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The Art of Carlos Botong Francisco - Progress of Medicine in the Philippines

Pag-unlad ng Panggagamot sa Pilipinas (The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines) is a group of four large-scale paintings depicting healing practices in the Philippines from pre-colonial times to the modern period. Carlos Botong Francisco was commissioned in 1953 by Dr. Agerico Sison who was then the director of Philippine General Hospital (PGH) together withDr. Eduardo Quisumbing of the National Museum, Dr. Florentino Herrera, Jr. and Dr. Constantino Manahan. These oil on canvas paintings measure 2.92 meters in height and 2.76 meters in width (9.71 ft x 8.92 ft) and were displayed at the main entrance hall of PGH for over five decades. Owing to its location, the artworks were in a state of "severe deterioration" at the beginning of the 21st century from exposure to heat, humidity, dirt, dust, smoke, insect stains, grime, termites and an oxidized synthetic resin used in an earlier restoration. These canvases were restored three times, the last was in 2006 which restoratio…

Masterpieces from the National Museum of the Philippines

"If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him." John F. Kennedy

The Spoliarium is an oil on canvas painting by Juan Luna. It won the coveted first gold medal at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in Madrid in 1884.

Felix Resurección Hidalgo studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando de Madrid as a pensionado of the Ayuntamiento de Manila. He won the ninth silver medal in 1884 for his work, Las Virgines Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho at the Exposicion General de Bellas Artes in Madrid at which event, Juan Luna won the gold medal for his Spoliarium. The Assassination of Governor General Fernando Bustamante y Rueda is a controversial painting for its depiction of the Dominican friars as active participants in the murder of the Governor. In fact, Fr. Fidel Villaroel, Ph.D., a Spanish historian and Filipinologist from the University of Santo Tomas contends that the friars were im…

Osaka, City of Kuidaore

Unlike its neighbors, Kyoto and Nara, Osaka has few historical landmarks to show. This third largest city in Japan makes up for the shortfall with its thriving entertainment and food scene. 

Themed Travel Ideas for Summer 2017

Church of Santa Maria, Jeronimos Monastery, Belem

Cerralbo Museum

The Cerralbo Museum is a museum palace which belonged to Enrique de Aguilera y Gamboa, the 17th Marquis of Cerralbo (1845-1922). He was an avid collector of art and antiques which he obtained from his travels and from art auctions in Europe. His acquisitions include paintings, sculptures, drawings, tapestries, ceramics, historical documents, books, photography, objets d'art and furniture. It was one of the finest collections of its time. The palace of the Marquis was built to be both a residence and a gallery.
The armoury was the receiving area of this aristocratic residence. The Marquis and his Marquess, Inocencia Serrano y Cerver, greeted their guests in this hall where the suit of armor belonging to the illustrious ancestor of the Marquis, Pablo Fernandez Contreras, the first Earl of Alcudía, (who was the Admiral of the Spanish Squad that defeated the Dutch fleet in 1635) is on display. The Marquis of Cerralbo also inherited the title of Earl of Alcudía.
The formal dining room…

Casas Colgadas, Cuenca

Casas Colgadas (Hanging Houses)
The Casas Colgadas are the iconic symbols of Cuenca. Hanging precariously on a cliff above the deep gorge of the Huécar river, they defy gravity. There used to be more hanging houses in Cuenca but only three have survived to this day. The Museo de Arte Abstracto Español occupies two of these houses. To get a good perspective of their hairy perch, walk downhill to the Puente de San Pablo which straddles the gorge. 
Hanging Houses from Puente de San Pablo
The footbridge of San Pablo is a good vantage point for a sweeping view of this fortress town. Look down and you'll appreciate the depth of the gorge. Look up and you'll see how the balconies of the Casas Colgadas seem suspended in the air. Look behind you for a panoramic view of the highest section of the old hill town. And across the bridge is the Parador de Cuenca, a former monastery from the 16th century which has been converted into a government-run hotel.
View of the gorge of Huécar and Pa…

The Art Scene in Roxas City

At the recently inaugurated Dance and Arts Studio in Gaisano Mall, paintings by Clay Dalid and works by artists of the Paon Livelihood Series are currently on display. From the Paon group comes the livelihood genre such as laying fish out to dry and fresh catch in metal baskets. These works reflect one of the most important means of livelihood for residents of the "seafood capital" of the Philippines.
Clay Dalid continues the theme of the bountiful harvest of the sea with her still life with seashells. In her lily series, Clay gives us a taste of her colorful palette.
On the third floor of Gaisano, there is a children's playroom with a huge mural by John Alaban. Here you'll see the hills of San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge. I've seen John's other oeuvres of Philippine scenes which are reminiscent of Amorsolo, suffused with the light of the tropics and bold hues.
At the Roxas City Museum, the paintings of Lino Villaruz are on view as well as those of o…

Chalk Art

Outside Santa Barbara Mission (the "Queen of California Missions"), we were treated recently to a riot of colors. An outdoor gallery of chalk art graced the grounds in front of the church. There were copies of Renaissance paintings, Van Gogh's Starry Night, Winslow Homer's Boys in a Pasture and scores of original art. With no rain in sight (and no erasers), this exhibition could stick around to delight visitors. * * * Image by Rosario Charie Albar

"Love of Art Enriches Life"

by Rosario Charie Albar Flaming June by Sir Frederic Leighton Photo courtesy of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico

Picture this. I'm on a small island surrounded by exquisite beaches. But I'm not baking in the sun, I'm in the cool interior of a "museo de arte", gazing admiringly at a bodegon. Where am I?

If you answered Puerto Rico, you have already discovered its best kept secrets - its fine arts museums. Here in Santurce, a short bus ride from Old San Juan, is the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR). It is the home of masterworks by Puerto Rican artists whose legacy spans nearly 500 years. Open since July 2000, the MAPR has amassed a collection of paintings, sculptures, folk art, ceramics, photography and graphic arts, all chronologically exhibited in a classical revival building.

José Campeche is one of Puerto Rico's principal painters from the 18th century. His religious canvas, Virgen de la Soledad de la Victoria (1782-89), is a fine example of rococo as…