2019 Exhibitions

December 2019
Heritage Art: Helena Alegre Sculptural Jewelry
By Helena Alegre
December 09 – 31, 2019

Exhibition Note
The Science of Chic in Helena Alegre’s Passion for Fashionable Sculpture
By Jessica Jalandoni-Robillos

As easily as entomological scientific names like Dynastes hercules and Anisoptera roll off her tongue, Helena Alegre forges raw silver into perfect tiny spheres for her sculptural jewelry, her re-fashioning of the Philippine tamborin, with a secret method that never fails to mesmerize the privileged few privy to the spectacle. Her hands are those of a true working smith 0 smudged, slightly calloused, her nail polished chipped, all for the love of creating much sought wearable art in the form of flora and fauna sculpted in the tradition of Paracale filigree but stamped unmistakably with Helena’s personal aesthetic.

The artist’s particular yen for insects harks back to the favorite Filipino children’s game of catching beetles and having them battle while tethered to strings held by competing kids. As a grade-schooler, Helena was an avid player and was also fond of catching dragonflies. Despite growing up in the city, she was able to encounter her creeping, crawling, and sometimes flying idols in bustling Baclaran, a commercial district shoulder to shoulder with residential pockets that still have spots of greenery to this day.

Her deft handling of bugs spilled onto paper as detailed sketches of the critters – a talent honed further as she majored in Advertising while studying Fine Arts at the Philippine Women’s University (PWU). It was also then that she was accepted in the prestigious Bayanihan (The National Dance Company of the philippines), the pride of PWU aside from its Arts programs. Dancing for the internationally acclaimed group not only meant the mastery of Philippine traditional dance choreography, it also came with intensive cultural immersion. With Bayanihan, Helena visited indigenour communities whose garb and accessories the troupe would wear for particular dances. There she learned the stories and significance of the tribes’ patterns and symbols that feature both in their clothing and jewelry. Thus, being a Bayanihan dancer afforded her priceless local cultural assimilation.

Already a fan of mythology then ingrained with culture and tradition; blessed with agile hands, a dancer’s grace and strength, attention to form and detail; and fueled with a love for entomology always echoes by her drawings, Helena was certainly geared for heightened creative pursuits. Though marriage and motherhood would be her prime preoccupation upon meeting noted painter Hermes Alegre also in PWU, the artisan in her would not be suppressed. With an antique bead collection, she began creating accessories that were quickly snapped up even during her days as a young mother.

Little did Helena know that moving to Daet, Camarines Norte, her husband Hermes’ hometown, would open exactly the avenue on which her many talents would thrive. Its proximity to Paracale, known for its tonnage of gold, is the primary reason that jewelry merchants abound in the city. Ornate Philippine gold jewelry made in a style that fuses pre-colonial and Spanish flourishes is synonymous with the region. Helena the entrepreneur naturally gravitated toward the creative opportunity and so she took a silversmithing course offered by the province’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Thus began her jewelry-making endeavor which, though well-received and profitable, would be put on hold for yet another marker of Helena’s penchant for the sciences. Earning from smithing and designing silver baubles enabled her to study B.S. Nursing and actually finish with flying colors. Yet again, her artmaking strongly beckoned and her time has since been fully given to award-winning sculptural jewelry that now has her exhibiting collections abroad and sharing business and creative insights in talks she gives locally and in other countries as well.

Interacting with foreign designers has made Helena very proud of Philippine jewelry smithing traditions. To visit her in her Daet studio that she impishly calls “the pit of Tartarus” is to see the artist carry out the distinctly Filipino method of making and it is truly fascinating to witness processes, calculations, amd mixture ratios she discovered on her own and has kept as her trade secrets. It is her wish to continue to pay her success forward in her adoptive province with the livelihood offshoot of her brand. This NCCA collaboration with Helena gives audiences a glimpse of her workspace, her inspirations that include found objects, and the sculptural pieces with their accompanying design sketches that are world class paeans to Philippine heritage.

Hermes Alegre
By Hermes Alegre
December 09 – 31, 2019

Exhibition Note
Hermes Alegre
By Cid Reyes

In one of the timeless poems of the great poet T.S. Eliot came the classic lines: “In the room, the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo…”

Unbidden, these oft-quoted lines rose unbidden in the mind while one was in the studio of Filipino artist Hermes Alegre. Then the artist was in the thick of preparation, at work simultaneously on a number of paintings, as evidenced by the canvases, in various stages of creation, line against the walls of his breezy studio.

For decades now, Hermes has consistently painted a singular image: the Filipina in the midst of nature. While she comes in various guises and faces, she epitomizes the spirit of the Filipina, variously described by the viewers as dusky and exotic, mysterious and distant, a tropical pulchritude and a serene grace, a beguiling sensuality barely concealed by a fleeting glance or a modest downcast look.

But what really completes the art of Hermes Alegre is the lush thick foliage that inhabits all his canvases, and in fact, inhabits the women, turning them into woodlan nymphs, becoming embodiments of Mother Nature herself. Ladies of enchantment, they are the modern-day incarnations of the diwata, the mountain goddess of Philippine mythology that to this day can hold a hypnotic grip on a contemporary audience.

Indeed, it is well worth recalling that Hermes started his youthful artistic calling with paintings of foliage – vegetation that may not have the planned design of a well-tended garden, but nonetheless possess a natural order, a rhythm and harmony set by the heat of the sun and the blessings of rains, according to the plan of nature. Both are nourishments not only of the soil, but of the soul – the spirit of the place: what is known as genus loci.

The other wonder is: how has Hermes Alegre sustained this iconic image through a multitude of works? The answer must ultimately lie in the artist’s capacity to continually refresh, and re-energize the character and charm of the image that has now become so popular with the public.

As to his catchy name, a note of curiosity is always struck. After all the name Hermes, aside from being associated with a premium fashion brand, is also a Greek god, the god of messengers: born to Zeus and the mountain nymph Maia. The artist, however, proffers a more prosaic explanation. He was in truth named after his grandfather named “Hermogenes.” But as the name was perhaps too resonant of the old world, and a tad unpronounceable, it was modernized and shortened to the cool and hip appellation “Hermes.”

And yes, in the local art world: the artist has become a brand name, too. In the gallery, the audience comes and goes, talking of Hermes Alegre…

November 2019
Talon ni Hermisanto
By Hermisanto
November 05 – 30, 2019

Exhibition Note
Persistent fields, vital visions
By Randel Urbano

“Talon” (Ilocano for “field”) aptly clusters the pieces presented in Hermisanto’s newest exhibition. The abstractions composed of a variety of vivid colors and streamlined shapes graft their perceptual existence by the artist’s meticulous use of the rice hull. Hermisanto relates that his practice of art odes to the patience and endurance manifested by the real heroes of our society who, despite the ever-escalating precarity of their lifeways, continue to strive forward and beyond: “Like the multitude of Filipino farmers waking up early to go to their rice fields, I find the break of day, mostly at around four in the morning, as the powerful and convenient time to create and work on my rice paintings.” Just recently in 2019, Filipino farmers have yet been again on the spotlight sadly not because of their long-lasting contribution to the prosperity and sustenance of the society. They have been nonetheless relegated by the public eye as neglected and exposed, unable to defend themselves from the weights and demands of contemporary society. We know the bulletins of oversupply of rice and inflation of its prices, as we hear and see that local rice farmers are unable to sell their own produce. These conditions of vulnerability permeate across all our facets of our daily lives. And yet, as Hermisanto annotates and advises through his art installations, we should continue resisting these conditions and actually aspire to “heal from this ill, along with other societal anxieties, that ravage our land and our people.”

We turn to art not just to be inspired and to express but to examine the conditions that surround us in order for us to grow and move forward beyond hapless circumstances. For Hermisanto, there’s a particular diligence in touching and assembling art pieces helmed in thought and in deed by the raw crop that the farmers tend, and that no mechanical or digital technology can replicate the thoroughness that the practice or creating artworks by hand made possible by the compromise of having enough amount of time. The authenticity and directness of the medium predisposes us to consider resourcefulness as an intrinsic character of the artist. As born of a generation of Filipino artists who seek to re-create philosophy, identity and disposition by looking back, ploughing inward and keenly examining what is here at home, Hermisanto winnows visions of persevering cultures interdependent with rice. The collection in “Talon” are his most recent heaps of inflected lights, shades and textures borne from an artistic intuition expanding for more than forty years. Tedious, fragile and intensive, the work processes of Hermisanto make manifest a selection of apparently fundamental shapes, figures and landscapes, almost unperturbed by the necessity of simulating volume to infer convoluted intentions and tensions. Depth and gravitas are however tangible as the artist cores essences of the commodified everyday and the hurried seasonal through the most immemorial icons and symbols: plants, clouds, sun and moon. A thousand pieces of husks become vital actors in constructing imageries, each minute existence playing a part: A plain with flowing light, the graduation of the light as it touches darkness, mandalas floating and glowing, apparitions of granary gods. These effervescences exist in Hermisanto’s constructed voids which are too created from the balance of husks assigned as background and the firmness of the jute cloth on which all husks visually live.

In 2015, art critic Cid Reyes wrote to write off ‘mere novelty’ while reading Hermisanto’s abstractions through rice: “But if Hermisanto’s palay were mere novelty, how could the artist have sustained his vision for over ten years, since the essence of novelty lies precisely in its quick obsolescence as an idea, in its sure dissolution into gimmickry?…For Hermisanto, the palay has been an art-sustaining force, like the fertile earth itself, whence it sprung, in a perpetual cycle of regeneration and harvest and cooking, feeding the multitudes of the Filipino race, through endless generations since time immemorial.” Abstraction suitably equips and enables Hermisanto to deliver his message as an artist and his message as a member of a community cultured by rice. As a racial mnemonic, the image, medium and subject of rice quickly and flexibly generate a universe of scenes and an atmosphere of toils maximising translatability of thoughts and narratives. The current set of graphic fields encased and framed poetically by the artist opens up persistent visions through history, encouraging us now to question what has been done and to meditate on actions which can be made.


