Homegrown hotel brand  shines light on local talent

The Department of Tourism spearheaded the opening of Hiraya: A Visual Feast of Filipino Culture, a showcase of 20 watercolor paintings and 15 sculptures at the Belmont Hotel Manila, in partnership with ArtisteSpace.

DoT- NCR Regional Director, Sharlene Batin graced the special cocktail night, as well as hotel guests and artists.

“Thank you so much for doing this. Thank you for patronizing the arts because it is well in line with DoT’s 7-point agenda to offer a multidimensional tourism product to our tourists. Multidimensional tourism encompasses everything that we are as Filipinos. And, as part of a creative industry, we are pushing for art appreciation of Filipino talents and homegrown artists,” Batin said in a message.

Belmont Hotel Manila guests came across strategic corners at the lobby and Café Belmont restaurant enhanced with visually enthralling art pieces that depict Filipino culture in a contemporary way.

“Belmont Hotel Manila, as a property of Megaworld Hotels & Resorts, intends to deliver service, amenities and an overall hotel experience that embraces Filipino culture. We are very proud of being a homegrown brand. Hiraya is now part of our advocacy. The whole idea is that on an ongoing basis, we will be highlighting the best of Filipino talents,” said Belmont Hotel Manila general manager Sonny Alvaro.

All featured watercolorists at Hiraya are part of Kulay sa Tubig Competition Hall of Fame — a prestigious category reserved for the best of the best in watercolor who have won at least three times over the past 35 years.

Multi-awarded watercolorist Joei Pabilando’s paintings focus on the perspective of a person peeking into a clear glass window on a rainy day.

Roland Guina also puts the spotlight on everyday life with his hyper-realistic paintings. The former animation and comics illustrator has worked on big Disney projects such as Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh and Tarzan by providing artworks that served as backgrounds for the animated movies.

Filmmaker and artist, Wilfredo ‘Yeye’ Calderon, brings landscape paintings to Hiraya. He likens watercolor to a wild horse because of its difficulty to tame. He adds that one should have an understanding of the nature of water as it touches paper. His work Bukal Falls and Shore Fishing show beautiful waterscapes that can be found in the country.

Rene Canlas is another multi-awarded colorist, both here and abroad, who considers himself a contemporary-representational visual artist. His work Dalangin shows the religious side of the Philippines illustrating people praying in a Catholic church.

Meanwhile, Joel Ajero, the only featured sculptor, is known for his functional art pieces that are made of old wood and wrought iron. His abstract sculptures are made from mahogany and other Philippine hardwood. Ajero’s sculptures are instant conversation starters most especially his whimsical wrought iron candleholders with fruits displayed at the Front Desk of Belmont Hotel Manila.