My walk, everybody's art
- Tanya T. Lara () - April 18, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - There are some things that easily become summer traditions for many families: enrolling the kids in summer classes and sports clinics, shopping, going out of town to swim, touring the countryside, and visiting museums. Of all these activities, perhaps the most important one to turn into a habit, especially with children, is exploring art — because on their own they will always go out of town with their friends and will always go shopping.

To instill in them an appreciation for the finer things in life — now that’s a summer lesson they will benefit from for life.  

The problem with art is that once you mention the word “museum,” kids think it’s school-related, like a field trip that they have to write a paper about after. Then again, there is public art — except that if you go from one piece to another around the metropolis, you run the risk of being run over by vehicles because our public artworks are not exactly in wide, open spaces.   

This paucity is one of the reasons that Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation (FBDC), through the Bonifacio Art Foundation Inc. (BAFI) put in place a public art program in Bonifacio Global City (BGC). Not only does the city have the space for art, it also has the passion for it. After all, it isn’t for nothing that BGC has adopted the philosophies of being the “Home of passionate minds” and a “City with a soul.” 

Your Artwalk, Your Pace

For this summer’s Passionfest, the annual events festival of BGC geared towards celebrating different passions, BGC is tweaking its artwalk by putting the tour in your hands. Called “My Artwalk: Art at My Time, My Pace,” BGC will provide maps, which you can get at the exhibit area of the scale models near Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Maps outline locations of public artworks from Bonifacio High Street (BHS) to all corners of BGC.

For my own artwalk, I started at BHS, my favorite meeting place with friends to eat and to shop that strip of sports stores.

No. 1 rule of thumb for an artwalk: Dress appropriately, which means light, summer clothing for the heat and comfortable shoes. It’s also a good idea to have a cool drink in hand (and a sandwich, a donut or a bag of chips — you’ll burn the sugar from the walk anyway) while on Bonifacio High Street. For me, of course, my choice of drink has always been a cappuccino from Starbucks even when it’s a sunny day. For the artworks outside BHS, you might want to take the e-tricycles or “e-trikes,” which you can flag down at any point and any place around the city. But if you do it late afternoon, it’s a good idea to walk since the artworks are only about 10 to 15 minutes away from each other.

I start with the display of the scale models of the sculptures at the walkway near Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, where I grab a map for my walk (you can also download a copy of the map on

“My favorite sculpture on BHS is Tinstaej #85 (There is No Such Thing as Endless Joy)” by Conrado Velasco. I’m not sure if it’s the melancholy title of the sculpture that I love or that a giant cutout of a bear is used to destroy the illusion of joy that we all have. From afar it doesn’t look so imposing, but if you see children playing around the bear, you realize how enormous it is.

Next are two installations by Reg Yuson — “Concierto,” which are floor–mounted chimes meant to be touched to reverberate, and “Hearsay,” a series of twisted pipes that is a send-up of the grapevine, how news is twisted and distorted from source to receiver. Next is “Bearable Lightness,” by Reg Yuson and Ronald Achacoso, a colorful platform that explores the relationship between gravity, depth and tension.

Last but not the least on BHS, which is No. 1 on the map actually, is Reg Yuson’s “Specific Gravity,” the suspended boulder with cascading water. There is never a moment that kids aren’t playing around here.

The art pieces in Bonifacio High Street are all interactive. They engage all the senses — you can touch them, hear them, even talk into them. Another good thing about BHS is that while you’re doing your art walk, you can duck in and out of the coffee shops and sandwich bars to grab something to eat. Sometimes, you are also accompanied by dog walkers, or runners whizzing past and shoppers walking languidly.

Local Art In A Global City

Outside BHS are the monumental works, starting with Lor Calma’s “Transformation,” located at 32nd St. corner 5th Ave. This sculpture of laminated glass with water cascading into the pool.

“Supremo” by Leo Ben-Hur Villanueva is located at Rizal Drive. The three-meter-tall, bronze-and-brass sculpture is a tribute to Andres Bonifacio, after whom the city is named. His and his Katipuneros’ tearing up of the cedula was the cue for the masses to start the revolution against Spain.

Reynato Paz Contreras’s “The Trees,” located at the Padre Burgos Circle, is probably one of the most romantic sculptures that I have seen that don’t depict the human form. This sculpture is of three interlocking trees whose branches create a dome. It is supposed to signify the circle of life…but it seems like a romantic entanglement to me.

“Pasasalamat” by Ferdinand Cacnio at Rizal Drive corner 26th St. is of two fishermen holding their catch-laden net and looking up to the heavens in thanks.

The title of Jerry Araos’s “Kasalikasan” at De Jesus Oval is derived from four words “kasali ka sa kalikasan,” enjoining you to commune with nature. This 3.556-sqm. garden is an oasis in the city and is also becoming a popular venue for special events. 

Found at Padre Gomez Circle is “Balanghai” by Leo Gerardo Leonard, a kinetic sculpture inspired by the boats that carried the first wave of Malays to our islands. It has three paddles — representing Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao — that pivot and move with the wind.

“Juan Sajid de Leon Imao created a brass-and-concrete sundial called “Kasaysayan sa Bawat Oras,” located between Rizal Drive and 24th St. It is a sundial that casts shadows on seven paperdoll-like figures representing the 7,100 islands of the Philippines.

After my art walk, I make my way back to Bonifacio High Street, passing by skaters and dog walkers, for a snack and to check out the new stores.

All in all, it was a summer afternoon well spent — of my passion for art and pieces that will serve my soul well even after summer. 

* * *

All the art pieces at Bonifacio Global City are managed by Bonifacio Art Foundation Inc.The exhibit of mini replicas near Building 8 is ongoing until May 9. You can do your own art walk even beyond summer.

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