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LIVEFEED - Bibsy M. Carballo (The Philippine Star) - March 6, 2016 - 9:00am

In celebration of National Arts’ Month, we were treated by friends Marichu Carstensen, who lives in Lipa, Batangas, and her husband Morten Carstensen, to a sampling of what has been keeping them busy these past few months.

There were eight of us in special reserved seats, which provided the best view of the show — the flamenco teacher, dancer and instructor Adolfo Timuat, who gave viewers a sampling of what he has been doing for many years now. There were also Danny Dolor, Isabel Sevilla, Mommy Anita Olan, Angelito Panganiban, and Mr. and Mrs. Española.

Since I felt I needed more information about the show that I had just watched in Batangas, I asked show organizer Joel Peña how was he related to Danny that made him accept his offer. The same went for everyone else like Isabel Sevilla whose background includes dancing in Spain, teaching at University of Santo Tomas, and welcoming the idea to teach flamenco in Manila.

Morten was not involved in the preparation. It was arranged by Joel and Marichu because they are into promoting culture and arts in Lipa. They have been doing collaborations to brighten up the art scene there since they met a few years ago when Joel bought one of her paintings.

Isabel Sevilla enjoys her solo number

Angelito is considered the best male flamenco dancer in Asia. Danny is a major patron of the arts in Lipa for decades, and has been all over the Philippines and abroad. Marichu is a medical doctor but her heart goes out to art, spreading creativity to the youth of Lipa. Marichu and Morten own Candlelight Café, an interesting and artsy place frequented by artists and a favorite hub among romantic people. The Candlelight Café in Big Ben is their second café. The first one is in Marawoy, Lipa City, which is like a mini-gallery for her art students and a venue for regular poetry nights in Lipa. Expats identify it as a sanctuary, away from the noise and chaos of malls. It is also a venue for intimate parties and marriage proposals.              

When Marichu conceptualized the design of the cafés, there were hardly any other interesting cafés in Lipa. People realized that they could do the same and slowly people started to become more creative when they put up their restaurants. Now there are more and more cozy and homey dining places within Lipa. Joel invited Marichu to put up a café within the Big Ben building as he is the building administrator and manager. Together, they are cooking new ideas to spark more art in Lipa. Marichu dreams of a beautiful Lipa, with monuments, amazing facades, sculptures and murals all over.

She hopes to finish Industrial Design at UP in June so that she can start working on fulfilling her dreams for Lipa. With Joel and all the deeply-rooted Lipeños and young artists, Marichu is definitely on the right track. She remembers looking up at their paintings in the San Sebastian Church as a young girl. She was fascinated by the paintings of the Italian painter. She felt the very same thing when she looked at the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. They call it Little Rome of the South. They say Marichu thinks there should be an art movement in Lipa which can propel its infrastructure and overall design into a golden age. She will teach drawing and animation this coming summer. Her number is 0917-5953762.

(For your comments, e-mail us at bibsyfotos@yahoo.com)

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