Art Fair Philippines 2016




Art Fair Philippines is an annual exhibit of the works of some of the Philippines’ best contemporary visual artists. This year it was held on February 18-21 at the 5th to 7th floors of The Link Carpark, Ayala Center. The works are displayed in an area encompassing two whole levels of the carpark. (The 5th floor was the venue for scheduled talks and lectures.) ‪

As always, please click thumbnail to view large images.



Felix Bacolor

Can you see the pig? Artist Felix Bacolor’s work uses pigs as its theme.



Josephine Turalba

Artist Josephine Turalba uses bullet casings in her works.


Nona Garcia, Before the Sky


Nona Garcia’s “Before the Sky” takes up the whole face of a wall.  #ArtFairPH



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Remember drawing boxes on the pavement with chalk and playing piko (hopscotch) with your friends? Those teks cards that were ever so popular during our childhood? At first glance, this looks like a traditional chiaroscuro painting. On closer look, you will find that the painting is superimposed with those vestiges from our childhood memory.



Sometimes we view the art, and sometimes the viewer is part of the art itself.


Ferdie Cacnio

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Ferdinand Cacnio’s works “Meant to Love and Be Loved” and “Gravity Defiers”.


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My friend thinks this fella over here looks like Groot. It also reminded me of Grandma Willow from Pocahontas. 🙂



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From the “Kilas” collection, 40 works by 26 different artists from Negros.


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Gabriel Barredo, Toys Are Us

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Gabriel Barredo’s piece “Toys Are Us” is made with small parts from toys.



Daniel Dela Cruz, from the collection HISONLY (His Only Son). Metal Sculpture.

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One of two of my favourites from the event is sculptor Daniel Dela Cruz’s series of religious metal sculptures from his collection called “HISONLY (His Only Son)”. To view the masterpieces, you have to step into a darkened room that was set up like the interior of a church. (Unfortunately, I missed taking a photo of the central piece of the collection! Argghhh!) This particular piece above is called Refuge. The artist’s mastery of the human form is incredible!


On the left, the three glass-encased sculptures is called Virina.  To really, really appreciate dela Cruz’s crazy skills, you have to see the sculptures up close. Many of them are only about 1 to 2 feet high, but the details are so intricate and the lines flowing and smooth it gives a jolt to the mind knowing these are crafted from metal. (Read somewhere that the artist likes to hammer out the design by hand! @_@)


Here we come to my favourite series in the collection,  dela Cruz’s depiction of The Seven Deadly Sins.  (Please click thumbnail to view large image)
From top:    1. Avaritia (Greed)
2nd row  :    2. Pigritia (Sloth),  3&4. Invidia (Envy)
3rd row   :    5. Superbia (Pride),  6. Ira (Wrath),  7. Luxuria (Lust)
4th row   :    8. Luxuria (Lust), 9&10. Gula (Gluttony)  Yes, that’s the famous Golden Arches and its arch rival in the country The Bee right there, as well as the words “buffet”, “unli-rice”, and “open 24 hours” carved into the body of Gluttony.



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Lego pieces and broken glass from bottles go together in this piece.



Various animal-inspired artworks and other oddities.



Raffy Napay


Artist Raffy Napay uses sewing, thread, and yarn as his medium. This particular piece, “Family”, is made with thread that glows in the dark when viewed from the dark room on the other side of the artwork.


This is a series of art expressions using batibot chairs. (I only got photos of two. 😦 )



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Pity I didn’t get the name of the artist or the piece itself. This one is eerily (and creepily) realistic. No matter how many times or from what angle I look at it, it takes awhile to convince myself that this is not a real 3-ft (or so) man caged in a glass case. With butterflies. On his head.  -_-

Can you see the eyelashes and the individual hairs on the stubble and on the head? Crazy details! Feels like his eyes are going to open any minute now. Yep, any minute now…



1. A painting on a curved tile.    2. Vinyl figurines under a disco light. Some of the more whimsical/odd pieces from the exhibit.    3. A working bench made entirely of pencils.


Epjey Pacheco. Kampon

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I find them quite adorable, strangely enough. If I had a garden, I’d probably line them up the walkway (just to see people’s reactions) or scatter them about like people put gnomes and trolls in gardens. (Never quite understood that ) Or, hey, this would work as a cookie jar as well! Imagine that wall-eyed, teeth-baring face looking at you everytime you want to get a cookie!

Mark Justiniani. Infinity series.

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Now we come to my other favourite from the Art Fair.  This is from Mark Justiniani’s “Infinity” series. Mr. Justiniani’s collection is one of the Special Exhibits this year. This collection, along with Daniel dela Cruz’s metal sculptures, are by far the two most memorable for me. Justiniani’s installation works from the Infinity series focuses on perspective, form and space, replicated endlessly using mirrors to simulate infinite space, creating a majestic sense of height, breadth and depth within a singular confined space.  This particular work is, in reality, not more than 3-feet deep. It is really best viewed as a whole, but there were too many people crowded in front of it I could only take sectional photos. (To give you an idea it looks like as a whole, click HERE .)



Another installation art by Mark Justiniani using mirrors to create vertical space and depth. It’s like looking into an abyss.


