Friday, June 15, 2018

Meeting Pancho Piano and His Art

PANCHO PIANO is one of the most recognized artists in our country today. His medium varies from acrylic, oil, and stain glass. He gathers inspiration from everyday things from landscape and portrait to abstract and realism.
Pancho M. Piano
Sir Pancho started out joining art contests at school but his big break when he was offered a scholarship at UP Fine Arts after his talent got noticed. He later went to Europe and stayed the longest in Japan. It was also in Japan that he got into another art form which is stain glass. He also got to do some stain glass art in Philippine churches but he concentrated generally on canvas.

Artists like sir Pancho also have camaraderies and fellowships and he is also with the Friday Group. The Saturday Group is one of the oldest groups because it’s already fifty years of existence and has a roster that includes national artists. Sir Pancho also has a group of Manila based Bicolano artists. But he also has friends with the Saturday Group.

Sir Pancho has an ongoing exhibit at Okada’s Corral Wing. Among his displayed works, the one that I fancied was the Lupang Hinirang. I fancied this painting because it illustrates a mythic-like character on horseback. During our chat, he was able to draw a portrait of a fellow blogger within 7 minutes. Besides Okada, sir Pancho will also have another exhibit that will open on June 21 at SM Aura. When I asked him about being an artist in Europe, he answered, it is an eye-opener to Europeans that we Filipinos are not just OFWs, domestic helpers or caregivers.

For more features in the art world, follow this blog and like the LENSBlogs on Facebook.

Ballet Manila presents ‘American Stars Gala’

Press release

Ballet Manila presents today’s brightest and fastest-rising Asian and American dance artists in American Stars Gala, scheduled onJ uly 7, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., at the Aliw Theater, CCP Complex.
 Lia Cirio, Boston Ballet principal dancer
American Stars Gala is a fundraiser for Ballet Manila’s Project Ballet Futures scholarship program.

The one-night-only concert will be headlined by Boston Ballet principal dancers Lia Cirio and Junxiong Zhao, with soloist Hannah Bettes; Houston Ballet principal dancers Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews; and Ballet Manila resident guest principal artists Katherine Barkman and Joseph Phillips.

Fresh from participating as the first Filipino contenders in the USA International Ballet Competition’s junior division, Ballet Manila company artists Nicole Barroso and Joshua Enciso will also make a special appearance.

The evening’s repertoire consists of well-loved classics and powerful neo-classical and contemporary pieces, including a world premiere.
Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Osias Barroso,
Ballet Manila artistic directors

Cirio will perform as the White Swan, Odette, together with BM soloist Mark Sumaylo as Prince Siegfried and the BM corps de ballet in Swan Lake Act 2.

Kajima and Matthews will dance the Giselle pas de deux and the Madame Butterfly pas de deux by Stanton Welch.

Zhao will partner Bettes in the La Sylphide pas de deux and the Sleeping Beauty wedding pas de deux.

Barkman and Phillips will perform the Le Corsaire pas de deux and the contemporary piece KBJP, created for them by choreographer Augustus Damian III.

Barroso and Enciso will dance George Birkadze’s tango-inspired Bru and the classic Diane and Acteon.

Meanwhile, Ballet Manila will unveil Birkadze’s brand new choreography, Imperial, as well as restage a company warhorse,Deconstructing Gershwin, by Hazel Sabas-Gower.

BM artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde says it was choreographer and Boston Ballet faculty George Birkadze – recently in town to create new works for her company – who suggested bringing together these outstanding young dancers in one show.

Since most of them were scheduled to perform in gala concerts across the Asia-Pacific region, Birkadze said it would be the perfect time for them to converge in the Philippines and join forces with the BM artists.

“The plan took off immediately because I really wanted to bring in Lia Cirio, who is an outstanding principal dancer with Filipino roots. It would give local audiences a chance to see her perform and get to know her better,” says Macuja-Elizalde.

“I have never been to the Philippines,” says the US-born Cirio, who has danced classical, neo-classical, and contemporary roles for Boston Ballet since 2004. “I am looking forward to seeing where my father spent some of his childhood.  He still has family there, so I am hoping they will be able to attend the show. I know that Filipinos love dance, so I know that performing for them will be rewarding.”

American Stars Gala follows Macuja-Elizalde’s previous efforts to bring international ballet artists to the Philippines, includingToday’s Stars of the Russian Ballet (2010), The World Stars of Ballet (2012), and Stars of Philippine Ballet (2013).

Tickets for Ballet Manila’s American Stars Gala are now available at all TicketWorld outlets, online at, or through 891-9999.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Alay Buhay Partylist announces their candidacy

Before the Spaniards came to the Philippines and introduced the concept of currency to our ancestors, our society is already prospering because of bartering. Our country is even trading internationally via the Silk Road. Our nation already has striving business before we even knew the word business.
Mr. Michael C. Fermin
Alay Buhay Representative
In today’s modern society where the internet is now a tool for marketing and selling, it is difficult to operate a business because there are many requirements in applying and registering it. Also, owning a business is risky. There is no guarantee that the business will prosper. The micro businesses are also affected by the bigger businesses that might take over the general market scene.

This is where the Alab Buhay Party list comes in. It is also a foundation that helps assist would-be micro businesses to start up. Alab Buhay also provides training for aspiring business owners. The good thing about having a foundation dedicated to micro business is to orient the young ones and inspire them to venture into business.
According to Alay Buhay Partylist representative, Mr. Michael Fermin, the foundation/partylist will connect the micron businesses.   Now, that there’s the internet, it will be easier to market. Mr. Fermin adds it is also mandatory for e-commerce to be taxed because it will also help the country.

The Filipinos are not just meant to be employees but also entrepreneurs. This is how our ancestors done it and it will work. You shouldn’t fear the bigger companies because micro businesses tie up with the bigger market.

I didn’t say you should vote for the candidates I feature in my blog but this will help to know them more before deciding who to vote. The partylist allows three representatives in a session and the other two representatives of Alay Buhay will soon be revealed.  Watch out for more updates from Alay Buhay by tuning in to this blog.

Sunday, June 3, 2018


The Manila Mini Maker Faire is going on a second run this 23rd & 24th June at the Mind Museum. Supported by the 3M company, this is a day for all ages. An interesting exhibit of creativity & technology through the use of Science. 

A press conference was held at the 3M building in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City last 30th of May. With interesting statement from the Mind Museum's lovely curator Maria Isabel Garcia & 3M's charming President & Managing Director, Ariel B. Lacsamana. The conference opened the idea of how Science is not exclusively only for geniuses but for anyone who is interested & passionate about making the world a better place. Doing this collaboration innovates amateur or professional inventors of all ages to share their inventions to the world. This event not only encourages aspirants but also the people who will come to the exhibit to see how Science can be entirely knowledgeable for all as well as a fun activity. And 3M supports this event as to they aim to enhance better living of the Filipinos by the use of such breakthrough inventions these inventors comes up with. As for they value the advancement of technology & their products as well as their clients. This is going to be their second run of hosting & supporting the Manila Mini Maker Faire. Since the reviews of how the last year's event went, they aimed to make it much better & hope to have more influence people as well as the young ones.

There were a selected group of inventors who were there to showcase a glimpse of what their exhibit is going to be during the two-day family friendly event. One of these were a trio of unique students from University of the Philippines Diliman. The photo above shows their replica of the hammer of the Asgardian God, Thor, from the comics & the Marvel Universe. You actually have to step in those foot marks before you can actually call yourself as worthy of Thor's mighty hammer. 

Filipinos are known for being the artists but those who are preeminent in the Science field are not given any much recognition or importance. So do invite your friends & families to witness varied kinds of brilliant works of our fellow Filipinos at the Mind Museum this 23rd & 24th of June. You'll be helping your local innovators, interact with different fascinating DIY inventions & see workshops you might be interested to join in.

For any more information about the event, you may contact 909 - 6463 or send an e-mail at

YMMA Awardee has your Dream Job: Chocolate Marketer

Press release

Poster child of homegrown success: Michelle Santillan,
the multi-awarded lady behind the Cadbury and
Toblerone brands in the Philippines and Indonesia
Michelle Santillan has a job chocolate lovers will envy. And her many achievements in  marketing iconic global brands such as Cadbury Dairy Milk and Toblerone as the Chocolates Category Manager of Mondelez Philippines and Indonesia are proofs that the path to success can be as delicious.

A showcase of the Mondelēz International talent pool
Among Michelle’s latest accolades is the prestigious 2018 Mansmith Young Market Masters Award (YMMA). The YMMA recognizes the talent and creativity of outstanding marketing professionals in the country who excelled not just in corporate performance but also in mentoring and leading their teams to success. “I consider the YMMA win as a showcase of the marketing talents in our Company and I am very proud to be representing that. I have been with the Company for 13 years, so I consider myself homegrown, with skills that are honed by working with a talent pool that is open, diverse and rich in work experience in various marketing arenas across the globe,” said Michelle.

“This award is symbolic of how embracing boldness and fearlessness translates to tangible internal results and external market share gains. Being bold and fearless is about being a trailblazer and thinking innovatively. It does not have to always require big resources but we have shown boldness by incorporating new thinking in utilizing existing platforms in a different and unique way,” she added.

“I consider myself fortunate to work for a company where the ultimate goal is to unleash the power of its people. People are at the heart of Mondelēz International, be it by creating some of the world’s best loved brands or creating a great place to work. The Company culture encourages its people to grow their capabilities so they can be empowered to enable growth not just locally but also internationally.”

Delicious Milestones
Under Michelle’s leadership, her team bagged multiple recognitions from various marketing and award-giving bodies for innovative marketing campaigns. One example that won the Mondelez AMEA Fly Fearless award is the Toblerone Blank Pack campaign that empowered consumers to make personalized and therefore more thoughtful gifts. It was also under Michelle’s guidance that Mondelez Philippines became the first fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company in the country to launch a multiple and customized video campaign delivering 522 video ads reaching a targeted audience with very specific and relevant messaging leading to an uplift of in brand consideration.

