Tuesday, January 11, 2005

DANDY ROY: From Martial to Visual Arts

dandy roy: from martial to visual arts
Dandy R. Morales a.k.a. Dandy Roy

Photo by Danny Sillada 2004. Posted by Hello
When his 1993 fight at a prestigious martial arts tournament in Phuket, Thailand did not materialize, this young master had to fight for subsistence in Manila. Stranded and disillusioned, like a typical provinciano who had gone astray at the heart of the metropolis, and with nothing in his pocket but a handful of dreams, he had yet to face the greatest fight of his life - a fight for survival - to assuage the pains of his hungering soul and stomach.

Instead of using his martial arts expertise in hunting for a job, he reluctantly dropped the “martial” but embraced the “arts” and from there, life was never the same for this award-winning eskrima master turned painter from Davao.

Dandy Roy’s still life paintings are teeming with geometric forms and colors. His esoteric subjects are reflective of his origin where ethnic foods are given with new meanings as they ingeniously appear on his canvas. The queer juxtapositions of tribal delicacies such as the lut (a bamboo tube where the native fish is cooked), the grilled uâbang (mountain shrimp), the steamed casili (eel), and other mouth-watering ethnic recipes are lusciously portrayed with dynamism on his canvas. The ensuing images are sensuously delectable and exotic.

Still Life, Acrylic on Canvas By Dany Roy, 2003.

Photo by Danny Sillada Copyright 2005. Posted by Hello

His journey begun from a remote town at the Eastern part of Davao province, a coastal town called Baganga, which is sandwiched between the lush mountains and the Pacific Ocean. In the 70’s and 80’s, this paradise-like place used to be a progressive town among other towns in the first district of Davao Oriental, where the logging concessionaires still stationed, reaping mercilessly the virginal forests of the entire district.

As a young lad, he benefited from the economic surge of his town by peddling his coco-wine (locally known as tubâ) to the logging workers. As a mananggeté or a winemaker, which he would proudly assert today, he supported his siblings and his own studies at school. His assiduous dedication to his humble profession at a very tender age was exceptional, sacrificing his personal needs and happiness for the betterment of his family.

He would rise early at dawn with cawit (bamboo container) fastened on his left shoulder and a sang’got (a sharp boomerang-shape blade) tucked on his waist, then climb as many coconut trees as he could to percolate the extracted juices from the cawit that was attached overnight to the sliced shoots of the coconut tree. The freshly harvested juices would then be processed and mixed with tungog, a red powder that served as coloring and taste enhancer, so that by seven o’clock in the morning, he was already off to school after delivering his gallons of product to the different tiangge (tubâ vendor).

His perseverance was finally rewarded when he graduated from high school out of his own dexterity and independence. He then dreamed of going to college in Davao City that was 800 kilometers away from his town. However, due to the financial constraint, his dream died before it could flourish. Disappointed and tired of his routine as a winemaker, he went into the mountains, not to become a rebel, but to live a hermitage life.

In 1981, after two years of living an ascetic life, he began to question the purpose and meaning of his existence. And like Albert Camus’ awakening, Dandy Roy suddenly found in him an ‘invincible summer’ when he decided to come out from his lonely delitescence and go back to his family and friends as a new and mature person. This time, determined to pursue his dream of studying in college, he began to unravel the beginning of his life’s journey in a distant place away from his land.

In the same year, he took up Electrical Engineering at the University of Mindanao in Davao City. However, his stint at the university was cut short when, in 1982, he decided to sail to the island of Cebu to shift in another course on BS Marine Transportation at the University of Cebu, then Cebu Central Colleges. Almost simultaneously, he also began his rigorous training in martial arts under the legendary grandmaster, Ciriaco Cañete, a world-renowned grandmaster in arnis and one of the founding members of Doce Pares.

Aside from his growing skills in kali and arnis, he went on further to learn in other fields of martial arts such as Karate, Judo and Jujitsu. In the following year, as a brilliant student with athletic physique, he was hired by his grandmaster as assistant instructor in the same university, which later, he would become a sports celebrity in the campus.

Then 1988 came, as the luckiest and the busiest year for this fully grown man who almost buried his dreams into the wilderness of his town. He bagged two championships in martial arts competitions being the national champion in Karate, open competition, under the Central Visayas Karate Association, and national champion in arnis, welterweight division, sponsored by the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation, which was organized by some Hollywood personalities (stuntmen) such as Dan Inosanto, Fred Degre Berg, Richard Bustillo, to name a few, headed by Grandmaster Ciriaco Cañete.

