MUSEUM HOP: NATIONAL GALLERY, SINGAPORE

museum hop, travel journals

Twinning places. Got this idea from a trending Facebook post; Pose in the same place when you don't have a photographer with you (or too shy to ask other tourists). Twinning places. Got this idea from a trending Facebook post; Pose in the same place when you don’t have a photographer with you (or too shy to ask other tourists).

Our tour guide, Jane, explaining the history of the place. I didn't want to bombard my previous post with too much photos, so here are the rest of the details and paintings that caught my eye.  Our tour guide, Jane, explaining the history of the place. I didn’t want to bombard my previous post with too much photos, so here are the rest of the details and paintings that caught my eye.

Untitled (Can we be ironic?), Simryn Gill

Untitled (Can we be ironic?), Simryn Gill

Mythology: Return History's Whore, His Mother, Cesare Syjuco (Philippines)

Mythology: Return History’s Whore, His Mother, Cesare Syjuco (Philippines)

Various collage works by Milenko Prvscki. Since I'm exploring the same medium, my eyes are easily drawn to these kind of artworks.

Various collage works by Milenko Prvscki. Since I’m exploring the same medium, my eyes are easily drawn to these kind of artworks.

The Ceiling, China Collage series by Roberto Chabet

The Ceiling, China Collage series by Roberto Chabet

The writings on the wall. Found artistic wisdom withing the walls of the museum's library.

The writings on the wall. Found artistic wisdom withing the walls of the museum’s library.

Spotted a Juan Luna! Apologies if my camera phone can't do justice to España y Filipinas.

Spotted a Juan Luna! Apologies if my camera phone can’t do justice to España y Filipinas.

Various Chinese paintings by Wu Guanzhong

Various Chinese paintings by Wu Guanzhong

We were quite running out of time so I wasn’t able to take note of all the artist’s name. But I hope I my low-tech phone camera was able to give even just a little bit of justice to these works of art (let me know if you have tips and tricks on capturing images in low light, or how to take better shot in museums). If ever you’ll travel to Singapore someday, this place is worth visiting. Allot half of your day for this if you want to go all through the galleries and exhibits, because the place does not disappoint in its hugeness.

OF REBUILDING AND RESTORATION

in my life, stories of faith, travel journals

We were right on time as we entered the National Gallery of Singapore, as the receptionist told us that there would be a free guided tour of the whole place that would begin within five minutes. We didn’t hesitate to join, after all having someone explaining the details of the place and artworks were a better option than going around like headless chickens.

History is something that I’ve always been interested about. That’s why while I was listening to Jane (our museum guide); I can’t help but be fascinated on how the Singaporeans were able to preserve their culture and lineage. But I was a bit guilty as well that I came to know a lot of facts about Singapore’s history, and not being able to dig deeper on our country’s own.  I made a silent promise to myself that I should explore and discover Philippines the way that I desire to roam other countries.

What impressed me the most was how the restoration and rebuilding was made for the National Gallery.  Originally, it was two separate buildings which was not of the same height and age, which made it more challenging to be joined together (I’m sure the architects and engineers out there can fully understand). Jane mentioned that it took five years for the establishment to be completed. She showed us photos of how it was before, and the rubble that it was during the rebuilding, it was indeed a far cry on how outstanding it is now.

Do you have those little moments of grace and wisdom? When you hear that still small voice, whispering in your heart, “I am not yet finished in your life. This isn’t the den.” When you’re just walking through a museum, but God gave a different revelation? His grace and wonders can reach us in different ways.

During that moment, I was walking through egg shells. God must have felt my frustration in every honest prayer that I have cried out to Him. Lord, when will the pain go away? Will anything come out of these rubbles? It has been too long. It is too late? I badly want the cries of my heart to shake the heavens. I was an impatient girl demanding for answers.

In the middle of the National Gallery, while standing in between two magnificent work of architecture, He quietly answered, “I am still at work.” It took years for places like these to be rebuilt, for it to become like new again. How it was before is just like how our life seems to be during the progress – a mess. Yet it doesn’t mean that God isn’t at work, or he isn’t moving. There are instances we do not see, but he’s putting the pieces back together. Through this season, I have learned to see situations in a different perspective.

“They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated, they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” – Isaiah 61:4

Hold out for healing.
Hold out for the rebuilding.
Our timeline can be different at times, but He is at work – both in our hearts and lives.

