A piece of sculptor Ben-Hur Villanueva’s heart

Ben-Hur Villanueva, Sculptor

“We are all born artists.” Only an inner-directed artist will say otherwise.

A born winner, the creator of “Ang Supremo” (the Bonifacio sculpture in Bonifacio Global City) is vivid. Character and soul shine through the patina of his years, resembling one of his maquettes. He says, “Walang mali sa art.”

Untitled

Ben-Hur Villanueva, grade school art teacher for three decades at the Ateneo de Manila moved up to Baguio in the early 90’s to devote his time as a fulltime artist and fulfill his advocacy of sharing his art. Joining fellow artists, Santiago Bose, Kidlat Tahimik and BenCab, they etched the Baguio Arts Guild, which brought that certain energy to an already highly cultural place. He made Arko ni Apo (Ark of the Lord) fronting the Tam-awan Village his home and studio. He shares his life with wife Dolores, or Lolit to him. They are blessed with eight children. One of them is his junior, Bumbo, also a visual artist, an awarded poet and an environment advocate.

Patina

During the Villanuevas’ revisit to Norte, I meet sir Ben-Hur and tita Lolit, Bumbo and his wife Arlene and their two children, Baba and Baguio, through my niece Lesley and her husband Architect Jeffrey Acob.

It may sound far-fetched, but the sculptor teaches unsighted people art. He closes his eyes while teaching, perhaps helping put tactility into eloquence.

There will be times in your life that a falling feather will touch your heart. Ben-Hur Villanueva, that one big bundle of talent, left me nothing but words to live by.

SandBeach GreeneryLightArtBumbo Villanueva's nature and artMothers and ChildrenFather and SonBeach DreamJazz For You and Pas De Deux by Ben-Hur VillanuevaJazz For You and Pas de Deux are just two of Villanueva’s 3D creations of varying sizes, marked with sinews and quasi-movement (at least to me).An artwork by Bumbo VillanuevaArtwork of Bumbo.Bumbo, Arlene, Baba and BaguioThe VillanuevasBaguio and BabaFather Bong LampreaChancing upon parish priest, Fr. Bong Lamprea, of the St. Augustine Church in Paoay.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Hotel Luna: A luxury heritage museum hotel in Vigan

Vigan

If you think you’ve never heard of a Hotel Luna in Vigan before, it is because it officially opened just a few weeks ago. From the outside, you would mistake the newly painted old-and-simple-but-massive-structure for a villa or just another heritage hotel which is regulatory in the city that cares so much about heritage preservation.

A breath of fresh air greets you at the entrance. By Vigan standards, it feels queer in a beautiful way, I mean heritage with a twist — little modernities here and there and yet within the bounds of the city’s mantra.

Built in 1882, the property was a former residence, a gift of Ilocos Sur’s affluent Don Jose Florentino to his daughter.

Vigan CalesaVigan heritage CityFrom the roof deck, a fresh perspective of Vigan’s mansions and the St. Paul Cathedral.

Building Reflection

Hotel Luna, named after the celebrated Ilocano painter Juan Luna, is the only luxury hotel in Vigan and the only museum hotel in Northern Luzon. A marriage of both worlds, it is not just a museum of antiquities, but a gallery of contemporary art as well. Artworks by national artists and remarkable painters speak so much about the art leanings of the owners, the same family that own Rembrandt Hotel in Manila and Le Monet in Baguio. You’d find an Amorsolo, Juan Lunas, a painting by Cory Quirino and so much more. Something we were forbidden to see is a roomful of precious art pieces — very private, according to our very engaging tour guide Melvin Martinez.

Rooms are posh. Soft upholstered headboards punctuate loft suites and the deluxe, superior and standard rooms, while a four poster and a porcelain bathtub make the low-key executive suite. A paradigm shift is de riguer in the bar and the outside spaces.

The warmth of the place is inviting. I live next door so to speak, but I’d love to experience an overnight stay in Vigan and it would be my first if ever.

Hotel LunaChula Bar, Hotel LunaThe hotel manager, Robert Ferrer, at the Chula Bar. Btw, he was so accommodating.

Chula BarHotel LunaHotel LunaHotel LunaHotel LunaHotel LunaHotel LunaHotel LunaThe  eye-catching  3D historical mural was done by world-famous artist Rene Robles. Along with the country’s art gliterati, he was at the hotel’s inauguration early this month.

Hotel LunaLuna Hotel, ViganHotel LunaHotel LunaMelvinHotel LunaLuna Hotel museumLa Mandolinera by Juan LunaLa Mandolinera (The Violin Player) by Juan Luna.

*With special thanks to Mr. Robert Ferrer, Melvin Martinez and the rest of the wonderful staff.

Hotel Luna V. de los Reyes cor. Gem Luna Sts, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines 2700 Tel No.: 632 373 3333 loc 201 email: sales.artstream@gmail.com http://www.hotelluna.ph

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Boys these days

Origami Love

For two nights in a row, Eugene was an origami machine. I hope someday he brings his art to another level.

Paper RosesOrigami

Check out the net for instructional videos on a variety of origami roses.

Paper Roses
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Eugene’s Origami Crane

Origami Crane

My eldest son, Eugene, loves the outdoors like all of us, swims better than the rest of us, and he skates, surfs, sandboards as well as collects fingerboards. He is my more creative boy. He went to the Ilocos Norte National High School Special Program in the Arts and majored in Media Arts in high school. Right now, he is in the third year of his Computer Science bachelor course at the Mariano Marcos State University.  So uniquely him — he  is not scared to wear pink shirts and pastel trousers, he eats only certain foods, and since childhood, he has nurtured a flair for the Japanese art of paper folding called origami. It must be my old collection of DIY books neatly tucked in a book storage beside the kids’ room door that helped rear his creative side.

OrigamistOrigami Paper

I unwittingly discovered his talent while at an Asian gathering at the Los Angeles City Hall gardens during an LA trip. All the time he was nowhere to be found,  he was at a Japaneses booth showing off to the Japanese ladies his folding techniques. We got complimented for his little origami show of wildlife and UFOs. A proud mom moment:)

Origami 8 Books In One

Found the Everything Origami book at National Bookstore. I bought it as a present for a godchild in hopes she will like the fascinating Japanese art from the 17th century.

Uber Origami: Every Origami Project Ever!

Likewise available at National Bookstore, Über Origami: Every Origami Project Ever!, an instructional origami book that lives up to its title, with new never been seen designs.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013