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The Four Cebuano Artists to Look Out For

Taking a stand against censorship, young Cebuano digital artists bare all on the streets of Cebu true to their carnal nature.

Taking a stand against censorship, young Cebuano digital artists bare all on the streets of Cebu true to their carnal nature.

By Jeff Cruz

Danielle Sea

Danielle Sy was kinetic when she entered Sprockets Café near University of San Carlos-Technological Campus straight from her class. Rapport was not an issue—her joyously unrestrained smiles assured us that everything was going to go smooth. We told her we didn’t prepare interview questions; we wanted the short meet-up to be candid and interviews get more engrossing when questions are answered instantly without conscious thought. Admittedly, the interview started slightly clumsy. “I am talkative,” she said cheerfully, dismissing the whiff of awkwardness—the rest of the time interviewing Sea (a name her friends fondly call her) was like talking to a long-lost friend.

You’re taking up Advertising Arts at USC. Is this what you really wanted to finish since you were a kid?

Actually I realized I really don’t like advertising. I just enjoy the company of people around me and what we’re doing. I don’t think I will be in an advertising after college. But I love illustrating! I am not really that good in my class but I achieve in my own terms.

What did you learn that you could illustrate?

When I was a little girl I used to draw stick houses with gardens. Back then I had an older cousin who was taking up interior design, and she saw my drawing and said it was good. Then I started to doodle on newspaper, and now I’m the only person in the family pursuing arts. They all stopped.

What was your first break and how did you feel about it?

I first joined an exhibit with Street Konect through The Little Secrets: Venus held in ALPS Café in Guadalupe. It was an all-girl exhibit that showcases a diverse set of artwork, and it was really kind of an achievement for me. The second one was The Box of Little Secrets: X held at Chillage last February—we displayed 40 postcard-sized pieces of erotic art.

Have you tried illustration for companies or films? 

I have projects now. I was one of the artists who were commissioned to paint a mural at Lantaw Floating Restaurant in SRP. I think it was awesome because it was really big. I was also commissioned to work on a Converse mural.

Was it hard finding your own voice and making your work distinguished from others?

More artists are already using digital, but I stayed with watercolor and paper. I want to feel the paper. I tried digital, but it doesn’t feel the same. I’m also an artist who needs to control my emotions—I’ve learned that when I am too emotional while painting, I tend to ruin the paper. My classmates tell me that I look like my work—when they see an illustration, the know that it’s mine.

Kathyrn Layno

Kathryn Layno was aware that she has a gift for the visual arts. Like other artists, he has explored her capabilities well enough, having wielded enough pencils to create stunning outputs since she was a little girl. She has refined herself as an artist, though she admits she didn’t get into it seriously until her late teens. It was then that she realized the old saying was true, that “when you’re good at something, do not do it for free”—it was about time she made the arts her bread and butter. Kat tells us she wanted to commit her hands to animation and work for Disney but she also bore a strong love for comics, so when an opportunity to do both came knocking, she grabbed it by the neck.

What was your big break?

The first time I got involved drawing superheroes was on Upperdeck’s “Marvel Masterpieces” sketch cards. An artist friend of mind on Deviantart announced she was on the set, and I inquired about how to apply. That’s pretty much how I got into sketch cards. I also applied at the Marvel talent-scouting event when Marvel editor C.B. Cebulski was in Manila, and was one of two artists from Cebu to get an interview, the other being my good friend Miko Puns. As far as coloring for DC, I collaborated with Drew Johnson on other independent projects, and when he got a gig with DC on Masters of the Universe, he brought me on as a colorist. I’ve been very lucky with my chances.

How do you describe your creative process?

I tend to make moodboards before I start things. I collect pictures and put a montage of them together that coincide with the themes I’m trying to portray, sometimes have a movie with the same characteristics playing. Sometimes I’ll have audiobooks or documentaries playing in the background. Once I’m immersed, I start with very quick rough sketches, trying to nail the composition down. Lines, colors, values and everything else follow after that fairly smoothly.

People who go into the arts in the Philippines are often discouraged. Were you worried while taking up Fine Arts?

It’s sad that it is that way. Most people I know that make a living from illustration do so by working for clients overseas since they pay higher. But I am incredibly stubborn and resilient. If something scares me, I don’t like losing to that fear—it makes me want to prove others and myself wrong. I’m glad it worked out well for me.

Have you collaborated with Pinoy artists?

