Creative push

Published January 22, 2021, 8:00 AM

by Jules Vivas

The Philippines is a nation of artists and innovators

Two words that best describe the Filipino are hospitable and madiskarte (resourceful or innovative). While we are known for being warm and welcoming people, the innate creativity of Pinoys is among our greatest assets, which is also recognized throughout the world.

Apart from the hospitality industry, the creative sector has become one of the major boosters of the Philippine economy. We could be the Broadway of Asia with performer like Lea Salonga, Neile Adams, Maureen Tiongco, Barbara Luna. Filipino singers such as Bruno Mars, Arnel Pineda,, Jessica Sanchez has also penetrated the global entertainment scene. We have some of the best visual artists from Pacita Abad to José Joya to Fernando Amorsolo. And our film industry used to be the toast of the region, having produced such iconic gems such as Oro, Plata Mata, Himala, Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon?, Genghis Khan by topnotch filmmakers like Manuel Conde, Gerardo De Leon, Lino Brocka, and Ismael Bernal. Today, though the industry is faced with issues such as over commercialization, the independent scene is vibrant and promising, winning recognition and accolades for its products and performers and directors in the international film festivals such as Cannes.

TRINITY OF HOPE A piece from jewelry designer Joyce
Mäkitalo’s latest collection Memento, the Trinity necklace, a homage to faith

We could be regarded as the Milan of Asia, with our mastery of international as well as local fashion. Michael Cinco, Monique Lhuillier, Rajo Laurel, Inno Sotto, who is celebrating his 40th anniversary in the industry this 2021, Mich Dulce, and the late Cesar Gaupo are a few who come to mind, and young upstarts like Cara Sumabat-Limjap, Andrea Tetangco, Jessan Macatangay, Chris Nick de los Reyes, and Kermit Tesoro.

There are also business tycoons who have exhibited great inventiveness. Some of these revolutionary entrepreneurs are Socorro Ramos of National Book Store, Tony Tan Caktiong of Jollibee, Lucio Tan of Philippine Airlines, and so many more.

Being a country that likes to eat, there are chef geniuses who put the Philippines on the culinary map like Margarita Fores, Miko Aspiras, Sau Del Rosario, Boy Logro, etc. Writers F. Sionil José, Jessica Hagedorn, Nick Joaquin, Jose Dalisay Jr., and Luis Francia have been feeding the minds of Filipinos with literary works that not only titillate the imagination but also promote nationalism and, more important, nationhood.

These are but some of the most creative people in the country, there are also unknown and untapped names waiting to be discovered.

WHAT’S ON THE COVER Fix Your Hair Top Long Version is part of
an avant-garde collection by experimental fashion designer
Kelvin Morales called Human Leather

With the ongoing pandemic, Filipinos have not only shown resilience but also greater ingenuity. For instance, various food trends have emerged, online businesses have boomed, the art and fashion industries have become even more active with designers reverse engineering and improving PPEs such as face masks and hazmat suits, contributing to the fight against the virus in their own ways. In these times of great distress, art has proved to be a balm to our weary senses, a welcome distraction, a portal to otherworlds or a carefully imagined future, a shelter from the storm, and a means to address our mental and emotional needs, not to mention to nourish our souls.

This week’s Panorama highlights the other enterprises and artistries that have surfaced as a result of this health crisis. From the jewelry of Joyce Mäkitalo to the fashion concept and line of experimental fashion designer Kelvin Morales, sumptuous food picks and trends to local films now being shown on Netflix, these stories prove that Filipino creativity and inventiveness have reached new heights even in the challenging period we are in.

Check out Panorama’s collection of stories highlighting Filipino creativity this week at