Sugid: Works by Visual Artists from Bohol
Curated By: Leo Abaya
Featuring: Geovanni Abing, Pedro Angco Jr., Nicole Asares, Sam Bulaga, Henri Cainglet, F Jordan Carnice, Jhacky Curambao-Aballe, Vincent Omar Dagdayan, Irish Galon, Sylvia Gonser, Guy Ido-Bernaldez, Joseph Ingking, Lucell Larawan, Gabi Nazareno, Jumjum Ouano, Anna Palban, Jeffrey Sisican, Julius Tongco
November 07 – 29, 2019

Curator’s Note
By Leo Abaya

Everyone has a story to tell. The images we see around us convey stories and we in turn can do that. But the difference from writing is that writers tell, visual artists show. What cannot be said or written can be shown. Likewise, Ludwig Wittgenstein had put it: “What can be shown, cannot be said.”

Sugid is the Bisayan word that means narrate or tell a story. Nineteen artists from Bohol show stories in this exhibition.

There are stories culled from memories of family, from songs and cautionary tales captured in moments and in sequences. There are testimonies celebrating self-acceptance. There are also stories of land and sea and of natural and built heritage confronted by contemporary life.

The basic idea is to express them with more intensity than ordinary images – the sketch the snapshot or the selfie. More importantly, the aim is to demand from the viewer a more personal encounter with the iconographies, medium and materials in order for the works to be more than just pleasing forms or pretty pictures.

October 2019
From Manila to Dhaka: Unity in Diversity, an Art Exposition
With the Bangladesh Embassy – Manila and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation
Featuring: Abdoul-Ganiou Dermani, Antoni Grabowski, Bashar Alhroub, Dinh Duc Vinh, Esmeraldo Abalde, Fadly Sabran, Kali Das Karmakar, Kamal Uddin, Maitree Homthong, Marco Miranda, Nicolas P. Aca, Jr., Sourav Chowdhury, Tres Roman, Uwe Jonas
October 07 – 31, 2019

From Manila to Dhaka: Unity in Diversity, an Art Exposition
By Uwe Jonas

The programme of the exhibition From Manila to Dhaka: Unity in Diversity stands for an area of life that permeates all societies, as if hidden from consciousness: It is the overarching communication of artists and cultural travellers. In our particular situation, the artists exhibiting in the NCCA Gallery met for the first time at the 18th Dhaka Biennale last year and got to know and appreciate each other in the course of numerous events and discussions.

Artists and creators of culture are actively involved at the borders of the ever-increasing global societies to open ip emerging peripheral areas. In Dhaka, the topic of Art and Contemporary Narratives was discussed in terms of potentials that offer an understanding beyond the political and economic systems that have prevailed up to now. On the one hand, these potentials lie in art and cultural mediation in the field of pedagogy, which conveys sustainability and transformability to future generations. In the field of cultural mediation through art exhibitions, the opening of the 18th Dhaka Biennial was breathtaking; while a political demonstration took place in the streets, hundreds of people pushed their way to the National Art Gallery through the streets and the barriers of the body detectors. It was obvious that Art is a space of action for national self-evidence to the People of Bangladesh.

In addition to curatorial exhibitions, artists are taking the initiative to collaborate, galleries, museums, and other institutions play a vital role in shaping the concept of art. Artistic discourse is conducted across mediums such as photography, film, painting, sculpture, and performance. And while classical concepts dominated the past, the interests of international institutions have shifted towards networking. At the same time, the previously free-form approach has been left behind for the completion of common passions, mutual interest and understanding, and the potential for future projects that presented the opportunity for the upcoming exhibition “From Manila to Dhaka: Unity in Diversity.”


Exhibition Synopsis
Boundless Art
By Tres Roman

“From Manila to Dhaka” is a gathering of newly-formed friendships, connected through collective participation in the 18th Asian Art Biennale, held in Bangladesh. Attending the Biennale is a source of revelation, that there are so many artists around the world that are concerned with creating and establishing their individual identity as artists, and how to sustain and survive the ever changing art scene. This exhibition is a thesis, to search for answers to so many questions about the promotion of art, associating and networking, and most especially how to be united in diversity; of disciplines, traits, beliefs and cultures. Bangladesh is a great example of a nation being true to their cultures, traditions and art, and being a proud nation despite adversities. Solid as if change will not ruin their passions, they are very enthusiastic in promoting art by having international festivals, presenting all forms of art. While we are all so diverse, the world can still come together through the arts, and that artists can be a good medium for peace, goodwill, and harmony.

The Journey to Becoming: The Lullabies for Peace
By Mudjahid “Kublai” P. Millan
October 14 – 30, 2019

Artist Statement

This exhibit seeks to connect where the seed for peace has been planted a decade and a half ago when I was starting out as a Mindanao artist and what this longing for peace by every ordinary Mindanawon has inspired. It has been a long journey, it took long before the stori. But everything has come together now, there is just the creating and the fanning of hopes especially among the young. Hope lang, galutaw (just hope, floating), giving them a chance to dream, making them realize there is a future.

– Kublai


Exhibition Note
The Lullabyes For Peace

In 2014, while making the “Christ the Redeemer” monument in Misamis Occidental, perched on the gigantic monument he was making, he was observing the bay below and noticed the puffs of clouds above it, very peaceful, very calm, seemingly unmoving, yet constantly transforming. It was when there dawned within him the conviction that peace can be achieved if we were like clouds.

Curatorial Note
The Journey to Becoming: The Lullabies for Peace
By Stella Estemera


The Lullabies for Peace is the coming together of the artist’s journey back to Mindanao and his longing for lasting peace in Mindanao. It seeks to connect the artist’s first monument and the interactions and realizations that came with it which Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” P. Millan carried and nurtured within him for a decade and a half to become the distinguishing thread in the tapestry of the artist’s massive body of works since his return to Mindanao in 1999.

In 2002 while doing a commissioned work for the Provincial Capitol of Sarangani, the artist was able to interact, live with, and photograph the Blaans, one of the indigenous peoples tribes of Sarangani. In the peaceful setting of Lemlifew, Kublai first fully appreciated and fell in love with the IPs and the concept of peace in the lands as worked out by indigenous knowledge and ways. From those photographs are derived the images that now surround the Davao City National High School (DCNHS) in collaborative mural paintings by art students, local visual art groups, and Manila muralist Archie Oclos with Kublai completed in 2018.

The deep longing for peace, however, came to fore when the peace negotiations between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have seen several major disappointments that would erupt into armed conflicts.

Kublai was pushing the art community to be a vehicle for peace, but it was a difficult task. Desperate to encapsulate peace, he resorted to prayers and what came forth was the metaphor – lullabye, oyayi; where the land is lulled by music, by beauty, as perceived by the ordinary Mindanawon.

The initial concept was brought out in his one-man exhibit at the Marco polo Hotel in 2014 entitled “Lullabyes.” The thread has already been spun and has since started to weave through every concept: From the photographs to the one-man exhibit to a collaborative exhibit “MindanaOnce” which featured photos of Marawi City taken by a peace corps volunteer in the 1960s, to the mural paintings that now surround the city’s biggest high school, to this proposed exhibit…and beyond.

September 2019
Within 4 sqm.
By Hershey Malinis
September 10 – 30, 2019

Exhibition Note
By Krystle B. Malinis

What fits in a four-square-meter space?

A recliner chair.

A 60-inch television.

A four-seater dining table.

A two-door refrigerator.


The percentage  of Filipinos living below the poverty line is estimated at 16.1 % (PSA, 2018).  Working blue-collar jobs, with some as carpenters or street peddlers, they are forced to live in homes they call ”condominiums,”  which are mid-rise multi-storey structures made with scrap materials.

Hershey B. Malinis  explores printmaking  as a  medium to  present a   physical plot,  utilizing  design configurations in the form of variable cubes. She makes prints of maps of Manila    Baseco, Malate, Smokey Mountain    in  multiples  on boxes which  are then  assembled to form  an enclosed space, depicting that of a “condominium unit. 11

Within 4 sqm recreates the dwelling space based on her actual visit to an urban poor community in the city of Manila. Upon entering the condominium,  a  steep staircase leads you to the upper floors with narrow hallways. The confined, rented “unit’  houses   a family of five, and shares a communal toilet and bathroom with  others living within  the condominium.  Lit  by only one bulb, the  unit serves all the functions of a  regular home, from the kitchen and dining sections to the living and sleeping areas, all within the limited space. Opposite the entry door is a  permanently-shut window, while a  bed   the only furniture in the unit    is positioned against the wall. The latter is made of wood and spans the width of the unit.  It is set high from the floor to accommodate boxes underneath it    personal items, kitchen utensils, and a rice cooker. Clothes hang from a  hook on the right wall, while an electric fan is mounted on the left. The little remaining space (not occupied by the bed) serves as the seating area for dining and alI other activities.

Now then, what fits in a four-square-meter space?

A whole family.

The space is constructed with reused corrugated boxes similar to what people sleeping in the streets use for temporary comfort. The result represents the realities of poverty: unstable but livable, scarce but sufficient.

In a  world where people strive to fit  in, the idea of this  experiential exhibition  is to break free from society’s usual perception that  confined space means limited  opportunities  and access to  life.  For others, it is enough to survive the arduous Iife in the city despite challenging conditions.

