During the unveiling of the Red Hankie Lane. Photo by Rachel Ganancial.

The Provincial Culture and the Arts Program has partnered with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to promote murals and public art in Palawan.

Plans are underway to create a mural and an art installation this month of February along the so-called Red Hankie Lane section of the Tourism Mile along Rizal Avenue, between Ivy Wall Hotel and the Badjao Inn.

Program manager Ceasar Sammy Magbanua said that in partnership with the NCCA, the idea of the project was inspired by the Instagrammable public street art and murals across the globe.

“Ngayon ay inilunsad ang isa sa dream projects ng karamihan sa atin dito. Hopefully, it is not the last but just the first of the series of murals and art installations dito sa lungsod ng Puerto Princesa, although may nauna na, si SK chairperson natin sa city with the help of NCCA also. Although medyo may kalayuan, we really have to make an effort to visit, sa race track but it is really worth visiting also,” he said.

The NCCA has set aside funding for the mural and art installation project.

Magbanua said that the Red Hankie Lane is also located at the tourism mile of the city government which makes it accessible to visitors strolling around the city proper.

Angie Mendoza, one of the proponents of the project, said that the lane was named after the code name of Trinidad Mendoza, the wife of former Palawan governor Dr. Higinio Mendoza who was killed by the Japanese Imperial Army during WWII.

“She was called Red Hankie because after her husband was beheaded by the enemy, she still helped the American prisoners of war by bringing food or messages in her red handkerchief. She was very brave to resist the enemy, it is also a very catchy name for our lane,” she said.

She added that the project is envisioned to be a tourist Instagrammable destination within the tourism mile to help boost the community spirit and pride of the place.

The murals at the lane will be done for the whole month of February in celebration of arts month. Different groups of artists will do the collaboration, including the groups of Art on the Move, Guhit Pinas, The Collective, and Yamang Bukid Farm.

“I hope as a private sector, this is only the start and the beginning and I hope that other private sector businesses will also try to encourage public art in each of their establishments,” she said.

Jonathan Benitez, one of the artists who volunteered to join the mural painting at the Red Hankie Lane said that the murals will not just be for the purpose of tourism attraction but also to educate the community on the culture of Palaweños.

“May dalawang dekada na rin nang umusbong ang art community ng Palawan, mahaba-haba na rin ang nalakad natin. Marami na ang sumusunod ngayon kumpara noon. Nandito na yong mga kaibigan natin ng paraan na may project naman ang mga artist natin. First time dito na nag-collaborate lahat ng miyembro ng art community,” he said.

Benitez said that the collaboration of artists’ community in Palawan is historical as it is the first to happen in the province.

“Ito ay para sa ating lahat bilang indibidwal, maaari na baka malay mo ay maging identity ng tinatawag na Palawan art kasi ngayon sa global setting, wala pa identity sa totoo lang ang Palawan,” he said.

He said that identity of Palawan art is in the process of molding.

“Hindi naman natin mapilit yon dahil ang identity, ang kultura, kusa yan syang lumalabas, kusa yan humihinog, nasa atin yon kung paano natin pahinugin,” he said.