Of the three main areas in Philippine
geography, Luzon has the distinct advantage of containing the seat of
government: Metropolitan Manila. It is thus inevitable that next to Metro
Manila, Luzon has the second most number of art galleries in the country.
Luzon has five sites
containing major concentrations of art galleries.
In the northern part,
we find the summer capital of the Philippines, Baguio, which is also
a mountaintop retreat. Several golf courses, relatively cool weather and
pines abound. As can be attested by its annual Flower Festival, Baguio
enjoys a booming flower industry, as well as bountiful produce of fruits and
vegetables. Botanical gardens and wide areas of land are cultivated for
another produce - strawberries. Woodcraft and silver are also main
A few hours drive from
another picturesque town, Vigan, Baguio is home to art movements and
artists, such as Ben Cabrera.
Two art galleries
exist in the area: Christine’s Art Gallery (Chuntug street, Baguio City)
which is privately owned and curated by Christine Ardisu, and Café by the
Ruins which, obviously, doubles as a restaurant.
Closer to Manila is
Zambales, known for its bay area which was used as a port for foreign
naval ships and which was converted to a commercial center when the American
bases agreement was terminated.
In another part of
Zambales is the quiet town of San Antonio where the Anita Gallery is located
(Casa San Miguel, San Antonio, San Miguel, Zambales). Named after
modernist/genre painter Anita Magsaysa-Ho who is a San Antonio native and
niece of Casa San Miguel founder Ramon L. Corpuz, the gallery is a two story
visual arts exhibition space dedicated to painting, sculpture, pottery and
other historical and educational presentations.
The Anita Gallery is
part of a bigger structure, Casa San Miguel (a farm converted into a
complete center for the arts), which was established in 1921 by the Corpus
Aside from the
gallery, Casa San Miguel’s facilities include a hall designed for intimate
concerts, plays and ballet performances, an outdoor theater and garden, an
upstairs loft ideal for exhibiting installation pieces that require open
spaces, artists residences in its 3rd and 4th floors,
libraries situated on both sides of the attic wings, and a restaurant named
"Capriccio" which offers a menu featuring organically grown vegetables from
the San Miguel farm and fresh catch from the nearby sea.
Casa San Miguel’s
Center for the Arts has developed a laudable residency program geared to
encourage artists of all disciplines to interact with their community
through their Community Youth Development Program, culminating in the annual
seven-month long season Pundaquit Festival of the Arts.
Together with the
Corpus and Bolipata families and some close friends, Didi Dee manages the
gallery spaces which include the Anita Gallery.
province just beside Metro Manila, is home to several artist communities.
Out of the 10 art galleries in Luzon, four are situated in Angono, Rizal.
Of the four, one is
owned by an artist-entrepreneur (Nemiranda Gallery, 10 Dona Elena
Street, Dona Justa Village, Angono, Rizal), two double as
restaurants (Surrounded by Water Gallery, and Balao Balao Restaurant and
Gallery), and one is run by an institution (Blanco Museum, Angono,
Surrounded by Water
Gallery (Manila East Road Highway, Angono, Rizal) is a cooperative
gallery(artist-run and artist-founded). Just opened in March 1998, the
gallery is dedicated to experimental works in all media. Monthly exhibitions
feature solo or group shows and collaborations of new artists who have had
little exposure to the general public, combined with the more seasoned
Restaurant and Gallery(Angono, Rizal), which serves food distinct to the
region, also functions quite similarly to Surrounded by Water Gallery.
To the south of Metro
Manila is Cavite which, like Bulacan, played an important role in the fight
for Philippine Independence.
Cavite has Tagaytay,
also known as the "Little Baguio of the South." Blueridge Gallery is located
at Km 52 Café, Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay, Cavite.
Furthest south in
Luzon is the island reserve of Palawan, home to one of the country’s
endangered species park, and known for its exotic flora and fauna, as well
as being a water-lover’s paradise.
Palawan has two art
galleries, Ka Lui Restaurant (369 Rizal Avenue) and Galeri Kamarikutan,
both in Puerto Princesa City.
(Airport Road, Puerto Princesa City) latest exhibit which opened last
October 8, 1998 featured lampshades of various shapes and colors which
function as paintings during the day and provide light at night. Entitled "Rythms
of Light", the exhibit features the works of Babu Conde and Dinggot Conde
Prieto. Materials include acrylic on almaciga resin, terra cotta beads and
found objects such as driftwood, animal bones, and snake skin. Other
featured artists are Sonny J. Cruz, Rex Cuenca, Mario Lubrico Jr. and Alvin
Right in the middle of the archipelago is the group of islands called
the Visayas. There are five sites for art galleries in the entire area.