Step into the four-square-meter space and see beyond its boundaries. Where you are standing right now is where the real story begins.

Center and Periphery
With the Philippine National Historical Society and Manila Studies Association
Featuring: Celeste Lecaroz
September 02 – 30, 2019

Exhibition Note
Center and Periphery
By Dr. Marya Svetlana Camacho
Assistant Professor
Department of History
University of Asia and the Pacific

While these two spatial concepts are mutually delineating – they are understood as being relative to each other – in historical reality they overlap in varying degrees. Urban spaces are generally conceived as administrative and socio-economic centers, whose built environment contrasts with the naturescape of the rural. But in this photograph exhibit, perhaps a more striking differentiation of “location” in Philippine colonial society at the turn of the nineteenth century is that of unwesternized individuals vis-a-vis colonial subjects. Thus at first glance, modernity seems to define its peripheries.

Bagamat kapwang bumabalangkas at magkaugnay ang dalawang konseptong ito ng espasyo – center (sentro) at periphery (kaligiran) – sa realidad ng ating kasaysayan, may mga pagkakataong nagkakaroon ng pagtatagpo ang dalawa sa iba’t ibang antas ng interaksyon. Madalas na itinuturing na sentrong administratibo at sosyo-ekonomiko ang mga espasyong urban, at kasalungat ng kapaligiran nito ang kalikasan ng espasyong rural. Ngunit sa mga larawang nasa eksibit, kung saan inpinapakita ang kolonyal na lipunang Pilipino sa simula ng ika-19 na siglo, mas kapansin-pansin ang pagkakaiba sa konsepto ng “lokasyon” sa pagitan ng mga taong hindi naimpluwensiyahan ng Kanluran at sa mga taong tuluyang nasakop. Kaya naman sa unang tingin, ang pagiging moderno ang siyang nagdidikta kung alin ang center at ang periphery.

Upon closer look, however, the Philippine urban scenes here depicted give the impression of being in a distant foreign setting. In effect, they seem to constitute peripheries to the photographers’ center. Seen through the camera lenses, the individual representatives of Philippine natives, whether Christian or infieles, become doubly exotic.

Gayunpaman, sa mas masusing pagtingin, mayroong impresyon na tila mula sa malayo at banyaga ang mga eksenang urban sa Pilipinas na inilalarawan sa mga litrato. Masasabing nasa kaligiran ang mga ito ng mga taong kumuha ng larawan na siyang sentro. Mula sa tanaw ng lente ng kamera, ang mga indibidwal na kinatawan ng katutubong Pilipino, Kristiyano man o infeles, ay nagiging lalong higit na kakaiba.

We can reflect on how such photographic portrayals might have shaped their first viewers’ knowledge about the Philippines. In turn, to what extent did these civilizational distinctions influence the self-image of our forebears, and today our concepts of Filipinoness? In sum, how do these depictions figure in the Filipino imaginary?

Mula sa mga litrato, maari nating pagnilayan ang mga tanong tulad ng: Para sa mga unang nakakita ng mga ito, paano kaya hinubog ng mga larawan ang kaalaman nila tungkol sa Pilipinas? Sa kabilang banda, gaano naman kalalim ang impluwensiya ng pagkakaiba ng kultura sa pagtingin ng ating mga ninuno sa kanilang sarili, at sa kasalukuyan, sa ating konsepto ng pagiging Pilipino? Sa kabuuan, paano itinatampok ang mga larawang ito sa kamalayan ng mga Pilipino?

Celeste Lecaroz’s interpretation of the photographs in her spontaneous realist manner offers a pictorial response to some of the foregoing interrogation. The vigorous strokes and vibrant colors that characterize her paintings usher the viewer to a fresh appreciation of the photographs, and at the same time to feel the subjects’ contemporaneity.

Nag-aalay ng tugon sa katanungan ang interpretasyon ni Celeste Lecaroz sa mga litrato, sa pamamagitan ng kanyang mga ipinintang mga larawan sa istilong spontaneous realism. Ang masiglang pagpinta at matingkad na mga kulay ay nagdudulot sa sinumang tumitingin ng panibagong pagpapahalaga sa mga larawan. Gayundin, panapadama ng mga ito ang kaugnayan ng mga naisalarawan sa kasalukuyang panahon.

The photographs on exhibit were selected from the personal collection of Dr. Bernardita R. Churchill, president of the Philippine National Historical Society and founding member of the Manila Studies Association. As part of her lifelong dedication to Philippine history, the public display of the photographs as a form of historical knowledge is another and no less effective way of cultivating interest in history. This is the third exhibit featuring photographs from her collection sponsored by the NCCA.

Pinili mula sa personal na koleksyon ni Dr. Bernardita R. Churchill ang mga larawan sa eksibit. Si Dr. Churchill ay pangulo ng Philippine National Historical Society (PNHS) at isa sa mga nagtatag ng Manila Studies Association (MSA) noong 1989. Bilang bahagi ng kanyang habang-buhay na pagtataguyod sa pag-aaral ng kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, isinapubliko ang mga larawan bilang epektibong pamamaraan ng paglinang ng interes sa kasaysayan at kaalamang pangkaysaysayan. Ito ang pang-apat na eksibit na nagtatampok ng mga larawan mula sa kanyang koleksyon at itinataguyod ng NCCA.

August 2019

Threads That Bind: ASEAN Textiles in Contemporary Times
With the Department of Foreign Affairs
August 05 – 21, 2019


Exhibition Note
Threads That Bind: ASEAN Textiles in Contemporary Times

Clothing, along with food and shelter, is one of the essential needs known to man. Although its main function is to protect man from the elements, clothing is also used to adorn one’s body, display one’s wealth and status in society, and as a tool for self-expression. In some cultures, clothing is closely linked with modesty, tradition, or religion, with limiting rules and guidelines. In a rapidly changing world, however, one would agree that clothing serves as a constant identifier of a person or a group at a particular place and time.

The ASEAN region, with its vast tapestry of a diverse landscape and culture, is home to various groups with distinct characteristics that are also manifested in the way people dress. With emphasis on textiles and clothing, the exhibit aims to display the richness and diversity of ASEAN member countries as well as its dialogue partner countries in the region. The exhibit also aims to emphasize the remarkable craftsmanship of artisans and at the same time celebrate the common thread that links the ASEAN/Asia-Pacific community as one.

The exhibit pieces, which graced the first anniversary of the ASEAN Culture House in Busan, South Korea were designed by prominent Filipino designer Renee Salud, best known for his contemporary approach to traditional Filipino clothing and creative use of fabrics from the ASEAN region. His choice of textiles portray traditional weaving techniques that have been reinterpreted and reinvented to more stylish designs, while retaining their recognizable traditional features and aesthetics.

With the pieces displayed in this exhibition, one can observe and appreciate the centuries old tradition of weaving and textiles in the ASEAN and its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region. Through the skillful hands of artisans from the participating countries and the talented designer, one realizes that textiles can be modern without losing its identity and distinct features. Apart from the textiles, similarities in material (silk), patterns (geometric), and surface embellishments (beadwork and embroidery) are also evident in the designed pieces.

By using clothes as a means of highlighting ASEAN textiles, its colors and craftsmanship, the exhibit draws attention to the rich culture and traditions that bind the ASEAN community. The exhibit is likewise a fitting tribute to the 52nd founding anniversary of ASEAN on August 8, 2019, that is celebrated within the full month of August.

The River Flows North
By The Art Portal Gallery for Contemporary Art
Featuring: Dennis Puzon, Dominick Pilapil, Rene Pilapil, Charlmaila Macadawa, MC Hope Loayon, Paula Feliciano, Rita Bustamante, Art Bongawan, Rey Bollozos
Curated By: Laya Boquiren
August 05 – 31, 2019

Exhibition Note
The River Flows North
By Laya Boquiren

The metaphor of a great river provides a crucial framework for the artistic engagements of platforms like Art Portal, Gallery for Contemporary Art Davao and its artist-collaborators. They continuously confront the categories ‘Philippine contemporary art,’ ‘Mindanao art,’ and what it means to be an artist from Davao. The exhibit is also a prequel to their collective participation in the forthcoming Mindanao Art Fair.

The idea of a river flowing North not only connotes the journey from one’s hometown of Davao to another locale but also the transmission of visual cultures that embody individual sentiments and place-worlds. Home is the place where one is not only physically entrenched but also affectively emplaced. Place can also be a frontier where several identity streams coalesce. Mindanao itself is like a great river with complex identities constituted by ethnicity, class, gender, and belief systems. Despite a long history of conflict, there is an overflow of material and intangible heritage. It is a site where one maintains kin networks and envisions a more sustainable future. Whether spurred by precarity, unwanted circumstance, or the desire for opportunities in the labor market – the necessity to venture out of one’s home may generate several dispositions. One contends with the unfamiliarity and malevolence of the metropolis, either restlessly wandering or skillfully traversing one’s way in previously uncharted territories. Others rush forward towards labyrinthine paths and treacherous terrains. Still, others may ride along the changing of the tides, hopeful that they will soon reach placid waters.

The artists in the exhibition have been navigating artistic platforms that are akin to contact zones. Some find themselves anxiously observing differential relations of artworld potency. Others have resiliently maintained their artistic praxis while emplaced in Davao. A few once left but returned to recover a sense of home, like creative souls ready to be healed and restored by the great river. Informing their visual repertoire are individual memories, existential questions, collective assertions on locality and family ties, anxieties about dwindling natural resources, meditations on toil, and the occasional resistance against stereotypes associated with ethnolinguistic groups in a region. Indeed identities are shaped by the experience of the place yet transformed as people occasionally dwell in liminal spaces and thresholds.