I joined a comic anthology group called Sukol Mo when I was 14. That was probably the first time I collaborated with other Filipino artists, and I learned a lot. Since then, I’ve done a few with my friends for comics and exhibitions.

What is your dream project?

My husband and I would love to work on an indie game eventually. We know the right people for the team, but finding the time is a problem.

The Hermit is Out

Although a bubbly extrovert who feels right at home in the middle of a party, the personality behind The Hermit is Out feels that his name is perfect for his artist alter ego—“it’s a side of me that people don’t usually see.” As something he does on the side, his art is a collection of digital erotic drawings splashed in color. So are these scenes rooted in reality? “Maybe it’s more of a fantasy,” he laughs.

How did you start out with your art?

Doodling in pages of my notebook back when I was in high school.

What is your creative process like?

I don’t necessarily have a creative process when it comes to my drawings. Whenever I’m bored at home, I just play around with my drawing tablet. Whenever I’m traveling, I tinker with Adobe Idea apps on my iPad. I guess watching the occasional porn helps.

Do you remember the first piece that you did?

Nope. My earlier work was tamer.

Do you think the Cebu art society is ready for pieces like this?

I’m not really sure. Some of my friends ask me if I’m trying to convey any message with my drawings. I don’t. I just draw what I feel like drawing—there’s no agenda behind it.

Do you have any plans of doing an exhibit in the future?

If time permits. Right now, I’m quite busy putting up my own dessert shop. But I’m slowly working on my portfolio site where I plan on putting my most recent work.

Jan Sunday

For Jan Sunday, art is a diary—instead of writing, she draws how she feels and sees herself. She agrees that not everyone will find her work sublime; in fact, she knows that some might find it offensive and uncomfortable. Her work does not always portray what the eyes want to see, instead harboring things that conventional artists might dare not portray. Most of her pieces are inclined to women and sexuality, but this does not necessarily mean our eyes should shy away from the visual display. Jan’s artwork grabs our attention—it demands to be beheld.

When did you discover that you were capable of all this visual art?

So cliché—ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved drawing. I’m an only child and it’s kept me company for years.

Can you describe your creative process?

It just happens. I don’t really plan it. My best work is when I’m most depressed—it’s like therapy.

How would you describe your  work?

Low-brow, provocative self-portraits. Feminist-oriented. Sometimes I feel a bit out of place at shows, but I’ve always known that “different” is not bad.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I’m driven by life’s tragedies and the looking mirror. I don’t think anyone else has inspired me to create what I’ve created. It’s all me, it’s all organic. I don’t even know if I’ve followed someone else’s illustration style. I’m fond of black and white nude and vintage photography, and surreal films. I don’t really keep track of names but I have them bookmarked on my computer and written on my journal.

When was your first big break?

It all started with !HA?, not PunkShow (Manila) and Little Secrets popup art shows. Those aren’t really “big breaks” but it got my name out there. This feature’s probably it. I’m just glad and thankful some people are interested in my work.

What is the most meaningful project you did?

My band’s album cover illustration — Tiger Pussy-People You Hate album. Dark, deranged and girly.

What is your dream project?

Just to be able to put out more work and maybe paint on a larger medium—that’s enough for me. Like I said, it’s all personal. I don’t do this for the world.

People

EXCLUSIVE: Never Been Released Behind-the-Scenes photos of Zee Lifestyle’s Emerald Issue Cover Shoot

Photographer Jan Gonzales, Margie Lhuillier, June Alegrado, Kryz Uy, Mia Arcenas, Amparito Lhuillier and Alice Woolbright

We celebrate the strength and resilience of womanhood in this year’s Mother’s Day by looking back at these never been seen before behind-the-scenes shots of  Zee Lifestyle Magazine’s Emerald (20th Anniversary) Issue cover shoot featuring the “Leading Women” of Cebu.

***

LEADING WOMEN

To celebrate the 20 beautiful years of Zee Lifestyle as the ultimate source of lifestyle news in Cebu, we handpicked 12 strong and stylish women of Cebu from every age group. These women show us that independently building one’s strength of character and living one’s passion knows no age. From the beginning, Zee has always been empowering women, providing the Cebuanas a platform to express their beauty and confidence, share their passions, engage in economic and political participation which yields to viewing women with equality and respect that we deserve.

photography Jan Gonzales
creative director Melo Esguerra
art director Doro Barandino
sittings editor Shari Quimbo
beauty director Romero Vergara
makeup Arnauld, Janice Barillo and Nicko dela Peña
hair Jessie Egos and Jake Arias
fashion styling Clint Potestas
production assistants Patty Taboada and Katrina Labra
locale Marco Polo Plaza Hotel Cebu

Twelve women, two sets and one afternoon. That is how the Zee Lifestyle team decided to celebrate the title’s 20th anniversary issue—with a challenge that, in some ways, is one of our biggest productions yet.

