The Philippine Star

LE­GENDS, CUL­TURE & ARTS AT SM CITY PUERTO PRINCESA

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The re­cent “My City, My SM, My Art” edi­tion at SM City Puerto Princesa in Palawan high­lighted a cul­ture so dis­tinct and full of magic, with orig­i­nal sto­ries that still have to be told.

The prov­ince of Palawan, af­ter all, is known as the Philip­pines’ last frontier, a nat­u­ral won­der with vast tracts of trop­i­cal rain­forests and a huge ex­panse of ma­rine wilder­ness. Sprawled be­neath its seas are nearly 11,000 square kilo­me­ters of coral reefs, with a myr­iad of fish swim­ming in these un­der­wa­ter gar­dens.

Palawan’s artis­tic tra­di­tions, which are mainly eth­nic based, are con­tin­u­ously in­flu­enced by cul­tural ex­changes brought about by mi­grants from other Philip­pine prov­inces, and even other coun­tries.

Since the 1980s, Palawan has been grow­ing as an in­cu­ba­tor for a group of artists who share a pas­sion for the lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment, as well as their craft. Art spa­ces like Banwa, Casa Nieves, Gypsy’s Lair Art Café, and the Kalui Res­tau­rant cre­ate a lot of ex­cite­ment and op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal artists by host­ing ex­hibits, workshops and mu­sic events.

Mall­go­ers re­cently had a glimpse of the vi­brant arts scene in this en­chant­ing par­adise when “My City, My SM, My Art” re­cently made a stop at SM City Puerto Princesa,

A joint pro­ject of SM, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum of Manila, Shell Philip­pines, The

Philip­pine STAR, with sup­port from the Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Cul­ture and the Arts and Cen­ter­stage Pro­duc­tions, “My City, My SM, My Art” is a cel­e­bra­tion of Philip­pine vis­ual arts —‘paint­ing, sculp­ture, print­mak­ing, photograph­y, and film­mak­ing.

The cam­paign brings art and peo­ple to­gether by show­cas­ing the works of masters, mod­ernists and mil­len­ni­als in a road show around the SM Su­permalls. Ad­vo­cat­ing art for all, the team works with com­mu­ni­ties to mount ex­hibits, workshops and con­tests in key cities around the Philip­pines.

No less than Puerto Princesa coun­cilor Nancy Socrates and Cae­sar Sammy Mag­banua, chief of staff of the Of­fice of the Provin­cial Gov­er­nor joined in the cel­e­bra­tions to­gether with pro­ject part­ners Nelda Sansaet of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum of Manila and Chris Aparece of Shell Philip­pines.

SM of­fi­cials led by SM SVP for Mar­ket­ing Mil­lie Di­zon and SM City Puerto Princesa mall man­ager Maidja Saliente warmly wel­comed them.

Guests en­joyed the pro­gram, which in­cluded an AVP hosted by Cynthia Su­ma­gaysay del Rosario, fea­tur­ing the amaz­ing works of Palaweno artists. These works were ex­hib­ited in and around the My Art Gallery, which was in­spired by the Panay House in the Visayas.

“My City, My SM, My Art” fea­tured artists from the city of Puerto Princesa, a trop­i­cal par­adise with a bustling ur­ban cen­ter. These in­cluded Jonathan Ben­itez, whose florid style is ex­quis­ite, with the col­ors and at­mos­phere of his sur­round­ings flow­ing through his work; John Chris­tian Yayen whose love for art and cul­ture in­spire his breath­tak­ing pho­to­graphs; and Ned Sen­cillo, a mas­ter col­orist in a style de­scribed as a mix­ture of re­al­ism and im­pres­sion­ism.

Other artists from Puerto Princesa who strive to both cap­ture and pre­serve their trop­i­cal is­land home are Mario Lubrico who paints with themes in­spired by na­ture, spir­i­tu­al­ity and peo­ple; and Noel “Nuno” Finez, a vis­ual and per­for­mance artist whose works cen­ter of what he calls “Art Af­ter Life.”

