The last time I was in Iloilo was around ten years ago for an Architect’s conference. I was really pleasantly surprised to see that a lot has changed. I’ve always wanted to come back because my stay the first time was such an enjoyable one. I’m glad to say that I enjoyed myself even more this time around even if my stay was such a short one.
I was invited to give a talk about comics by the University of the Philippines, Visayas via Auggie Surtida and his daugher Ella, who studies at the University. That’s me and Auggie underneath this giant chicken in one of the malls, a chicken that Auggie and Ella felt absolutely compelled to show me because they knew I would like it. And I did. That thing is huge!
I arrived in Iloilo late in day on February 21, where I was met by Auggie, Ella and her friend (?). We grabbed a quick bite to eat (the local Batchoy) at SM and we went to another mall to see the chicken. They then checked me into a hotel that was a short walking distance away from the venue of the lecture.
After going over my lecture in preparation for the following day, I turned in early. Good thing I did because around 6:30 in the morning I got a call from Professor Jonathan Jurilla telling me that he’ll be picking me up at the hotel in twenty minutes for breakfast… with Benjie Marasigan who he had picked up from the airport. (That’s me and Benjie in the photo.)
Of all the places that me and Benjie to meet next, it would be in Iloilo. He’s the professor who had invited me to teach at the College of St. Benilde and I’d like to think that he’s become sort of a friend in all the time I was in the school.
After breakfast, we went to the venue on foot (which was just a short walk away) where we were introduced to the office staff. I went around the campus taking photos for personal reference.
For more photos of the trip, check out my Multiply page.
The talk I gave is similar to the one I gave at the Lopez Museum and the Pasko ng Komiks at the UP Diliman, but I adjusted it a bit so my discussion about the state of the local industry isn’t so disheartening. I tried to be as honest with my talk as I could, but I also tried to be optimistic as well. My presentation of a lot of classic artwork from Philippine comics was I hope inspiring to those who have seen it, and I hope it inspires the young artists there to have a deeper appreciation for the art of comics in general.
Some of the questions I got were quite technical, which I thought was pretty good because the artists there were thinking about aspects of comic book creating that I feel need more attention like storytelling and pacing.
After Benjie’s talk about Philippine animation, we were whisked off to a seaside restaurant for a fantastic seafood lunch. All the talaba I could eat! Whew! We then headed back to the venue for a further 2 hour question and answer forum, and just as things were heating up (as Prof Jurilla mentioned), I had to head back to the airport so I could catch my flight back to Manila, and then eventually, home to San Pablo.
In my entire stay, I wish to wholeheartedly thank Auggie Surtida and his daugher Ella (and her friend) for escorting me in and around Iloilo. It’s always refreshing to talk with someone like Auggie about comics and a lot of other things. Thanks also to Prof Jonathan Jurilla, the University staff and the UPV for inviting me. I’ll gladly come back anytime, just say the word.
And to all the artists I met there who I may or may not have the chance to converse with directly, good luck to all of you, and I hope that my talk was able to help you in some small way in your quest to be better artists.