Goodbye 2013! The year in review.

I always panic at the end of a year, any year– I keep asking myself, where did time go? Did I use it wisely? What have I accomplished? There is something about the end that brings about reflection and hopefully no regret.

I was wondering out loud about 2013 just passing by when I was reminded by Duds that, hello, my 2013 was packed. So here I am trying to recall the year that is almost done. (Events only. Learnings and reflections are for another post!)


I started my NO SHOPPING rule. I could only shop for: underwear, pole costumes, necessities. I only broke this rule to shop for clothes for my Paris trip (tropical wear just won’t cut it for winter) and in December I bought a couple of dresses just because I thought it would be fun (it was).

I also spent the first week in Ilocos shooting for my friend Joel’s short film The End.


Silverlens Galleries brought all of its artists to Singapore for our group show. I really enjoyed this trip, because I don’t usually hang out with artists, so this was a nice opportunity for me to get to know some. Hung out mostly with Frankie (my newspaper dance partner. we’re reigning title holders in the SLG parties!), Ryan, Dina, and Allan, with Cos and Wawi thrown in for a fun mix.


Happy birthday to me! We also did our annual Polecats photo shoot, this time including silks and hoops.

photo by Daemon Becker

photo by Daemon Becker



was spent learning how to dance with Eauj and preparing for Stellar. This year we had 80 students join our annual summer show! It’s getting crazier every year 🙂


photo by Garry Soliman

Here’s the Polecats finale, where I finally get to dance with Eauj who I met three years ago!

Right after Stellar, I took the first flight out to Cebu with my high school friends Queenie and Rowie to visit our other barkada Jan and her family. It’s always great hanging out with these girls because we can be as geeky as we want. Also because there’s always lechon when we’re together hahaha.

These months were also spent making work for my July show, and planning things for the musician Munro.


I opened a solo show, called The Wonder Room, at Silverlens Galleries.


photo by Ryan Villamael

In addition to my origami butterflies and birds, I experimented with kaleidoscopes.

What if a drawing is not a finite finished object? What if drawings move and create endless variations? So I deconstructed a flower into its parts, placed those parts at the end of a kaleidoscope, and the kaleidoscope would reconstruct the drawing. The viewer, by turning the kaleidoscope, would then create new constructions of the drawing.

Here is an early kaleidoscope test I did.

As creative director of Polecats Manila, I am also in charge of various collaborations. This year we revived our VS series,this time with the coaches of our dear partner 360 Fitness Club. My friend and co-SLG artist Corinne de San Jose took the photos.

Around this time as well, Corinne and I received word that we would be part of Paris Photo in November! Which meant we had to produce new work. Like, right now. Deadline was in October. Ok, back to work.


Just working on our Paris Photo pieces. I did rigid origami, Corinne did plaster casts. Since it was my first time to do rigid origami, I went through SO MUCH PAPER just figuring out folds. Took so many hours researching and testing and figuring things out. I turned down dates by saying, “sorry, I’m folding paper” which sounded weird and like a lie, but which was very very true.

I managed to go see Cosmo Bachelor Bash with Oliver– wow 100 sets of abs all on one stage! After a while though, abs start looking the same. I wanted something extra, and it came in the form of a backflip! Well hello there Victor Sy.

yes he does backflips. photo by Oliver Loyola

yes he does backflips. photo by Oliver Loyola

Also, guys who dance really well are just hot. Hi Rayver.

photo by Oliver Loyola

photo by Oliver Loyola

I lived on sugar and coffee and gained 5 lbs in the process, all of which went into my belly.


Paris Photo works done! I can finally breathe. Well, not really. Because I decided to take Yoga Teacher Training this month. 50 hours of Yoga for Older Adults, Therapeutics, and Restoratives with Leslie Kazadi at Urban Ashram Manila.


We started a Moms and More class at Polecats earlier this year, and I just thought I should know how older bodies work for me to be able to teach it more effectively. Also, this year I started to be really aware of my body– its creaking and groaning and unwillingness to stretch, haha! I realized I was getting old, and everybody will get older, and I should learn how to train safely as the years pass.