In this exhibit, the artists cruise along artworld currents as through traversing a river flowing North. Perhaps as an artist-run platform facilitates the multidirectional flow of material and ideas, the meandering rivers are destined to return, nourishing others along the way?

July 2019
Saturday Group Affirmation: 50th Anniversary Exhibition
By The Saturday Group of Artists
Featuring: Daisy Carlos, Amado Hidalgo, Nida Cranbourne, Franklin Caña, Maryrose Gisbert, Joseph Villamar, Aner Sebastian, Buds Convocar, Joy Roxas, Tessie Picaña, Lydia Velasco, Migs Villanueva, Robert Deniega, Roel Obemio, Rudy Lunod, Francis Nacion, Selina Kyle, Geronimo Bercero, Eman Santos, Ysa Gernale, Salvador Ching, Anna de Leon, Omi Reyes, Hermes Alegre, Jaime Gubaton, Sheila Tiangco, Helena Alegre, Gerrico Blanco, Anthony Palo
July 08 – 31, 2019
Exhibition Note
By Ricky Francisco

In the brief speech given by founding member Alfredo Roces during the opening of the exhibition Saturday Group Gold at Cultural Center of the Philippines last March 2018, which kicked off the yearlong celebrations of the group’s 50th Anniversary, the venerable painter and writer said that “The Saturday Group seems very much alive today, much more formally organized, to the point I understand it runs its own art gallery. The activity of contemporary art in the Philippines at present is to my mind, bountifully overwhelming. Walking through this Saturday Group exhibit here at CCP, —reuniting with the works of old friends and seeing new expressions of the contemporary Saturday Group— I am touched by nostalgia and joy.” In a few lines, he has marked the differences between the group that he cofounded in 1968, and the group as it is now; as well as how art has changed in expression over the years. In the fifty years that the group has continuously been running, it has weathered economic and political changes. It has seen the peso to dollar ratio vary from four pesos to a dollar to fifty pesos to one, and back to its gradual strengthening. The group has changed from a social gathering of otherwise solitary artists and those who admired them, to a formal and duly registered artists’ association known as the Manila Premier Saturday Artists Group, Inc. running its own art gallery inside one of the metropolis’ leading malls. This was not without its share of growing pains. Splinter groups, coups in leadership, disparaging accusations both by critics and by members from within its rank covered by the press which threatened the group’s own existence – the group has survived it all, and has persisted. It has seen artists through times of censorship and a weak market which seemed adequate proof to the popular conception of the starving artist; to periods of plenty, where the group has collectively given substantial funds for charitable causes for the good of the society. It has contributed to the change of the artist’s stature from one of social disapproval to that of celebrity and respect. The group counts among its member eight national artists for the visual arts, which cements its importance in Philippine Art History. As an artistic collective, the Saturday Group has introduced various visual forms that have gained acceptance in our canon, mainly the interaction painting, and the painting of the nude by the group, which at the time they did it, was contrary to the conservative norms of society. Roces is quick to point out “the new expressions of the contemporary Saturday Group”, which has evolved to quite a few strains away from the modern expressions of the older batches. From the optimistic whimsical figuration which veer towards cute, to grungy steampunk and meditative textural color field abstractions; from traditional landscapes and still lifes, to the various forms of figuration and styles depicting women, from painting, sculpture, installation, and even jewelry as artistic media of choice; this current Saturday Group affirms the legacy of all its older members and brings it closer to the Filipino people. As a closing exhibition of the fifty-year anniversary celebrations of the Saturday Group, Affirmation attests to the dedication of its current members, which Roces, in closing his speech a year ago at the CCP, congratulated “for carrying the torch that extra mile forward.”

Saturday Group Timeline


  • First meeting at the Tazade Oro spearheaded by founding members HR Ocampo, Alfredo Roces, Tony Quintos, Enrique Velasco
  • HR Ocampo introduces the “kitty,” where artists attending the session will share in expenses for the snacks to avoid burdening individual artists with the responsibility of footing the bill. The kitty will evolve into a mandatory contribution which covers model’s fees, among other things.
  • Successive meetings as social events which turned eventually into earnest art activities like landscape sketching, nude sketching, and interaction painting with exhibitions at F. Sionil Jose’s La Solidaridad Gallery, and Luz Gallery
  • First Philippine exhibition devoted to nudes at the La Solidaridad Gallery
  • Occasional sessions in private homes of collectors to members chosen by HR Ocampo
  • “10 Years of Saturdays” by Alfredo Roces and others, is published


  • One of the nude models to pose for the Saturday Group regularly becomes the first scholar funded by the Saturday Group
  • The peso weakens from Php 4 to a US dollar, to Php 6


  • First Interaction Painting
  • First Philippine exhibition devoted to Interactive Painting at the La Solidaridad Gallery
  • Critic Paul Zafaralla questions the legitimacy of the interaction painting


  • Martial Law is declared. Public gatherings are more controlled.


  • Carlos “Botong” Franciscio, whom the Saturday Group considers its own and visited in Angono frequently during its early days, is awarded National Artist status posthumously


The Cesar Legaspi Years (1978-1994)



  • HR Ocampo dies, the Saturday Group convince Cesar Legaspi to take on leadership
  • Chalk pastel is introduced resulting to more colored sketches
  • Out of town invites to the group


  • Vicente Manansala is recognized as a National Artist for Visual Arts. He was a Saturday Group member.


  • Juan Gatbonton criticizes Saturday Group sessions as “Tupperware parties” of art in the Financial Times (February 2, 1982)


  • Saturday Group moves to Finale Art File. Collectors, onlookers, and other gallery owners no longer join. Sessions become more structured and focused on practice, and the occasional art talks
  • Ninoy Aquino is assassinated. The peso plunges from Php 8 to a US dollar, to Php 20 in a period of six years slowing down the market for art


  • President Marcos is ousted, and President Corazon Aquino is sworn in.


  • Cesar Legaspi, then current leader of the Saturday Group, is recognized as National Artist for the Visual Arts


  • HR Ocampo, first leader of the Saturday Group, is accorded the status of National Artist for the Visual Arts


  • President Fidel Ramos takes office


  • 25th Anniversary Exhibition at the SM Megamall Art Center


The Current Saturday Group Years (1994 to present)



  • April 7, Cesar Legaspi dies
  • Confusion over leadership ensues between Malang, who was entrusted the leadership by Legaspi, Onib Olmedo, who garners the most votes in the first ever elections convened by the Saturday Group. Jack Teotico and Malang engage in a word war in the Manila Chronicle. Onib leads very briefly, Malang takes over. The factional “Saturday Morning Group” is formed in protest.
  • The Saturday Group pays for the “HR Ocampo Professional Chair” at the ASEAN Institute of the Arts
  • The Saturday Group has regular sessions at the Corinthian Gardens and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila
  • The Annual Group Exhibition is made mandatory


  • The official Saturday Group logo is designed by Ben Francisco
  • The group holds frequent sketching sessions at the Giordano clothing line office in Quezon City, courtesy of Larry Lim


  • The monthly newsletter “Saturday Balita” is published
  • The group transfers sketching sessions to Shangri-La Mall


  • First Saturday Group overseas trip to Hong Kong funded by the group “kitty” despite the “Asian Crisis” where the peso devalues from Php 26 to a US dollar, to Php 41 within one year
  • Arturo Luz, Saturday Group member, is given the National Artist status


  • Malang resigns, Cris Cruz is appointed as new president
  • The group’s constitution is drafted and adopted
  • A probation period of two months is put in place for individuals wanting to join the group
  • Outings and sessions outside regular venues is made available to everyone in the group
  • President John Estrada is sworn to office
  • The Philippines celebrates its 100 years as a republic


  • The group goes to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Asia Art Gallery is opened to the group by James Onglepho, the gallery owner who is also an artist member of the group


  • President Joseph Estrada is impeached, and replaced by Vice President Gloria Arroyo
  • The peso weakens from Php 40 to a dollar, to Php 50


  • Francisco “Frank”/”Paquing” Verano is assigned leader of the group
  • Ang Kiukok, Saturday Group member, is awarded the National Artist status
  • The newsletter “Saturday Balita” is discontinued


  • The first Saturday Group fund raising art raffle is made. This will be continued annually until the present to fund group outings and charities, including a scholarship
  • Judy Araneta-Roxas provides the group with a gallery space at Alimall, while Crucible Gallery provides the staff, both free of charge. In April, the exhibition “Unang Sibol” inaugurates the gallery


  • “The Saturday Group Book” by Alya Honasan is published
  • Jose Joya, Saturday Group member, is awarded National Artist status posthumously


  • President Gloria Arroyo is voted into office, continuing her term from 2001
  • Buds Convocar is given the role of president of the group


  • Benedicto “Bencab” Cabrera, a Saturday Group member, is recognized as National Artist


  • Anna de Leon is assigned as president of the group
  • “The Saturday Group” hardbound and full-color coffee table book, written by Migs Villanueva, is published


  • Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, a member of the Saturday Group, is recognized as National Artist


  • President Benigno Aquino III takes office
  • Buds Convocar resumes second term as President of the group


  • Migs Villanueva is assigned to take leadership of the Saturday Group


  • Forty-eight years after its initial meeting, The Saturday Group is issued the certificate of incorporation as the “Manila Premier Saturday Artists Group, Inc.” duly registered artists’ association “to create an awareness and interest among Filipinos of our rich cultural heritage especially in the visual arts by developing and sustaining the highest quality of art among its members and to promote/sponsor scholarships for needy but talented art students” through the help of Atty. Jose Ferdinand Rojas.
  • President Rodrigo Duterte is sworn in as the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines


  • Omi Reyes is elected as President of the Saturday Group
  • The Saturday Group Gallery is opened in Shangri-La Mall


  • The Saturday Group celebrates its 50th Anniversary


  • The Saturday Group closes its 50th Anniversary celebration with an exhibition at the NCCA Gallery in Intramuros, Manila

June 2019
Unfairy Tales
By Mideo M. Cruz
June 10 – July 5, 2019
NCCA Press Release

Exhibition Note
The Fantasy of Production
By Lisa Ito

You are stepping into a space populated by strange icons.