The idea came along when publisher Eva Gullas and editor-at-large Melo Esguerra were discussing a cover story that would best represent the magazine’s history. From commissioning artistic depictions on Cebu to playing with the anniversary’s emerald theme, no idea had stuck until Melo suggested putting a series of women who had already been on the cover of Zee, again on the cover all together.

Oj Hofer and Margot Osmeña

Kryz Uy

Coming up with the list of names, of course, was no small feat. Our covers from the last 20 years have included several strong personalities—from philanthropists and politicians, to actors, and names to soon watch out for, our pages have seen them all. The challenge, then, was to come up with a list of women who had been driving forces in their respective fields when they had first appeared on the cover, and remain as powerful players even today.

Amparito Lhuillier, Kryz Uy, Alice Woolbright, Margot Osmeña and June Alegrado all wearing MIRANDA KONSTANTINIDOU

Photographer Jan Gonzales and creative director Melo Esguerra

With input from editors, both past and present, we rounded up 12 women from different age groups, fields and industries, who are all strong and passionate at whatever it is they do—Amparito Lhuillier, who remains the doyenne of Cebu society as a picture of elegance and class with her continuing efforts in business and social causes; the always-stylish Marguerite Lhuillier, herself an example of sophistication in all her efforts, whether business or otherwise; Margot Osmeña, who as a Cebu City Councilor has spearheaded many urban projects directed for the betterment of living in the city; hospitality mavens June Alegrado and Alice Woolbright, who are deeply involved in the rise of their brands, Bluewater properties and Beverly Hotel, respectively; Christina Garcia Frasco, the current Lilo-an Mayor advocating impressively progressive efforts in the area; former model Fiona King, now a major player in homegrown real estate with projects like Bloq Residences; the fitness enthusiast Danessa Onglatco who has espoused wellness with the opening of Yogahub; restaurateur Carla Yeung-McKowen who is behind the city’s hottest dining outlet, The Pig & Palm; designer Mia Arcenas, whose signature resort wear and accessories are representative of Cebu’s laid back lifestyle; Kym Maitland-Smith, who juggles efforts in swimsuit design through SOLTI Activewear and is building awareness for the vegan lifestyle; and Kryz Uy, whose online presence was a strong one even before fashion blogs were on anyone’s radar.

Kymberly Maitland-Smith

Makeup Artist Romero Vergara, June Alegrado and Hair Stylist Jessie Egos

An impressive bunch, for sure. These women properly embody the characteristics that Zee Lifestyle looks for in one who makes the cover—beauty, yes, but also elegance coupled with individuality, and always a strong drive to succeed in whatever efforts they are directed.

This, it turns out, was the fitting tribute to the years Zee has been Cebu’s premier lifestyle bible, as well as a sign of the things forthcoming. Our 12 cover stars may have been on our pages before, but if their current efforts are any indication, our pages will continue to see more of them in the future. And as continuing purveyors of what Cebu has to offer, Zee Lifestyle will happily be seeing them in the years to come.

FROM LEFT Marguerite wears CARY SANTIAGO; June wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Mia wears MIA ARCENAS; Kryz wears ELIZABETH HALLIE; Amparito wears MONIQUE LHUILLIER; Alice wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Fiona wears VANIA ROMOFF; Margot wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Danessa wears OJ HOFER; Carla wears ALICE+OLIVIA; Christina wears DINO LLOREN

(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s December 2016 Emerald Issue, “Leading Women” on pages 140-155.)

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Culture

La Liga Henerales: Shaping History Awareness Back Again in Cebu

La Liga Henerales is a community of young talents passionately promotes historical awareness through periodic costumes carefully researched for its authenticity and accuracy and promoted as well in events and schools.

Only few individuals before were into pursuit in this historical awareness project until the age of communication where internet is convenient in the palm of our hands through our gadgets. New information travel fast and data is retrievable, yet also possess a disadvantage with the plethora of different social media platforms carried by various makers as well. In a daily basis, historical backgrounds are unearthed making its trend until now as new discoveries are released, but the idea of these information being shown and shared is as close as not valuing or commemorating to its sources leaving this information just a trend.

