Sunday, 19 June 2016

Drawing Sue Ramirez With Faber-Castell Classic Colour Pencil

In Papua New Guinea, an expat may find himself contemplating at some point in time about how his life closely resembles the saga of our solar system wherein the Earth is revolving around our sun in a circumscribed manner in which the strong gravitational pull of the sun keeps the earth from being swept away of its orbit. Let loose a bit and the Earth will find itself taking a path to uncertainty while infinitely sailing through the darkness of the ever expanding universe. Like a planet, depending on how one should put it, the life of an expat might take a spin only within the collective encasement of three familiar entities: the house, the office, and the shops.

Yet I haven’t heard of a planet displaced from its orbital path aside from what NASA has done in the past when they sent out a spacecraft carrying an impactor meant to intercept a moving comet millions of miles away. Instead of subtle rendezvous, they intentionally smashed an impactor on board a rocket into the comet Tempel 1 to eject materials from its surface which could then be analysed later at a considerable distance.

The impact did little to alter the course of the comet. 

But going back to our topic, one can be forgiven for making inaccurate assumptions on what to expect while living in this country. This can be followed by the sweeping realization that there is not much difference from where you’ve come from. The points in which the adjustment period lies within may not be so steep. And so it came to pass that I contentedly celebrated another year of being here, this time by going through the art tools that I have collected for years.

Which is one of the things I came up with to prevent boredom and homesickness.

Phase #1. I'm proud to say that I'm a fan of miss Sue Ramirez. And I've got a little crush on her. In my other post, I wrote a simple review about Faber-Castell Classic Colour pencils to which I highlighted the importance of using it when one has just started with colour pencil. Here's my pencil sketch of Sue using an HB graphite pencil. 

This is my second attempt for drawing a portrait photo. We can see here that I've just begun coloring an eye. This is where I stopped and moved on to do other things.

Phase #2. After four days, I continued with the other eye and the areas around the nose and lips. I'm actually guilty of rushing through this part. I had wished to see myself involving a more relaxed hand in a series of slow moving gestures when working on accentuating facial attributes in the future.

Phase #3. Yet after another four days, I had only managed to work slowly on enhancing facial colors and my eagerness to work on the hair had led me to draw in a hurry. It was not a good thing for the hair. I'll do some necessary correction and see if I can make it more convincing.

Phase #4. Eight days had passed since Phase #3, I sat down by my drawing table and thought it would be nice to work on the hair. Using the selected colors above, I managed to draw her hair much better than the last times I tried. I guess, you'll just get better in time with practice. 

Just give time a time and you'll see the result.

Phase #5. A day after Phase #4, I continued with the rest of the hair. I wasn't able to complete it but I was satisfied with what I'd done so far.

Phase #6. Four days after Phase #5, despite  coming home at around 9:00 in the evening, I found the motivation to finish this portrait. Such inducement is probably coming from my strong desire to test the Faber-Castell Polychromos and set aside the FC Classicfor a while.

Last week, the Faber-Castell Polychromos that I ordered from Ebay through kuya Jun's (my cousin) Paypal account had arrived earlier than the expected time. I haven't tried using it yet up to now but I might give in to the temptation on one of these days.

I've ordered the set of 120 pieces which has a wide range of color values. What I find interesting with this is that those nice people from Faber-Castell has even bothered to give each piece a name apart from the numerical values imprinted next to it.

The big difference between the Classic Colour and Polychromos is that the former is wax based and the latter is oil based. If time permits, I will be writing a review for Polychromos and point out some other differences between the two.

Monday, 13 June 2016

A Barbecue Party In Port Moresby

The last few weeks in Port Moresby have been, as what most responsible media would call, intense. There has been a few standoffs between the authorities and students of UPNG. Like any other democratic country, it is a common knowledge that every once in a while, incongruity between the citizen and the government can become temporarily highlighted. As an armchair observer with no specializing degree in political science, I find myself to be fundamentally unfit to comment on such a delicate matter and it is best left to those who really breeze through the complexities of politics. 

However, my views stand still that in general, Papua Guinea is a peace-loving country.

But having preceded this post with such substance, I’m now having a hard time finding the right words to swiftly transition my ideas from the intricacies of governance into the joy of cooking barbecue in a Barbecue Party.  I guess it’s easier to begin with finding out what’s on the menu today? 

