VIGAN, Philippines – The Encarnacion House was a ghost of a shell in the former ghost city of Vigan. And then last year, life stirred in the ruins of the balay nga bato (house of stone).
On Saturday, February 8, the Hotel Luna was opened to the public. It is not just your usual converted hotel at the Vigan Heritage Zone; it is envisioned to be a premier art hotel in the North.
Because UNESCO forbids drastic changes in the architecture of Vigan heritage structures, the hotel incorporated the old house and included modern amenities into the old brick and mortar. It now houses the art collection of Rep. Eric Singson, who had been collecting art since the 1970s.
Not only are two works of Juan Luna, who incidentally is an Ilocano, but works of many National Artists and upcoming painters as well can be found in the hotel. Among the artists represented here are National Artists Jose Joya, Abdulmari Asia Imao (who also did the Luna bust), Bencab, H.R. Ocampo, Napoleon Abueva, Guillermo Tolentino, Vicente Manansala, Juvenal Sanso and Carlos “Botong” Francisco.
They are all housed in the 2nd floor gallery together with Luna’s painting called “La Mandolineria” and a Luna pencil sketch.
Manuel Baldemor, Malang, Araceli Dans, Emmanuel Garibay and Romulo Galicano are also among those found in the lobby and stairs of the 50-room hotel. Incidentally the hotel is located at Luna St. near the famed Crisologo St.
Among the young prized finds in Hotel Luna is Danilo dela Cruz, whose playful human sculptures are all over the highway. Dela Cruz was also asked to do a sculptural rendition of Luna’s “Las Chulas” which now adorn the Chula bar of the hotel.
Singson said that they will be holding mini-classic opera concerts at the middle open stage of the hotel, which has the backdrop of Ilocos Sur rendered in colorized metal.
Before Hotel Luna, the only “artistic” tour you can have of Vigan is the Burgos Museum, which houses the Basi Revolt paintings of Esteban VIllanueva, as well as some lucky finds in the antique stores in and near Crisologo St.
Now you can include Hotel Luna in your artistic itinerary.