There is a certain community of Cebuanos that are taking a quest to rewrite and restructure what was in the past, filling the gaps in facts with further research of variable sources that are made debatable but sticks to it true cause, to unveil the truths of our heritage and our origins, as Cebuanos and as Filipinos as well.

La Liga Henerales is a Cebu-based, non-profit organization composed of a group of talented, committed and respectable individuals from different walks of life, schools and profession whose primary aim is to promote both, Cebuano and filipino culture and heritage that was depicted before in pre-colonial and colonial eras via re-enactment with costumes vested in proper research and investigation to achieve authenticity. They also push their cause on schools and other social gatherings promoting and spreading awareness about our local, and national heroes that we look up to. With these said, they also portray a closer look of the lifestyle of the past to where they perform stories, perform forgotten dances and rituals and portray their individual roles, vital in the fight of our country’s future during those challenging times, and in honor to spread awareness of the lost practices we had in those times.

The Founder

Combining passion and education. Louis Villaflor re-enacts his way patriotism through his periodical costumes and expresses his love for Cebu and Philippines as a culture-centric country.

Louis Kenneth Villaflor, an entrepreneur and an avid history enthusiast and costumer, founded the group on the purpose of re-educating the youth about real local and national history, he saw the opportunity to combine his favourite hobbies which is costuming and story role-playing and the process to instill the historical awareness and value among the youth and in schools, along with a group of fellow enthusiasts who shares his passion about research and history, they took it among themselves to be purposeful in the advocacy in spreading historical awareness in schools or events by wearing periodically correct costumes and sharing the stories and its value to the youth.

Behind the Garments

With the its senior expertise of fashion design and a teacher of the field, his passion also of history caters also in his designs as he pushes through sustainable fashion and historical awareness combined.

Meet Rodney “Pee-Wee” Senining, who has been in the fashion industry since the late 90’s, strives  in concepts of avant-garde, innovation and cutting edge-fashion forward design. And also a teacher of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design of University of San Carlos, he had grown into research of books like the holy grail in the Library Resource Center and is always fascinated of the periodical times and how to preserve it; Hence, his interest had grown for the affinity of Periodical Costumes and Sustainable Fashion.

 Being part of the group La Liga Henerales, he was tasked to instantly be their mentor for the young talents and as the organization is still new and developing with limited funds, resourcefulness and research were done to come up with a good output of photo shoot and was quite proud of it and still promise on the next editions of pieces to be more historically accurate. Even as teacher for Fashion Design in SAFAD, his expertise comes hand in hand with the members as he helps them do research as well. His passion and interest somehow led him with enough knowledge to key the insights of the significant periods and historical backgrounds of it.

Historical Awareness in Cebu

The strength and progress of a country is anchored on how well they know and honor its history. The means of historical awareness in Cebu is almost non-existent among the Cebuanos, although we push forward in tourism and promote beauty through sceneries and other aspects of culture yet never commemorate deeply on historical icons such as our other local heroes, and ancient cultures as well that is almost been forgotten in an urban Cebu. Nevertheless, as long as communities’ like La Liga Henerales are now evolving in a learning state by real discovery by multiple resources, this will always reflect of how we appreciate love, patriotism and honor to our country and would look forward to progress.

 

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Culture

After the Razzmatazz and Razzle-dazzle: Post-Sinulog Thoughts

by Chrissy Grey Resaba

Buntings of red and yellow were removed from post to post. Streets were cleared and cleaned. Fireworks displays were faded in the sky. Beats of #prititit and tunes of tourism-booster Cebu tracks were being put to archive once again.

Contingents from different parts of Cebu and Central Visayas had gone back home. Party people had gone sober while some are still recovering. Traffic has gone back to normal. Businesses, as well, has gone back to normal.

However, all the fun and loud chants, smooth grooves, and frenzied choreographies are still replaying from the memory banks of the people who celebrated Sinulog 2020. The queen of all festivals in the Philippines has left again another mark of cultural and festive nostalgia to the people from all parts of the world and Cebuanos alike.

After all the razzmatazz and razzle-dazzle, let’s get to know what are these IG and FB personalities’ #PostSinulogThoughts about celebrating the newly-culminated Sinulog 2020 and how did they differentiate it to last year’s.

 

Eva Patalinjug

Eva Psychee Patalinjug, Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2018 @evapatalinjug

I celebrated my Sinulog with my boyfriend and some of my close friends, we decided to choose a place where it’s not very crowded where we can see the whole Cebu, talk, and chill the night away. We went to Verified Lounge – Cebu’s newest premier sky lounge – located at the rooftop of the Avenir Building. It was something new for me as the night was calm as I was away from the busy streets of Cebu. It’s definitely one way of enjoying such festivities.

