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Pando Manipon turns a new leaf |

Arts and Culture

Pando Manipon turns a new leaf

COSMIC RHYTHM - Impy Pilapil - The Philippine Star

I met the artist Fernando “Pando” Manipon back in the 1970s when I entered an interesting little shop in Mabini. It had a cozy, Carnaby Street look, but perhaps more flamboyant. I remember his kind demeanor — he said hello with a warm smile and a genuine grasp of the moment. We had a nice chat, then I made my purchase and did not see him again for a long while.

I later learned that the establishment would soon be the precursor to Pandora’s Box, one of the many landmarks in what used to be the most vivacious district of Manila.

Twenty or so years later, we met again at the house of a close friend, designer Efren Ocampo. He then shared with me news of his recent show at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros. I was intrigued of course, and because I promised to, I managed to squeeze in a brief visit to the exhibition yet I ended up staying much longer than I had planned.

To say that Pando’s latest works are inspiring is an understatement — “iconic” would be a more appropriate word and in a way, almost a literal one. Made from fallen, dried, yet delicate leaves of various shapes and forms, his current oeuvre are amazing depictions of churches, saints, and religiously relevant locations and scenes, all meticulously crafted from the chaotic aftermath of a tropical storm that left his balcony in utter disarray. Little did he know that these battered-down leaves would serve as both muse and media for what is to become his defining cultural contribution.



His technique is practically a “mosaic-ing” of these curious materials but in essence, these are paintings — an artist’s rendition of landscape and architecture. But, instead of pigment, he uses his near monochromatic medium as pixels to give life to an empty canvas.

Pando has lived a fulfilled and fruitful life, he could just sit back and reminisce upon his past adventures and hallmarks, yet he chooses to not bide his time idly and even took it upon himself to develop a new skill accentuated by a distinct aesthetic style. Where he has taken this style is nothing short of extraordinary. It is unique for this time and is a testament to the ingenuity and the tenacity of a true creative spirit.

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Fernando “Pando” Manipon was a Political Science major from the University Of The Philippines before he became one of the leading pioneers in the local fashion industry. Responsible for bringing the highly acclaimed Pandora’s Box RTW line to the forefront of fashion retail, Pando has represented the nation in a multitude of international trade shows. After his decades-long career as a maverick of Philippine fashion, Pando has turned a new leaf — his works have been exhibited at the Senate of the Philippines and the San Agustin Museum in Intramuros. His latest show was recently on view at the NCCA Gallery in Manila. Included in this collection is an intricately crafted image of central Vatican landmarks, delicately rendered on an ostrich egg. This piece is intended to commemorate Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the country.

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