Ok what was I thinking!

First, Happy 4th Birthday Polecats Manila!

We had our show at the Meralco theater– I did not perform as I didn’t have time for rehearsals, but I worked behind the scenes. So proud of this little company that’s doing so well! Watch the show in our youtube channel here. p.s. yes that is Kuya Bodjie narrating our show! Thank you Nor for connecting us!

Then, YEY PARIS! Got to show some work for Paris Photo (and I’m not even a photographer!)–check out the SLG blog for more.

the SLG booth, photo from

the SLG booth, photo from

Rachel Rillo, me, Corinne de San Jose at the SLG booth

Rachel Rillo, me, Corinne de San Jose at the SLG booth

As a plus, I got to watch my newest favorite artist Banks in this tiny club La Boule Noire— ahhhh so much fun, I really should watch more musicians live!

The day after I arrive from Paris, I leave for HK to accompany Miko to the PPS Aerial Performance Tournament– he won 3rd! Yeyyy. We stayed in this tiny room (aptly called Mini Hotel) sharing one bed, with a transparent bathroom wall and door. Much nicer than the hostels I usually stay in in HK, but it required a lot of planning and negotiations hahaha.

photo by MJ Abilay

photo by MJ Abilay

The week after, I’m off to Singapore with the whole Polecats company to watch the International Pole Competition. So inspiring! Polecats was nominated for Studio of the Year– we didn’t win, but oh well! The experience was really worth it!

that's TomCat AJ on the IPC banner!

that’s TomCat AJ on the IPC banner!


It’s time for PoleStars. Every year, Polecats brings in renowned pole performers and teachers to further develop the pole community in Manila. This year we brought in Greta Pontarelli (she’s 63 years old!!!),Marion Crampe, Nadia Sharif, and Steven Retchless. Wowwwww. So much learning and so much fun!

Through our event Pole for Love, we raised Php52,000 for Yolanda survivors, given through Gawad Kalinga. Thank you Marion, Steven, and Nadia <3

Through our event Pole for Love, we raised Php52,000 for Yolanda survivors, given through Gawad Kalinga. Thank you Marion, Steven, and Nadia ❤

Sometime earlier this year, Duds lent me an android phone, because he found my old phone ridiculous. Then Leeanne put in an Instagram account for me. So ok, Instagram is fun! And apparently, very useful. CraftMNL started following me on IG and liked the photos of my paper folds. So they asked me to teach a class. Wow, how fun is that? And then my friend AJ saw the photos of that class, and asked me to teach origami for the launch of googooandgaga ‘s line of geometric-prints in collaboration with Heima.

photo from CraftMNL

photo from CraftMNL

And now, the shoot for Munro finally happened! I run to the shoot after my Steven Retchless Femme Pole class (HE IS THE HOTTEST GUY IN THE WORLD I SWEAR)– thankfully my intern Tippi Sy (yes sometime this year, Tippi approached me asking if I take interns. and yes! she is my first intern. a super awesome intern. future interns, please take note) was there.

origami set

origami set

And in the middle of all this, Corinne and I are working on a new show for February.

Also, this year I confirmed someone’s friend request on fb even if I did not know him at all. I don’t do that– add people I don’t know, especially not half-naked guys. Kelvin insisted he was a catfish but, well, turns out he’s not. And he actually turned out to be a pretty cool guy.

Joaquin Cañas Garcia -- not a catfish.

Joaquin Cañas Garcia — not a catfish.

p.s. he is in the Bodies issue of Metro magazine (January2014), so do check that out.

Also somewhere along the way, I managed to say several things like:

Love takes time, but love is the answer.


And just when I thought the year was done, James+Kayleen got engaged. Then I went out for a couple of nights with my twin Quelly– and ran into several friends I haven’t seen in years.

And there’s still 12 hours left in this year… so something more might just happen.