October 18, 2004
Recognized in his hometown as a folk painter, Elito V. Circa was born in 28 January 1970 in the old town of Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija, his hometown submerged when he was growing up to give way to the construction of a dam. Relocated in higher grounds, where every summer he could see the belfry of the 18th century church resurface from the dam’s low water level, Elito began painting at the age of ten.
His artistic inclination was encouraged by his father, a carpenter who bought him his first painting materials. At the age of eight, he won a children’s contest sponsored by DZRH radio for his depiction of Simatar and Tagani, widely popular fantasy folk heroes whose adventures were serialized on air at that time.
His education was ensured through a scholarship from World Vision who supported his studies all the way through secondary school (awarded Artist of the Year) until he graduated at the Central Luzon State University with a degree in Elementary Education.
Though lacking in formal art training, Elito, as a student continued to paint. His subjects, mostly depicting legends and memories of his old hometown and province, include his signature series on Minggan, the mythical giant who portentously tried to stop the river in Pantabangan from flowing and another series on the evacuation of the townspeople during the construction of the dam. His work has been exhibited locally in his town and throughout the province in schools, universities and malls.
He has received local recognition both in the provincial and regional level. In Region III, he garnered first place both in the National Electrification Administration’s painting contest themed Ecology and Power and in another painting contest sponsored by the Development Council of States, Colleges and Universities in Region III.
Shortly after he earned his degree, he began cultural work through the Nueva Ecija Historical, Cultural and Arts Council under the Governor’s Office. Since then, he has been actively promoting local history and culture among students through his Lakbay-Aral programme and the workshops he conducted under Samahang Makasining(Artist Club), Inc. Both activities complemented with art as the final output of the activities.
Under his leadership, Samahang Makasining has grown at present with 1,500 members from 14 provinces in the country that holds annual conventions since 1999. Through NCCA’s support and Samahang Makasining(Artist Club) Inc., he has organized numerous programmes including projects celebrating Philippine indigenous games and the mounting of a musical on Minggan.
As Tourism Adviser of his hometown, he has spearheaded the collection of artifacts from the old town. He has also promoted the town’s history together with its agricultural products and conducted workshops on integrating arts into the development of rural communities. In 1998, the Civil Service Commission also honored him with a Public Service through Public Trust Award.
At present, he heads the Visual Arts Committee of the Association of Nueva Ecija Artists and is a Member of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ Luzon Visual Arts and Theatre Arts committees.
He also works for the Bureau Postharvest Research and Extension of Philippine as a computer systems analyst and is a member of the Government Organizations for Information Technology and the Agriculture and Fisheries Research & Development Information System, Bureau of Agricultural Research – Department of Agriculture (AFRDIS).