By Kathryn Joy Jeruta*

Inside the dark, gloomy and under-repair Jaro Cathedral we got to see lapidas all around. These are not the contemporary lapidas that are ever present in cemeteries.    Those inside Jaro Cathedral are bigger, older and more artsy than our modern day lapidas.

With Juvic Velez who is an officer in the church secretariat, we were able to see first-hand about 40 of these old lapidas that are inside the century-old Jaro Cathedral.   The lapidas have Spanish inscriptions giving us the idea that these may have been around during or just after the Spanish era. It also shows of how much influence our Spanish colonizers have had in our culture.

All the while we have been thinking that these are just lapidas with no real remains inside. We were really surprised when our guide told us that indeed the remains are buried in the church. Given the privilege to be buried in church are high-ranking church leaders such as the archbishop and the bishop.   Aside from there, we saw on other lapidas names of prominent families in Jaro.   Family names such as Jalandoni, Villalobos, Javellana, Lozada and Javelosa can be found inside. These people were important patrons of  the church.

A name worth highlighting is Don Manuel Arguelles who is the first layman to be given the privilege to be buried in the church. He was one of the people who spearheaded the building of this cathedral.  His marble lapida (5 feet and 3 inches x 2 feet and 10 inches) is placed on the floor.

The lapidas inside the church appear to be really ancient giving the suggestion of how old lapida making as an art really is.

*About the author

Kathryn Joy Jeruta is in her second year at UPV majoring in business management.  She finished her secondary education at St. Joseph School.




By William Lawrence King*

A lapida is a permanent indicator placed over or next to the site of a burial.  It is also a symbol of respect and recognition of the dead. It is in the lapida that the name, age and birth date as well as death date can be found.

What may sound as a morbid topic to research on, we actually had a lot of fun. To begin gathering information, we set out to a cemetery to observe the many lapidas that can be found. We were confronted with hundreds of assorted lapidas in concrete, stone, granite and tiles. Most common of all though were the ones made of marble.

We also visited Jaro Cathedral to check out the older, bigger and more artsy lapidas. We scrutinized about 40 lapidas inside the church. Check out Kathryn’s post entitled “Jaro Cathedral’s Artsy Lapidas.

To learn more of the modern sleek-looking lapidas, we headed out to E. Lopez Street in Jaro where lapida makers can be found. The sun was at full blast and the traffic jammed, we started with the first among the nine lapida making shops along the street.

At Golden Lapida, we met Mr. Romdy Panso who introduced himself as the lapida maker for the shop. In between bites of his pamahaw we were able to find out that the shop has been in business for eight years and is owned by a Mr. Raul Salvador. They offer lapidas in marble, granite and stainless steel. Romdy claims to be able finish one lapida a day. As we were about to visit the next shop, we caught a glimpse of a unique lapida because it had a picture of a person on it. The picture of the deceased seems to be in wallet size and it was laminated. Upon observation we found out that it was actually just stuck to the lapida. The shop also offers special brass lettering services for the words on the lapidas.

Next in line is Ricky Marble Services.  We were told by the shop’s lapida maker Sandy Bayot, 17, that this is the oldest lapida making shop in the entire row of lapida makers.  The establishment opened on 1976. The shop was first started by Roque Mingo Sr. but is now being managed by his son Ricky. Ricky Marble Services also offers lapidas in marble, granite and stainless steel.  Also available is the tile lapida which is only made by this shop. It would take Sandy two hours to finish a tile lapida and it costs about P2500.  By the way, Roque Mingo Sr. who was featured in MMK for his syokoy appearance owns another shop, Mingo Marble Services which offers the same rate.

We then visited Alma Salvador’s A&C Marble Works. We learned that the shop employs two workers but on this hot day, only one is present. John Pineda, 18, kindly answered our probing questions. They offer lapidas in granite and plain marble. What is special about this shop is their blue-pearl granite which is the most expensive material to use for a lapida. This particular kind costs about P6000. We asked for a sample but sadly it’s unavailable because it needs to be pre-ordered because the lapida is imported from abroad. Interestingly A&C also owns Salvador Marble and Metal Services, another lapida shop along E. Lopez.  We thanked him then for his time and trudged toward the next lapida making shop.

