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Tea party at the Edades Garden |

Arts and Culture

Tea party at the Edades Garden


MANILA, Philippines - Exactly 80 years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Victorio Edades hosted a tea party for the UP School of Fine Arts faculty, their wives and some select students (e.g. Simplicia Saguil a.k.a. Nena Saguil) at his home and garden in 27 Pilar Street, Addition Hills, San Juan. It was a despedida for Ramon Peralta Sr. who was leaving for Europe to study theater arts as a government pensionado. Among the guests were the honoree and his wife; Don Fabian and Mrs. De la Rosa; brothers Fernando and Pablo Amorsolo, Guillermo Tolentino, Ireneo Miranda, Teodoro Buenaventura, Dominador Castaneda, Consuelo Lee — the leading lights in Philippine Art history especially of the prewar period.

The graciousness of the hosts was evident and overflowing: there was no hint at all that two years earlier Edades applied at the UP School of Fine Arts, which was politely turned down by Dean Fabian de la Rosa despite his impressive resume of having graduated from the University of Washington. Only Mrs. Edades (nee Jean Garrott) was accepted to teach at the UP High School. Yet as the old adage says, “When God closes the door, he opens the windows.” By the time of the Addition Hills tea party, Victorio Edades was already the acting head of the Department of Architecture at the UST College of Engineering and teaching art history and art appreciation not only to his Architecture students but also the UST College of Home Economics and Conservatory of Music. He was also assisting architect Juan Arellano in designing the Art Deco Metropolitan Theater of Manila and other major architectural landmarks of the day. 

The event at the Edades Garden in 1931 must have been the Edades couple’s thanksgiving to the very school that has closed its doors but was instrumental in opening bigger career opportunities and providing their basic needs: a roof over their heads (the P.D. Carman house was purchased using a then new American method called “installment”) and a spacious garden to till and plant with Edades’ favorite vegetables and trees. 

Somehow, the doors shut close by the UP School of Fine Arts, then the bastion of conservatism and classicism in the islands, paved the way for Victorio Edades to father a revolution of sorts and nurture spirit of Modernism in Philippine art that was 50 years behind. As a result of Edades’ innovative pedagogic methods, UST became the spearhead of modern art in those days, while the State University remained the vanguard of conservative art until the early ’50s.

Nonette Hubilla, Charito Bitanga Peralta and Belen Morey

Fast forward to July 29, 2011. On the very same Addition Hills address, a dozen of Professor Edades’ colleagues and former students at the UST College of Architecture and Fine Arts converged and took stock of the academic legacy of the Father of Philippine Modern Art, including Antonio Austria, Raul and Belle Isidro, Belen Morey, Johnny and Nonette Manalac Hubilla, Charito Bitanga Peralta and Jesus Peralta, Cynthia Belleza, Marylou Hilado, Rhoda Recto and Veronica Lim Yuyitung, thus launching the Edades Projects.

The Edades Projects is a renewed effort to use the life work of Edades, which can be gleaned in the timeline of his life: first as a model of the archetypal Overseas Contract Worker who did not seek to earn dollars abroad and send back to his family but rather to quench a thirst for learning and gain knowledge to bequeath to his countrymen; second, as a model in honoring the unsung heroes of the teaching profession and finally as a model of the archetypal environmentalist, given his love and care for nature and his advocacy for a simpler, environment conscious lifestyle both in San Juan and later in Davao.

The Edades Projects is a collaboration among the following organizations: Institute of Studies for Asian Art and Culture (ISACC), the Liongoren Gallery and the National Museum with support  from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Its first activity is hosting this tea party and ongoing interviews of his surviving colleagues and students, research and documentation of his undocumented artworks. This will culminate with an exhibition of his works at the National Museum that will open on Nov. 11, 2012.

Anyone who would like to share a memorabilia or a significant experience about Professor Edades is welcome to get in touch with the Liongoren Gallery at 111 New York St.Cubao Q.C.

Cynthia Perez Belleza

For information, call 912-4319, 439-3962 and 964-3496, or visit

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