Living on Loring

An Online Documentary By and About Young Girls from Loring Street, Pasay City, Philippines (2008)

Illustrado Article October 11, 2008

Filed under: press — livingonloring @ 3:54 pm



Living on Loring Trailer June 12, 2008

Filed under: LOL trailer — livingonloring @ 11:19 am

filmed and Edited by Angel Velasco Shaw


Karton – An LOL video project June 10, 2008

Filed under: about the project — livingonloring @ 10:36 am

In this project i have been able to embrace so many different forms of art, i have collaborated with children and artists alike i have touched upon the material of Paint, Photography, sculpture and writing. The Living on Loring project is an organic concept that embraces the passion of every individual that participates.

Art that communicates, art that collaborates and art that is entirely human.

In the Realities and the surreality that exists in one world we must remeber to get out of our box and see the world through their eyes.


“Living on Loring” – is now – ” Moving Loring “ May 31, 2008

Filed under: "Moving Loring" to Museo Pambata — livingonloring @ 1:16 am

“Moving Loring”

The Living on Loring exhibit has been moved to Museo Pambata. Together with Romina Diaz and Ann Wizer. The Wildcats Girls will be responsible for 2 kids each ranging from 8 to 12 years old passing on the skills that they have learned from the “Living on Loring” workshop conducted last February to April at the Galleria Duemila on Loring street in Pasay City.

They will be constructing treasure boxes filled with childhood dreams, putting inside these colorful boxes things that they dream and wish for. With hopes that in envisioning their dreams, a certain confidence inside them pushes them to better and change their lives.
On the 4th and the 11th of June will be the workshops conducted by Both Artist Romina Diaz and Ann Wizer, each artist will be responsible of a different day. The 11th will be dedicated to the construction of the treasure chest, filling the box with pictures of dreams. The 11th of June will be dedicated to recycling, an art mastered by Ann Wizer herself. Using found objects they will create beautiful pieces they can fill their treasure chests with.

Like toy cars made of bottles and necklaces made of plastic pieces and who knows what a child’s hands and mind can create. “Living on Loring” is an experience that must be passed on, not just from artist to student but from person to person. It is an example of society working together in order to create a better world.

The “Living on Loring concept” is designed to remind us about the individuality of each of these children. That despite their lack of fortune, material belongings and education, they all have a beating heart that moves an innocent mind to make beautiful things, in hopes that they just might remind forgetful hearts that a great humanity exists and we must act upon it

The launching of the MOVING LORING exhibit will be on the 14th of June at the Museo Pambata, along with the dollhouses and the installation photographs they took during their workshop that was exhibited at Galleria Duemila. They will be displayed at one of the museums major hall ways, accompanied by the 25 treasure chest that the Luneta children will make in the 2 workshops.

Museo Pambata will be exhibiting the show for 1 month in hopes that other foundations and groups will look into this interactive installation and inspire other communities to move forward with the dream.

Musicians, please donate your talent. We cannot pay you a talent fee or an honorarium, but we will try to feed you, and there will be press and it will be exposure. Non-musical? Not a problem, you can still help by donating Php1000 for a street food cart. Broke? Please pass the word and help us get this opening together, and attend, bring everyone you know.

Reply here if you can help out…just a little support is life support to others, remember that. Tugtugan na!

Living on Loring :

ROMINA A. DIAZ: 09272272951

Galleria Duemila, Inc. Art Gallery:
210 Loring Street Pasay City
Metro Manila, Philippines

T +63 (2)8319990
F +63 (2)8339815

Museo Pambata Foundation, Inc.

Museo Pambata
Roxas Boulevard corner South Drive
Manila, Philippines 1000
Telephone: (632) 523.1797 to 98, 536-0595
Facsimile: (632) 522.1246
Mobile: 0918-382-2212


Sunday Inquirer Magazine – FEATURE : Street Dreams May 30, 2008

Filed under: press — livingonloring @ 2:31 am

By Ruel S. De Vera
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: May 04, 2008

MANILA, Philippines – Growing up, Romina Margherita Regina Ancellotti Diaz knew that Loring Street in Pasay was home. Her family’s house was there, No. 210, as well as her family’s Galleria Duemila.Loring Street, a paint splatter’s distance from Taft Avenue, was also home to an impoverished area. Down the street, Romina would often see little girls, “huddled as a group: five- to eight-year-old children playing outside our gate. The driveway of our house was their own little playground. Perhaps it was where they designed their own worlds of make-believe.” She considered the girls her first friends.

