To me, the palette Be Here of Color Trend 2018 is an allegory of summer vacations in my grandparents’ home in the probinsiya. The colors feel very organic with its dusky mauves, burnt yellow, deep green, and the neutrals black and white. When I look at it, I feel a sweet nostalgia for summers spent in comfortable and safe surroundings with my siblings and so many cousins.

Mood Board 2: Organic Longings Evoked by Palette Be Here
Embroidered leaf fabric on top right is courtesy of The Fabric Bar in Greenbelt 5

Modern Rustic

The Filipino interior style has so much to offer so turn to your roots to find your definition of modern rustic. The use of wood, capiz shells, rattan, solihiya, abaca weaves, baskets, or other handwoven textiles using the designs of today can give that feeling of tradition while still being contemporary. Add modern chairs, lamps, and other modern conveniences like hobs and ovens.

Tip: Use mostly natural materials for your furnishings. You’re helping Filipino artisans who still make traditional handicrafts to earn a living. 

Organic Longings

During those summers, the town was our playground and we explored it from dawn to dusk. The beach was at the back of the house and the town plaza in front, full of century-old acacia trees. Across the plaza was the school and the old church beside it. We could just hop and skip our way to the park which had the statue of Jose Rizal in the middle and an old fountain that was always bone-dry. At the back of that was the municipio with a row of huge sunflowers in front of the building, nodding their heads under the blue sky.

Mood Board 2: Organic Longings Evoked by Palette Be Here
Disclaimer: These colors may not match actual paint

Nature! I took it for granted. But now I feel so blessed that I experienced those summers. We had the time of our lives outdoors as we played so many games, some of which we made up ourselves.

I think it was then that I really noticed colors. Nature was the best teacher in color combinations. When I think now about what colors go together, I notice that my mind does not reach out for the color wheel. It goes back to the things I observed while growing up.

In the mood board above, you will see that I used artichokes and figs, which I discovered and learned to admire when I lived abroad.  I love the spiral pattern of the artichoke leaves. So Fibonacci! As for the fresh figs, I love the delicate light grey strokes and a hint of yellow on a mottled dusky mauve and pale green background.

Magical Mauves

There is so much violet in nature. They come from the sea or grow on land.

Mood Board 2: Organic Longings Evoked by Palette Be Here

A daily visit to the beach was customary in those days, and there I found violet everywhere, in the common sigay (cowrie shell) or cockleshell. There were so many colors but I preferred those with pale violet. The dorsal (or top) side had this delicate mauve hue as if it were painted in watercolor and framed with white. We gathered them for our sungkaan.

Skin diving was not only a test on who could hold her or his breath the longest, but I also liked to look for my favorite sand dollars with their pretty flower-like pattern at the center. They too came in other colors but I wanted those violet ones. Don’t forget the sea urchin skeletons! They too have the violet ones. Getting the sand dollar and sea urchin skeletons from the seabed was tricky because they were very brittle and if you were not careful, you’d break them to pieces.

Mood Board 2: Organic Longings Evoked by Palette Be Here

If the sea has a violet bounty, so does the land. When I say violet, I’m sure halo-halo would be one of your guesses, especially with summer in the offing. Heck, even Obama likes it! However, I don’t. I could never understand the melange of flavors. Too much there going on for me. I like ube ice cream though. Even if it’s not made into ice cream but boiled, purple yams (ube) are really good. Other delicious tubers or root crops that have violet varieties are sweet potato, cassava and taro.

I also like lomboy or duhat, never mind if sometimes it’s tart. Summer is definitely here if you find lomboy and sarguelas in the market. You might contest me on this but I swear that sarguelas, just like avocado, have shades of violet on their skins. And who wouldn’t love chilled milky and sweet caimito on a warm day? Even if they’re green on the outside, they can have bits of violet inside. But the purple ones are really stunning, outside and inside. Just yum!

Have you ever seen cacao pods on the tree? They actually look spectacular hanging directly on the trunk. When they’re young, they could have this purple hue. Freshly cut mature pods have delicately purple-colored pulp. But the treasure of cacao is in the beans, and we know what that makes 😀, and although the beans are no longer violet after roasting, what they are made into is definitely delish!