Nonoy Casera Lapida Maker is a shop with a small entrance. We were greeted by a smiling 21 year-old Luis Merida IV (that’s him in the photo with Kathryn and myself). The shop offers lapidas in marble and granite. Luis was in the middle of carving a lapida which gave us the opportunity to actually see how one is made. We asked questions while he was working on the marble lapida. He calls his carving material as “sinsil” for use on marble and “carvite” for granite lapidas. When asked of his background in lapida making, he told us that it was one of the most important things his father, also a lapida maker, ever taught him. Lapida making is learned through mentor- apprentice correlation.

It would take about week to a month of practice to be a good lapida maker. We stayed the longest on this shop as we looked on while he was working. Of course it was a relief from the heat as well.

We then made our way to Ronnel Lapida Engraving. The shop as we saw in its BIR registration is owned by Ronnel Rovia. In the shop working is Redan Rovia who is the brother of the owner and the worker of the shop. He was working on a lapida and did not seem to be in the mood for answering questions. Somehow, we were able to learn though that the shop has been in operation since 1976 and that they only use Romblon marble for their lapidas. After gathering this much info we left him to finish his job and made our way to the shop next to it.

C.E Lapida Engraving is owned by Ms. Pacita Macato Chan. We asked their only worker Joey Rubia about this particular shop. He was only able to answer few of our questions. The shop has been in business for more than 10 years. They only use granite and Romblon marble.

We walked under the late morning heat toward Choi’s Place Special Gravestone. Stepping inside we came face to face with a woman who seemed to be in charge. She did not offer any answer to our questions. Before leaving, we caught a glimpse of the BIR registration and saw that the shop is owned by Mr. Gerard S. Deblois. We left in a hurry and laughed at the cold treatment we got from the old lady.

We visited the last lapida shop in our list. CMC Lapida Engraving which has been in business for 10 years is owned by Consoladora Chan. They have one worker named Ronald Macabata who said that he is not allowed to give interviews. We thanked him anyway and walked back toward our starting point. Being done with the interviews, we left the blistering heat for the cool comfort of SM City.

From the information we have gathered, we can say that there are only few participating business entities in the lapida making industry. This is because it is a business that booms only on the months of September and October. Also lapida makers are limited as it is learned in a mentor-apprentice correlation.

We were also told that since Ricky Marble Services opened in E.Lopez, the rest also opened in the same area to share in the market. From what we have seen, the lapidas are generic in appearance regardless of the maker. So ones choice as where to have a lapida created may depend on the availability of material used and of course the price of having one produced.

If you need help in choosing the right lapida maker, we made a table to aid you in your choice.


Lapida Shops


Ricky Marble Services and Mingo Marble Services500-7332 Golden Lapida Makers09268711566 A&C Marble Services andSalvador Marble & Metal Services



Nonoy Casera Lapida Maker328-4163 Ronnel Lapida Engraving09193476770 C.E. Lapida Engraving301-0826 Choi’s Place CMC Lapida Engraving300-3641



P5000 P3000 P6000 P4500





P600 P500 P500P400 P600 P500 P500


Tile P2500
Stainless P2500
Add photo P150 P250 P150 P250
Add StainlessLettering(per letter) P1000
Add Brass lettering(per letter) P50
Lapida Shops


C.E. Lapida Engraving301-0826 Choi’s Place CMC Lapida Engraving300-3641









Add photo P250
Add StainlessLettering(per letter)
Add Brass lettering(per letter)

About the author

William Lawrence King is a third year marketing major at the University of the Philippines Visayas. He completed his secondary education at Ateneo de Iloilo. Visit his site at for his blog entries and other media presentations.



By Ida Cel Dizon and Adesa Ferraris, March 15, 2008

“…Cause there’s nothing glamorous about the sugarcane industry. I can’t make the manugtapas wear the baro’t saya while smiling under the scorching sun. It’s paradoxical.” – Nunelucio Alvarado

Born in Fabrica, Sagay City, early awakened by the fact that there is such a thing as social stratification, Nunelucio Alvarado paints anything but hypocrisy. Growing up in the locale where the sugar industry is the main source of income, it is not a surprise that most of his works are depictions of the everyday activity of those who work there.