Encouraged by her artist parents, Ramon Diaz and Silvana Ancellotti-Diaz, the half-Italian Romina had a childhood full of colors even as she learned to create on her own. “My childhood was the most wonderful memory I have,” the 26-year-old Romina says. “Until now I remember watching the Saturday Group paint.”

She first left Loring when she went abroad to study at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence, Italy. “The last things I saw as I left my childhood home were these girls waving goodbye,” she recalls. “I brought that memory with me.”

Upon returning home, she was met by a surprise. “I found my former playmates with children of their own—malnourished, married, and living the kind of lives their parents and grandparents had lived before them. And the little girls I’d last seen when I left years ago were now in their teens.”

That’s what gave her the idea of getting to know more about them. The idea has since grown into a remarkable art project called “Living on Loring,” which Romina describes as “an educational art project wherein they would discover each other’s humanity and be able to display it as art.”

The art project began with Romina, a bunch of girls and several cameras. There were 12 girls from Loring: Bhe-Bhe, Bhing-Bhing, Marilyn, Butak, Laarni, Joan, Wendryl, Amythel, Joy-Joy, Kim-Kim, Jessa and Ging-Ging. They called themselves the Wild Cats, after their favorite basketball team from the Disney movie “High School Musical.” The cameras were from Romina’s friends who had moved on to digital cameras. “I taught them the basics of photography and asked them to take pictures of their immediate environment and of the people in their community. In doing so, I was able to see their world through their eyes.”

Beyond the photographs, Romina also asked them to build their dream houses. She asked LBC for balikbayan boxes, and the company generously donated 150 boxes. Each girl painted and crafted her dream home from the ubiquitous balikbayan box, the Filipino icon reinvented by Filipinos. Aside from Romina’s ten-week photography workshop, the Wild Cats were also given a creative writing workshop courtesy of writers Dang Bagas, Anabel Bosch and Ginny Mata. Romina’s friend PJ Castro of Kameraworld donated the film and covered developing costs, with other sponsors pitching in as well. The biggest donor to the project was Romina’s mother, Silvana.

Romina’s installations, such as the babes-in-boxes artwork, the Wild Cats’ work and those of American installation artist Ann Wizer soon came together as “Living on Loring,” an art exhibit curated by Angel Velasco Shaw that ran at Galleria Duemila from March 8 to April 25. “I think it was a mixture of provocation, reality, identification and fantasy, depending on the social hierarchy each individual found himself in,” Romina says, describing the response to the show. “The exhibit was a perfect conversation of both our lives finding common ground despite the differences. I cannot find a better way of presenting what I believe art is, than through this project.”

She describes working with the girls as “truly a wonderful experience. It was different from painting on a canvas or sculpturing; I was working with the human emotions and dreams of individual girls, like a color that breathed and had a soul of its own. Treating each of them like fragile blown glass. It was really art with a life of its own.”

She also sees a definite change in the girls themselves, who were amazed at the response during the opening. Romina saw a growing confidence in them. “Despite all this, they will dream, and find ways to achieve what they envision ahead of them,” she says. “Hopefully more people would volunteer to push these girls into making their hopes a possible reality.”

Additionally, she is now putting up the framework of an offshoot book with Anvil Publishing. “We will write about our personal experiences from the show. The body of work is to be accompanied by the photographs that the girls and I took,” Romina says. “We are hoping to get it finished by this year or next.”

Romina says that half of “Living on Loring” is a “migrant show,” since the installation called “The Loring Huts,” composed of the boxes and images from the Wild Cats, is collapsible and, she hopes, can be exhibited to Filipinos abroad. She is preparing a life-sized version of her “Bunched Up in Boxes” installation to complement a forthcoming presentation by her older brother, entrepreneur Illac Diaz, at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

In addition to that, Romina, who is fluent in Italian, will be returning to Italy in August to complete her degree in Fine Arts and Decorations, as “Living on Loring” is actually part of her experimental thesis. “I am planning to either take my masters in art education and art therapy or perhaps work for an arts institution in London which promotes art education and social responsibility,” she explains.

