National artist and City resident BenCab is the creative mind behind the logo to commemorate Baguio City as a UNESCO Creative City for Folk Arts and Native Crafts. Rappler reports that:
BenCab based the logo on a traditional Cordillera design for mountains. There are 3 mountain ranges: 5 on top, 3 in the middle, and two at the bottom. The colors of the middle mountain range were based on the Philippine flag.
The top and the middle ranges depict the 7 traditional arts: architecture, sculpture, painting, music, poetry, dance, and performing arts. The CCN under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) also has 7 fields: folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music.
However, methinks that, upon seeing the logo following the weekend opening of the Creative City exhibit at People’s Park, it’s not among the artist’ best works. It felt like the work was rushed and lacked the magic of inspiration. Go see his works at his BenCab Museum and you’ll know what I mean. To BenCab’s credit, City Hall has shown itself unprepared for the UNESCO citation consequently it’s uninspired handling of the event launching on the 10th (this should’ve, for instance, coincided with the Panagbenga Grand Parade (for maximum public dissemination and viewing); another, City Hall should’ve allocated booths, waived the rent this year, for the many local artist communities that have been waiting for a breakthrough into the wider market.
As it happened, the logo installation including the booth exhibits of the more popular folk arts and native crafts were packed up on the 24th “to give way to Session Road in Bloom“. It’s like saying we’re gonna blindfold our right eye so that our left could see more clearly. WTF.
By the look of things, City Hall (they’re now the minds behind this year’s and future Panagbenga) has deemed that creativity as in Baguio City as Creative City is incompatible with the heart and celebration of Panagbenga such that relative to City Hall’s intent and promise, this year’s Session Road in Bloom to any City native or long-time resident is a HUGE disappointment, meaning, instead of the place finally transforming into one that oozes with more sophistication, more vitality, more glamour (the City is after all also a highly-urbanized city to distinguish it from the provincialism of small towns) that will wow visitors, the City’s premier street is instead riddled with smoke-emitting stalls hawking shawarma, turon, tinudok, lumpia, 100- and 50-peso divisoria clothes, pricey used books by foreign authors, and everything else that’s totally NOT a celebration of the creative minds and hands of the Cordilleras. My goodness, City Hall people? Such is why resident-artists like BenCab are short of inspiration.
We know the passage about there being a time for everything. There’s a time to buy street food from a street hawker; there’s a time to go to Divisoria and buy China-made; a time to attend Palawan’s Baragatan Festival to buy Palawan-made crafts; and there’s a time to be at Session Road to experience the fullness of Cordillera economy, culture, and creativity. After 23 years, organizers, private and public, still hasn’t gotten a hold of the heart of Panagbenga.