‘Mang Enteng’ comes home | Inquirer News

‘Mang Enteng’ comes home

/ 08:51 PM March 27, 2012

ANGELES CITY—At the Holy Angel University (HAU) campus in Angeles City, he’s more known by his folksy nickname “Mang Enteng.” Among the school’s 17,000 students, they always find him on the second floor of the main building.

But as they learned, he’s no ordinary person. Their Mang Enteng, the late painter Vicente Manansala, is important on two counts: He’s a national artist and a Kapampangan.


For these reasons, the HAU honored Manansala by putting up a permanent exhibit of his more than 1,000 drawings and sketches, as well as hundreds of his memorabilia from his studio-residence in Binangonan, Rizal.

The academic institution’s respect for Manansala is so immense that it made the permanent exhibit of his works the inaugural event of the Museum of Kapampangan Arts (MKA), which is on the same campus.


“Mang Enteng has finally come back home,” Robby Tantingco, executive director of the HAU Center for Kapampangan Studies (CKS), said at the program held for the opening of the museum on March 22.

World-class pianist Cecile Licad, who has Kapampangan roots (her father, Dr. Jesus Licad, is from Lubao town), played to three encores in a concert celebrating the 10th year of the CKS.

Manansala was born in the fishing village of San Roque in Macabebe, a town at the mouth of the Manila Bay. “He bartered his drawing for some fish,” Macabebe Mayor Annette Balgan shared, citing accounts by older residents.

Two national artists in sculpture, Napoleon Abueva and Abdulmari Asia Imao, graced the event as their way of honoring Manansala, whose works mirror Philippine realities in transparent cubism.


In bringing the Manansala collections and taking care of them, and claiming Mang Enteng as one of Pampanga’s prestigious sons, the HAU pioneered in making home for the works of a deceased national artist.

“I want to express my admiration of the HAU for leading a good example. It topped Ateneo de Manila University and University of San Carlos in [programs for the] preservation of Philippine culture,” said art historian, Prof. Santiano Albano Pilar.


Manansala lived his last name well, said local historian Francis Musni. “Sansala,” in Kapampangan, means to make an accounting of something. “In the master’s case, [he accounted for] the realities around him,” Musni said.

For art critic Cid Reyes, Manansala was “irreverent” and a “great storyteller.”

Manansala’s granddaughter Ronna thanked the HAU for keeping his art in his home province.


The school acquired the sketches and drawings from Manansala’s heirs in 2010 in time for his 100th birth anniversary. Tantingco declined to reveal the acquisition cost, saying the HAU only gave a token amount.

In a coffee table book on Manansala, the late art critic Rod Paras-Perez said:

“Oil and watercolor paintings by Manansala are in many private collections and museums. What rarely go out are his drawings. It isn’t because he has few of them. Manansala draws almost compulsively. He fills up notebook after notebook of drawings, detail studies in pencil or in ink. Particularly when he is preparing to do a mural, he makes many specific drawings—an elbow, knee cap, a hand, fingers, the curve of cheeks.

“For Manansala, drawing is a necessity. He believes that working with colors comes easily, but that drawing must be practiced constantly. Drawing disciplines the hand as the hand disciplines drawing. Drawing, Manansala believes, is the simple fact of art that can be taught and learned and that can be the subject matter of training.”

The HAU’s Gallery I displays the drawings; Gallery II, sketches on Parisienne Boudoir; Gallery III, Stations of the Cross pencil studies that served as bases for his murals at the chapel of the University of the Philippines in Diliman; and Gallery IV, memorabilia.

The Manansala exhibit may be viewed from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon; and Sunday, by appointment.

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TAGS: Arts, Holy Angel University, national artist, painting, Vicente Manansala
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