Sunday, April 18, 2004

Architect for a week! That's the entire United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) San Pablo Chapter delegation to the 30th UAP National Convention at the Manila Hotel, minus Archt. Shiela Sanchez who was somewhere else. I just got home from a tiring (but quite rewarding) week. 5 days at the historic Manila Hotel was just absolutely fantastic! While the convention people were busy organizing tours of Greenbelt and Rockwell (obviously for out of towners), Ilyn and I were busy trying to get a tour of an obvious tour desination that no one else seems to have thought of....the Manila Hotel itself!

The hotel was kind enough to assign a concierge named Noel to show us around the more historic areas of the place, specially the legendary McArthur Suite, the room in the hotel in which General Douglas McArthur made a home out of for several years before World War 2 broke out. The suite has been preserved or restored as much as possible to retain the flavour of war era Philippines. Of course, modern conveniences have been installed, but they have not intruded in the ambience of the room as far as I have noticed.

There's Ilyn and me sitting in the living room of the McArthur suite. I can't even begin to imagine all the presidentiables and other VIPs who sat there! :)

I'll leave the rest of the details of the con at our UAP San Pablo official site, which I'll update later this week.

Alerted by Jerald Dorado, I trooped as soon as I could to SM Manila to see if my old painting teacher Solano Cruz was indeed teaching a workshop at Deovir. Solano Cruz was one of the 4 painting teachers I had when I was 13 back in 1981 at the Philtrade. I learned a LOT from those guys and it's sometimes funny when they would argue with each other what the right set of art theories they would teach me. Solano was the most memorable of them all, probably because I found him extremely likable and well....funny! I would eventually feature Solano in the very first Stupid Chicken Stories (Dead Heart #2, Crest Hut #3).

Solano Cruz and two of his Students. :)

So I was extremely glad to indeed find Solano there, teaching young kids the basics of art, with as much enthusiasm as he had shown me. He no longer remembered me, which is allright since it has been more than 20 years, but I just wanted to let him know what help he had been to my formative years as an artist. Thanks sir!

Yesterday, Dennis Villegas accompanied me to Hal Santiago's house in Pasay and met him there. To be honest, I didn't think much of Hal's work before, seeing only bits of it in the History of Philippine Komiks book and I didn't find his samples there too impressive. But man, Hal brought out all these stacks of his art and my God, they're magnificent! Many of them were HUGE 2 page spreads, bigger than the 2 page spreads more commonly used nowadays. Each of the spreads are so beautifully rendered that I was simply drooling.

Me and Hal Santiago

I found Hal to be a very nice, accomodating man who was generous with his time. He even gave me 2 original pages of art by my father in law Rudy Florese and agreed to let me purchase any of the art which I liked. He. he. I wish I could have bought them all but there were just stacks and stacks and stacks. I ended up buying the complete part 2 of Vengadora, a Manila Boy cover/pinup, and asked him to reserve 3 of the huge 2 page spreads for me. I think those pieces would look terrific in the museum once it's up and running. I have no doubt they would be some of the centerpieces of the collection. He really truly is one of the greatest Filipino illustrators. I'll have samples of his art here soon....

It's been a great week for art for me in that I was able to acquire original artwork by Tony Velasquez (Kenkoy), Fred Carillo (Phantom Stranger), Ernie Chan (Conan), Sonny Trinidad (Pio Hilario), Hal Santiago (Vengadora, Manila Boy), Abel Laxamana (Requiem Aeternam), Noly Panaligan, Nestor Redondo (Palos), Alex NiƱo (Glorioso), Vir Aguirre (Triple), Menny Martin, Teny Henson (Liwayway spot drawings), Ruben Yandoc, ER Cruz (The Shadow), Rudy Florese (Chowbar), and Mar Santana (Daluyong).

With these pieces of art, a small museum can already be made! Yeah! With some framing, archiving and the production of art reproductions and blowups, it's all already do-able. All I need now is venue that is close by so it won't be too hard to maintain.