AMIDST talk of jeepney strikes, a young Filipino artist captured and immortalized the popular mass transport on canvas. But Paul Taladtad, 24, did not only paint the typical body of a sturdy jeepney — an ode to a stalwart of mass transport that is in the middle of controversial discussions over its impending doom — he humanized it. He painted a jeepney driver’s left hand, adorned with P20 bills between his fingers, while his right hand touches the wooden box where the coins are, which also contains three pictures of children in their graduation togas. Mr. Taladtad called his painting Jeeploma.
“I was in a passenger’s seat in a UP Ikot jeepney when I saw it. I was touched and it became my inspiration for my painting,” said Mr. Taladtad, who bagged first prize at the 32nd Visual Arts Competition (VAC) of the Directories Philippines Corp. (DPC) and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT). The awarding ceremonies were held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Naalala ko, mayroon din pong nag-post online, siguro five years ago, ng picture na kuha din sa jeep na ’yon. Nag-comment ako noon: ‘Ang gandang gawing tula o painting,’” “Mr. Taladtad said. (I remember someone also posted the same picture online about five years ago. I commented on the picture: “It is a good subject for poetry or painting.”)
The photograph he was referring to was posted by a certain Justin Linatoc in November 2012, which the young artist acknowledges as one of his sources of inspiration.
VAC, now on its 32nd year, holds an annual art competition for Fine Arts students from schools all over the country. For this year, the theme of the competition, which was held in March, was “Pinoy Pride.”
“You cannot see jeepneys anywhere but only in the Philippines,” added Mr. Taladtad of his work.
The young artist, who studies at the Adventist School in Silang, Cavite, brought home P100,000 for himself and P40,000 for his school.
The second prize winner comes from Bulacan State University. Jayvee Valencia painted Ngiti, a picture of a boy with a wide smile. He won P75,000 for himself while his school got P30,000.
Bagging third prize was Kenneth Leo V. Pamlas who called his artwork Bayanihan sa Bayan ni Juan — a painting of men carrying a nipa hut. The student took home P60,000 while his school, Tarlac State University, received P20,000.
The three winning works will be on the covers of PLDT’s Yellow and White Pages Metro Manila editions for 2018-2019.
The People’s Choice Award, the winner of which will not be used on the Yellow and White Pages covers, went to Louis Espinosa’s Kulturang Dalisay, a painting of Filipino icons.
Before the Internet and even before the directories stored in our cellular phones, there was the thick and reliable Yellow Pages which were used to search for phone numbers. So how relevant are the Yellow Pages today?
“Yellow Pages is not only in print, but it is electronic,” Ruben V. Tangco, 32nd VAC project director, pointed out in an interview with BusinessWorld. “The print Yellow Pages are still very much in use in business to business [searches]. It’s still the go-to reference for purchasing departments for example. But for people like you, ginu-Google na lang (you just Google). But if you look online, say for a local product, it will still direct you to the Yellow Pages. That’s the function of Yellow Pages, it will never cease to be relevant, whether online or in print,”
Throughout the decades, the quality of the entries has vastly improved said Federico Amat, VAC coordinator from 1986 to 2005. “It’s immensely improved over the years. The entries are… clean. Pinag-isipan talaga (They are well thought out). Anyone could have been the winner.”
The competition used to be dominated by Metro Manila schools, with Far Eastern University bagging the first prize for nine consecutive years. But lately, provincial schools have been making their mark, too, said Mr. Amat.
“Fine Arts is becoming popular nationwide,” he noted.
The panel of judges for the competition include Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) artistic director and vice-president Chris Millado; 2009 CCP 13 Artist Awardee Don Djerassi Dalmacio; children’s book illustrator Ruben Fortunato de Jesus; 1995 DPC-PLDT VAC grand prize winner Wesley Valenzuela; and advertising and publishing expert Marabini S. Williamson. — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman