Palaro torch student-designer sells paintings to sustain schooling

Joseph John J. Perez
Palaro torch student-designer sells paintings to sustain schooling
Meet the student-designer from Bicol University who is the brain behind the art on the 2016 Palarong Pambansa torch

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – She was never involved in sports due to scoliosis and never dreamt of being part of any big league sporting event. However, her innate talent in the field of visual arts earned her a distinct achievement in Albay’s history as the province hosted the 2016 Palarong Pambansa.

A fresh graduate of a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree this month at Bicol University, Mariane Medina Cadiz, or Anne as she is fondly called, was commissioned by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Legazpi to craft the design of this year’s Palaro torch.

According to Marlon Loterte, JCI’s internal vice president and Albay’s spokesperson for Palaro 2016, JCI selected Anne to do the artwork as part of their advocacy in recognizing budding local talents.

Albay governor Joey Salceda gave the task to JCI to plan and manage the torch relay activities due to its active and successful involvements in numerous socio-civic events in the province.

Torch design

The torch, dubbed “Transcendence,” captures Albay’s response to challenges. 

(READ: Palaro’s first PWD torchbearer shows sports binds all)

Anne refined and integrated details on the rough rendition of Carlos Garcia, JCI-Legazpi secretary general, based on the original concept of Yves Eli Yu, JCI-Legazpi past president.

The design narrates Albay’s recent history starting from the bottom design going upwards.

THE DESIGN. A look at Anne's torch design. Photo courtesy of Anne Cadiz


The bottom icon resembles Mayon Volcano’s eruption, emerging from it a figure of an intertwined family which represents the Albayanos’ resilience amid adversities, particularly its rehabilitation efforts after suffering from Typhoon Reming’s devastation in November 2006.

Moving upwards, the figures of two boats and a hand clasping follow, symbolizing the concept of “no one is left behind” in the entire process of progress and multi-sectoral support, and people’s involvement in the government’s development agenda.

Next are two figures of horses symbolizing people empowerment. Between them is a tree symbolizing growth as a result of empowerment.

On top of the tree are pairs of wings, horn trumpets and blooming sunflowers and trees symbolizing Albay’s advocacies – championing excellence particularly in disaster preparedness and environmental protection programs and projects.

Topmost figures in the torch are the butanding (whale shark), the mythical Daragang Magayon, Cagsawa Ruins, and a more detailed Mt. Mayon highlighting Albay’s rich culture, history, tradition and tourism destinations.

Anne’s design was converted into digital version and laser etched in stainless steel and brass weighing 1.2 kilograms and measures two feet in length.

“I expected revisions so that I can further enhance and put details in the design but the organizers were already satisfied with my initial output,” Anne revealed.

Big breaks

“The Transcendence Torch is my biggest project so far, not in terms of worth but in terms of impact and meaning,” said Anne beaming.

Her family was so touched that the rare opportunity was given to her, Anne added.

“This is maybe the first torch that is laden with history or narrating a story.”

Anne is experiencing a streak of breaks in the art scene lately, which is highlighted with her inclusion to the 2016 University of the Philippines’ (UP) Sandigan Para sa Mag-aaral at Sambayanan (SAMASA) Live Auction last February.

“I consider my participation in SAMASA Live Auction as a turning point,” Anne claimed.

She is the youngest and first Bicolana artist that ever participated in SAMASA Live Auctions, Anne noted.

Anne’s oil painting at the auction is titled “Ibalong Tattoos” which reveals a nude woman with tattoos on her back depicting Albay’s Ibalong Epic. She rendered her artwork using her imagination with no live model.

She also considers her murals at 528 iLawod, a local coffee shop and Grille and Dine restaurant, among her significant breaks.

“It is an expression of my interest in linear art.”

Art as source of financial support

Anne is presently busy preparing herself for apprenticeship next month.

“Actually I can leave earlier but I chose to leave end of May pa kasi gusto kong tapusin lahat ng painting projects ko (I wish to finish all my painting projects),” Anne shared.

She is selling paintings to finance her expenses for the entire duration of her apprenticeship in Metro Manila and to provide for her family.

Dadalhin ko ang lahat ng painting materials ko sa Manila para makapag-paint pa rin ako during my free time, ayaw ko kasing bitawan ang painting projects ko kasi marami na akong clients,” she said. 

(I will bring all my painting materials in Manila to utilize my free time to paint, I don’t want to lose my painting projects since I have established my clients already)

She started accepting charcoal portraits and painting jobs during her college sophomore year to cover a portion of her tuition fees and daily allowances.

“Since then, I seldom ask money from my mom and siblings for my school expenses except during times that I run short of funds.”

Her father, Alberto, died when she was just 6 years old, leaving the sole responsibility of raising 6 children to her mother Josefina, a housewife.

To date, all the children have finished college and have stable jobs except for one who is still in third year college.

“All of us helped each other to finish schooling,” Anne said.

After a year of apprenticeship Anne plans to take the Architecture Board Examinations.

An artist and architect

Architecture is not really Anne’s first choice of college course.

“I was interested in animation but the nearest university offering the course is in Naga City,” she recalled.

Now that she started to gain significant breaks in the art scene, Anne contemplates on her future either as an architect or a full time artist.

If given the opportunity na makilala, ipu-pursue ko yung art kasi dun naman talaga ako nagsimula at ngayong college lang ako natuto ng architecture.” (If I will be given the opportunity to become a known artist, I will pursue art because this is where I started and it’s only in college that I was taught about architecture)

She mentioned a college professor told her that others established their names first in the art scene before becoming notable architects.

Baka way din itong pagiging artist ko para makilala din ako as an architect eventually (I hope that being an artist will pave the way for me to be known as an architect eventually).” –

More 2016 Palarong Pambansa stories:



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