The Multi-Awarded Kali Master, Dandy Roy

Photo by Danny Sillada. Posted by Hello
His tours de force performance in martial arts earned him four different prestigious titles as Black Belt (4th Dan) in Arnis, Brown Belt (4th Kyu) in Judo, Black Belt (1st Dan) in Jujitsu, and Black Belt (1st Dan) in Karate. He was then one of the best and most sought-after instructors at that time, needless to mention his being the protégée of the grandmaster.

Meanwhile, in the same year, Lito Osmeña, then governor of Cebu, took notice of his growing popularity in martial arts, hired him through his grandmaster to train the Barangay Tanod members on tactical defense as part of the Department of Affairs’ program in suppressing criminalities in the city. Almost simultaneously, the Military Air Force hired him for his tactical combat expertise to train the Air Force officers and Air Force Police on Anti-Terrorist and Tactical Combat Defense program at Mactan Air Force, Cebu.

Despite the accolades and success, however, after a long strenuous routine as a martial arts instructor, his passion slowly wizened when he finally finished his studies in BS Marine Transportation in 1989. After making a difficult decision, he reluctantly left his post and his grandmaster with a heavy heart.

By 1990, he then went on in another journey, farther and away from his land, on an inter-island tramping vessel sailing through Philippine islands and, at times, in the neighboring Asian countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.

In the first quarter of 1993, after sailing for two years in the vast horizon of the sea, he anchored back home in his hometown in Baganga, Davao Oriental to see and embrace the people whom he dearly loved, the same people who gave him a reason to dream , which he eventually achieved through persistence and hard work. It was also in this town that he finally found the harbor that he had been longing in his heart, a lovely woman named Gemma, who began to fill the emptiness of his life.

Shortly after his brief vacation in his town, together with his newfound love and inspiration, he sailed again and this time, bound for Manila to prepare for an impending international martial arts tournament in Bangkok. In Manila, he was supposed to meet a friend; his would be teammate, Christopher Petrelle, who would be sponsoring his trip to Thailand. But Petrelle did not arrive to Manila because of a freak accident - a long jump as paratrooper in Australia that caused several bone fractures on his lower body.

With no adequate funds, he and Gemma stayed at their relatives, a known and established artist William Yu, at San Jose Village in Alabang. There, he also met his younger brother, Adrian Morales, an emerging artist who was an apprentice to William Yu. Consequently, as he began to associate with different artists in Manila, Dandy Roy slowly awakened his artistic passion and saw its potential as a source for subsistence.

After finding himself in the company of veteran artists like William Yu, Loreto Racuya and the late Isabelo Quiles, to name a few, being the odd man out, Dandy Roy finally joined them. As a fledgling artist then, he was agog to learn and relearn the rudiments of arts from the masters. One of them was Loreto Racuya who became his mentor in painting, and at the same time, his diligent student in martial arts particularly in arnis.

By 1997, Dandy Roy was lucky enough to meet the father of both struggling and established artists in the person of Atty. Mario Alcantara, the founder of Heritage Gallery, who saw the great potential in his art. At first, he was asked by his newfound patron to deliver one painting a week who, not only inspired him to paint, but also gave him tips on works that are saleable in the market. Later, Atty. Alcantara began to require him to submit more paintings, as the demand of his works grew bigger in the market.

He woke up one day in disbelief, as if in a euphoric dream, when he realized that his paintings had already been circulating in the market - being sought by art collectors and dealers alike. And who would believe either that this chameleon from terra incognita could metamorphose himself from a lowly mananggeté (coco-wine maker) to a martial arts expert and from a humble seaman to a promising visual artist.

Today Dandy Roy could only sigh with relief if he remembers his sinuous journey. He would rationalize that life is like an intricate process of making a coco-wine, or like martial arts where you have to counter-attack using your opponent’s own force, or like an ocean to be sailed and navigated, or like an empty canvas to be filled with forms and colors. As an optimist with undaunted dreams and vision, he still struggles to live day by day by conjuring up his art one at a time.

“My philosophy in life”, he said audaciously,”…is that, you have to make it happen, otherwise, nothing will happen to you!”

The newly-wed Dandy Roy with wife Gemma.

Photo by Danny Sillada. Posted by Hello

Monday, January 10, 2005

MANNY DULDULAO: Philippine Art Historian

(A Conversation with Manny Duldulao)
by Danny Sillada

Adam & Eve, 2004. Oil on Canvas by Danny Sillada.
Collection by Mr. Eric Cruz. Posted by Hello

Manny Duldulao, art writer and historian, has written extensively on Philippine art and culture. As a self-made man, he is the only non-academe art historian who has written various books in the fields of Art and Culture and whose contribution is beyond compare among his contemporaries and the new generations of art writers.