Known for their fiery
temperament(the Battle of Mactan involving Lapu-Lapu vs. the Spanish
invaders) and hospitable ways, natives of Cebu are proud to
belong to the "Queen City of the South."
Spanish influence and
innate Cebuano ingenuity have merged for centuries to create unique and
inventive arts and crafts industries.
Home to lepido-mosaic
artist Julian Jumalon, whose collections of damaged butterfly wings are
placed together in paintings, Cebu boasts of three art galleries located
within its city premises.
The oldest is Casa
Second oldest is the
CAP Art Center and President Sergio Osmena Sr. Memorabilia (60 Osmena
Boulevard, Cebu City) which was opened in 1986. Curated by Mary F. Abad and
owned by the CAP Family of Companies, the gallery exhibits different artists
from all over the Philippines. Within a span of one month per show, the
gallery features all types of artworks.
SM Art Center is the
most recently opened (July 1994) and is located inside SM City Cebu Shopping
Mall. With 12 to 15 exhibits per year, the gallery hopes to uplift the arts
Fifteen minutes travel
by plane and an hour’s travel by boat from Cebu is the Cebuano-speaking
"City of Gentle People" Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.
Home to one of the
country’s oldest universities, Silliman University (known for hosting an
annual summer writers’ workshop participated in by aspiring literary
geniuses from all over the country), Dumaguete City has one art gallery.
Mariyah Gallery (Bogo Crossing, Larena Drive, Dumaguete City) also
serves as a restaurant and pension house. Opened in November 1992 by
owner/curator Cristina Taniguchi, the gallery is housed in a private
residence just near the outskirts of the city and has ample landscaped lawns
surrounding the main residence. The gallery exhibits two to three times a
year featuring several local, as well as foreign artists. Majority of the
artists featured use terracota, as well as oil on canvas as media in their
On the other side of
the Negros Island is Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, home to Phinma Gallery
which is connected to the institution Negros Museum. Phinma Gallery
features several artists in its various exhibits.
In like manner, Museo
Iloilo in Iloilo City also has its own gallery.
Famous for being the
hometown of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, Tacloban City, Leyte has two
art galleries: CAP Center (Justice Romualdez Street, Tacloban City) and
Leyte SME Center.
Known as an oasis of
natural resources Mindanao has tremendous natural assets such as vast
agricultural lands, huge mineral deposits, extensive forests, teaming marine
life and pristine underwater life, There are three sites for art galleries
The main cultural
center for the region is Davao City. This has been attributed to its
location, political stability, accessibility and fine natural resources as
compared to the rest of the area.
Described as the
Philippine’s "Premier Gateway to the Evolving Economy of South East Asia",
Davao is rich in immigrant and highland cultures that blend to form a
copious tapestry of ethnic and contemporary lifestyle that is quite evident
in the cuisine, music, architecture and festivals.
Davao has Genluna Art Gallery (12 General Luna Street, Davao
City) which was opened by owner /curator Emiliano Lo in
December 1991. Aside from "muslim" artists(e.g. Abdul Imao) who incorporate
local ethnic art forms and designs into their pieces, Genluna Art Gallery
also exhibits several established Filipino artists(e.g. Baldemor, Orlina et
Zamboanga, which is
known for its colonial landmarks, has the Recuerdos Gallery (23 Valderoza
Street, Zamboanga City).
Midway between Davao
and Zamboanga is Cotabato whose art gallery is located within the premises
of the Notre Dame University (Cotabato City).
Art Galleries in
Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao share the common goal of uplifting the arts in
their respective regions. Although most of them specialize in contemporary
art, all are appreciative of the Filipino masters and the more established
contemporary artists as reflected in the curators' and/or owners' knowledge
of the artists and their artworks and its contribution to the development of
art in the country.
Majority of the local
artists use materials and elements that are indigenous to their region.
Examples are the use of vista-inspired colors in ethnic art and the use of
ash glaze in pottery/sculptures of Luzon, particularly those from the
As a whole, art
galleries in the provinces (Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao), while catering to
art patrons from their respective places, look to art galleries and cultural
institutions situated in Metro Manila as models for programs that may
enhance their own respective gallery’s services, their artists’ creations,