Another shade of violet which I find so beautiful is eggplant. It’s called by another name in many countries in Europe. Aubergine (pronounced ō′bĕr-zhēn′, ō′bər-jēn). Ang ganda kaya memorize ko kaagad! But here in the Philippines, you can’t ask for aubergine. Better to say talong!

Bananas are violet to begin with before they turn yellow when they’re ripe. If you’ve seen a puso ng saging (banana blossom or heart), you’d know what I mean. The color of the bud is crimson with splotches of purple. It’s a beautiful rich color. I was fascinated by it hanging there against a backdrop of green, and even more fascinated by the taste as it was cooked in gata!

Garlic too has violet streaks on them, just like red onions. I’m sure that you have noticed that before you peel the cloves. Next time that you get to hold a bulb of garlic, enjoy how pretty it looks first before breaking off the cloves and smashing them with your knife.

Yellow Yearnings

Mood Board 2: Organic Longings Evoked by Palette Be Here

The sun drenches the earth in yellow during summer.

I loved it how the yellows became more intense with the light. My grandparents had a garden wrapped around their home and they filled it with all kinds of trees and plants. Near the front gate was this tree with its cascade of yellow flowers. It was aptly called Golden Shower and I enjoyed seeing how profusely it bloomed. It looked like it was having a lot of fun doing that.

Have you ever noticed the dark yellow at the center of a white kalachuchi? Even the pink ones have yellow hearts too. The thick, waxy petals give off this heady fragrance. You can smell it especially at night. I used to pick up the flowers that dropped on the ground and just breathed in its scent.

When we went to the beach, we passed by this red gumamela bush in a neighbor’s front yard. In the middle, sometimes hidden by the red petals, were these itty-bitty, punchy yellow dots which were pollen on the anthers. There’s a study in contrast right there!

The day started at 4:30 in the morning. No kidding. Our chore was to sweep the grounds while the adults cooked breakfast. How we could ever do that task properly when it was pitch dark was something I didn’t fully understand. We had to say “tabi” (excuse me) now and then, just in case we dislodged an elf or two with our brooms. The call for breakfast was very welcome indeed. I loved the eggs even if they were small because they came from native chickens. When you cracked one open, you’d see this deep golden yolk, so yellow that it bordered on orange, and they were so tasty!

The last sunshiny memory I have for yellow that I’d like to share is nangka or langka, that pungent, stinky, juicy fruit with the thorny exterior. I’m not a huge fan. I can eat a few arils but I much prefer the boiled seeds. I don’t know why though when it just tastes starchy.

Greener than Grass

Mood Board 2: Organic Longings Evoked by Palette Be Here

There are certain tropical foliage that look very dark green with tinges of blue, especially when seen in the shade. As a child, I really loved philodendron, and still do today. Although I didn’t know what it was called then, I was just really drawn to those big leaves which had “fingers”.  For the past year, I’ve been putting two cut leaves in a big vase in my living room as a reminder of those summer days. It does not hurt that they are also very trendy. The third reason for having them at home is because they are so low-maintenance, which is great for someone who can kill cacti. And the fourth is that they can last for more than a month!

Banana leaves are equally trendy, even H&M Home likes them on their cushion covers. A banana tree has big, broad blades with supporting midribs, and their colors can range from a light to a deep green. They were so useful. We’d use them as plates during picnics or as wrappers for food like rice, budbud or suman, puto, bibingka, bico, atsal…

Have you ever been to a bamboo grove? The sound of leaves rustling in the breeze was mesmerizing, like secrets being whispered. But then when the stems started creaking, it was spooky. My imagination was never timid, especially not when I heard stories about children being spirited away into a bamboo grove by fairies, never to be heard of again. Now that tale definitely did not end with “And they lived happily ever after.”

Make Your Own Mood Board

Make a mood board. Why do particular colors appeal to you? Cast around for cherished childhood memories and you may find the reasons for your favorite colors. Need help? Make it a family activity and share heartwarming memories of the good, old days.

If you’re planning a nursery, read this post.

Annie H Adlawan
Author

Annie is an unrepentant workaholic, who runs this blog and her own company Talking Lions. She thrives on collaborating with people who are good at what they do, and working together with them to create something special.

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