Here, shelves are weighed with composite figures: assembled from toys and things that have seen better days, or harmless hours of play. Hung on the walls are found paintings by unknown artists, salvaged and modified by its irreverent collector. Arranged on the floor are salvaged dental casts, a midden of mouths agape.

This surreal pastiche of objects comprising Mideo M. Cruz’s solo exhibition, Unfairy Tales, operates on an impulse beyond whimsy, through a method beyond mad fumblings, and across a longer, more committed duration within the artist’s own history.

Cruz started producing hybrid idols ten years ago, first for a solo show titled Deities (2010, Galleria Duemila) and quietly pursued this series alongside other installation, performance, and painting projects. His process of collection remains constant across the decade: salvaging materials from his immediate ecology, in nearby spaces of surplus production that dotting this country tied to manufactured imports. Cruz picks up the discards of global excess: objects found in Japan surplus goods stores, sidewalk stalls, and public markets both in rural Gapan and urban Taguig.

Whatever their final configuration, each assemblage is inflected with the symbolic traumas of the colonial past: Spanish religious iconography, American pop culture souvenirs, orientalist tropes. Any trace of the indigene recedes; one can almost map the networks of global centers and postcolonial spaces across which this entire economy of goods originates.

Salvaged from obsolescence and reassembled as defamiliarized icons, Cruz’s assemblages open up space to revisit the logic of global production and the fantasy of consumption. Unlike sacral spaces, the gallery setting does not offer us any promise of real world redemption. But—in reflecting how the very history of Capital within the postcolony yields tales where endings are often not magical, ideal, or happy—it aids in offering a safe space for ruder awakenings to unfold.The Fantasy of Production
By Lisa Ito

You are stepping into a space populated by strange icons.

Here, shelves are weighed with composite figures: assembled from toys and things that have seen better days, or harmless hours of play. Hung on the walls are found paintings by unknown artists, salvaged and modified by its irreverent collector. Arranged on the floor are salvaged dental casts, a midden of mouths agape.

This surreal pastiche of objects comprising Mideo M. Cruz’s solo exhibition, Unfairy Tales, operates on an impulse beyond whimsy, through a method beyond mad fumblings, and across a longer, more committed duration within the artist’s own history.

Cruz started producing hybrid idols ten years ago, first for a solo show titled Deities (2010, Galleria Duemila) and quietly pursued this series alongside other installation, performance, and painting projects. His process of collection remains constant across the decade: salvaging materials from his immediate ecology, in nearby spaces of surplus production that dotting this country tied to manufactured imports. Cruz picks up the discards of global excess: objects found in Japan surplus goods stores, sidewalk stalls, and public markets both in rural Gapan and urban Taguig.

Whatever their final configuration, each assemblage is inflected with the symbolic traumas of the colonial past: Spanish religious iconography, American pop culture souvenirs, orientalist tropes. Any trace of the indigene recedes; one can almost map the networks of global centers and postcolonial spaces across which this entire economy of goods originates.

Salvaged from obsolescence and reassembled as defamiliarized icons, Cruz’s assemblages open up space to revisit the logic of global production and the fantasy of consumption. Unlike sacral spaces, the gallery setting does not offer us any promise of real world redemption. But—in reflecting how the very history of Capital within the postcolony yields tales where endings are often not magical, ideal, or happy—it aids in offering a safe space for ruder awakenings to unfold.

Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas sa PIDUBS
By the Philippine Women’s University Fine Arts Alumni, Faculty, and Students
June 10 – July 5, 2019
NCCA Press Release

Exhibition Note
By Karen Ocampo Flores

Representation is not a neutral phenomenon. Within contexts of social placements and mobilities, it is charged with intention and outcomes about power. It also moves and changes as cultural assignations through different periods in time

Consider then the logo of a woman dressed in the fashion of turn-of-the-century Philippines. She sits on a wall ascribed with a foundation year. She reads a book as she clings to a pillar where a lamp burns, its light undimmed by the rays of the sun which also shines on a building standing amidst the landscape in the background. This is an assemblage of symbols adopted by the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) in its early years. Far from the stability of the objects surrounding her, the woman’s pose is an uneasy one. The wall denotes a divide, and how the woman sits indicates that her position is undetermined.

A hundred years ago in 1919, Paz Marquez Benitez, Clara Aragon, Concepcion Aragon, Francisca Tirona Benitez, Carolina Ocampo Palma, Mercedes Benitez and Socorro Marquez Zaballero— seven accomplished women from some of Manila’s prominent families, opened a non-sectarian school dedicated to the idea of educating women to be civic leaders. This was the founding of Philippine Women’s College with an initial batch of 190 women as students. It was an idea ripe for implementation two decades into the rule of the United States over the Philippines, when education spread wide across the regions and became accessible to every child from the age of seven. For these pioneering women, building the future nation was hedged on preparing women for professions; a feat of heroism that was called for in their time.

For indeed, just less than two decades back, Aurelio Tolentino— playwright, member of the Katipunan, and co-conspirator of General Artemio Ricarte— was arrested in 1903 for stomping on the US flag in the midst of the first staging of his drama “Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas”. Denounced as seditious, the play is now recognized for its anti-imperialist stance, a rebuff to the colonizers of past and present, but also a condemnation of fellow Filipinos as traitors to the cause of freedom. Yet despite the furor of the flag-burning, the future conjured by Tolentino in the play was about an independence grudgingly granted as covenant with Inang Bayan, the Philippines as mother country, by Bagong Sibol, the United States as the young, the newly born, the recently colonized who herself was the new colonizer.

The function of allegory in Tolentino’s play, was to position the national political powers of his day as personages bent on conquering the beauty and wealth of the extolled Inang Bayan, the matriarch so often invoked in the speeches and writings by Filipino heroes and patriots. The play itself operates as its own world, bringing together worlds of political interests through human players with their own agendas and affectations. For Taga-Ilog, the case for freedom is proven by an organized horde prepared for war. But this is not the evidence that convinces Bagong Sibol. At the behest of Inang Bayan, a group of children led by a girl and a boy present a book narrating the nation’s sad history. The book then unfurls as a flag and Bagong Sibol recognizes the children’s conviction in refusing to be slaves into their future.

Within Tolentino’s metaphor, the words in a book are texts, chronicles of learning that directs the yearning for emancipation. Yet our present reading of our contentious society places still places education as divisive, elitist; a nest for unrest and rebellion. It is prized as a commodity rather than a right.

By 1932, the college established for the leadership of women became the Philippine Women’s University, the first university for women in Asia, and one that would open its doors for both men and women, and also for all levels of learning later on. On its centennial year, it is geared for both thanksgiving and celebration. It has survived the throes of nationhood, the Second World War, the tides of its political and cultural affiliations. It continues to branch in the regions despite the complications and litigations about its real estate and business dealings.

This exhibit therefore is hedged on that very complexity of institution and its continuity. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are the threads that weave through this centennial exhibition, produced through the initiative of the PWU School of Fine Arts and Design and the SFAD JCB Studio Gallery. It intends to channel along with its actual achievements, notions of promise, aspirations and the flux about the certainty of its very future.

Kahapon, ngayon at bukas is the KNB of curator Noel Soler Cuizon’s concept of a social installation about what is also affectionately called Pdubs, the current vernacular monicker for PWU. In viewing the convoluted significance of education as institution, the project straddles the binary between structure and agency through the scaling of architecture, new media and the diverse possibilities to be found in treating wall paper as object found, reclaimed and responded to.

To wall with paper is an allusion to cover-ups and illusory projections. But it is also the means where the peopling of institution could be represented, through its alumni, faculty and resident students. Through the construct of walls, the visual performativity of wall paper opens an engagement about stability, but perhaps also about art learning as mayhem. There will be no doubt though about the certainty that participation builds a base for the combined energies of conventions and perspectives.

This activity intersects with the archival evidence of the meanings conveyed by institution. On one end, the interiority of historical residue will be encountered, yet the exteriority of its social valuation is also apparent. In this sense, the duality of archives as assignments of both the past and an imagined future is inevitable.

As the question of institutionalization radiates through the exhibit, it is also an assertion of installation art as sociological exercise. This curatorial decision is informed as much by the habits produced by and directed to institutional work, centered on systems for learning but also synced with the moral discourse about how we should evolve from self, community and into society. Against a determinist drive, an installation can be an allegory about the dynamics of transformation.

And the lot that has been done, a hundred years hence. After seven women gathered their minds and acted on the problem of transcending how women are pinned as allegories of institutions, and become institutions themselves. And from a farther, contested and colonial past, a dramatization of political worlds and personas that dares to confront the past, to acknowledge the truth about what the present has become, and to freely persist towards one’s vision of becoming.

