Saturday, February 15, 2014

Art is in the air at UPLB - Part I

Oh yes, February is the love month (I hope you all had a happy Valentine's Day yesterday), but for those who have a knack for seeing beauty (we all have different definitions for this, so whatever works) in everyday things, it's also the National Arts Month.

On the night of February 2, I started packing my sketching materials for a trip down south, to the campus of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños in Laguna. The Urban Sketchers were invited by the University's Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts (OICA) to sketch there as part of the 3rd Southern Tagalog Arts Festival.

How did that come about? Well, in July last year the Urban Sketchers participated in 98B's Saturday Market at Escolta, and this is where we were approached by Irma Lacorte, the Gallery Curator of the UPLB's Sining Makiling Gallery. She told us about the upcoming artsfest and asked if we would be interested to join by sketching on campus and mounting the sketches in an exhibit at the gallery.

our setup at 98B's Escolta Saturday Market last year

I thought it was an awesome idea. Sketching with students and sharing with them our love for sketching on location was an opportunity that shouldn't be missed, so we said yes.

Unfortunately, the activity was scheduled on Monday and Tuesday, and as most of the members are working professionals and students with classes, we were not able to commit in full force. The good news is, I was available, and so was Erick Cusi, one of my talented (ehem) photographer friends. I've seen Erick's sketches before when he went "Analogue for a Day," and so I asked him if he wanted to join the activity.

We were both excited because it would be our first time in UPLB. Good thing we were both troopers, having gone on photowalks and a trip to Batangas before, and we had no problems wandering around and possibly getting lost. Haha. We met up at Buendia on Monday morning, had a quick breakfast at Jollibee, and made our way to the Greenstar bus line that had trips going to Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

Jollibee trumps diet. every. time.

The bus trip (fare: 76 pesos!) took two hours to "College", and we rode a jeepney that would take us into the campus. "Take the 'Kanan' jeep," we were instructed. We asked the driver to drop us off at the D.L. Umali Hall, where we would be meeting Irma. We ogled at the campus and almost forgot to remind the driver we had no idea where we were going. Good thing he remembered, and pointed, "There's Umali Hall."

sketching in a moving bus is hard, okay.

We got off, and I saw Irma through the glass doors...which were closed. We went through the side entrance and went up to the lobby of the Sining Makining Gallery, where Irma was. It was a warm welcome among horses. Yes, horses--hundreds of decorated taka, the handiwork of students who had taken up the Humanities 2 class. They were awesome. I mean, just look at this:

Photo by Erick Cusi. He hasn't gotten around to uploading the others, haha.

We were earlier than expected (it was only 9am), and the students who would be joining us would be arriving by 10, so we walked around the Freedom Park for a bit...

Photo by Erick. I did have a camera with me, but I haven't gotten around to having the films developed. Lazy photographers!

soaked in the morning sun, watched students having a photoshoot (for a project, probably)...

...and saw the legendary Fertility Tree. It's on winter mode, so not much foliage.

Of course we had to take selfies with it.

When we got back, we were introduced to the students who would be joining us in our sketch session. They were all members of the Painters' Club! 

My mind went blank after that, I was so nervous.

Kidding. What happened next is chronicled in Part II, found here. :) 

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