A book on arts and an Easter cardinal

Pope Francis with then the archbishop of Capiz Jose Advincula in Rome, 2019 (Photo by Fr. Reupert Manuel Advincula)

A glorious Easter to all. Christ is risen! We are saved!

As an Easter gift to us in Metro Manila, Pope Francis has designated His Eminence Jose Fuerte Advincula, formerly with Capiz, as archbishop of Manila on the feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord. The appointment was made public in Rome at noon, 7 p.m. in Manila, on Thursday.

Advincula will succeed Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in the Vatican.

The archdiocese has been without an archbishop since Tagle left for Rome in February 2020. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) congratulated Advincula on his appointment as the 33rd archbishop of Manila. “We wish the archbishop-elect God’s abundant blessing in his new mission and offer him our continued prayers and support,” said Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP president.

Born on March 30, 1952 in Dumalag, Capiz, Advincula was ordained a priest for the archdiocese in 1976. The 68-year-old cardinal was the spiritual director of the St. Pius X Seminary, where he was also professor and dean of education. He began his studies in psychology at De La Salle University of Manila and in canon law at the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas (UST) and at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas-Angelicum in Rome, obtaining a licentiate in canon law.

His Eminence Jose Fuerte Advincula

Back home, Advincula served in the seminaries of Vigan, Nueva Segovia, and the regional seminary of Jaro. In 1995, he was appointed rector of the St. Pius X Seminary of Capiz and became the Defender of the Bond, promoter of justice, and finally judicial vicar of the archdiocese. Advincula then became parish priest of Saint Thomas of Villanueva in Dao in 1999.

He was appointed bishop of San Carlos in July 2001 and transferred back to Capiz in 2011 after the retirement of Archbishop Onesim Cordoncillo.

In October last year, the Pope named Advincula as among the Church’s 13 new cardinals. He was elevated at a consistory on Nov. 28, 2020. On Dec. 16, 2020, the Pope also appointed the Filipino cardinal as member of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, the office responsible for the formation, ministry, and life of priests and deacons.

Do not abandon yourselves to despair.  We are an Easter People and hallelujah is our song.

—Saint Pope John Paul II

Clearly, Pope Francis had a lot of faith and confidence in Advincula.

The Archdiocese of Manila is a very important post in the hierarchy of the Church in the country. We are so happy he has been attended to by Pope Francis and it seems the Pope has done an excellent choice in Cardinal Advincula, who is in the same mold as Jaime Cardinal Sin. Advincula is also highly principled, but he is not an activist like Cardinal Sin, or so we are told. Welcome Cardinal Advincula!

For more happy news on Easter, try to get yourselves a copy of the book “My City, My SM, My Art.” With hope, it will soon be available for schools, if not at commercial book shops.

The lovingly compiled book is a feast for art lovers that features various artists and their paintings. It also has details on the provinces the artists come from.

Did you know that as a child, National Artist Guillermo Tolentino, whose iconic sculptures include the Bonifacio Monument and UP Oblation, used to mold horses and dogs from clay from the banks of the fishponds in his hometown in Bulacan? Did you know that National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco discovered the cultural heritage site, the Angono Petroglyph, during a field trip with the Boy Scouts in 1965?

Do you know that the ingenuity of Filipino artists knows no bounds? They would use non-traditional materials like sunlight (Baguio’s Jordan Mang-osan), coffee and charcoal (Baguio’s Patric Palasi), rubber slippers (Palawan’s Elordie Mesac), and tuba (Tacloban’s Dante Enage) when art supplies were too expensive or unavailable. When President Cory Aquino returned to private life in 1996, she took an active interest in painting under the tutelage of artist Jeffrey Consumo. These are some of the fascinating stories one can find in the book.

Launched during National Arts Month, the book is a compilation of the three-year “My City, My SM, My Art” campaign around the SM Supermalls. The book is the latest in theseries, which showcases the beauty, culture, traditions, and great people in cities around the Philippines where some of the malls are located. The book aims to bring art and people together through exhibits, workshops, and contests.

A joint project of SM, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the Shell Companies of the Philippines, Center Stage Productions, as well as Finale Art File, the campaign began on March 2016 at SM Seaside City in Cebu and concluded on March 2019 at SM City Cebu. There was also close collaboration with communities, regional art schools, and artist groups in each area.

The title also celebrates the lives and works of masters like National Artists Bencab, Vicente Manansala, Jose Joya, Guillermo Tolentino, Botong Francisco, Ang Kiukok, Victorio Edades, Abdulamari Imao, National Living Treasure Eduardo Mutuc, as well as other famous artists like Manuel Rodriguez, Sr., Mauro Malang Santos, Manny Baldemor, Romulo Olazo, Ramon Orlina, Eduardo Castrillo, and Willy Layug. It also features modernists Romulo Galicano, Fil de la Cruz, Angelito Antonio, Nestor Vinluan, Gus Albor, Manny Garibay, Mario Parial, Edwin Wilwayco, Charlie Co, and Claude Tayag.

A Page from the book "My City, My SM, My Art" on the artworks of President Cory Aquino (Photo from the author)

We also get a glimpse of the future of Philippine art through millennials like Leeroy New, Paulino Luz Sotto-Llanes, and students of Philippine High School for the Arts, University of Mindanao, University of Rizal System, La Consolacion College Bacolod, Ateneo de Naga University, and Adventist University of the Philippines.

A special exhibit of the artworks of the late President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino held at SM City Tarlac is also highlighted in the book. That was a fun launch at the huge SM Mall in the city. Fellow Tarlaqueños were able to see samples of Cory’s beautiful work. It was a rare exhibit of her works and a delight to the public and fellow artists.

“My City, My SM, My Art” is SM’s tribute to the amazing talent of the Filipino artist. It hopes to inspire the younger generation to explore their creative gifts, enhance their skills, and rise to their artistic heights. For all your efforts, thank you, vice-chair of SM Investments Corporation, Tessie Sy Coson, SM senior vice president for marketing Millie Dizon, and book editor Millet M. Mananquil of the Philippine Star.