Roberto Berondo: Color­ful Stroke of Life

Palawan Daily News - - Front Page - By: Abra­ham La­toza

Known for his gen­tle spirit, ca­su­ally wears a flat hat, his long grey hair swathing his shoul­ders, walks with a cane, typ­i­cally thin guy with round eye­glasses, Bert Berondo has a colour­ful life to tell all art afi­ciona­dos.

Stylish and good look­ing, he was able to come out of the com­fort zone in pre­sent­ing his piece on a can­vas. He has ac­com­plished 10 Solo Art Ex­hibits in sep­a­rate venues, (the 10th Solo Ex­hibit is on-go­ing at Me­ga­world Iloilo), joined 48th Art Shows with the Group of Artists in Cen­tral Visayas and Palawan.

He brushes el­bows with Palawan’s big time artists such as Ding­got Pri­eto, cu­ra­tor and vis­ual artist who owns the fa­mous Ka­mariku­tan art Gallery in Palawan, and Mario Lubrico, an­other suc­cess­ful vis­ual artist of the prov­ince.

Bert is a friend to Ems Lu­casan, a dis­tin­guished Filipino mu­si­cian who makes good com­po­si­tions in­te­grat­ing bam­boo mu­si­cal in­stru­ments: Flute, Marimba, Kub­ing, Jem­bee per­cus­sion, rain stick and Bungkaka.

Bert signs his art piece with bold let­ters BERT BERONDO. Roberto G. Berondo was born on Au­gust 10, 1955 in the is­land of Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal and cur­rently lives in Villa An­gela Phase 2, Home Site, Barangay Vista Ale­gre, Ba­colod City, prov­ince of Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal. Bert had a big fam­ily of 12 to feed. In­ter­est­ingly some of his sons are now into vis­ual arts too. Paolo fo­cuses on bracelets, neck­laces and masks while Eric and Car­los turn their at­ten­tion to re­al­is­tic paint­ing.

Hum­ble Be­gin­ning

Dur­ing the 80’s the youth­ful Roberto went to Manila and landed on a job as a Ceramic de­signer or ceramic artist.

For those who have col­lec­tions of kitchen wares made of ceramic plates from the 80’s they would cer­tainly know what Bert is talk­ing about. Some of these ceramic plates have in­tri­cate de­signs and they were care­fully hand-drawn images of na­ture; flow­ers, fish and veg­eta­bles and the like.

In 1986, when EDSA Revo­lu­tion took place, he was one of the work­ers who suf­fered iso­la­tion and was then dis­placed. He went to the moun­tains in Bi­col re­gion and there he met his fu­ture wife, a Bi­colana. As­sured of the af­fec­tion he found from his bet­ter half, Bert de­cided to re­turn to Ba­colod to set­tle down and to ded­i­cate his life to paint­ing. In 1991, Bert Berondo joined the AAB (Art As­so­ci­a­tion of Ba­colod). From then on he be­came re­silient. He did not stop do­ing art.


Artists are known for their works. Great Masters like Fer­nando Amor­solo who por­trays the ru­ral and still life of the Pre-War Philip­pines. Ben Cabr­era (fa­mously known as Ben­cab), when I had the chance to in­ter­view him in 1997, ad­mit­ted, he’s into fig­u­ra­tive art. Ben­cab owns a Mu­seum in Baguio City now.

Mauro “Malang” San­tos in­spires his col­lec­tors with his theme on fam­ily with al­most an en­do­mor­phic, ‘vividly col­ored’ fea­ture yet still beau­ti­ful to be­hold be­cause of his blend­ing tech­nique. Bert Berondo’s stroke is dis­tinct.

There is an ex­ces­sive pres­ence of thin straight lines. Yet it pro­duces a clear im­agery of the sub­ject be­ing pre­sented, serene but ex­otic. There is no ev­i­dence of over­lap­ping and thick pig­ments. Berondo is known for his bro­ken neck por­trait and amaz­ing move­ment of his brush, Bert’s theme re­flects the core of be­ing a na­tive Filipino.

His con­cept stands out in terms of clean lu­cid col­ors, his mes­sage talks on a can­vas, looks ab­stract to some but he achieves to por­tray Filipino cul­ture aes­thet­i­cally. It can be dis­cerned first of all in his choice of themes.

He def­i­nitely uses Hili­gaynon (Ilonggo) his di­alect, to be deeply and es­sen­tially rooted to his be­ing. Most of his Solo Ex­hibits are en­ti­tled Tu­man­dok. Tu­man­dok is a Hili­gaynon term for na­tive. As an artist he some­times tied up into the sub­ject like poverty, so­cial jus­tice and he fre­quently med­i­tates on ev­ery­day strug­gle that he gets in con­tact with.

Bert draws the Ae­tas and is good at that. He paints still life, happy and sim­ple ex­is­tence of ven­dors, the de­plorable hous­ing prob­lem of the poor and many other in­ter­est­ing sub­jects like the artists them­selves. His edge in draw­ing the sacadas of Ne­gros, the Anawim in the ha­cien­das, and the sug­ar­cane in­dus­try on its dark side is one of his favourite in­ter­pre­ta­tions.

His medium is acrylic on can­vas. At other times he only uses black ink on an acid free pa­per. Artists are made to be­lieve that art is a ve­hi­cle for change.

Real artists are not pleased by the idea to just fill in an empty wall but be­ing able to come to think deeply car­ry­ing out a com­pelling mes­sage. What does his work say about so­cial change? How does it dif­fer­en­ti­ate lies from truth?

It has al­ways been a bit of a chal­lenge for an artist to con­vey a vi­brant mes­sage on a can­vas. Artists are con­stantly ask­ing for in­stance, how to put col­ors on poverty mak­ing life beam­ing with hope. Bert ad­mit­ted though that he once got hooked into some vices and that was re­gret­table ac­cord­ing to him. Out­grow­ing it is like choos­ing the right hue at hand, del­i­cately com­bin­ing tea

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