Manny Duldulao

Photo by Danny Sillada, 2004. Posted by

Manny Duldulao is a legendary name within the circle of collectors - a Godfather to the Filipino struggling and established artists. Through his wisdom and dexterity, he immerses himself within the communities of Filipino artists; he helps and enlightens them to come out their best creative outputs that are reflective of Philippine culture and environment.

Tower of Eden, 2004. Oil on Canvas by Danny Sillada.

Photo by Danny Sillada, 2004. Posted by

A TOYM awardees (Ten Outstanding Young Men) in 1973, Manny Duldulao’s passion and energy never seemed to wane out after several decades of chronicling the Philippine art movements and activities. In his latest book, which will be launched in 2007 titled “The Nude in Philippine Art”; he introduces a fresh concept and development of Nude Art in the Philippines in the context of universal art.

In essence, he explores the attitude and concept of nude art in relation to the artists and their nude models, and the growing awareness of Filipinos especially the collectors toward Nude Art as a form of aesthetic expression.

Nude I, 2004. Pastel on Paper by Allan Flores.

Photo by Danny Sillada, 2004. Posted by


The following conversation with the author in January 10, 2005 was a brief glimpse of “The Lives and Loves of Artists and Models” prior to its final publication and launching in 2007.

D.C. SILLADA: What is the main concept of your book on Nude Art in the Philippines?

The main objective of the book, “The Lives and Loves of Artists and Models”, is to place Philippine art in the context of universal aesthetics. That is the reason why I developed the book by showing masterpieces of nude paintings around the world from Spain to Parish to New York and, then, juxtapose them in the context of Philippine art movement.

All of the paintings that I am featuring in the book are full-blown artworks in the respective style of the Filipino artists. I don’t feature sketches or drawings because we cannot elevate Philippine art into a universal level if we are going to show minor pieces.

Nude painting in the Philippines is relatively a recent activity. It only came out in the 1980s and before that, from the 1930s to 1950s, there were not much movement especially in the academe like the University of the Philippines because they could hardly get a Filipina model to pose for the Fine Arts students.

D.C. SILLADA: What is the attitude and concept of Nude Art amid our conservative culture from 1930s through 1970s and 1980s onwards?

Desnuda, 2004. Oil on canvas by Danny Sillada.Collection by Mr. Paulito Garcia, Ricco-Renzo Gallery.

Photo by Danny Sillada, 2004. Posted by

Nude paintings in 1950s and 1960s, I would say, were practically academic. They were for studies of human anatomy along the lines of academic requirement, and not for the purposes of gallery exhibitions.

It was only in the 1970s with the organization of the Casa de Oro Group, which is currently known as the Saturday Group, under Alfredo Roces, Hernando Ocampo and Cesar Legaspi, when the nude as an art form began to emerge. Other artists took it from there like the group of Ernie Tagle; they took serious undertaking of giving the nude art form its due in the Philippine art movement.

I would, therefore, say that the flowering of the nude as an art form by itself began in the 1970s and blossomed around 1978 to 1979 and, then, started to have a heavy solid footing in the Philippine art market around the early 1980s.

Now, of course, anything goes... In fact, you can find nude session almost everyday and the artists are no longer looking at it as a form of exercise, but simply as an exploration of art form.

Marina, The Model. Photo by Danny Sillada, 2004.

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D.C. SILLADA: The Filipina nude models: how they respond in exposing their naked bodies in front of the artists, considering our conservative culture toward nudity?

In the 1950s, you could count on your fingers the girls who were posing in the nude, and they were mostly posing in academic classes like UP. However, it was only during 1970s that modelling became a profession, and one of the legendary pioneers is Nellie Sta. Maria.

When the girls realized that it was a serious undertaking and they could earn some good money in the process, many of them started modelling professionally for a moderate fee. Consequently, they were getting regular assignments especially with the group of Tagle, and they were common girls, not in the entertainment profession.

The girls were mostly students who put their trust on the integrity of the artists. One of them was a niece of the late art critic Lorna Revilla Montilla. She was fondly called Inday. One time, the model that they were waiting did not arrive so Lorna told her niece “O, Inday ikaw na lang ang mag-pose...”

It was the beginning of her modelling career that eventually prospered. Now, some girls took it as a profession: they are no longer embarrassed disrobing in front of the artists.

Today, Filipina movie stars pick up the modelling stints; so you can count on them as regular sitters. Girls like Tracey Torres, Julia Lopez, Rosanna Roces, Andrea del Rosario, Katya Santos, Honey Miller, the controversial Keana Reeves and Rose Valencia, they all posed in the nude sessions.

