A village inside a village

I am often humbled by thoughts of the Philippines with its many islands and different villages, and my family there. I think its very important for people to experience a third world nation first hand, it will change your life.

On my last trip to the Philippines I was enamored by the shanty infrastructure under highways and seeing people live with so little resources. I wondered, 'How, the hell, do people survive here?'

I smile most thinking of things I enjoyed spending the most time doing. Harvesting, cooking and eating together. Slaughtering a pig in celebration to feed many mouths. Drinking whiskey on a porch and hearing my elders tell their stories into the night. Sleeping together on the same bamboo mat and waking up to the sound of cocking chickens. The loud and colourful street festivals, textures of the 'palinki' or maketplace, and the diverse tropicala landscape. Visiting witchdoctors, old churches, and the belief in something higher. And the mangos, oh the mmmmmmangos.

I realized the things I enjoyed most are the things that made it worth surviving. In many ways, 'third world countries' are far ahead of us. They do not make a lot of money, but they make a lot of time for each other. They are deep rooted in family life, anchored in the past and moving forward together.

When I traveled through the clustered, 'mix-mixed' Philippines in '08 I was, pardon the cliché, looking for something. The cultural collage of the Philippines and the ingenious ways of my people re-ignited my fierce 'make-something-out-of-nothing' commitment. It has fueled new collaborations with students and close friends from different backgrounds. Mixing or collage is more than just a physical act for me, my belief in 'Halo-Halo' (not just a psychedelic looking dessert but also translates into 'mix-mix') is what drives my practice.

So we've been building a little village of our own in this damn expensive city. Our new 'studio' (I use this term very loosely as my 'studio' is wherever I am) has been a total impulse factory working with dear friends and contemporaries and has been built by keeping our noses to the dirty, littered sidewalk. I used to think I found stuff, I'm beginning to think it just finds me.

Now, if only I can find a way to grow mangos in Toronto.......................

Archived: Halo Halo Village, Process, Philippines, Inspiration
Batangas, Philippines or Toronto, Canada???

Halo Halo Village, 208 Christie St. Toronto. All welcome, leave all bad vibes at the doorstep.


I didn't take this picture, but I love it! Ati Atihan Festival

Halo Halo Healing Power Caravan with my friend Alex Mackenzie

check the vinyl job on GWYNETH!


healing mystical spread

born, raised, killed, eaten, recorded

I played tapes and recordings with this man in Manila. No legs and one arm.

Mamay harvesting

Villagers harvesting skids from Fiesta Farms. Tower of Randy, Stacey, Isla, Wolfgang, Damon, Jess, and Stan.

working tools

Our Sari Sari Salon was pretty much built on found materials. I have a story for every piece. Canopy and curtain by friend Victoria Cheong.

My Tita's beautiful interior of her home

Some of my students, Theo Gallaro and friends.

Readymade, a real Halo-Halo ice shaver made of bottle caps, nails and board.

My little cousin Lester, workin' a cover of this.


isla.m.craig|at|gmail.com said...

most proud of you jeff! keep it up! we are here for you, excited for the magical discoveries and learning. xo

Stan Krzyzanowski said...

Jan and Jeff - you're both doing a fabulous, wonderful and important job! Your's is a magical and special village!


isla, thank you!!! you are so inspiring girrrrl! your day to day support drives me.

stan, we are so lucky to have you click click clicking in the harvest the whole way.

alicia said...

this post just brought a tiny tear to my eye because it's so damn nice. i love halo halo. you inspire me all the time!


awe Naaaw, right back atcha kid.

Xenia said...

Jeff this is the best!


Xenia, thanks so much! you are moving great things as well, so inspiring.