May 2019
Abstraction | Obstruction: A Discourse on Faith
By Wilfredo N. Offemaria, Jr.
May 13 – 31, 2019

Exhibition Note
By Jacinto Jalandoni Robillos

Having established a middle ground between whata E.H. Gombrich considers the early Christians’ preference for simplicity that merely depicted sacred episodes from the teachings, and the “Iconoclasts’” adamant call for the sole utilization of abstract symbols and patterns, Wilfredo Offemaria Jr. attempts to question how one questions one’s faith. He does so by blending figurative images of well-known Christian iconography with more contemporary and vibrant abstract elements such as cartoon hearts, multi-colored grid lines, and the occasional trademarked brands or logos. One such piece that displays this is “My Haring Heart” that works as an ode to Keith Haring’s brand of pop art with the use of the signature heart from his “Love” line of illustrations. This is simultaneously a wordplay as the use of “Haring,” its root word “Hari” being the Filipino translation of “King,” still symbolizes the traditional devotion of Christians in the Philippines – notable the figuration of Christ is adorned with the national flag’s rays of the sun as his crown. Through this technique, whether the viewer initially sees the figuration or the abstraction, or favors to notice one over the other, or just interprets them all together, Offemaria plants the question: is faith an abstraction or obstruction?

The heavy query can be seen even in the most miniscule of details. The Bauhaus-esque lines prominent in the collection, most noticeably being the main abstraction in the pieces “Quis Ut Deus,” “Pieta,” and “Hear Me,” portray the artist’s take on the debatable role of faith. Specifically in the latter mentioned piece, one can mistake these lines as either pedestrian lanes or jail bars. Thus, it begs to ask whether what we “hear” is a guiding path or a form of confinement; further enforcing the question of how one sees or examines one’s faith.

This critical dialogue extends into the territory of contemporary concerns. Apart from questioning one’s priority in the perception between religious figurations and extant obstructions, a discourse on topics such as the addiction to technology can also be seen in “The Fall of Man.” not only does he juxtapose man’s present-day entrancement with advancements with the biblical temptation of Adam and Eve, he also manages to suggest that it is all but worship through the piece’s name sake and the use of the Apple logo, the world’s spearhead of technological trends, as the forbidden fruit. In line with this, much from the series brandishes the idea that the faith not only questions faith, but also “real world” ideas and circumstance as well.

Perhaps the vast selection of how one can interpret Offemaria’s works is best summarized by his piece “Scutum Fidei – Shield of the Trinity.” Showcasing how the trinity has many faces but is truly one greater image brings about the idea that faith is not limited by predisposed concepts of our religion; it is a continuous concept that can see and be seen in many ways even outside what is usually considered “separated from the Church.” The piece itself is an interpretation of a Christian visual symbol of the very same name which expresses the doctrine of the trinity; with each part not being any of the two, all the while affirming the three parts as one God. It is all the same with faith and Offemaria’s pieces on faith, that though they may not directly be associated with introspective and external dialogue, they nonetheless serve as factors that drive us to continue pursuing these questions that influence the one world we are in.

Panublion: Scenes and Stories
By Anthony Fermin
May 13 – 31, 2019

Exhibition Note

Born in 1976, Visayan artist Anthony Fermin, has come a long way. His works have been exhibited in Negros, Cebu, Manila, Germany, Austria, and the United States.

He paints the everyday lives of Filipinos with playful yet confident strokes. Each canvas, exuding vibrant hues and colors, depicts life filled with hope. His animated renditions of common scenes express his pragmatic views of culture and heritage.

In this exhibit titled “PANUBLION” (Hiligaynon for Heritage), Fermin renders scenes and stories from Silay, Negros Occidental, his wife’s hometown that he has come to love as his own. Out of this fondness grew a passion to capture the city’s long-running love affair with cultural heritage.

April 2019
By Ged Merino and Aze Ong
April 11 – May 3, 2019

Exhibition Note
Fiber and Threadbare Lives
Patrick D. Flores

The works of Ged Merino and Aze Ong thrive on fiber. It is fiber that in the same vein thrives on the work of others. Such work may come in the form of a found object or from the labor of memory. These are lingering habits of very basic lives. In other words, the work weaves around impulses around it; and it leaves traces of itself and of the stimulus. In the course of the process, fiber turns into some kind of structure or shelter that becomes part of a larger intricacy, an architecture or an atmosphere. As there is painstaking effort to tie, knot, twine, crochet, entangle, cut, or suture, so there is the generosity of the art to belong to or spring of the wild that is akin to weed after rain that either disfigures the garden, or enhances the ecology all together.

Merino looks at the tricycle as a vehicle in many senses. It is a public transport, but it is also a private space. He speaks of situations in which the tricycle undergoes a cycle of improvisations, refunctioned according to need and the ingenuity of what may well be a translator of materials. From this tendency of the tricycle translator, Merino is inspired to spin his own mediations around the flexible and versatile tricycle. It is an equivalent gesture of adornment, a way of proposing another life to the already storied existence of the tricycle.

Ong likewise addresses the condition of scarcity that underlies the creative necessity with which the tricycle is crafted. It is tempting to romanticize resilience; and the artists try to resist this by insisting on the prospects of transformation. For Ong, the diligent sourcing of clothes from multiple piles and the sensitive putting together of the yarns of the years references a possible defense against both the political elements and nature. The fracture of art becomes a procedure of resistance against deprivation and discrimination. To be exposed to the vagaries of social weather is to be vulnerable and bare. It is this condition that touches Ong and moves her to offer a shelter or a swarm of fabric to richly surround bodies susceptible to exploitation.

While Merino’s silhouette intuits a recognizable object, which is the tricycle, Ong’s configuration intimates looser and freer forms which are less indebted to iconography. This being said, the tricycle in the long run sheds its original carapace, as it were, when it takes on the livery of complex thread work and elaborated upon extensively and with spirit. These artistic productions thus finally transcend the opposition between order and chaos, stasis and inventiveness, as they reveal the contingencies of survival that delicately test the limits of both the agency of humans and objects and the ecology of life forces. What might be of interest in the future is to see how the fiber that has been aestheticized as textile is given the opportunity to unravel, to fray, and to let those who must survive remember, always, the struggle to stitch in time.

Romancing the Inevitable
By Vincent Padilla
April 11 – May 3, 2019

Exhibition Note
A World Held in Common
By Randel C. Urbano, Guest Curator

Vincent Padilla renders an urgent social concern by way of sculpture for this project. The composition is an installative collection of a hundred half-heads and five five-footer sentinels which gave us as an instant sensation that reels from our soles. Our eyes actually are the first ones to feel this fizzle or current, as the impending suddenly becomes visible even without all other apertures of a mise-en-scene of a disaster. The cryptic totems are here, stolid and reticent as if the nver came from the artist’s fabrication shop. The works, like ancient monuments, are reminding us of a place and time that might be. At the controlled indoor setting of the gallery floor and amidst the metropolitan throb of the public square, we are enforced to linger. The invitation to stay and interact emanates all from the surface. We are literally grounded and so are the objects, but the cast of characters are condensed to be imagined to exist under our line of sight. The species’ hollow eyes are crafted to gaze straight on, towards somewhere or something else, never rising or direct to meet and encroach ours.

Oriented like icebergs, the polyfiber resin sculptures might be perceived as a social barometer for a larger domain of repressed anxieties. We are provoked to fill the other forms, movements, and ecosystem beneath the tangible and stable imagery of a hard floor or a grassy ground. But is the ground really solid, or through the figuration of the pieces, are we asked to think of the ground where they are set as something viscous like water, mud, or a sinkhole? An impulse for the viewers is to stopp to the species, perhaps to belabor about their textures skin or to step back and gain a better perspective of the troop of heads. Some of the hundred pieces are with acrylic marks alluding to the patterns created by indigenous peoples of our country, while some are coated with husks, dirt, and ground beans: raw materials from nature. We can gush and be aloof for a while, for the dominance and security of our horizon is above all of these objects’ vista. That’s if we deem that they too – despite the inferred soreness of their posture – can still see. Albeit the density of the art pieces, we can feign ascendancy since they are just things created, positioned in place, destined to be gazed upon.

Perhaps a tiny whisper comes to us to really stop, look, and ponder: Can they be us? Can this be our future? It has been said that the greatest equalizer is nature’s wrath. Her floods, earthquakes, and firestorms can denude all human diversity and convert us all back into our most basic and common state. As the artist indulgently relays, the future he romanticizes is expired, depleted, nalubos. It might also refer to a future completed or fulfilled. The sphere where the works are placed is still a “no-place,” a utopia shuttling between dystopia and eutopia. A definite message is forged and seared on the voluminous yet seemingly noiseless visual by Padilla: It’s not all in our heads, it is already here in front of us. Timelines to the future are fabricated now. It is through our will that we succumb to our own misdemeanors and drown, or force our way and imperatively rise from the consequences of our own doings.

About the Artist
By Jonathan Libarios Rondina, Contributor, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Vincent Padilla was born in 1976, in San Juan, the Philippines. He obtained his Masters in Fine Arts at the College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines. He has received numerous awards in national art competitions as a student and as a practicing visual artist. His work has been exhibited in Manila, Kuala Lumpur, New York, Singapore and other parts of the region. He also teaches at the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde and is a mentor to emerging artists-students who are passionate enough to join national art competitions

March 2019
Floral Splendour
Featuring: Remy Boquiren, Lydia Velasco, Addie Cukingnan, Lisa Villaseñor, Naomi Banal, Flor Baradi, Chie Cruz, Sheila Tiangco, Tet Aligaen, Inka Madera
March 11 – April 3, 2019
NCCA Press Release

Exhibition Note
“FLORAL SPLENDOR”:   Working Like A Charm
By Cid Reyes

“Bulaklak…kay ganda ng bulaklak…dulot s’atin ay galak…” –George Canseco

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” –Gerard de Nerval

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse

Take it from the founder of Impressionism, Claude Monet: “I must have flowers, always and always!”