A painting major from UP Diliman, Alvarado has been an icon on the art scene since 1975. He has carried out numerous individual and group exhibits, whether be it in the Philippines or abroad. He was recognized by the CCP as one of the most influential artists in the country and was twice the grand prize winner of the Regional Philip Morris Art Award.

Not intimidated to conform or follow any trend that limits the creativity and confine it to the boundaries of what that style dictates, this social-realist painter believes in artistic freedom. His source of inspiration for the themes and ideas he paints is his immersions from time to time. He goes to places where the manugtapas (sugar cane workers) lives and talks to them and lives as one. To get a full and vivid picture – nothing but honesty of how their lives really are. To paint the ordinary as how he interprets the stories of the manugtapas, the fishermen and vendors during his immersions, to portray the hardships of the breadwinners to provide despite insufficiency and to present the prejudiced reality of the evil forms in disguise are the reasons why he continuously holds his brush.

“Hindi kasi ako naniniwala sa mga ‘ism-ism’ na yan eh. It confines what an artist can do. I believe that there should be no boundaries. An artist should have the freedom to create what he/she pleases.”

Inspired by the stories and lives of the laborers in sugarcane plantations locally known as the sakadas, Alvarado’s artworks were mainly commentaries.  He expresses his sentiments on the social stratification through art. The images of his works convey messages that depict social issues of his hometown, specifically, the plight of the sakadas.

Looking at all his works as he explains how and why such images are there, we come to realize that his works are beyond superficial. His works aren’t ordinary. His works are not just pictures. Every Alvarado is a life story. One that you ignore, one you fail to hear, one you don’t want to see, and one you are afraid to be in. But he dared to portray it so the world could see the reality through the eyes of the manugtapas.

As what was written by, Alvarado’s typical geometric humans are humans are unreal yet ridden with so much character and spirit with their typical bright piercing eyes, heavy-set toes and arms that hint at the rigors of toil. All is set amidst a backdrop of sugar cane fields, workman tools, of women and babies trading flowers, fruits, fish fowl… The archetypal imagery his works are most known for, reflect the psychic plunges of deep despair and of a higher wisdom for a man unafraid of life. His pure artistic energy generates power that resounds in every canvass he fulfills — whether it be the idyllic scenes of his hometown or the dark terrain of the social ills of his people.

Come to the end of our tour and interview, we’d still feel the ideas and remember the images. Never again will we see the manugtapas the same as just an ordinary being but a soul fearless and extraordinary. Their lives- beyond words and their story – moving and tragic but the challenge is to make life as sweet as sugar.

Despite the bold colors and the dramatic characters, it’s not bliss that you derive from Alvarado’s work. It’s a slap of reality. Melancholia. A truth of the darkness behind the sweet crystalline substance and its making. To see an Alvarado is to experience sugar’s bitter aftertaste.

About the authors:

When assigned a role, Ida doesn’t only fulfill and perform the requirements. She goes an extra mile rendering her work unexpectedly and undeniably impressive. She’s not a huge talker making her a very nice real-live diary of secrets; she won’t tell a soul about your baggage. She’s surprisingly funny, but when the occasion calls for it, she can be likened to a philosopher and an excellent source of useable advice. She’s ferociously loyal to her family and friends. She’s silly and weird, which makes her a companion one will never be bored with.

Adesa is a hard-working person when she wants something done. She doesn’t fool around when she knows she has a task to finish. She’s incredibly resourceful and highly determined under pressure, which results in a job well done. She may be short, but don’t let her height fool you because she also has a short fuse and could blow up on an offender at any time. She doesn’t let people manipulate her, yet when it comes to friends, she’d put them at the top of her priority list.

Ida Cel Mangaron Dizon                                          Adesa Parreño Ferraris

BS Biology II                                                              BS Biology II

09277719602                                                           09195644955

*By Jimma Luz Totesora

As I settled myself comfortably inside a Miagao jeepney, I began to wonder why there is such a difference between the jeepneys of Iloilo and those of my hometown. I thought that the Philippines is dominated by Sarao jeepneys only. But here in Iloilo, the jeepneys have smooth and curved edges, and they are longer and wider compared to the average Sarao jeepney, thus, they can accommodate more passengers in a single trip. To me, Ilonggo jeepneys look more like private vans than PUJs.