These winning marketing moves enabled Michelle and her team to contribute substantially to the company’s overall operational excellence, with the Company posting back to back double-digit growth in both the Philippines and Indonesia in the last two years alone. According to 2016 Nielsen data, market shares are steadily on the rise, with Mondelez Philippines and Indonesia ranking second and third respectively in their own chocolate industries.

Best of global, best of local
Michelle also admitted she likes “to shake things up,” to always challenge the tried and tested. “One of the biggest challenges of selling premium chocolates is to not only survive, but also  to thrive in the intensively competitive marketplaces where local competitors boast of products with low price points, vast network distributions, consumer affinity and strong heritage assets,” she related. Adopting Mondelez International’s unique philosophy of “the power of Big and Small”, she founded her campaigns inspired by the best practices of a company that markets in 160 countries and executed with the speed and agility of a new start up.

“We have the advantage of having the best of global and local strategies to accelerate our growth momentum. These allow us to work smarter and faster while sustaining our drive and passion to cater to our customers’ needs.  It is also a source of pride that we are part of the Southeast Asia region which is one of the profitable growth engines for Mondelēz International. And when you are embraced by a collaborative high-trust culture anchored on a consistent vision of ‘Creating More Moments of Joy’, there is no other way to go but up,” said Michelle.

Monday, May 28, 2018


Press release

JUNE 10 – JULY 4, 2018

In celebration of its 15th Anniversary, Renaissance Gallery, a leading purveyor of non-representational art in the country, presents “XV” which opens on June 10 till June 22 at the SM Art Center, with cocktail reception on June 13 at 6 pm.

Featured are the works of Hermes Alegre, Bien Benitez, Remy Boquiren, Arley Carig, Macoy Coching, Addie Cukingnan, Melvin Culaba, August Espino, Egai Fernandez,  Allain Hablo, Sam Penaso, Jay Ragma, Jucar Raquepo, Cid Reyes, Genesis Rovero, Ronaldo Ruiz, Aner Sebastian, Resty Tica, Valen Valero, Mellisa Villasenor , and Janice Young.

Succeeding this show is “Ambidextrous,” a group exhibition of artists working in both representational art and abstraction, which opens on June 24, with cocktail reception on June 25 at 6 pm. The show runs until July 4.
XV is curated by noted art critic, writer and visual artist Cid Reyes.
The Art Center is on the 4/F, Bldg. A, SM Megamall, EDSA cor. Julia Vargas Ave., Mandaluyong City. For inquiries, call Margaux Romero-Oracion at mobile: 0925-555-7790.


Years and years after leaving college as students taking units in European history, we may have forgotten pretty much about the rise and fall of empires and the religious wars that divided Christendom, but it is a safe bet to say that none of us has ever forgotten the one word that summarizes the whole history of mankind since the Medieval Age: Renaissance! From the Latin root word meaning “rebirth,” Renaissance stands for the intellectual flowering of human knowledge that spanned philosophy, literature, science, and – in the field for which it is best known for: the arts. Think Leonardo da Vinci! Think Michelangelo, whose genius inspired the phrase “Renaissance Man!”

Against this brief background, we come to appreciate the inspiring idea that gave birth to an art showcase named Renaissance Art Gallery. Not surprisingly, it was a “brainchild” conceived in 2003  by the couple Manuel “Noli” and Agnes Romero. Already steeped in the appreciation of all things beautiful, such as jewellery and painting, Noli and Agnes recognized the genuine talent and skill of Filipino artists, many of whom have become personal friends, and whose works have comprised their own private collection. The Romero couple felt that a genuine way of expressing their appreciation is to help promote Filipino artists of various generations and artistic persuasions, both representational and non-representational. The criteria that are uncompromisingly observed are quality and excellence. And proof of the Romeros’ commitment to this conviction is the sustained “staying power” of fifteen years’ existence in the very competitive field of the art market.

And if further proof were needed, Renaissance Art Gallery continually lives up to its very name. The past many years have all been a compelling experience of re-freshening the vision of Philippine art as an essential expression of the Filipino soul, a “re-birthing” of the ideals that created the Filipino artist. While only the artist himself can find his own direction, or yes! a re-direction, Renaissance Art Gallery can be his precious avenue that allows for experimentation and revalidation, always receptive and sensitive to the personal journey of artists in their highly individual styles and techniques.

Impressive indeed is the list of solo exhibitions racked up in the past fifteen years since Renaissance Art Gallery opened its doors at the SM Megamall’s “ArtWalk,” where it has remained to this day. Indeed, many of these presentations were “debut” shows, the first held and granted especially for the younger generation of artists, who at that stage of their artistic development and maturity, needed and deserved encouragement and appreciation. In fact, these shows were so successfully launched and promoted that the artists were said to have been  “discovered” by the art community and the public at large. In turn, these artists express their gratitude by continually exhibiting with Renaissance Art Gallery and participating in significant events such as “XV” – Fifteen Years of Renaissance Art Gallery!

No doubt: even Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo will be raising a toast! So:  Here’s to the next fifteen years of Renaissance Art Gallery!