A Beginner’s Guide to Art in the Philippines

art in the philippines

The Philippines is such a beautiful country full of wonders that never fails to amaze everyone. It’s beautiful enough that many Filipinos transform what they see to a remarkable masterpiece, making the art in the Philippines popular across the world. 

Whether it’s a simple group of women doing the laundry in the streams or a struggling fisherman waiting for his first catch, there are so many artworks in the Philippines that tell stories we failed to see. 

10 Contemporary Filipino Artists You Must Know

If there are box office kings and queens in the film industry, there are also art box office stars whose talents are beyond imagination. Here’s a list of some contemporary Filipino artists and their artworks that showed the world how beautiful the art in the Philippines is.

  1. Ronald Ventura: “Crack in the Hull,” at the León Gallery Magnificent September Auction 2014 at P25.7 million.
  2. Andres Barrioquinto: “The Back of Love” at the León Gallery Magnificent September Auction 2019, at P12.9 million
  3. Elmer Borlongan: “Quiapo,” León Gallery Spectacular Mid-Year Auction 2017, P9.9 million
  4. Jose John Santos III: “Surface Tension,” at the León Gallery Magnificent September Auction 2017, P9.3 million, and for “Untitled” at the León Gallery Magnificent September Auction 2016, P9.3 million
  5. Annie Cabigting: “Kunst Museum,” León Gallery Asian Cultural Council 2019, P7 million
  6. Jigger Cruz: “Blares of the Opposite,” León Gallery Kingly Treasures 2015, P6.7 million
  7. Mark Justiniani: “Ang Hari,” León Gallery Spectacular Mid-Year Auction of 2018, P6.42 million
  8. Alfredo Esquillo: “Daang Ligid Cruz,” León Gallery Auction 2013, P4.1 million
  9. Marina Cruz: “White on Red Threads,” León Gallery Magnificent September 2015, P3.3 million
  10. Buen Calubayan: “Bundok Banahaw,” León Gallery Kingly Treasures 2016, P3 million

Source: Philippine Star

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What’s inside this blog?

Whether you’re looking for Filipino paintings of famous artists in the Philippines or sculpture in the Philippines, we’ve covered everything you need in this art in the Philippines guide.

Traditional Art in the Philippines

T'nalak weaver mindanao culture

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Traditional art is a part of a culture of a certain group of people, with skills and knowledge passed down through generations from masters to apprentices. It portrays the simple life before the massive growth of a country.

The traditional arts in the Philippines includes folk architecture, maritime transport, famous sculpture in the Philippines, weaving, carving, folk performing arts, folk (oral) literature, folk graphic and plastic arts, ornament, pottery, and other artistic expressions of traditional culture. Among the most famous forms of traditional art in the Philippines is weaving. Each island (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao) has its own distinctive style of weaving to show the Philippine culture.

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Suggested read: Mindanao Beyond Chaos: Discovering The Colorful Mindanao Culture

Notable Traditional Artists in the Philippines

  1. Fernando Amorsolo: “Lavanderas”
  2. Juan Luna: “Spoliarium”
  3. Carlos “Botong” Francisco: “Bayanihan”
  4. Guillermo Tolentino: “Oblation”
  5. Napoleon Abueva: “Kaganapan”
  6. Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo: “Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho”
  7. Mauro Malang Santos (Malang): “Street Fight”
  8. Yabing Masalon Dulo: B’laan Ikat Master Weaver

Contemporary Arts in the Philippines

oscar villamiel cheap medicine art in the philippines

Photo credit to The Girl Behind the Pen

The term contemporary art refers to art produced today. It can be through the form of painting, sculpture in the Philippines, photography, installation, performance, and video art. However, the exact starting point of contemporary arts in the Philippines and in the world is still debated and unclear but many art historians consider the late 1960s or early 1970s to be a suitable estimate. Read the list below of the Filipino artists who exhibited some of the best contemporary art examples in the Philippines.

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Notable Contemporary Artists in the Philippines

  1. Ronald Ventura: “Crack in the Hull”
  2. Andres Barrioquinto: “The Back of Love”
  3. Elmer Borlongan: “Quiapo”
  4. Jose John Santos III: “Untitled”
  5. Annie Cabigting: “Kunst Museum”
  6. Jigger Cruz: “Blares of the Opposite”
  7. Mark Justiniani: “Ang Hari”
  8. Alfredo Esquillo: “Daang Ligid Cruz”
  9. Marina Cruz: “White on Red Threads”
  10. Buen Calubayan: “Bundok Banahaw”
  11. Benedicto Cabrera: “Family”
  12. Oscar Villamiel: “Cheap Medicine”

Indigenous Arts in the Philippines

indigenous art in the philippines

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Indigenous art in the Philippines is made by the indigenous peoples of the Philippines that includes works in raw materials such as extract from trees, fruits, and vegetables. 

Check out the list of indigenous Filipino artists who have preserved some of the Philippines’ most important indigenous traditions. 