I headed to a shop called Pasajero Sosyal for some answers. People have told me that it is a famous maker of modern-looking Ilonggo jeepneys. So, I went to Pavia. At first, I was lost because the jeepney driver dropped me at the wrong place. It has a big sign Pasajero Sosyal in front but it was a dark, empty warehouse that greeted me. I suspected that they transferred to another location so I rode another jeepney and asked the driver to lead me to the “real” shop. And he did.

Mrs. Elena Giralao, the sales manager warmly greeted me and led the way to their main office. She was kind enough to entertain me since the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Sotelo, weren’t there. According to her, Pasajero Sosyal emerged in 1992 with the name Miag-ao Car Care Services in Mambatad, Miag-ao.

“Why Pasajero Sosyal?” I asked. Mrs. Elena laughed at the question. She told me that the owner saw the phrase “pasajero sosyal” on one of the jeepneys in Cebu. Mr. Sotelo liked the phrase that he adopted it. He thinks that the word is appropriate for his jeepney fabrication business.

Mr. Ramon Sotelo used to be a warehouse employee. As a sideline, he worked as a car mechanic. When the number of his customers started increasing, he quit his job in the warehouse and focused on upgrading jeepneys. In 1992, he and his wife, Mrs. Lonie Sotelo, began to take few orders. In 1995, orders escalated. Pasajero Sosyal jeepneys were starting to get more attention. It became immensely popular because the quality of the streamlined product is very good and these could be bought at a very reasonable price. It’s was a good deal for people who want to venture in the PUJ business.

From Mambatad, Miagao, Pasajero Sosyal decided to transfer to Sta. Barbara and again, to Mali-ao, Pavia, closer to the city to accommodate more customers in the Northern and Central part of Iloilo.

Pasajero Sosyal jeepneys can easily be distinguished by looking at the jeepney’s hood. As the owners’ son said, their shop uses headlights and bumpers from expensive cars like Honda CR-V and even Toyota Fortuner. These things give an identity to the jeepneys. It makes them look “sosyal” enough to be called unique. Aside from that, the hood of a Pasajero Sosyal jeepney look like the hood of branded pick-ups and vans such as Toyota Hilux or a Nissan Frontier.

Its body is wide enough for twenty (20) people to fit in and its exterior contains airbrushed designs reflecting Ilonggo culture. Of course, who could forget the name “Pasajero Sosyal” in cursive writing on its lower part, to complete the look of this contemporary Ilonggo jeepney.

A Pasajero Sosyal jeepney these days ranges from 500 to 600 thousand pesos. Every two years, new models come out. The unique designs are made by their son, Mr. Ramil Sotelo, who also inherited his father’s interest in automotives. He holds car shows in SM City to display Pasajero Sosyal’s new models of jeepneys. Pasajero Sosyal has also exported products to Papua, New Guinea.

Pasajero Sosyal jeepneys symbolize the Ilonggos’ creativity, uniqueness and their perseverance to create something that promotes Ilonggo pride.

Related entries:

Ilonggo religiousity and jeepneys

Iloilo color

Ilonggo jeepney art

Ilonggo jeepney seat

The contemporary Ilonggo jeepneys of Patoo Wheel Motors

by Christian Nagaynay*

There is no record as to when exactly was weaving introduced here in Miagao. Historians nevertheless state that weaving was already well-established in the province of Iloilo long before the Spanish conquistadors came. So this is one of those crafts that we could consider as product of Filipino ingenuity.

Knowing this, I became impulsive to know someone who could share something about this skill and there came Consolacion Natinga or Lola Oling. Well she lives in Brgy. Bugtong situated some kilometers away from the Miagao proper.

I asked Lola Oling if weaving is just a simple thing to learn. She replied that it can be learned but those who really have the gift of weaving come up with very good weaves.

Indeed, Lola Oling has been blessed with this wonderful weaving skill. At 76, she still continues her craft, although not as active as compared to the times when she was still young.

