Arts in the Enchanting Paradise of Palawan


Known as the Philippines’ “last ecological frontier,” the province of Palawan is a natural wonder with its vast tracts of tropical rainforests and a huge expanse of marine wilderness. Palawan’s beauty and rich culture have undeniably served as an inspiration for many local artists in their passion for the environment and for their crafts.

Featuring Palawan’s dynamic arts movers who are making their mark in the local and global arts scenes, the My City, My SM, My Art continues its exciting cultural journey around the SM Supermalls as it maps the quest of Palawan visual artists, who are continually searching for creative inspiration from Palawan’s natural wonders and colorful culture.

On October 25, 2018, SM City Puerto Princesa formally launched the My City, My SM, My Art – a campaign spearheaded by SM’s publicity department under the leadership of SM’s Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications, Ms. Millie Dizon, with the support of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, NCCA, Shell Philippines, Center Stage Productions, and the Philippine Star.

The My City, My SM, My Art is a project aimed at showcasing Philippine visual arts where SM Malls are located. This campaign truly brings art and people together through the works of masters, modernists, and millennials in a roadshow around SM Supermalls.

Advocating art for all, SM has worked with communities to mount exhibits, workshops, and contests in key cities around the Philippines. This time around, the spotlight is on Palawan’s vibrant visual arts scene.

Since the 1980s, Palawan has been growing as an incubator for a group of artists who share a passion for the environment, as well as their craft. Palawan’s beauty and bounty has undeniably served as an inspiration for many artists. This includes a Palawanon filmmaker, who has brought much honor to our country with his internationally acclaimed works.

Solito: Palawan’s Master Artist

The wonders of nature in Palawan and its rich culture are what inspires its visual artists in their masterpieces. Just like the internationally acclaimed director who comes from a lineage of the ancient Palawanon shamans, Director Auraeus Solito.

Auraeus, who also goes with his Palaw’an name Kanakan Balintagos, which means hunter of truth, is a Palawán-Filipino filmmaker and indigenous peoples rights advocate whose films reflect the diverse aspects of his being and environment.

He is considered a true pride of the Philippines and Palawan for bringing much honor to our country with his works proudly depicting the beauty and culture of his hometown.

Featured Artists

The launch highlights Palawan’s beauty and rich culture, which inspire local artists in their passion for the environment and for their crafts as well as honors Palawan artists and their place in history—and how they continue to keep the fire of the arts burning.

There is Jonathan Benitez, one of the leading artists who pass on this cultural pride to many aspiring artists of today.

Representing the young and energetic millennial artists of Palawan who take pride in the province’s natural wonders and colorful culture is John Christian Yayen.

Admirations are for artists who believe in paying it forward by mentoring a new generation of artists through passionate learning like Nil Sencillo, who wholeheartedly shares his talent to keep art alive among the youth.

Palawan’s mesmerizing natural marvels have definitely captured many hearts and created ideally therapeutic settings for artists who long for creative inspiration. Mario Lubrico, albeit born in Bacolod, already considers Palawan his artistic haven.

Palaweños are indeed resourceful and very talented. Nuno Finez is a perfect example for that. He believes in the power of art to breathe life in many things most people consider lifeless.

Palawan also has visual artists who successfully showcased the island’s beauty and culture in Europe’s major cities through his works. One of them is Mike Garcia.

Cleng Sumagaysay is another artist who has shown that Palawan indeed has many stories to tell through its visual arts.

With hopes of preserving the Tagbanua culture, Elordie Mesac uses his craft, which revolves around his indigenous ways and Palawan life to send messages of cultural pride and environmental awareness:.

Completing the roster is Frances Mendoza, a Cuyunon visual artist who draws strength and happiness from her art as a single mother.

Parts of an emerging arts scene in these western Philippine islands, these artists are striving to both capture and preserve the beauty of their tropical island home.

Workshop, Contest, Exhibit

Last October 20, selected students from San Miguel National High School and Puerto Princesa City Science High School (PPCSHS) attended an art workshop conducted by Elordie Mesac and other mentors from Art on the Move.

Each participant created their own Rubbercut pieces that reflect their Palawan and how they see it as their own. Each artwork became a part of the My City, My SM, My Art contest, where Shelomae K. Zumarraga from PPCSHS emerged as winner.

The launch of My City, My SM, My Art in SM City Puerto Princesa also opened the exhibit of the featured artists’ works that are mounted around the Art Gallery with a centerpiece that is a house inspired by a Visayan house in Panay.

The exhibition ran until October 31 Wednesday in the Event Center of SM City Puerto Princesa.

Catch the next My City My SM My Art campaign launch as it goes back to Iloilo.

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