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Notable Indigenous Artists in the Philippines

  1. Uwang Ahadas: Yakan musical instruments player from Lamitan, Basilan
  2. Magdalena Gamayo: Textile (Abel) weaver from Pinili, Ilocos Norte
  3. Eduardo Mutuc: Metalsmith and artist from Apalit, Pampanga
  4. Lang Dulay: Textile (T’Nalak) weaver from Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
  5. Samaon Sulaima: Musician, Kutyapi player from Maganoy, Maguindanao
  6. Haja Amina Appi: Pandan mat weaver from Ungos Matata, Tandubas, Tawi-Tawi
  7. Federico Caballero: Chanter and educator from Calinog, Iloilo
  8. Ginaw Bilog: Poet from Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro
  9. Salinta Monon: Textile (Inabal) weaver from Bansalan, Davao del Sur
  10. Masino Intaray: Chanter and musician from Palawan
  11. Darhata Sawabi: Textile weaver from Parang, Sulu
  12. Teofilo Garcia: Gourd hatmaker from San Quintin, Abra
  13. Alonzo Saclag: Traditional dancer and musician from Lubuagan, Kalinga

Source: CNN Philippines

List of National Artists of the Philippines

If you’re interested in Philippine paintings, visual arts in the Philippines, sculpture in the Philippines or just Filipino artworks in general, the best way to start off is to learn all about the artforms in the Philippines and the talented people behind it.

Here we’ve rounded up all the National Artists of the Philippines that you should know:

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AwardeeDate of AwardCategory
1. Fernando Amorsolo (++)1972Painting
2. Francisca R. Aquino (+)1973Dance
3. Carlos V. Francisco (++)1973Painting
4. Amado V. Hernandez (++)1973Literature
5. Antonio J. Molina (+)1973Music
6. Juan F. Nakpil (+)1973Architecture
7. Guillermo E. Tolentino (+)1973Sculpture
8. Jose Garcia Villa (+)1973Literature
9. Napoleon V. Abueva1976Sculpture
10. Lamberto V. Avellana (+)1976Theater and Film
11. Leonor O. Goquingco (+)1976Dance
12. Nick Joaquin (+)1976Literature
13. Jovita Fuentes (+)1976Music
14. Victorio C. Edades (+)1976Painting
15. Pablo S. Antonio (++)1976Architecture
16. Vicente S. Manansala (++)1981Painting
17. Carlos P. Romulo (+)1982Literature
18. Gerardo de Leon (++)1982Cinema
19. Honorata “Atang” dela Rama (++)1987Theater and Music
20. Antonino R. Buenaventura (+)1988Music
21. Lucrecia R. Urtula (+)1988Dance
22. Lucrecia R. Kasilag (+)1989Music
23. Francisco Arcellana (+)1990Literature
24. Cesar F. Legaspi (+)1990Visual Arts
25. Leandro V. Locsin (+)1990Architecture
26. Hernando R. Ocampo (++)1991Visual Arts
27. Lucio D. San Pedro (+)1991Music
28. Lino Brocka (++)1997Cinema
29. Felipe P. de Leon (++)1997Music
30. Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero (++)1997Theater
31. Rolando S. Tinio (++)1997Theater & Literature
32. Levi Celerio (+)1997Music & Literature
33. N.V.M. Gonzales (++)1997Literature
34. Arturo R. Luz1997Visual Arts
35. Jose M. Maceda (+)1997Music
36. Carlos Quirino (+)1997Historical Literature
37. J. Elizalde Navarro (++)1999Painting
38. Prof. Andrea Veneracion (+)1999Music
39. Edith L. Tiempo (+)1999Literature
40. Daisy H. Avellana (+)1999Theater
41. Ernani J. Cuenco (++)1999Music
42. F. Sionil Jose2001Literature
43. Ang Kiukok (+)2001Visual Arts
44. Ishmael Bernal (++)2001Cinema
45. Severino Montano (++)2001Theater
46. Jose T. Joya (++)2003Visual Arts (Painting)
47. Virgilio S. Almario2003Literature
48. Alejandro R. Roces (+)2003Literature
49. Eddie S. Romero (+)2003Cinema & Broadcast Arts
50. Salvador F. Bernal (+)2003Theater Design
51. Benedicto R. Cabrera2006Visual Arts
52. Abdulmari Asia Imao2006Visual Arts
53. Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera2006Literature
54. Ramon Obusan (+)2006Dance
55. Fernando Poe Jr. (++)2006Cinema
56. Archt. Ildefonso P. Santos, Jr. (+)2006Landscape Architecture
57. Ramon O. Valera (++)2006Fashion Design
58. Manuel Conde (++)2009Film
59. Lázaro Francísco (++)2009Literature
60. Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (+)2009Visual Arts
61. Alice Reyes2014Dance
62. Francisco V. Coching (++)2014Visual Arts
63. Cirilo F. Bautista2014Literature
64. Francisco F. Feliciano2014Music
65. Ramon P. Santos2014Music
66. Jose Maria V. Zaragoza (++)2014Architecture

Source: Official Gazette of the Philippines

Art is something that tells us stories we ignored, and shows us beauty in chaos we failed to see. Don’t be intimidated by art. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Art in the Philippines

Q: What are the forms of artworks in the Philippines?