One of the perks of being an employee in the company that I work with is to attend a social gathering intended for the managers courtesy of company owners. Some say that this is a result of having a good sale in a year and the owners are just returning the favour.

My personal theory is that no matter how the year turns out to be, the owners are giving the managers a chance to socialize with each other and by doing so extendedly promotes camaraderie in the process.

Everyone’s friendly mood is enhanced at the sound of the sizzling hotdogs and barbecues, more importantly because they are free.

Remember to always compliment those who volunteer to do the grilling on their techniques. According to psychology, compliments are the most extraordinary components of social life. If given right, they can create so much positive energy that they make things happen almost as if by magic.

This seems to be true for our lady volunteers here who went preoccupied with the grilling throughout the occasion.

There are those who volunteered with the grilling. There are those who volunteered with keeping our drinks cold.

Then there are the rest…

Perhaps a Filipino barbecue party is different from a PNG barbecue party. For when we place barbecue into the scene, what we’re thinking of is a marinated pork meat, sliced into smaller sizes and placed into a bamboo stick usually by six pieces with the fatty tissues placed at the bottommost part.

What a barbecue in PNG barbecue party lacks in stick, the gargantuan serving of meat makes up most of the plate.

The guy wearing a black shirt is Arnold and the guy wearing a yellow jersey is Harold, my cousin. I’m not sure what they were carrying in this photo but they were probably comprised of more drinks and foods. Apparently, to keep a large group of party goers fed in the event is a bit challenging. It should require a slightly large amount of cash to spend, a few willing volunteers to run the errands and someone who can prepare food short enough to keep everyone from eating cereals.

The areas in the venue have a variety of views to nicely pose alongside with. Here’s ate Des posing for my camera near a carefully chosen background. The weather that day was favourable and the unhindered sun provided the much needed light although we were not exactly in a nice angle.

If there is a hybrid barbecue party, this is what it must look like. In this photo, the party has now regressed from a single large group into few smaller groups of 4 or 5.

 As the saying goes, “Birds of the same feather flock together.” Not in a bad way though.

While these gentlemen on the right await for their song to appear on the LCD screen, Justin seemed to be oblivious of what was going on around him and continued to eat his share.

We did not drink much beer but a bottle of beer was enough to boost ones self-esteem. Hernan looks like he can take on any song at the moment.

The small swimming pool in the venue provided an alternate choice if one was not fond of singing. Here’s Emerson and kuya Arnold on a race towards the edge of the pool obviously on a different set of skill level.

While I find kuya Arnold’s swimming technique to be stylish, it is virtually no match against Emerson’s freestyle that impeccably describes what a fusion of Dyesebel and Dugong should look like.

Here’s Aeron, Win, Thuya, Pyi Soe and Myo. All of them are from the former Burma now officially called Myanmar. I have come to learn that in a barbecue party, not everyone would rather have somebody around to chat with. Seemingly, a small percentage of attendees can choose to be silent all the time. In a good way because that seems to be their nature, like our good friend Myo here.

If we think of the barbecue party as a court room hearing a case, Myo would be the presiding judge.

And I will be the guy who mops the floor at a distance.

Here’s a lovely couple, Thuya and Win, taking advantage of the short-lived romantic view of sunset for themselves. They were just actually chatting there until I interrupted and asked if they wanted a picture of the sunset with them.

To which they complied with smile.

At the end of the party, there were gifts to be given away to the managers. Here’s Pyi Soe, our branch manager. I joked around and asked if I could get mine ahead of time. Those two hands were in the defensive stance but the killer smile was just so apologetic. I definitely learned a good way to turn down requests.

Smile and say no.

This is it for this weekend.  Have fun and be safe everyone! 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Filipino Foods You Can Cook In Papua New Guinea

A very little concern that most Filipinos have in mind when moving from Philippines to another country is food. Some will find it daunting to try foreign foods during the first day of stay while others take it as an exciting feat. 