The event also high­lighted artists who have brought Palawan’s art to ma­jor cities abroad: Mike Gar­cia, whose re­cent ex­hibits have brought the prov­ince’s art, na­ture and cul­ture to Zurich, Switzer­land and Ber­lin, Ger­many; and Cath­lyn “Cleng” del Rosario who has brought back to her home­town new things she learned from Cal­i­for­nia’s vi­brant art scene.

Mall­go­ers also had the op­por­tu­nity to know more about art out­side the city. Mary Frances Men­doza from the Cuyo ar­chi­pel­ago, the old­est colo­nial set­tle­ment in Palawan, doc­u­ments the is­land’s indige­nous tribes and de­signs her own tat­toos. Elordie Mes­sac, on the other hand, is a Tag­banua whose works are in­spired by his indige­nous roots and his peo­ple’s way of life.

The high­light of the event was a trib­ute to film­maker Aureaus Solito, who has brought much honor to our coun­try with his in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed works. His first fea­ture film, Ang Pag­dadalaga ni Max­imo Oliv­eros (The Blos­som­ing of Max­imo Oliv­eros), won 15 in­ter­na­tional awards.

His films have been screened in ma­jor film fes­ti­vals around the world in­clud­ing Cannes, Ber­lin, Sun­dance, Mon­treal, Bu­san, Toronto and Rotterdam.

It is not only his mas­tery of his craft, but how he has ex­plored his indige­nous Palawanon roots in his work that makes him a great film­maker. Solito was born in Manila, and as he was grow­ing up, his mother, who is of Palawan de­scent, would tell him mag­i­cal sto­ries of Palawan le­gends, in­clud­ing those of great Shaman kings who pro­tected the land.

Solito’s re­turn to his mother’s home­town af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines pre­sented more rev­e­la­tions. He learned that his mother came from a lin­eage of Tungkuls, the Shaman-kings who were roy­alty to the tribe, and that he came from the first gen­er­a­tion of Palawanons not born in the tribal land.

Solito says that the boat jour­ney to the Palawan is­lands was like a door­way to an­other world. He was dis­cov­er­ing par­adise, the land of his dreams and mem­ory. He un­der­went shaman­is­tic train­ing with his un­cle for two years, and lived there for seven years, learn­ing all he could about his tribe.

Solito’s search for his roots also gave him his tribal spirit name — Kanakan Bal­ing­ta­gos, mean­ing “hunter of truth.” This also in­spired him to cre­ate “The Palawan Tril­ogy,” his ode to his home­town.

“The Palawan Tril­ogy” is com­posed of three full-length fea­ture films that show the le­gends, cul­ture and fate of its land and peo­ple. He planned that the film Del­uge (Delubyo) would tell the story of the past; Bu­song (Palawan Fate) its present; and Sum­bang its fu­ture, or as he likes to put it, its time­less­ness.

Bu­song, how­ever, be­came the first film in the tril­ogy to be com­pleted, fol­lowed by Bay­bayin or “The Palawan Script.” He is cur­rently work­ing on Delubyo.

With “The Palawan Tril­ogy,” Solito was able to bring to light the is­sues of safe­guard­ing Palawan — the land, cul­ture and peo­ple. At the same time, he was able to cre­ate a trib­ute to his mother, who in­spired him to be­come the sto­ry­teller he is now.

With its aim of bring­ing art and peo­ple to­gether, “My City, My SM, My Art” also con­ducted a rub­ber-cut­ting work­shop con­ducted by Elordie Me­sac. Sh­elo­mae Zu­mar­raga from the Puerto Princesa City Sci­ence High School won the Grand Prize and brought home SM Gift Cer­tifi­cates.

“My City, My SM, My Art” is a take-off from the pre­vi­ous “My City, My SM” cam­paign pro­mot­ing tourism; “My City, My SM, My Cui­sine” which high­lights re­gional culi­nary spe­cial­ties; and “My City, My SM, My Crafts,” a cel­e­bra­tion of tra­di­tional art and mod­ern Philip­pine de­sign in cities where SM has malls. The next stop for “My City, My SM, My Art” will be in SM City Iloilo.