Nude II,2004. Watercolor on Paper by Gene de Loyola.

Photo by Danny Sillada, 2004. Posted by

D.C. SILLADA: What is your main thrust in the book in relation to the artists and their nude models?

After reading several literatures on nudes, I found out that art authors and historians concentrated on the human body as a source of art form. What I did with my book, I researched on the lives of nude models.

Like, for instance, the famous painting of Sandro Botticelli titled “The Rising of Venus”; I was able to gather enough information as to who the model is and the family where she belongs to. Likewise, the model of Édouard Manet and his controversial painting “The Luncheon on the Grass”: who is she and what is her name?

These are essentially the main thrusts of my book: the artists, the models and their symbiotic relationships that create a compelling history and developments of nude art from ancient time to postmodern period.

Nude IV, 2004. Pastel on Paper.

Nude II, 2004. Pastel on Paper by Nards Zepeda.

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"Manny Duldulao in his early 60's. His passion and energy never seemed to wane out after several decades of chronicling the Philippine art movements and activities."

Photo by Danny Sillada, 2004. Posted by

Sunday, January 09, 2005

CID REYES: Nights in White Satin

nights in white satin
the vision of an insomniac

Photo by Jose A. Ibay. Graphic by Pia Layoso, 2004.Posted by Hello
“Periods of happiness are blank pages in it, for they are periods of harmony – periods when antithesis is in abeyance...”
German philosopher Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1770–1831)

A journey characterized by an insomniac’s dark passage, Cid has created masterpieces from inner visions, extinguishing his restive thoughts and passion to a more defined quest for artistic meaning.

His art emerges from within, to an unusual extent, and equally compelling as those written prose and philosophical essays by a Romanian philosopher E.M. Cioran, who suffered from the same nocturnal restlessness, and whose body of works are laden existential angst, but extolling the grandeur of life.

The inner vision of Cid Reyes searches its own light and reason amid its nocturnal environment। His inability to lull in dreams forces his mind and body to create a suite of riveting works, which he called – the Night Visions. And the images radiate and beckon from a distance defying the principles of po-mo (post-modern) art.

Vision II by Cid Reyes, Acrylic on Board, 2004

Photo by Danny Sillada, Copyright © 2004. Posted by Hello

While the contemporary generation of Filipino abstractionists tramp toward the Oriental and Western concepts of abstract art, Cid Reyes traverses, though still within the vein of abstraction, in the opposite direction - the antithesis of bleak and darkened surface of po-mo abstractionism.

By principle, Abstractionism is a deconstructive art movement, which emerges from the ugly face of World War II, as a protest to the angst-laden aesthetics of the period. From there, it evolves and continues to mutate in the present in a world of virtual reality and technologism.

In essence, the post-modern art today is relatively remote and distant. It alienates man from a bleak reality, a haunting reality reflective of his ambivalent and fast-changing society: bold, radical and, at times, irrational.

Cid Reyes bridges the gap of that alienation by bringing back the consciousness of his viewers to the metaphysical meaning of color, the color of white symbolizing the sense of wonder, innocence and beauty.
Mixed Media on Canvas, 2004

Photo by Jose A. Ibay. Posted by

The whiteness of his painting epitomizes the essence of purity and harmony on a pallid plane richer with forms and textures. His canvas is like a satin night without darkness, a night without walls or barriers, like the wings of angels reaching out to the laden souls with gentleness and compassion.

As the foremost art critic and top executive in the leading advertising agency in the country, Cid Reyes is a highly respected painter among his contemporaries. His creative output as an artist is equally comparable to his achievements and contributions to Philippine art as critic and historian.

The development of his art is inherent as a gift and its fruition is borne out of necessity from those restive nights, which he transmogrifies into a more meaningful aesthetic pursuit.

Similar to the Biblical account of creation where God created light from the void of darkness, Cid Reyes in his dark sleepless nights, assiduously labored and delivered the sensual and magical beauty of his creation.

Portrait of Cid Reyes by Camille Dela Rosa
Oil on Canvas, 2004

Photo Courtesy of Camille Dela Rosa. Posted by

Curious eyes could dither and linger behind those mystical pallid textures and colors; how one hungers for more within the boundless surface of his canvas without being too intrusive in his nocturnal passage from darkness to light.

Cid Reyes' 10th One-Man Show, The Crucible गैलरी SM Mgamall A, Level 4, Mandaluyomg City, Philippines

Photo by Jose A. Ibay. Graphic by Pia Layoso, 2004. Posted by Hello
© Danny Sillada