By Excel V. Dyquiangco
FAMED author Tom Clancy once said, “Books and movies are different art forms with different rules.” And because of that, they never translate exactly. While Parañaque is touted to be a Mega City by the Bay with an enclave of picturesque traditions, paintings and glass arts, the book Parañaque: From a Pueblo to a Mega City by the Bay is an art form with a unique set of rules in itself, one that offers a different side to this city down South of Metro Manila.
Written and researched over two years by veteran author Melandrew T. Velasco and his Media Touchstone Ventures Inc. (MTVI) book team, the coffee-table book promises a delightful read to those who are looking for a diverse kind of adventure.
The author is the family biographer of former President Fidel V. Ramos. He has also penned biographies of illustrious men and women in the country and has published books for the Ramos Peace and Development Foundation. This book on Parañaque City is his third venture into coffee table books for local government units following earlier books, namely: Pasay: A Royal Kingdom’s Evolution to a Travel City published in December 2013 and Nueva Ecija: New Era of Peace and Progress in March 2015.
Plus this book shows you some of the natural and hidden gems, the wonders and the mysteries and the surprises that await guests, visitors and local tourists.
“Because of this phenomenal growth and development, the inspiring story of Parañaque City is something that should be celebrated by everyone, native Parañaqueños, local and international residents who find time to stop here to live, invest, shop, pray, dine, travel and enjoy what this city offers,” Mayor Edwin Olivarez said.
The colors of the Sunduan Festival
One of the sterling qualities of the book is a mixture of green and yellow colors that symbolize Parañaque’s warmth toward its people. The Sunduan Festival, for instance, has evolved into a lively celebration that showcases street dancing, parades and competitions with a marching band in tow, connotes a splash of colors and magical hues. Eventually, the festival inspired the Parañaque Livelihood Resources Management Office, the city’s skills and training center, to fashion the Sunduan Dolls, ornamental dolls dressed with the local fibers piña and jusi, including the miniature embroidery style that go into the Barong Tagalog and the Maria Clara costumes. Much like the festival itself, the figures are a colorful array of designs, styles and flowing creativity especially, with its golden shades and splatters.
What makes the Sunduan dolls unique and creative, though, is that their faces are designed so distinctively from one another that no two dolls are alike. As part of its limited edition, the faces of Parañaque Mayor Edwin L. Olivarez and his wife Janet are woven into the mold. The Sunduan dolls are meticulously crafted that one doll gets finished in 33 days. They cost around P800 to P1,000 per doll, depending on the type, and are also displayed in trade fairs.
The VAP features
Aside from the Sunduan Festival, the book also showcases the best in painters, sculptors and mixed-visual artists. The Visual Artists of Parañaque (VAP), a group of young and dynamic, energetic and preppy visual artists, whose penchant for the arts, designs and styles is reflected also in their lifestyles, seeks to encourage and motivate other artists from Parañaque to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions through the medium of acrylic, paint and a slew of others. Founded by Janddie Castillo, known as “Master of the Splash Art” due to his art styles using splashes, splatters and swiping strokes, and cofounded by his father Nelson Castillo, the “Father of Philippine Miniature Paintings” because of his unique style in using miniatures as canvass, VAP has grown to more than 35 members, each representing a unique take and cinematic ambiance to visuals, paintings and sculptures.
Among VAP artists include Maricris Salazar-Castillo, John Clark Castillo, Nante Carandang, Hayden Sison, Paul Salazar, Leoda Salazar, Precy de Guzman-Brady, Jinggoy Salcedo, Myra Molina, Marivel Mari-Galang, Joy Jacinto, Chris Pizarro, Manny Gamboa and Chicco Ramos. VAP has held exhibits in SM BF Parañaque and Alabang Country Club and is bent on making Parañaque artists a household name.
Moreover, Parañaque is also home to other artists, such as sculptor Rey Paz Contreras, who makes use of repurposed materials and other environmental elements that influenced the art and sculpture scene in the country; painter Ferdinand Doctolero, a media visual artist whose works depict life’s dynamism; and multiawarded abstractionist Raul Isidro, whose techniques and interpretation of nature and the vibrancy of his childhood produces textured paintings that show simplicity and sophistication at the same time.
Crystal glass ornaments of Parañaque
Aside from colors and hues, Parañaque: From a Pueblo to a Mega City by the Bay prides itself with structures by showcasing products that are made of glass. From crystal-clear ornaments to dazzling centerpieces to an array of mind-altering arrangements, these creations that include home décors, such as wall frames, centerpieces, candle holders, napkin rings and holders, glass plaques, trophies and medals and even fashion accessories, such as necklaces, earrings, bracelets and pendants, souvenirs and gift items for birthdays, parties and celebrations, are a fitting tribute to every home. One of the city’s most-prized and flamboyant possessions is the glass art version of the Sunduan Festival.
With arts and culture definitely thriving in Parañaque, Parañaque: From a Pueblo to a Mega City by the Bay is a milestone that allows you to experience beauty at your fingertips, absolutely a work of art.
“Through long months of research, interviews and collective thoughts, Mr. Velasco and our team have learned so much about the city’s history and culture, especially Paranaque which transformed gracefully from a quaint little town to a sprawling environ of infrastructures and developments,” MTVI Creative Manager Michelle Cabrera-Manuel said.
“We are just too happy to have come out with a legacy coffee-table book that can be considered a work of art by itself that invariably captures the heart and soul, the rhythm and pulse of Parañaque City,” Michelle Manuel added.
Olivarez aptly describes the landmark book as “a fitting celebration of our rich history and heroic past, cultural heritage and traditions, our religiosity and dynamism as a people and as a city.”