 ??  ?? The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum of Manila’s Nelda Sansaet, Alexan­dria Tuico and Alec Abarro with SM SVP for Mar­ket­ing Mil­lie Di­zon
The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum of Manila’s Nelda Sansaet, Alexan­dria Tuico and Alec Abarro with SM SVP for Mar­ket­ing Mil­lie Di­zon
 ??  ?? Puerto Princesa coun­cilor Nancy Socrates with SM SVP for Mar­ket­ing Mil­lie Di­zon
Puerto Princesa coun­cilor Nancy Socrates with SM SVP for Mar­ket­ing Mil­lie Di­zon
 ??  ?? “Da­hon” by Frances Men­doza Painter Nuno Finez be­side his mas­ter­pieces “Cast of Shad­ows” and “The Delu­sion.” Nuno spe­cial­izes in con­tem­po­rary eth­nic crafts and na­tive struc­tural de­sign­ing and con­struc­tion.
“Da­hon” by Frances Men­doza Painter Nuno Finez be­side his mas­ter­pieces “Cast of Shad­ows” and “The Delu­sion.” Nuno spe­cial­izes in con­tem­po­rary eth­nic crafts and na­tive struc­tural de­sign­ing and con­struc­tion.
 ??  ?? Jonathan Ben­itez be­side his work “Tales from my Home­town.” Jonathan’s florid style is ex­quis­ite with the col­ors and at­mos­phere of his sur­round­ings flow­ing through his work. Cuy­onon artist Frances Men­doza’s brand of re­al­ism ex­plores themes of ac­cul­tur­a­tion, com­mod­i­fi­ca­tion, and the en­vi­ron­ment.
Jonathan Ben­itez be­side his work “Tales from my Home­town.” Jonathan’s florid style is ex­quis­ite with the col­ors and at­mos­phere of his sur­round­ings flow­ing through his work. Cuy­onon artist Frances Men­doza’s brand of re­al­ism ex­plores themes of ac­cul­tur­a­tion, com­mod­i­fi­ca­tion, and the en­vi­ron­ment.
 ??  ?? Artist Elordie Me­sac be­side his art­work“Makga-Ilang.” As a Tag­banua, his works are in­spired by his indige­nous roots and his peo­ple’s way of life. “The Court­ing” by Elordie Me­sac. With hopes of pre­serv­ing his tribe’s cul­ture, he uses his craft in rub­ber cut­ting, tie-dye and terra cotta to send mes­sages of cul­tural pride and en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness
Artist Elordie Me­sac be­side his art­work“Makga-Ilang.” As a Tag­banua, his works are in­spired by his indige­nous roots and his peo­ple’s way of life. “The Court­ing” by Elordie Me­sac. With hopes of pre­serv­ing his tribe’s cul­ture, he uses his craft in rub­ber cut­ting, tie-dye and terra cotta to send mes­sages of cul­tural pride and en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness
 ??  ?? ilm­maker Au­raeus Solito dur­ing the “My City, My SM, My Art” launch at SM City Puerto Princesa. While his films have won 15 in­ter­na­tional awards, it is not only his mas­tery of his craft that make him a great film­maker, but how he has ex­plored his indige­nous Palawan roots in his work.
ilm­maker Au­raeus Solito dur­ing the “My City, My SM, My Art” launch at SM City Puerto Princesa. While his films have won 15 in­ter­na­tional awards, it is not only his mas­tery of his craft that make him a great film­maker, but how he has ex­plored his indige­nous Palawan roots in his work.
 ??  ?? Puerto Princesa Provin­cial Gov­er­nor chief of staff Ceasar “Sammy” Mag­banua My Art pro­ject part­ner Shell Philip­pines rep­re­sented by Cris Aparece
Puerto Princesa Provin­cial Gov­er­nor chief of staff Ceasar “Sammy” Mag­banua My Art pro­ject part­ner Shell Philip­pines rep­re­sented by Cris Aparece