While in school, Romina stays in Florence, where she savors the cultural diversity and the lively discussions. She often camps out with friends on a moment’s whim. “For spontaneity’s sake we pack our bags and head off to some European city we have never been to before.”

In the meantime, she’s spending summer in the Philippines. “I love the people here; their smiles are the most powerful image I carry with me everywhere I go,” she says. Romina treasures the beaches and, in fact, had just brought the Wild Cats to such a sandy spot. This Mississippi-style blues singer, who occasionally busked in Italy’s piazzas, is also hoping to finish what she describes as her “long overdue album.” She is also thinking up another project, this time one that will help the young boys of the nearby Pangarap shelter. She could bring in some Australian graffiti artists to teach “public art, graffiti, stencil and silk printing,” she says. “We intend to create an outside graffiti gallery using ugly wall spaces that lead to Loring Street.” There is also a plan to conduct workshops for teenagers in poor areas.

As for the Wild Cats, she is keeping them motivated. “They all know that their schooling is their first priority,” she says. “My projects hope to instill confidence and social responsibility in them. And they, in turn, would be responsible for teaching the younger children the things they have learned, whether craft or principles.”

For now, Romina continues to find ways of reinventing what is around her, be they images or lives. She is at home on Loring Street, in more ways than one. “I think I am lucky to live here. Living on Loring and being someone the girls consider a friend and an older sister have given me the opportunity to understand and love the humanity that each one of them possesses,” she says. “And how they are now aware of their own power to change things.”

For more information, please call Galleria Duemila at 833-9815/831-9990, e-mail or log on to the Living on Loring Online Journal at

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Meet our girls !!

Filed under: anabel's Journal — livingonloring @ 2:23 am

(an excerpt from Anabel’s Journal, dated February 17, 2008)

Walking the down Loring Street at noon in my shorts and flipflops I was assaulted by “our girls” screaming “Ate Anabel! Ate Anabel!” I felt a bit like the pied piper as I was let through the gate into the Gallery, with my gaggle of girls asking 300 questions as I tried to wake up my still-sleeping brain (it was a Saturday and I had slept at 7am earlier). Romina was about, zipping in and out of the house and the gallery, trying to get things organized for the creative writing chapter of the workshop which Ginny and I would be holding. Outside the gallery were the boxes the girls have been working on, and I got momentarily lost in them- feeling partly a child, as they were- playing with dollhouses they have built. I had to supress the urge to cry- the girls put their dreams into these boxes, not unlike the way I do- though my dreams are written in journals and cocktail napkins, mostly- I too, have photographs I keep that do not have me in them or are of places I have never been to. I could relate- a lot of what these girls want is to go to college (like me, I still often dream of going to school), of a life with a few more creature comforts than a roof over their heads (which is also all that I have), a life with security, where they feel safe, where they feel loved- isn’t that what most of us really just want?

As the girls came in, I scanned their faces, looking for a specific girl- Laarni. She’s had my heart since this project started months ago, when she peppered me with questions and slipped her hand into mine walking down the street from her shanty. She is a beautiful girl, with sad eyes and long hair- she reminds me of my own little girl, Mishaela. The day I met her, she had told me she hoped to go to college and maybe take up computer science. She asked me about Mishka, what she does, what she likes. I promised her I’d find out what her name means for her, as she does have such a lovely name. I still have yet to keep that promise- but now I want to give all the girls (12 of them) the meanings of their names- origin wise, anyway. They give their names more meaning than they could imagine. Anyway, there I was, looking for Laarni. Romina told me she might not come to the workshop- her mother had pulled her out. I had to supress the rage I could feel rising in me. I was tempted to go out and look for her in the shanty town of Loring and speak to her mother. But I didn’t. It is not my place. It turned out I didn’t have to- Laarni made it anyway, very late, but she made it.