A: There are different artworks in the Philippines like traditional arts, indigenous arts, and contemporary arts in the Philippines or modern art in the Philippines. 

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These forms of arts include Philippine paintings, visual arts in the Philippines, performing artist in the Philippines, sculpture in the Philippines, Philippine wood carving, and more.

Q: Who are the national artists of the Philippines?

A: Here’s a list of the national Filipino artists to know: 

  1. Fernando Amorsolo (Painting)
  2. Francisca R. Aquino (Dance)
  3. Carlos V. Francisco (Painting)
  4. Amado V. Hernandez (Literature)
  5. Antonio J. Molina (Music)
  6. Juan F. Nakpil (Architecture)
  7. Guillermo E. Tolentino (Sculpture)
  8. Jose Garcia Villa (Literature)
  9. Napoleon V. Abueva (Sculpture)
  10. Lamberto V. Avellana (Theater and Film)
  11. Leonor O. Goquingco (Dance)
  12. Nick Joaquin (Literature)
  13. Jovita Fuentes (Music)
  14. Victorio C. Edades (Painting)
  15. Pablo S. Antonio (Architecture)
  16. Vicente S. Manansala (Painting)
  17. Carlos P. Romulo (Literature)
  18. Gerardo de Leon (Cinema)
  19. Honorata “Atang” dela Rama (Theater and Music)
  20. Antonino R. Buenaventura (Music)
  21. Lucrecia R. Urtula (Dance)
  22. Lucrecia R. Kasilag (Music)
  23. Francisco Arcellana (Literature)
  24. Cesar F. Legaspi (Visual Arts)
  25. Leandro V. Locsin (Architecture)
  26. Hernando R. Ocampo (Visual Arts)
  27. Lucio D. San Pedro (Music)
  28. Lino Brocka (Cinema)
  29. Felipe P. de Leon (Music)
  30. Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero (Theater)
  31. Rolando S. Tinio (Theater & Literature)
  32. Levi Celerio (Music & Literature)
  33. N.V.M. Gonzales (Literature)
  34. Arturo R. Luz (Visual Arts)
  35. Jose M. Maceda (Music)
  36. Carlos Quirino (Historical Literature)
  37. J. Elizalde Navarro (Painting)
  38. Prof. Andrea Veneracion (Music)
  39. Edith L. Tiempo (Literature)
  40. Daisy H. Avellana (Theater)
  41. Ernani J. Cuenco (Music)
  42. F. Sionil Jose (Literature)
  43. Ang Kiukok (Visual Arts)
  44. Ishmael Bernal (Cinema)
  45. Severino Montano (Theater)
  46. Jose T. Joya (Visual Arts – Painting)
  47. Virgilio S. Almario (Literature)
  48. Alejandro R. Roces (Literature)
  49. Eddie S. Romero (Cinema & Broadcast Arts)
  50. Salvador F. Bernal (Theater Design)
  51. Benedicto R. Cabrera (Visual Arts)
  52. Abdulmari Asia Imao (Visual Arts)
  53. Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera (Literature)
  54. Ramon Obusan (Dance)
  55. Fernando Poe Jr. (Cinema)
  56. Archt. Ildefonso P. Santos, Jr. (Landscape Architecture)
  57. Ramon O. Valera (Fashion Design)
  58. Manuel Conde (Film)
  59. Lázaro Francísco (Literature)
  60. Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (Visual Arts)
  61. Alice Reyes (Dance)
  62. Francisco V. Coching (Visual Arts)
  63. Cirilo F. Bautista (Literature)
  64. Francisco F. Feliciano (Music)
  65. Ramon P. Santos (Music)
  66. Jose Maria V. Zaragoza (Architecture)

Source: Official Gazette of the Philippines

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Q: Where to see museums in the Philippines?

A: Here are the places to see the works of various artists in the Philippines and appreciate the beauty and meaning of each Filipino painting, Filipino sculpture, modern art in the Philippines, and so much more.

  1. Ayala Museum
  2. National Museum of the Philippines
  3. Museo Pambata
  4. Pinto Art Museum
  5. The Mind Museum
  6. The Dessert Museum
  7. BenCab Museum
  8. Lakbay Museo
  9. Metropolitan Museum of Manila
  10. Balay Negrense Museum
  11. Museo Sugbo (Cebu Provincial Museum)
  12. Davao Museum of History and Ethnography
  13. Museum of Three Cultures

Must-read: 12 Fascinating Museums in the Philippines Perfect for History and Art Lovers

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