Indeed: which living creature, of whatever age, in whatever place on God’s beautiful earth, has not succumbed to flowers’ uplifting beauty and gloriousness, seduced by their vibrant and vivacious colors? Throughout the ages, since antiquity, flowers have been an everlasting presence in the handiworks of mankind – from the ancient Egyptian papyrus paintings and ceramics, the mille-fleurs, or “thousand flowers” tapestries, the Medieval illuminated manuscripts, the Italian Renaissance mythological paintings of Sandro Botticelli, the 16th century Dutch and Flemish floral arrangements, the waterlilies of Monet and the sunflowers of Van Gogh, down to the 20th century works of Georgia O’Keefe and the Pop silkscreen paintings of Andy Warhol. 

Closer to home, our very own Juvenal Sanso painted, until the twilight of his years, his own distinctive flowers. Like Monet, Sanso, ever the prolific artist, has shown by the plenitude of his lifeworks, that he must have flowers, always and always. 

Inspired by the flower’s timeless appeal and allure, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) presents “Floral Splendor,” a bouquet of paintings done by an all-woman group of artists. 

Participating artists are Tet Aligaen, Naomi Banal, Flor Baradi, Remy Boquiren, Chie Cruz, Addie Cukingnan, Inka Madera, Sheila Tiangco, Lydia Velasco, and Melissa Villasenor.

Tet Aligaen

“As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world.” – Buddha

More than any flower, the lotus is transfixed in the history of Buddhism and Hinduism. The lotus is even mentioned in the Bible, in the book of Job. An aquatic plant, it is rich in symbolism, representing purity of body, speech and mind. It is said that the Buddha could walk anywhere and forthwith, lotus blossoms will appear. The Confucian scholar Zhou Dunyi wrote: “I love the lotus because while growing from the mud it is unstained.” India and Vietnam adopted the lotus as their national flower. Steeped in murky waters and mud but nonetheless rising out clean and pure, the lotus emerges as a theatrical spectacle of nature. 

As the water lily was to the French Impressionist Monet, so is the lotus for artist Tet Aligaen. She has christened her lotus paintings by the time of day in which the lotus, having preened the whole day long, commences to enfold itself into the darkness of twilight. Thus, the works are caught at a tender moment, at the day’s last gleaming.

More impressively, Aligaen has even transfigured the lotus into a piece of copper sculpture: a large scale long-stemmed  flower lying supine, reposeful,  on a table top. 

Naomi Banal

“No Ordinary Flower” is how Naomi Banal titled her floral works. “Inspired by the simplicity of pressed flowers” is where their origin lies. Naomi Banal essentializes her subject by reducing its form to its most arresting design: the petals flaring out into a corolla, the cluster itself radiating into abstract shapes, impervious to any defining botanical species. Thus unnamed, Naomi’s flowers are unconstrained, uninhibited, able to float in undetermined space, awash with the wettest of pigments, flooding and bleeding into each other, their fluidity restrained only by the artist’s designing intelligence. Thus treated as abstraction, Banal’s flowers have been set abloom, radiantly inflorescent.

Flor Baradi

In a brazen volte face stroke, Flor Baradi’s unexpectedly rejected color in her works, in effect denying the charisma of chroma – the propulsive potency of the image.  (Can one even imagine a black and white rainbow?)  After all, is it not color that is the crucial imperative which the very subject demands of every artist? To visualize a flower purely in starkest black and white, in pen and ink, divorced from the very source of its allure,  is not an act of treachery and betrayal, but is in fact  one of unapologetic homage to the subject. By her strict observance of a floral form, Baradi has become more sensitively aware of the act of drawing, realizing that she has indeed found her ideal vantage point of admiration and meditation of her subject.

Remy Boquiren

In triptych format, Remy Boquiren arrays the theme of the classic “Three Graces.” Based on Greek mythology, it celebrates the three daughters of the god Zeus and Eurynone, namely Aglaia (elegance, brightness), Euphrosyne  (mirth, joyfulness,) and Thalia (youth and beauty. From the famous neo-classical sculpture of Antonio Canova, down to the works of Peter Paul Rubens, Pablo Picasso, and our very own National Artist BenCab, the image of the entwined sisters has charmed us through the centuries. Remy Boquiren is no exception, as evidenced by her own native version where the Three Graces have been transfigured into demure and winsome Filipinas, clad in native attire, and delicately posed amidst a garden abloom with vegetation and flowering plants. The bristling Bird of Paradise, with deep orangey hues, inflects the scene, even as the three Filipinas are each lost in reverie in the lush bosom of Mother Nature.  Another is a Cordilleran maiden rendered in sheer incandescence of light as if she were possessed by the spirit of an ethnic nymph.

Chie Cruz

“A flower is a literal color bouquet, spanning the entire spectrum.  But beyond the obvious visual appeal of vibrant colors, I am fascinated by their formation, with their petals budding outwards from the middle. I find myself so captivated by their minute details. But why do we harvest and cut flowers before they are able to bring forth their seeds? They just wilt and die. It is the flower’s beauty that is the greatest danger to itself. My paintings are my tribute to the tenacity of flowering plants, ever evolving to bring its next generation.”

While some painters may focus on the still beauty of flower, Chie Cruz engages herself with its fascinating motion, the flowing of petals in a centrifugal display of movement, budding outwards, or wavelike upon each other, or shifting and stirring. She catches their movement in mid-efflorescence, as if the flower were hesitating to burst forth, the very expression of modesty and shyness – it will not be rushed – until, hastened by the sun and the rich loam, the flower announces its magisterial presence and breath-taking flamboyance, ready to enthrall the viewer. Compositionally, Cruz depicts flowers as a crossbreeding between the representational and the abstract, and finds no contradiction in the process. 

Addie Cukingnan

The signature floral painting of Addie Cukingnan is a white magnolia nestled around an antique Chinese blue-and-white porcelain vase. An allusion to her Chinese ancestry, the vase itself is a canvas for floral decoration, providing an interesting contrast and parallel, in surface: the smooth polish of the glazed vessel and the pearlescent petals of the magnolia. Essentially, what Cukingnan paints is a still life, a genre of painting familiar visually to the public – an arrangement of inanimate objects on a table top – though the audience may not be familiar with its history, dating back to ancient Greco-Roman times. The word is derived from the Dutch stilleven.  Not surprisingly, flower painting flourished in the Dutch Flemish countries, especially in the sixteenth century.

The artist paints in the silence and solitude of her studio in Tanay, Rizal. Painting still lifes is for the artist a solacing activity.  With her quietly considered floral works, Cukingnan brings to mind the opening words of Desiderata: “Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.” Addie Cukingnan paints the stillness of her magnolias and Chinese vases.

Inka Madera

“As an artist, I tend to navigate the physicality of my subject. To me, the real beauty of a flower relies on its relation to human experiences and perception. I imagine the possibilities of altered realities to bring it into a new illuminated imagery where coexistence is evident. The flower blooms and withers, and so doI I!”

Inka Madera’s inspiration is the flower Amaryllis Belladona. The very name sings a seductive siren song. But Madera warns: “It is beautiful, yet a poisonous one.” And what a calamitous end lies in store for the innocent viewer, a very victim of a fatal yearning. And such sheer allusions to Snow White’s poisoned apple, or for Christian Dior’s luxe potent perfume. Succumb to Madera’s floral image: the toxic belladonna…the deadly nightshade…

Sheila Tiangco

The solidity of Sheila Tiangco’s floral work comes from her utmost respect for the eloquent patterns of her lines upon which she has total control. The viewer senses that the artist had the whole vision of the flower already realized even prior to the first moment’s touch of the brush on the canvas. The approach is craftsmanly without being turgidly inflexible, without looking “made to order” by nature. The artist is never seduced by a flower’s vaunted power to intoxicate the aesthetic senses, which, when pitched to an over-the-top voltage, will reach a level of visual shrillness that can instantly negate the delight and charm, the lure and enchantment we expect from a floral image.

Lydia Velasco

“I paint because there is in my soul love and caring. I want to show the inner strength of a woman, and to give beauty to life.”

The floral works of Lydia Velasco are inevitably, irresistibly, colored, in many senses of the word, by her paintings of women. This writer once observed: “Perhaps the best compliment one can give the women paintings of Lydia Cruz {as she then signed her works} is to say that they were painted by a man. But before the feminists start pelting us with palette knives, the statement simply means that the works do not betray the gender of the artist.”  Indeed, in Velasco’s works, the flowers never really were a dominant presence. Writers have often commented on the “masculine” quality of her women, with their massively rendered physiognomy. Thus, in the work that represents the artist in the show, the flower asserts its presence, in a decidedly unfrilly-fashion. Like a gaping orifice, with its quaking ardor and avidity,  Velasco’s flower beckons the viewer, a voluptuary, into a pleasurable aesthetic paradise. (The flower, after all, is the plant’s reproductive structure, effecting pollination.) The women of Velasco intermingling with a flower is the very sight of sexuality and spirituality. From these universal forces is distilled the inner strength of a Velasco woman.

Melissa Villasenor

It is commonplace to assume that an artist chooses a particular flower as the central focus of her art, responding to its renowned, peculiar, or enchanting attribute. To be sure, distinct floral forms and colors will appeal as a particular challenge to an artist.  But may it also be said, rather mystifyingly, that it is the flower itself that chooses the artist, insinuating itself in the subconscious through memories that could be dredged in the artist’s childhood and youth? Such things as places, experiences, associations, even scents, may surface unbidden, triggering an unexpected impulse in the artist.

