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A bloom with art

Paper Series by Rigor Esguerra. Artwork photos by Vandolph Maningas

Despite its reputation as a formidable science community, UP Los Baños is also an arts hub. (Call me biased but I believe UPLB’s Communication Arts program is one of the best in the country.) The setting of the campus, as it is cradled at the foot of the mystical Mount Makiling, lends it its artsy atmosphere.

From visual arts show to theater production to garden show, the UPLB campus is ripe for the picking, so to speak, especially in the coming days.

Quezon Art 2

Nature and the nature of man take center stage at the basement of the D.L. Umali Auditorium where the Quezon Artists’ Guild stages a group exhibit called Quezon Art 2, which will run until Sept. 29. The exhibit is under the aegis of the university’s Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts (OICA), helmed by the newly minted director Jerry R. Yapo. (JRY, as he is popularly called, was my no-nonsense Journalism professor in college.)

Yapo says the exhibit is well received by the community. He adds, “OICA has this advocacy of providing space for non-Manila based artists at least twice a year. The participating artists are happy. And the UPLB constituents loop them in as part of the university’s habitus.”

Verdant and pristine is the mood of many artworks on display, perhaps mimicking the artists’ locale — the province of Quezon. Nature is celebrated in the blooms of Noel Bueza whose Yellow Orchids in acrylic is so alive it may attract bees and butterflies to aid better in its pollination. Bueza, who spearheads the Quezon Artists’ Guild, further fascinates when he used another medium, pen and ink, in Lako, depicting a trade scene where the beast of burden carries the weight of the merchant’s wares.

The country’s prevalent matriarchal society is evident in the frames of Frank Cana’s Mother and Child @ 03 and Ayelah Deveza’s Mag-ina sa Karosa. My friend Larcy Cervantes Jarmin, who was with me when I toured the exhibit that features 66 artworks from 17 artists, observes that Deveza’s Mag-ina Sa Karosa, with its pronounced color and patina, has the heartbeat of Frida Kahlo in it.

I get drawn in the Paper Series of Rigor Esguerra. What looks like a joyful composite of pad paper appears to me like a sea of an unwelcome progress. It could have been a bucolic scene had the young ones were left studying amidst a sanctuary of pristine mountains and unpolluted air; had their environs not turned into buildings and malls. When development is not regulated, it also becomes its own bane. Paper Series, at least to me, has that effect.

The good life is experienced in the manorial rendition of Natalio Enriquez Ancestral House by Roma Valdez and Hula Hoop, done in ballpoint pen on canvas by Tristan Bamba.

Other equally adept artists participating in Quezon Art 2 are Sandy Canon, Percival Canuel, Jan David, Neil Folloso, Mariano Villanueva, Gerald Pormasdora, John August Tazon, Rhanz Ramiro, Oliver Rabino, Renato Palad, Vladimir Nieto and Avie Lafuente.

(Exhibit runs until Sept. 29. The gallery is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)



Macario Sakay: Kilabot ng Sierra Madre

UPLB comes alive all the more with the theater production titled Macario Sakay: Kilabot ng Sierra Madre. The musical play, written by Efren Yambot, is under the direction of Alexander Cortez.

Alex promises to bring to the fore the humanity of Gen. Macario Leon Sakay — from his being an outlaw and a bandit, at least in the eyes of the invaders during the American Occupation of the Philippines, to his being a theater performer, to his distinct heroism.

This year, being the 110th anniversary of the martyrdom of Macario Sakay, a fitting play in his honor is being staged until today (Sept. 24) by the Upsilon Sigma Phi in Los Baños, in partnership with the UPLB Department of Social Sciences, at the UPLB D.L. Umali Hall.

Working ardently behind the stage are Dingdong Selga (choreography), Phan Quan Minh (martial arts choreography), Rommel David (set design), Gino Gonzales (costume design), Meliton Roxas (lights design), Arvy Dimaculangan (sound design), Krina Cayabyab (music design), John Lee Candelaria (graphic design), Aldous Madlangsakay (production manager) and Mikko Angeles (video). Dramaturgy is by Floy Quintos, Joy Cerro, Edfel Pascual and Kenneth Prado.

(For tickets, call JP Isurina at 0917-8834382.)

Los Baños Flower & Garden Show

Flower and plant enthusiasts get giddy when October comes because they troop to the UPLB’s Seniors’ Social Garden for the traditional Los Baños Flower and Garden Show.

Ever since I became a student of UPLB in 1988, I can count in my one hand the times I have missed the garden show.

This year, the Los Baños Flower and Garden Show will be held on Oct. 6 to 15, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. On these days, expect the Seniors’ Social Garden to teem with flowers and plants, with many species newly developed by the hobbyists and the genius minds of UPLB.

According to Marina Jarmin Catipon, president of the Los Baños Horticulture Society Inc., the garden show’s theme is Debutant’s Night and the featured plant is Aglaonema. This show is sponsored by the Los Baños Horticulture Society Inc.

Marina Jarmin Catipon, the society’s president, adds that aside from ornamental plants, there will be fruit trees, garden tools and equipment, organic fertilizers and pots at the Los Baños Flower and Garden Show.

UP Los Baños, indeed, is abloom with art.

(E-mail me at I’m also on Instagram @bumtenorio. Have a blessed Sunday!)

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