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And lastly, Allegoria (Tunnel),  also by Mark Justiniani.  This is arguably one of THE most popular works in the whole exhibit, as evidenced by the heads of people in front of me (yes, they were all taller than me boohooo). I had to wait for my turn so I could get in front and take a photo. By then I was too close to it to get a nice, wide-angled photo. (Stepping back was not an option: people will take your place if you so much as lean back. -_- ) It might look simple, but a lot of thought must’ve been put into this. As you can see, the clever use of mirrors creates a tunnel that curves to the left the deeper it goes.


2016: Year of the Fire Monkey (Chinese New Year Celebrations in Manila)


Growing up in the Philippines, the Chinese New Year usually means getting up early and going to the temple with my whole family, all of us wearing red in some way. It was more of a secular thing, though, since it was celebrated only by the Tsinoys (Chinese-Filipinos). With new year’s day itself usually falling on a weekday, we still go to school and to work just like any regular day.

In 2011, it was proclaimed a special non-working holiday. This allowed the Filipino community to actively participate in the celebrations, and boy, did it make the whole thing more festive! Filipinos are some of the most open-minded people, embracing Chinese culture and traditions with curiosity and bringing the same passion they have for celebrations of any kind. So every year on Chinese new year’s day, throngs of people would swarm Binondo, the center of the Chinese-Filipino community and the oldest Chinatown in the world.

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Lion dances are a common sight during the new year festivities. Some are professional lion dancers, and some are mini kiddie versions complete with appropriately-sized lion’s costumes wielded by kids who looked not more than 10 years old, with their own drum squad banging on drums and cymbals. Some of the street children play along, imitating and swinging empty cardboard boxes above their heads with their own DIY lion dance.

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Street performers abound. Fire-breathers, fire-eaters, and the pounding drumbeat that accompany them are always a draws a good crowd.

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Ongpin Street, the entrance to Chinatown, is directly beside the more than 400 year-old Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish. (Or, as we call it – Binondo Church, for short.) Religious items and native delicacies are sold side by side with Chinese new year staples like coloured chicks and lucky charms. You can start your trek through Chinatown on this side, or if you want to escape the crowd for a while you can slip inside the church and listen to the mass being held, say a prayer or light a candle. (A little trivia: Chinatown is actually bookended by two Catholic churches. Binondo Church on one end, and Santa Cruz Church on the other end. 🙂 )

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Amidst the happy faces, this sad little one caught my attention. Another photographer tried to get him to smile but he wasn’t having any of that.

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Mid-afternoon, we went to a nearby mall because I missed my morning coffee and I was craving for some, and they had cosplayers (in theme with the Chinese new year, of course) on stilts!

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I remember Chinese new year 2012, the first year it was being celebrated as a holiday here, the City government then really took measures to make it a closed street event in Chinatown. Everything was very organized. Cars were not allowed in, and there were programs, activities, dragon and lion dances in different parts of Chinatown. This year the people came, but I didn’t see anything special organized. It was a little disappointing. (On hindsight, maybe the lion dances came out after we went to the mall. -_- )

The mall was likewise crowded, but the festivities were better organized than in Chinatown itself. They had a new year countdown program with celebrites and fireworks the night before on new year’s eve with the City Mayor attending. This is a Chinese-themed mall on the outskirts of Chinatown, not just during CNY. For Chinese new year they went all out with the decors: rows and rows of red Chinese lanterns and yellow banners with auspicious wishes written on them, and a huge hanging fire-monkey lantern that supposedly gives you good fortune if you pass under it.

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They also set up a “food street” in the street behind the mall, with vendors selling…well, not necessarily Chinese food. XD  Apart from a couple of nods to Chinese cuisine like dumpling with noodles and lumpia, there were people selling finger foods, barbeques, takoyaki…

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…and Filipino street food staple isaw (barbecued pig or chicken intestines) and even a boneless lechon (roast pig)

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Back in the “Chinatown Walk” (the strip of walkway between the mall buildings), there were a slew of activities set up. There’s a wishing well, among other things,with a money tree in the center and two monkeys hanging from it. There’s also a statue of Buddha on an altar where people lined up to light an incense and pray to Buddha for good health. You can also write your wishes for the new year on wooden wishing plaques (called ema in Japan) and hang them up on the Wishing Wall. Some people wish for good health, love, doing well in exams and career, and good fortune in general.

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As we pass by one of the numerous Chinese restaurants, the noodle master put on a show making pulled noodles (la-mian). A crowd gathered at the window to watch him. Not a few (including me and my friend) were taking photos and videos of him. The crowd was riveted as he twirled, twisted, pulled and stretched the dough over and over until – with one last flourish – long, fine strands of evenly thin noodles were magically looped in his hands, and dropped them into a large boiling pot of water.

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I had to pass by Chinatown again on my way home. The crowd was still pretty thick from what I could see. There were a few dragons and lions still doing their dances, and families were still out and about enjoying the festivities. It was very heartening to see, because in the end, it’s all about family and the friendship between the Chinese and Filipino communities that really gives meaning and hope to having a wonderful start to a new year.

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So, Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! Gong Xi Fa Cai (恭喜發財)! If you’re interested in Chinese horoscope, here’s a list of predictions for this year.

Click here to check out your Chinese horoscope!

Scroll down and you’ll see a list for each sign. These are mostly dos and don’ts and what to be careful of this year. (Hey, no harm in taking precautions, right?) You can also find your sign on the website if you don’t know it yet.