SINGAPORE, ONCE AGAIN

travel journals

Singapore, for the second time around was different. It was more personal, more intimate. We came back to our favorite places, but also explored new ones. The train routes never fail to be traveler-friendly, we have started to memorize it like the back of our hands. The bus routes proved to be another matter; we got lost on the far end of the Tiong Bahru suburban area. Our supposed to be 10-minute-away destination extended to an hour. Mother and I ended up laughing about it, we pat ourselves in the back and say, now we know. There are moments when we learn the way through getting lost.

I found myself looking out the train window, as we pass by houses and sight I can’t help but think…can this be home? Can I call you home? I often caught myself dreaming of walking through its streets every day. It’s the first time that I admitted to myself that I am willing to uproot myself from the island I’m from, to pack my bags and head off to a different kind of concrete jungle.

Funny how I ended up buying a magazine from Bras Basah Complex, bearing words that ask the question: What would life be like if you’d never left your hometown?

I wonder if I’ll end up answering that question or if the days would bring the exact opposite. Such questions don’t have immediate answers, but I must say that Singapore met me again during the time when I desired to leave most. It was a promise of a fresh beginning. We’re 2,355 kilometers away, yet it felt like it’s where I belong.

Nowadays, I find myself being homesick for a place I have yet to call home.

FOR AS LONG AS WE CAN

in my life

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foraslongaswecan_2

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The weekend is coming to a close, but this one was stretched out to be enough. Not lacking for me to ask an extension. Not slow for me to cut it short. Just enough. For the mountains have called, and once again we headed to its direction.

After more than a year of not being able to climb, I finally had the chance of going back on track (or should I say trek?). It was a walk in the park, they said. But we’re not even halfway through and my lungs were already gasping for air. My heart seems to be doing somersaults inside my chest. Pain was also starting to grip my back, enough to make me feel older than how I truly am. To think that it was a level 2 climb! It was supposed to be easier compared to my previous experiences.

Yet there I was falling behind, with a rusty body, weaker heart, and not-so-flexible knees (the injury I got from the past has taken its toll). My flesh just keeps on protesting for me not to continue. If I had been alone, it would have been easy to surrender. But having two friends by your side can make all the difference.

“Dee? Dee? Deeeeeeeeee! Yuhooooo…Danielle!”

I was no longer within their sight. It was funny how they kept on calling and I just kept answering them on my mind. Wait. I’m trying to catch my breath. And if were going to count the times that I’ve given up, that was the first. But they kept on calling and my final answer was to continue climbing and meet them where they are.

I lost count of the times that I wanted to stop. Was it five? Or ten? I just remembered that I kept on asking and they also continued pushing.

Can we just go back?

No, we can do this.

Can we just go down now and swim?

No, we can finish this trek.

Can you just go ahead? I’ll wait for you to come back here.

Let’s go! It’s near! Come on!

So we continue to soldier on through the heat. Fifteen minutes more. Just a few steps more and we’re nearly there. We knew we made it when the summit greeted us with the cool breeze. We lied down on the grass and it never felt so fulfilling than this.

How long do you think we can keep on doing this?Maybe until we’re 28. Or 30. No, maybe 40.

Perhaps as long as we can. As long as we have each other.

LET ME SAY A FINAL ADIEU, 2015

in my life, stories of faith, travel journals

But as for me, my feet had almost

        slipped;

   I had nearly lost my foothold…

When my heart was grieved

   and my spirit embittered,

I was senseless and ignorant;

  I was a brute beast before you.

Yet I am always with you;

  You hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,

  and afterward you will take me into

         glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

   And earth has nothing I desire

      besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

   but God is the strength of my

           heart

   and my portion forever.

PSALM 73: 2, 21-26

If there was a way to summarize 2015 in verses and words, this would be it. It was a tough year that I even asked myself if there was any sense in writing about it. Even the photographs above are a far contrast from what happened during in-between moments. But then I just have this habit of closing the year through a blog post or something written. Something to acknowledge the fact that life can be good and bad at times, but God…He just remained constant through it all. Through the heartaches, through the pain. Through the sorrow and through the rejoicing.

I am far from who I was, and who I wanted to be. Some of my plans in life did not go as expected. It has been a scary and exciting ride. A few things weren’t one hundred percent clear when the year ended, but I guess that is where He wants me to be…out of my comfort zone and into His arms.