We began the workshop and the one thing I noticed about these girls is how LOUD they are. Even hours after we ended, my ears were still ringing. They scream at each other, not talk. Silvana mused that maybe they speak so loudly since they are often overlooked and ignored, the only way to be heard is by sheer volume. It’s a theory I don’t disprove. We did the senses exercise with the girls, blindfolding them and having them taste, touch and smell different things- trying to draw out an emotion/memory/idea from these things. Later on, we played audio of waves, maria callas’ ave maria, laughter, farts etc and showed them photographs, trying to get them to tell stories about what they see or what it makes them feel. Not all the girls could be drawn out, however by the exercise. I thought the workshop we did at Women’s Crisis Center was tough- this was a lot tougher. These girls are young- but in some ways so old, too- but their age comes through with their preoccupation with High School Musical, A1 (there’s a band called A1? I thought it was a steak sauce), and the boys they have crushes on.

But several of the girls stand out: there is, of course, my Laarni, there’s Ging-Ging (otherwise known as Mary Grace) who is 10 years old and Romina or I had to shadow throughout the exercises since she cannot read nor write (her family will not let her go to school)- who made me melt when she told me (since I was writing for her) that it sounded like her mother each time she gives birth when we played the audio of the woman screaming and the baby crying. Despite her handicap, Ging-ging wanted to participate in this workshop and she has spunk, that one. Also there was Jessa, who is a girl after my own heart- everything reminds her of

food. No wonder she wants to be a chef when she grows up.

I’m still getting to know these girls, and strangely, as the process happens, I am getting to know about myself- the girl I once was, who had dreams too, who grew up maybe a little too fast….

I was exhausted after the workshop, barely able to stand (so was Ginny). I don’t know how Romina does this almost everyday, working with the girls. The project was aimed to find out who these girl’s find as their heroes, instead, they became mine.


Living on Loring: the Complete Album March 20, 2008

Filed under: about the project — livingonloring @ 5:20 am

All photos from the Living on Loring project can now be accessed here.

The Wildcats’ Photographs
Images by the Wildcats
Text by Romina A. Diaz

Teaching photography was like teaching them to open another window.

Giving them a camera, they became observers to their realities and extracted themselves from what they were accustomed to. Through photography I was welcomed into their lives with a glimpse into the beauty that exists in the dilapidated walls that construct their settlements much different from my own.

Now I not only know them through pictures, but through actual experience, because they have invited me into their lives with pride.

LoL Workshop

The Living on Loring Photography Workshop
Images and text by Romina A. Diaz

For ten weeks, with help from my friends Anabel Bosch, Dang Bagas, Ginny Mata, and Hannah Liongoren, we taught photography, art, writing and creative installation to twelve young girls who lived on my street.

Outside my steel gate they played, and gathered, although it was something I had seen all my life. After living abroad for four years without coming home, the way I saw things had changed. My eyes had changed.

Silvana Diaz , Angel Velasco Shaw, and Ann Wizer presented me with a concept that dealt with women in my area in which we were to produce art. It would be the kind of art that could break down walls and barriers. I myself had all these walls and so did the girls whose workshop I set out to facilitate, but we found out art, friendship, creating and interaction breaks down walls faster then I have ever imagined.

I thought they would learn from me, but at the end of it all, it was I who learned so much.

Bunched Up in Boxes
Images by Romina A. Diaz
Text by Ginny Mata

Romina A. Diaz explains her installation, “Bunched Up in Boxes”:

These are the children that live on my street. They are my friends and companions and hopefully I am theirs. I know that I cannot save them from their reality, but I know that I can try to make it a little more beautiful than what it is. All it takes is a little time and a little heart.

In the Philippines, a country that boasts of having the third largest mall in the world, millions of informal settlers, living well below the poverty line, populate its cities’ streets.

Entire communities live in cramped one-room shanties made out of discarded materials like corrugated tin, used tarpaulins, and packaging boxes, without access to clean water and legal electricity. On any given street, these shanties often number in the hundreds, even thousands. They are called squatters, or in the vernacular, skwating, because their ‘houses’ illegally squat on land that is not theirs. Frequently, the government deems it necessary to “relocate” them: they are forced to leave, their houses are burned down, and they are moved to the outskirts of another city, where this vicious cycle begins again.

Others who are even more destitute have to make do with karitons (rolling wooden carts), which they move from one location to another, seeking shelter from the elements, and scavenging for food.

This is the kind of nomadic, transient life that the poorest of the poor live there. Relegated to the margins of society, it is hard enough for them to survive, let alone think about the future. Without sustainable educational opportunities available to them, their children are often doomed to suffer the same fate as their parents and their grandparents.