The family of Lola Oling has been known here in Miagao for their hand woven patadyong. Aside from the actual weaving, Lola Oling manages a weaving business at Bgy. Bugtong. It’s too amazing for her age to do both things, weaving and at the same time spearheading the whole weaving center. Well, this maybe the result of her long years of experience in this line of work.

This artistic craft of weaving different colored threads really started from her grandparents. Lola Oling even shared the love story of her grandparents (which I was really eager to know) which was not only bound by love but also by their inclination in weaving. So here’s the story, Lola Oling’s grandmother and grandfather were both weavers. With the marriage, they were able to consolidated their small weaving business which now is in the hands of their granddaughter— Lola Oling herself. Imagine how magical those threads are that even human hearts are tied together as one.

I did have a chance asking her about how she did those colorful patadyong. She casually answered that before and until today there were no patterns to follow; instead they just weave the threads that they have and only after the work could they judge the craft.

Truly, I was struck with the reality that indeed this skill is truly God-given. For my 17 years of stay here in Miagao, I never thought that somehow there are stories like that of Lola Oling’s.

Well at home I could see the patadyongs used by my Lola when she still alive and I never thought that behind these beautiful colored cloths lie the story of Lola Oling and the other weavers out there.

Today the patadyong industry continuously grows with the help of the local government. Lola Oling is happy with this action taken by the municipality of Miagao. She could feel that the craft she loved for a long time has been given importance and somehow a way for the younger generations like me to appreciate the art that we could consider as our own.

Patadyong is now introduced in the market. They are best souvenir items, perhaps. These colorful patadyongs are available at the Souvenir Center at Miagao’s Cultural Center as well as in its public market. There you could find Lola Oling every Tuesday and Saturday. Well you could have your chance to have a deep chat with her.

As for the prices? Patadyong come in three classes: the ordinary (the ones with coarse texture) which cost P130-150, the factory class (those which are semi-smooth) with starting price of P160 up to P180, and the genuine class (the smoothest & tightly woven of all) that costs P230-250.

About the author

Christian Nagaynay is a second year BA Broadcast Communication student at the University of the Philippines Visayas. He is a certified Miagawanon from Barangay San Rafel.

*By Johnnel Pahila

Ulingan is a local term used to refer to the traditional clay stove here in Iloilo. In Filipino, the clay stove is called kalan.  Before gas stoves and ovens were invented, Filipinos cook their rice and viand over the ulingan.  Up to now there are many people who still cook their food using the ulingan.   Personally, I find it irresistible eating rice cooked in the ulingan especially if it is placed in the traditional clay pot called kolon.  According to some Ilonggos, “namit guid ya kung gin luto sa ulingan ang bugas kag sud-an“. (“The rice and viand get delicious if they are cooked over the clay stove.”)


 Located along the road of Hibao-an/Jibao-an, Pavia in front of the Garden of Ascension is a household producing different kinds of pots, jars and stoves out of clay. 

The Sellorin Family are tumandoks (natives) of Jibao-an; the family members include: Romeo “Roming” (father), Adeliada (mother), and their children: Jeobert (eldest), Juvylyn, Jeomel, Jessica, Jirah and Jezrell (youngest).

 I asked Manong Roming if he could give me a rough estimate of the year their pottery business started, and he said “I cannot really give you the exact or even jut the approximate year, since I only know that our small business started back from my grandfathers and may be from their grandfathers too.”  Now, Manong Roming is the one who manages their small business, and every family member knows how to make a pot.  According to them, Jeomel (Roming’s son) is the one who makes good clay stoves.


Making the ulingan.

            The process of making the clay stoves starts from the gathering of materials.  Generally the materials in making the ulingan are: baras (a mixture of clay and sand) and water.  Interestingly, in our language the term baras/balas refers to the sand alone, but in the world of Jibao-an potters they refer it to the mixture of sand and clay.  There is also another term from them, ihut.  