 

Kim Covert

Kim Covert @kimcovert

The Sinulog celebration this year has been one of the most memorable events in my life. Not only was I invited to perform a few of my own songs during the weekend’s festivities but I also turned over my Binibining Cebu Tourism crown to my successor. Last year, I was busy with work and was not able to completely grasp the events. This year’s festival was more organized which is a great success for Cebu. Many have flown in and had spent time with their families in the “Pit Senyor” spirit, others have enjoyed spending time off with friends and colleagues. It was a great way for me to start my New Year and close my Cebu chapter before I leave to the US in a week.

 

Alem Garcia

Alem Garcia @thealemgarcia

Well pretty much, I was still busy doing shows and events for Sinulog. But what made it different this year was the religious celebration made me believe even more that Sto. Niño is indeed miraculous and that He is meant to be celebrated. Even though you are successful in your chosen field, furthermore, everything will be meaningless if you do not have the faith.

Philip Pingoy

 

Philip Pingoy @almostablogger

We all have a Sinulog story to tell. It may be a story of losing faith and finding hope. But what is important is our devotion to the Holy Child Jesus (Señor. Sto. Niño). This year, my Sinulog experience was very different since I am already based in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the internet I was still able to watch the mass and all the festivities in Cebu. I am in UK because I prayed to Sto. Niño. So, let us not forget the reason we celebrate Sinulog and let us continue to share to the rest of the world why Sinulog is the grandest festival in the Philippines. Pit Senyor everyone! I hope you had a good one!

 

Lyssa Amor

Lyssa Amor @lyssaamor

Sinulog celebrates Filipinos’ acceptance of Christianity. This year, I celebrated Sinulog by hearing the word of God. I went to church which I do every Sinulog but the difference now is that I am not in Cebu. It’s my first time to celebrate Sinulog away from home because I’m currently in Japan. Although I didn’t dance the traditional Sinulog dance this year, I wasn’t able to watch the fireworks in Ayala, and didn’t spend time with my friends in Mango and IT Park. Snr. Sto. Niño will always be in my heart and I am forever grateful that our ancestors accepted Christianity and we continue to embrace it up until today.

 

Kevin Geniston @kgeniston

Sinulog will always be a highlight for me as a Cebuano. This year has been fulfilling as I was able to brave the crowd in the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu three times to attend the novena mass which had also become like bonding time with my family, daughter, friends and loved ones. I ended the celebration of the Sinulog festivities with a bit of the usual partying and/or clubbing.

Carlo Olano

Carlo Andrew Olano @kalamicebu

My Sinulog this year was a great mix of religious and secular activities. I was able to go to the church and somehow witnessed the Traslacion and the fluvial procession. I also went to many side events like parties, mall events, and fireworks exhibitions. Sinulog 2020 had a fantastic balance of fun, faith, and festivities.

 

Danna Bacolod

Danna Bacolod @dannabacolod

This is the second time I spent Sinulog with Cebu Pacific. We had series of events prepared during its entire week and participated the grand parade by having a float last Sunday. I always feel excited to join Sinulog Grand Parade and see a lot of people celebrating their own way of Sinulog along the streets of Cebu. Guess it’s safe to say that I had so much fun. Even if this was work-related, I didn’t feel like I’m actually working as it was always joyful doing events like these.

 

Nimo Scheming

Nimo Hideki @nimo_scheming

You prolly knew this already but, Sinulog 2020 was by far the most phenomenal Sinulog experience: more laidback than the previous years’. The music in every corner of the streets were still there to help you let loose and enjoy the experience. The surge of people had tested you both mentally and physically. But it was an experience you cannot miss like mingling with people from different walks of life and shouting out “Pit Senyor” to everyone. Summing up my Sinulog experience, I was able to get crazy and enjoy all aspects of the fest.

 

Michael Rey

Michael Rey @michaelsomewhere

I had the most relaxed Sinulog experience this year. I did not party and preferred to witness the grand parade instead. I do think that this year’s celebration was more colorful and much safer as establishments strictly abided the rules imposed by the Cebu City Government. I was also amazed at how the festival of fashion here in Cebu has evolved throughout the years.

Now, how about you? What are your #PostSinulogThoughts this Prititit 2020? Viva Pit Senyor!

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