I, myself, is a fan of eating unfamiliar recipes. It's nice to try them every once in a while. Initially, I was pondering on the thought that If I ever came here, I would have to say goodbye to Filipino foods. That was swiftly proven otherwise after making a few trips to various shops around here. Although what's readily available here were not as much as a neighborhood sari-sari store has, what one needs to have is just a wee bit of resourcefulness to come up with something close to pinoy recipes.

The photo above is my pork adobo. Adobo is one of the peculiarities in Filipino cuisine and is pretty easy to prepare. Its key ingredients are meat, soy sauce, cooking oil, vinegar and bay leaf; all of which are abundantly spread out in numerous supermarkets around Papua New Guinea.

This is my Chicken Afritada. Honestly, I can only cook this under the merciful guidance of the recipe imprinted at the back of Del Monte Quick ‘n Easy Afritada Sauce sachet. It’s part of Del Monte Kitchenomics that makes cooking delightfully easy.

This is my version of Adobong Kangkong. The locals have come to know that we’re quite fond of Kangkong so now street sellers would frequent our place of work to offer Kangkong and other vegetables. How I cook adobong kangkong is pretty much the same with how I deal with the intricacies of pork adobo. The real difference is kangkong which is added at the end. If you try and add kangkong prematurely, it will disintegrate into pieces beyond recognition.

This is Pork Mechado. Like Chicken Afritada, I can only do this if I have a Del Monte Quick ‘n Easy pack. A friend of mine has once told me that it will look better with green peas.  It was not mentioned in the recipe so I am still kind of pondering on how exactly I should add it there.

If there’s one thing I enjoy about cooking, it’s not knowing how the food should look like in the end.

This is me who is about to stir the Pochero. And yes, you’ve guessed it right. I only know how to cook this because of the omni-present and ever friendly Del Monte Quick ‘n Easy sachet. While I have grown familiar with this, there are times that I still cannot tell the difference between pochero, mechado and afritada especially if they were done by someone else. They all look and taste similar to me.

The Del Monte Quick 'n Easy Mechado sauce which can magically turn anyone into an overnight chef. 

Here’s my Ginisang Munggo. Of all the Filipino foods, this is what I like to cook the most. I like the fact that you have to constantly stir it, as what I was doing in this picture, to avoid the mongo beans from being overly cooked. Stirring also gives an impression that you’re actually contributing something to how your food will come out later.

Here’s my Sinigang Na Tilapya. I cannot say that I have cooked it pretty well but I am attributing its success to Knorr Sinigang Sa Sampalok sachet.

Now, I won't mind if you call me “Mr. Sachet” every once in a while.

And here’s my Paksiw Na Bangus. The other ingredients are not visible. One thing worth noting for when cooking paksiw,  is that the vinegar must be heated for a couple of minutes prior to adding other ingredients. The reason, as they say, is that the vinegar must be cooked first or we won't bring out the best of it. But I cannot truly discern how they can tell a cooked vinegar from an uncooked one. But I guess you just heat it until it gives you a sense of feeling that it is done.

It's like a pop corn with the pop, only there's no pop.

 This is Sambal Chili. This isn’t exactly a part of Filipino cuisine, but the tin fish that I used here is from the Philippines. And eating tin fish (sardinas) has been a part of the Filipino culture.  This recipe was imparted to me by our previous General Manager who was originally from Malaysia. Its key ingredients are sambal chili, belacan and tin fish.

The “Sambal Chili” itself is a secret recipe. He has taught me how to make one before but I think I have forgotten the most of it. All I can say is that there are lots of blended red onions in it.

 And here’s a stir-fry of Broccoli and Shrimps. My friend cooked this but I was the one who carved out that little swan from a green apple. It wasn’t that difficult to make. All you need is a green apple and a small and very sharp carving knife.

And what about "Halo-halo?" Yes, you can make that here as well. You can check out my other post that shows where to find basic ingredients for halo-halo.  But you'll have to bring your own ice grater from the Philippines because I think it's not available here yet. To work around the problem, you can use a blender to crush homemade ice cubes. It works pretty much the same. The photo above shows me eating "Ice Ka-Chang" from Kopi Tian. 

Ice Ka-Chang and Halo-halo are surprisingly alike. 

That’s all friends. While I'm writing this, I’m pretty sure that pinoy recipes are currently being cooked by other Filipinos somewhere around here in Papua New Guinea. It's almost dinner time anyway.

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