It refers to the clay alone.  Sometimes, Manong Roming uses pure cement which is molded in an aluminum bucket/mold to make cement stoves since these are more durable and can last up to a year. On the other hand, the ulingan made of baras lasts for about four months.  The pricing also differs, the clay stove is worth 35 pesos per piece in retail but in whole sale (60 pieces) it is only 25 pesos per piece, while the cement stove costs about a hundred and fifty pesos per piece in retail but for only about a hundred and twenty pesos per piece in wholesale (60 pieces).  Even though  the cement stove has its advantage, in which it lasts longer than the clay stove, I still believe that the clay stove is better.  Like for example, the rice cooked in a kolon and over a clay stove is much more delicious and has an irresistible aroma than that of the cement stove.  Just like me, my father also thinks that his appetite is intensified whenever he eats rice cooked over an ulingan.


The forming or shaping of the clay stove is one important process in pottery making.  First, the potter gets a portion or about two handfuls of the baras and kneads the clay using both of his feet in order to soften baras.  After that, the clay undergoes the kandol process, where the clay is placed on a table and kneaded by both hands, to soften and estimate the appropriate amount of the clay needed.  The next step is called gihit, which is done on the potter’s wheel to shape it.  An appropriate amount of water added is important when shaping the clay, so that it would be easier and softer to handle.  A piece of hilo (thread) is used to gurut (separate) the shaped clay from the potter’s wheel. 


The clay stove is then air-dried or sun-dried or transferred to a covered place for about five days until the clay becomes white and hard.  After it is dried, finishing touches are then applied like making opening for the entrance of charcoal and small holes on it for the passage of air and ashes during cooking. 

These clay stoves are now ready for pagba (open firing, a process of cooking the clay).  But before the open firing, dry wood and bamboo branches/twigs are placed for about one dangaw or a hand measure underneath steel bars.  Above the steel bars are piles of dried clay stoves which are covered by uhut (rice hay) and lastly covered by labhang (rice hull), and after all of these are piled; now the

clay stoves are ready for open firing. 

 There is a secret shared by Manong Roming.  He said that after the clay stoves are cooked (get reddish-brick in color), they are left to stand overnight and picked-up in the morning to make sure that the ulingan is mabugnaw(cool).   Usually, open firing takes about a day.  But some potters have a kiln or a closed oven that only takes four to six hours to get their clay stoves cooked. 


After all the clay stoves are cooled, the clay stoves are then placed in the trisikad (a bicycle with a “side car”) for delivery to any point in Iloilo.  But most of his suki (constant customers) are retailers located in downtown or city proper of Iloilo.  The heartrending story is that Manong Roming needs to wake-up 3’oclock in the morning everyday and deliver his products in whole sale to the city proper no matter what the weather conditions would be.  I feel sad and I really sympathize for the hardships his family is undertaking everyday.  Yet, Manong Roming thinks his job is as good as the job of wealthy people and besides, he is contented yet proud of his job.  He does all of these sacrifices in order for his family to surpass poverty and also to fulfill his dream, that all of his children will be able to finish college. Go Manong Roming, you can do it and God bless you and your family!                                                                                   


*A Pavianhon, Johnnel Pahila is a BS Bio student at UPV.  Mang Roming’s place is just a bicycle ride away from his home.                                                                     

By Diana Mae R. Bebelone*


Indi ko sapatos ang Art,tiil ko siya”

                                                      — Andrea Bagarinao


I often wonder how it is being an artist. How would it feel to hold a brush at the tip of your hands and paint with such graceful strokes, to create such musical harmony from the heart with a piano or violin, or to sing with so much emotional power?


It really astounds me to see diverse faces of art expressed with such subtleness. And that’s the reason why it really excites me to think of the moment that I myself would personally interview an artist. By fate, I was fortunate enough that for my Humanities 1 class, I have found for myself just the right artist to interview—Andrea Bagarinao, a third year BA Literature student of UP Visayas. I know she isn’t really that famous, but I believe in her artistic skills, being impressed by for her works at her young age. Anyway, before I forget, she’s actually a friend of my friend—which means that we weren’t really that close. So during my first interview with her, I was a bit shy for the first few minutes, but after that, everything just flowed freely and we had a great time getting to know more of each other.


