I've been spending time in the Philippines again - visiting family and catching up with my grandson. After a rather rocky, premature start in life, he's flourishing, and very cute.
I again spent time outside the bustle, pollution and traffic jams of Manila in Magdalena - about 100ks south of Manila in an area of rice paddies, coconut plantations and densely populated rural towns - though the house in which I stayed is on a steep hillside and gives a very good impression of being in the midst of a tropical forest.
I think it's impossible to stay for any time in a bahay kubo (house of local materials) without becoming very aware of the house's textures and patterns. In my case, the awareness borders on obsession. I love the combination of the everyday woven floor mats and the bamboo slat flooring on which they rest, and the transition from woven walls and bamboo supports to fabric-covered shutters:
I like the way the doorways provide vistas of different patterns and textures, and of light and shadow:
Some of the banigs (woven mats) - particularly those from southern Mindanao - are so beautiful they are really art pieces. Though they are made to be floor mats, I'm pleased they're hanging on the walls. Even so, they will fade and fall apart over a relatively short period of time. They're very transient things of beauty:
Outside the house is equally textured with the patterns of leaves, of one-day-blooming native orchids, and of the dense overhead foliage:
Judging from the photographs I took, my obsession with textures and patterns continued beyond the house and its surrounds. We had lunch one day at at Patis Tito, a restaurant outside the town of San Pablo, Laguna that has wonderfully ornate ceiling decorations:
And on the same day visited Ugu Bigyan's pottery in Tiaong, Quezon with its superbly planted gardens and meandering paths inset with pottery motifs:
I think my design preferences are usually for strong, simple, relatively unadorned lines and forms. But these busy patterns and textures are so much a part of an honest tradition that their detail and decorative qualities don't seem overdone or too ornate. It's been very pleasurable to observe and take note of them.