For Melissa Villasenor, the bougainvillea is the flower of profusion, a most appropriate claim as the word derives from the Latin profusionem, meaning “a pouring out.” Indeed, the bougainvillea proliferates in an outpouring of paper-thin petals, transparencies of light emitting as it were from the flower’s epidermis. Like a humongous bouquet, the clusters of petals are massed together in an explosion of color. Furthermore, the bougainvillea’s lack of self-preciousness is especially appealing: it is to be found in unabashed plenitude on side roads, walls, rooftops and metal drums filled with soil. Thus blooming in vivacious shades of red, orange, pink, and white, the lush and lavish bougainvillea bursts in resplendence in the artist’s canvases.

Literally a stamp of approval is the printing of Melissa Villasenor’s “Pink Bougainvillea” as a Philippine postal stamp.

Bayaning Inday: Ilongga Artists Mothering Behind Bars
By the Women Artists of Iloilo City District Jail in collaboration with Fine Arts Major Organization (FAMO), University of San Agustin, Iloilo City
Lead Artist & Curator: Ma. Rosalie Zerrudo
March 11 – April 3, 2019

Curator’s Note

BAYANING INDAY unveils the story of pain, survival, resistance and resilience of women mothering behind bars. The people-centered process of art making evolved into a Restorative Social Enterprise.

Inday Dolls are iconic Ilongga artworks symbolic of inner architecture rebuild as rehabilitation support for women behind bars.

What started as a simple art workshop as psycho-social support, defined a new sense of freedom. Navigating in a tight small crowded prison space, women like overflowing bodies share the politics of tolerance, compassion and love.

Enter the world of compassion where a woman who knows love is free.

Bayaning Indays’ weapon for survival is but love as the source of inner power as anchor to much needed strength to continue mothering behind bars.


February 2019
From Above and From Below
By UE Buklod Sining, for their 30th Founding Anniversary
Featuring: Allan Soriano, Angela Nicole Alarilla, Harmsley Bantillo, James Benedict Calleja, Jayrol Bonito, Jerome Daguplo, Jesse Camacho, Kenneth Sunga, Kiko Moran, Maica Borlagdan, Melo Adriano, Reyster Delos Reyes, Rolandson Operio, Shane Delfin, Timothy Tatel, Vincent Santos, Ysabela Santos, Ace Aquino, Angeline Tabilog, Ayan Padilla, Bayani Galera, Bernadette Banigoos, Bryan Marticio, Elvin Jay Macanlalay, Jay Condeno, Jay Ragma, John Lanbert Rafols, John Rey Aquino, Kimi Teves, Lei Manto, Loren Dayrit, Mars Sanchez, Nico Nunag, Olan Ventura, Richard Soriano Legaspi, Ronwell Jason Bacani, Trish Djamco, Fitz Herrera, JM De Olazo, JP Duray, Michael Villagante, Nikko Pelaez, RC Camarines, Wipo
February 14 – March 06, 2019
NCCA Press Release

Exhibition Note
By Pamela Leila L. Santos Galera

Unconsciously, the society imprints on people’s minds things they think they should know and how they should know it, surmising these are the only things there is to know. This phenomenon has plagued generations for ages where only the voices of the few are heard. Mankind’s recorded history would only talk about the great and how through their greatness, the world was made a better place. History seldom speaks about those who are considered commoners, the ordinaries and the so-called invisibles. Therefore, what is chronicled and made known to everyone, could not be solely right. What people know may not be always right as there are many more things there is to know.

As the saying goes, “There are always different sides to a story, and usually the truth is found in the middle.” Those written and recorded to be read could only be the narratives of those who are above – the influential, the powerful, the elites. The ones who are below, whose voices and stories remain to be whispers, unheard, misunderstood, ignored, buzzing and floating around. There may be no factual findings, but the stories cannot be called false nor fake. Their narratives are just waiting for the right minds to understand patient ears to listen, eyes that could see beyond what is on the surface and storytellers brave enough to lend their voices for these stories from below to be heard.

Hence for its 30th founding anniversary exhibition, Buklod Sining gives you “From Above and From Below: Narratives that deserve to be uncovered and made known.” The exhibition, as timely as it may seem, simply picks up the deprived, neglected and sugar-coated narratives deserving to be tackled and heard in their most realistic and purest forms – not from what the history or society wants people to see, hear and made to believe – but from the lenses, voices and minds of the ordinary – the people and their reality. Macro level issues from political and societal dimensions to micro-level conflicts of personal, familial, emotional and psychological struggles have been a norm to many, as society made them to be. But what is forgotten, is that behind these news-worthy matters are real people – each equipped with an individual and idiosyncratic tale deserving to be made known.

Its time to go below.


Anonymous Animals: Metaphor, Myth, Magic, and Reality
Featuring: Jana Jumalon Alano, Hersley Casero, Amelia Duwenhoegger, Sharon Dadang-Rafols, Raz Salvarita, Rianne Dawn Salvarita, Danni Sollesta, Kitty Taniguchi, Michael Teves, Iris Tirambulo, Babbu Wenceslao, Karl Witllin, Alma Zosan
February 12 – March 06, 2019
NCCA Press Release

Exhibition Note
Anonymous Animals: Metaphor, Myth, Magic, and Reality
Dumaguete Artists at NCCA Gallery
By Kitty Taniguchi

In these contemporary times, the spectrum of fantastical mystery unfolds a never-ending birthing in the periphery of the artistic, creative mind – deepened through experiential realities, dreamscapes, and the metaphysical unknown. 

Fourteen artists embark on awakening their anonymous animals. They present art pieces that are informative and engaging, interesting and telling. They tell stories honed out of personal mythology, folk tale, empirical experience, history and travel – and the imaginary, magical, religious reality. 

And in the process, artists channeled through various interpretations of the theme and explored different usage of materials; and given flexibility of engagement regarding the choice of ideas for the artists to present – by picking up a term from the theme as a point of departure for their idea or ideas of subject matters; and even opt to immerse into a more comprehensive and in-depth interpretation of the whole theme itself.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Mariyah Gallery present this exhibition in celebration of the National Arts Month.

Anonymous Animals project in 2011 was shortlisted by the Arts Network Asia (ANA). 

January 2019
Sisidlan ng Kabanalan
By the Intramuros Administration
January 08 – February 03, 2019
NCCA Press Release

Exhibition Note
Sisidlan ng Kabanalan


In 1979, the IA was established for the orderly restoration and development of Intramuros as a monument to the Hispanic period of Philippine history. During its early years, IA was active in collecting art and artifacts from this era. Through the IA’s efforts, an impressive collection from this aspect of the country’s cultural heritage is available for the enjoyment of the general public.

This exhibit is a contemplation on the concept of vessels. A sisdlan or vessel and the holiness or values it contains can take many forms and be interpreted on various levels: an urna as an artistic and devotional reliquary; the image of Mary as a signifier of the persona venerated in the Litany of Loreto as the Spiritual Vessel, the Vessel of Honor and the Singular Vessel of Devotion; and the museum an entity, both abstract and concrete, dedicated to the conservation, research and exhibition of cultural heritage. The expressions of religious symbols and personas of Christian faith in art emanates the values that they represent, and these values were, and still are instrumental in shaping Filipino culture.


The Blessed Virgin & The Mother and Child

The veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is peculiar to Luzon due to the fact that the first religious image found in the island in 1572 was that of the Nuestra Senora de Guia. Since the statue resembled an Inmaculada Concepcion, the Immaculate Conception was declared the patroness of the Manila Cathedral. Devotion to the Immaculate Conception became widespread throughout the islands, and her image is found in practically every church and home throughout the archipelago.

Towards the end of the 16th century, the Nuestra Senora del Rosario aka Our Lady of the Rosary gained great devotion, especially after the defeat of the Dutch fleet in the early 1600s, which was attributed to her intercession. Thus, by the early 17th century, several manifestations of the Virgin of the Rosary appeared in Manaoag, Pangasinan and Piat in Cagayan, These parishes were under the jurisdiction of the Dominicans, whose mother church in Intramuros housed the Del Rosario de la Naval.

In 1603 another image of the Inmaculada was found by a fisherman in the Pansipit River in Taal, Batangas. The statue is now venerated as Our Lady of Caysasay. In 1626 another Inmaculada, that the Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje aka the Virgin of Antipolo arrived from Mexico and made several successful crossings across the Pacific to Acapulco in Mexico. In 1667 the Nuestra Senora de la Soledad de Porta Vaga was found in Cavite and eventually became the patroness of that province.

In the early 1700s, the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia was commissioned by Fray Miguel Robles de Covarrubias, who had been cured of a serious illness through the intercession of the Nuestra Senora de Penafrancia of Salamanca. The first priest ordained in Nueva Caceres, now Naga inn Camarines Sur, he built a chapel to house the image in that town. The latter is now the patroness of the Bicol Region.



From the outset of the 17th century, households in Intramuros began housing devotional images of the Blessed Mother or the Sto. Niño, especially those with ivory heads and hands, in a wooden tabernacle-like shrine locally called an urna. The latter was usually a miniature retablo with the santo housed in a niche flanked by columns and other architectural detail.

Since the first urnas were made by Chinese artisans in the Parian, it was not surprising to find Chinese motifs, particularly Chinese lions or lion masks, appearing amidst the baroque decoration. Usually made of molave, the shrines were usually painted in polychrome, using the primary colors of red, blue and yellow, often highlighted by gilding.

The use of urna spread out of Manila to the provinces as evangelization progressed. Natives saw examples in church sacristies and convents and copied them, albeit on a smaller scale. Eventually, rural urns took on characteristics peculiar to the region.



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