The first thing that I asked her was to explain what art is to her. Interestingly, with such straightforwardness, she just replied Indi ko sapatos ang art, tiil ko siya”(Art is not my shoes; it is my feet).


I was dumbfounded for a second. Such deep and vague statement has to be processed and interpreted as immediately as possible by my brain’s neurons. Having dug for its meaning between the lines, I now seem to understand and appreciate how much she puts importance to art. Something she would always consider a part of herself, her identity, her being and humanness—not just a mere separate entity with the option to possibly abandon it.


During the entire conversation, I was surprised to find out that both her parents have artistic backgrounds. Certainly it’s no wonder how Andrea got such a great genetic make-up. I also learned that although both of her parents are artists by heart—who later became her personal critiques—it was her Aunt Virgie who made a great impact on her artistic development.


Learning to use pencils and crayons at the age of three, Andrea’s artistic potential, in time, was enhanced through constant practice with her aunt. She then learned to appreciate sketching human forms. Hence, in her first two years at the Kinaadman Elementary School at Tigbauan, Iloilo, she made a compilation of her own short stories complete with illustrations. By third grade, she developed a central theme for her artworks—horror. Based on that theme, she created her first comic strip booklet entitled “Capiz Troubles.” In her fifth grade, having developed the love for Japanese anime—she started sketching a few of those “manga” series anime. Up to now, she still has that same strong passion for drawing human figures. In fact, as her major breakthrough, she made two key artworks; “Handumanan” in 2002 and “Mga___sang Ugsad” by 2005. From simple comics and “manga” Japanese series anime, she then learned water color techniques and eventually mural painting from her secondary education at the Special Arts Program of the Iloilo National High School. Through constant practice and mentoring by their artist-teachers in high school, her innate artistic skills were fully developed.



As part of her thesis production entitled “Pinta-Sulat-Bata”, she produced in 2005, three major artworks in polychrome: “The Laborer”, “The Unemployed”, and “The Tenant Farmer” which earned her major awards from INHS. Eventually, these outstanding works were exhibited at SEAFDEC’s Fish World Museum in Tigbauan, Iloilo.


In 2006, that same museum commissioned Andrea to do a mural painting. Andrea came up with “Sinabawan.” Just early this year, the same museum hired her to do another mural on fishes.


To personally witness this obra maestra, I went to the Fish World museum. Coming face to face with Andrea’s work, I was certainly struck by such awesome beauty. It was such a huge mural painting that I couldn’t make it fit into my camera’s frame. So, I just focused on the details.


Much to my surprise, I realized that indeed it is true that her artworks don’t contain any blue or gray hues. As I toured the museum, I found out that her past water color paintings have been replicated on t-shirts. One design shows a strong Japanese and Chinese influence, a manifestation of her passion for anime art.


I left the museum aesthetically satisfied and promising myself that I would come back.


Aside from painting, drawing and writing short illustrated stories, Andrea is also a stern environmental advocate. She loves to be with nature (although she rarely does landscapes) and cares a lot for animals including the much-feared snake. Don’t think however that she is an eccentric teenager for she also loves to do things typical teenagers do, such as singing, dancing, watching TV, and (interestingly) acting.


Asked about her favorite visual artist, Andrea admires Zeshin, whose techniques she wants to adapt, as well as Manga artists. At present she likes . simply replies “Zeshin…siya ang may techniques na gusto ko guid i-adapt…mga manga artist pa guid! Subong sila Watsuki(Rkenshin) kag Arakawa(Hagaren)—story and graphics”. (Zeshin…he has the techniques I really want to adapt…and also Japanese “manga” artists. Presently, I like Watsuki(Rkenshin) and Arakawa(Hagaren)—story and graphics.)



Calling her work as “chiaroscuro- paired- with- Chinese luminescence,” Andrea plays most of the time with dark and light effects, a technique she learned in high school which she then combines with her own innovations.


Perhaps, it may not be Andrea’s perfect time to shine yet but definitely—with her passion, ideas, and skills —she will get there. Andrea Bagarinao , a budding Ilongga visual artist.


p9140266.jpg*Diana Mae R. Bebelone is a third year Political Science student at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas. She loves writing melodramatic poems and she optimistically hopes to be a musical artist someday.