Toni Gregory Palenzuela and some of her mood-lifting works
Unbottling the self during quarantine
‘Doing something with my mind and hands helped me cope with the feeling of isolation’
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:03 AM July 08, 2020
(26th in a series)
PR practitioner Toni Gregory Palenzuela has always been an incurable optimist, to the point of disbelief of some friends. And she has the simplest ways to spread such optimism.
One time, when some friends felt down, she had a come-from-nowhere advice: Wear bright lipstick, or try a different shade every day. Huh? The women didn’t quite know how to react. She explained that color, especially lipstick, had a way of lifting moods. Lipstick, she said, brightened up a woman’s face, like opening up a vista. You had to visualize happy mood, she said, so it would come.That was one advice any woman who likes a lippie—and who doesn’t?—wouldn’t forget easily.
In this pandemic, she found a way of beating boredom and channeling her inner creative self. She paints and decorates bottles she has collected through the years.
“I collected nice bottles with the thought that, one day, I may find the time to create something out of them,” said the founder and chair of the PR firm Bridges.
“While doing my clean-up, I came across beads, broken bracelets and brooches. At first I painted wine bottles with
water-based acrylic. Then my creative instincts led me to embellishing the bottles with those beads and gems.”
Her bottle art took various shapes the longer the quarantine took. “Using the bottles as my ‘palette,’ I got crazy playing with various designs. I was like a child at play. Doing something with my mind and hands helped me cope with the feeling of isolation.
“After the work is done, I look at each and all of them and say to myself, I can do this,” she said.
The new normal tests everyone’s forbearance. When Palenzuela feels down, she tries to remember her life’s philosophy: “I do not postpone happiness, not for myself, not for others. Life is short and unpredictable.” —Thelma San JuanINQ