EASTERN SAMAR, Philippines – A riot of colorful artwork has sprouted since Wednesday, June 1, along Baybay Boulevard by the popular bay walk of provincial capital Borongan.
Artists spent hours daily painting colorful, environmental-themed murals on a 100-meter stretch of seawall in celebration of Arts Week, which culminates on June 5.
But this transformation has even more ambitious goals, according to city information officer Rupert Ambil, who organized the project and brought in artist mentors.
The 100-meter project will serve as a model for a two-kilometer art walk with the theme “Resilience in Faith, Nature and Environment.”
Well-known Filipino mural painters AG Sao, Joy Abutan, Archi Prisno, and Rashid Sandigan came to Borongan on the invitation of the city government, Ambil said.
Local artists have also taken pride in the project.
Edmund Balan, a person with disability, told Rappler that he is inspired by the goal of completing one of the world’s longest murals.
South Korea and Russia currently have two of the world’s biggest art murals though plans to cover the sides of a three-kilometer integrated transit corridor in India seeks to rival the first two giants.
Aside from bookmarking the local Arts Week celebration, the project is also part of the 2022 15th Charter Month celebration, which includes the tree-planting and clean-up drive of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office on Friday, June 3.
“I have joined because I want to share my talent as an artist and my advocacy for caring for our environment,” Rolando Cada, a well-known artist in the city, told Rappler.
“We humans are capable of caring for nature,” he added, citing people’s role as stewards of natural resources.
For Balan, art is a way of preserving culture while impressing on people’s hearts the need to protect Mother Nature in Borongan, which is also called the City of Golden Sunrise
“What we are doing at Baybay Boulevard is in accordance with our aim to highlight our local artists’ talent and potential, and to urge other Boronganons to show the world that we have (our) Picasso’s,” said Borongan City Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda.
“This is just an initial collaboration with our local artist and the city government’s have-fun-in-Borongan campaign. We hope it will be recognized as the longest mural in the world by Guinness,” Agda added.
The city’s Charter week celebration will highlight improving the local economy, food security and creation of employment.
All activities of this year’s charter month celebration will be held on Baybay Boulevard, which the city plans to transform into a sports activity center and a rvenue for all outdoor activities, programs, and events of the city.
A video of the Borongan Tourism Office shows a wealth of cheap travel destinations within easy reach of the city.
There are the limestone cliffs of Hilangagan Beach, the Monbon Island marine fish sanctuary in the city’s northeast; the caves, lighthouse, coral formations and long stretch of white sand on Divinubo Island; and the kilometers of mangroves that act as fish breeding grounds and also form a protective barrier in the typhoon-vulnerable Eastern Samar city.
Just off the seawall, pounding surf also attracts athletes, and the city is getting known as a surfing destination, especially for short board users.
All ages and skill levels can enjoy the waves of Borongan. Its “Surf In The City” tournament, launched in 2019, was the first major surf tournament in the country to restart after a two-year COVID-19 pandemic hiatus. – Rappler.com