Latest Stories

Art movement stirs science town

By , Los Baños Laguna

ART ATTACK The works of more than a hundred visual artists are put on display for a day during the WiSiK artists’ market in Los Baños, Laguna. CLIFFORD NUÑEZ/CONTRIBUTOR

Los Baños town in Laguna as the next Escolta? Painter Paul Hilario, 42, imagines artists working on rolled-out mats on the streets without getting the look from passersby. He pictures an artists’ market, similar to that on the old Escolta Street in Manila, but surrounded by fresh mountain air.

His friend and photographer Al Benavente, 40, shares this excitement, especially with the turnout in this year’s “WiSik” on Aug. 24 at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). “In three to five years’ time, an annual art festival that art collectors would look forward to,” Benavente says.

WiSiK “intends to be an alternative venue where artists and craftsmen could sell their works and showcase their artistry,” according to an activity primer written by art curator Precious Leaño.

AWARD-WINNING poet and playwright Reuel Aguila gives a lecture at the WiSik event. SOUTHERN TAGALOG EXPOSURE/CONTRIBUTOR

While the word literally means “to sprinkle,” the WiSik artists’ market “is the local art community’s celebration of language (Wika), the arts (Sining), and community (Kalikasan, Kalusugan, Komunidad),” she says.

Leaño and painter Marvin Oloris, who founded the MakiSining, a Makiling art group, conceptualized WiSiK. It was first held in the same month last year and became a success through the collaboration of the artists’ groups MakiSining, Quadro and Tulisanes Inc.

More than a hundred artists—twice the number last year—exhibited paintings, photographs and terracotta sculptures.

Cultural worker Bong dela Torre opened the program with a “tula-dasal,” or prayer in poem form, followed by a number of performances by theater artists and poets. In the afternoon, Palanca hall-of-famer and UP Diliman professor Reuel Aguila lectured on “Visual Language Across Art Forms.”

“What makes this different (from art exhibits) is the diversity. It’s not just an activity of painters among themselves or of photographers alone. The artworks were also done both by student artists and professionals,” Benavente says.

Organizers had a hard time figuring out the total sale though as, unlike an art gallery exhibition, the artists sold their works individually without sharing a portion with their hosts.

In one corner, for instance, was a rummage sale of books and bags that asked only for donations to victims of Typhoon “Maring” and the recent “habagat.” In another was a box of chicken sandwiches where people could get one and drop P10 into an “honesty box.”

Before the market closed, the crowd, including young children, gathered to sketch a female model who struck a pose on the steps of Dioscoro L. Umali Hall. Their works were later auctioned and some sold for a couple of hundred pesos.

“It’s not really about the price, but the spirit. It’s something when you realize that other people appreciated your work,” Benavente says.

Los Baños is a known science community, housing a number of international and national research and academic institutions.

But Benavente says the town is also teeming with artistic talents, like painter Manny Garibay, who studied in UPLB, and national artist nominee Junyee (Luis E. Yee Jr.).

A lot more are making Los Baños their home, like photographers Alex Baluyut and Sonny Yabao, whom Benavente cites as “pillars of Philippine documentary.”

The lush Mt. Makiling, its natural hot springs and rich flora and fauna only make Los Baños more conducive for the arts. “But as Junyee observed, there was little appreciation as compared with Baguio, maybe. You could sense arts, but there was no movement,” Benavente says.

He says art festivals could provide opportunities for artists to meet, interact and share influences.

WiSiK, Leaño says, “hopes to amass local patronage of the arts” as it also tries to make the public aware of this town’s “lofty potential as one of the more active places for the arts in the southern Tagalog region, if not in the whole country.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: art , News , Regions , science

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  2. Name names, Lacson told
  3. Santiago: Enrile, Lacson, Reyes plotting massive psywar operation
  4. Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  5. Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  6. Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  9. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  10. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano


  • Roxas on suspension: I’m not above the law
  • Singaporean fined nearly $8,000 for animal cruelty
  • Pope in hot water over ‘personal’ phone calls
  • Foreign food aid drying up in North Korea
  • Cayetano to DOJ: Bare Napoles’ list of ‘pork’ officials
  • Sports

  • Guiao fined P100,000 for ‘mongoloid’ comment vs Meralco forward
  • Hawks and Grizzlies revel in home wins
  • Floyd: Manny’s power gone
  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • BDO nets P5.5 B in Q1
  • Pacquiao may be 2013 top taxpayer
  • Emperador nets P1.7 B in Q1
  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Corruption not invincible after all
  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • Global Nation

  • Plane lands at Bali airport in suspected hijacking—Indonesia air force
  • Obama lands in Seoul as N. Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Militant protests vs Obama, US set
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Marketplace