 ??  ?? Palawan and the Arts: The amaz­ing Palaweno artists led by Au­raeus Solito cel­e­brate their pas­sion for the lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment as well as their craft.
Palawan and the Arts: The amaz­ing Palaweno artists led by Au­raeus Solito cel­e­brate their pas­sion for the lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment as well as their craft.
 ??  ?? Vis­ual artist John Yayen and his paint­ing “Go­ing Home from Har­vest.” John be­lieves that re­spon­si­bil­ity is to bridge and past and fu­ture through his work. John Yayem’s “A Day inthe Pub­lic Mar­ket”
Vis­ual artist John Yayen and his paint­ing “Go­ing Home from Har­vest.” John be­lieves that re­spon­si­bil­ity is to bridge and past and fu­ture through his work. John Yayem’s “A Day inthe Pub­lic Mar­ket”
 ??  ?? Painter Nil Sen­cillo, a mas­ter col­orist in a style de­scribed as a mix­ture of re­al­ism and im­pres­sion­ism, as seen in his “BakaBan­tay” paint­ing. Nil Sen­cillo’s “Won­der of Na­ture PPUR”
Painter Nil Sen­cillo, a mas­ter col­orist in a style de­scribed as a mix­ture of re­al­ism and im­pres­sion­ism, as seen in his “BakaBan­tay” paint­ing. Nil Sen­cillo’s “Won­der of Na­ture PPUR”
 ??  ?? Bu­song, a film by Kanakan Bal­in­ta­gos (Au­raeus Solito) is part of “The Palawan tril­ogy,” full-length fea­ture films about the le­gends, cul­ture and fate of the land and its peo­ple.
Bu­song, a film by Kanakan Bal­in­ta­gos (Au­raeus Solito) is part of “The Palawan tril­ogy,” full-length fea­ture films about the le­gends, cul­ture and fate of the land and its peo­ple.
 ??  ?? Rub­ber-Print­ing: Sh­elo­mae Zu­mar­raga won the Grand Prize in the rub­ber-print­ing work­shop.
Rub­ber-Print­ing: Sh­elo­mae Zu­mar­raga won the Grand Prize in the rub­ber-print­ing work­shop.
 ??  ?? Painter and tat­too col­lec­tor Cleng Su­ma­gaysay with her por­trait “At the Fore­front of an Ar­chaic Yet Seem­ingly New Par­a­digm.” Cleng has brought to her home­town new things she learned from Cal­i­for­nia’s vi­brant arts scene.
Painter and tat­too col­lec­tor Cleng Su­ma­gaysay with her por­trait “At the Fore­front of an Ar­chaic Yet Seem­ingly New Par­a­digm.” Cleng has brought to her home­town new things she learned from Cal­i­for­nia’s vi­brant arts scene.
 ??  ?? Mike Gar­cia’s tech­niques and medi­ums are var­ied, rang­ing from clas­si­cal baroque and High Re­nais­sance to the mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary
Mike Gar­cia’s tech­niques and medi­ums are var­ied, rang­ing from clas­si­cal baroque and High Re­nais­sance to the mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Ab­stract Painter Mario Lubrico found in­spi­ra­tion in the lux­u­ri­ant flora and fauna of Palawan, and now de­scribes the prov­ince as his haven.
Ab­stract Painter Mario Lubrico found in­spi­ra­tion in the lux­u­ri­ant flora and fauna of Palawan, and now de­scribes the prov­ince as his haven.
 ??  ?? Jonathan Ben­itez’s “Bird­woman”
Jonathan Ben­itez’s “Bird­woman”
 ??  ?? Xaviery Ped­er­nal ser­e­nades the au­di­ence.
Xaviery Ped­er­nal ser­e­nades the au­di­ence.
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Mario Lubrico’s “The Dream of a Golden Fish”
Mario Lubrico’s “The Dream of a Golden Fish”

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