out of a fragment,
the stalactite from a sliver of salt,
and the great god out of a spoonful.
What it taught me before, I keep. It’s air
ceaseless wind, water and sand.
It seems a small thing for a young man,
to have come here to live with his own fire;
nevertheless, the pulse that rose
and fell in its abyss,
the cracking of the blue cold,
the gradual wearing away of the star,
the soft unfolding of the wave
squandering snow with its foam,
the quiet power out there, sure
as a stone shrine in the depths,
replaced my world in which were growing
stubborn sorrow, gathering oblivion,
and my life changed suddenly:
as I became part of its pure movement.