Saturday, April 19, 2008

I Have Two Mananquils

Mananquil in his home studio in Ontario

I have two “Mananquils.” No, make that three. For I used to own a third, which was actually the first.

If Romi Mananquil had stayed in the country and not migrated to Canada in the 1980s as he had, that would have been about the same as saying I have two or three “BenCabs.”

Mananquil and National Artist BenCab(rera) were contemporaries at the UP College of Fine Arts. With another classmate, Dan Dizon, they were the formidable “Triumvirate" -- the pick of their batch, perhaps of several batches put together.

Viewing the Triumvirate’s art exhibit the other year at Galeria, I felt my mouth water and discretely asked around for the price of the smallest Mananquil. I found out I could easily afford the six figures quoted, if my family stopped eating for a year. That was when I remembered he sketched me -- light years ago -- for The Torch, our high school paper.

But the artist didn’t remember drawing me. “Did you keep a copy?” he asked with his characteristic half smile and soft speak. That was not a question to ask of someone who lost her passport twice and all of her children’s birth certificates!

About a year later, as we met again in our highschool website, he emailed me I was the first author ever to write about him.

Not without devilish glee, I wrote back: “I don’t remember.” But unlike me, he had evidence to show. He promptly emailed me a yellowed clipping from The Torch, which showed a boy sporting Elvis Presley sideburns and a shy half-smile.

A week ago, I attended the opening of Mananquil’s first solo exhibit (since he left the country) at the Corredor Gallery at the UP College of Fine Arts, mounted by the College and the UP Alumni Association of Toronto as a special feature of the UP Centennial.

By then, he had done two sketches of me while at lunch at the University Hotel’s garden restaurant, with his beautiful wife, Necie. By then, too, I had written of him again, which came out in the Inquirer.

The writing did not have anything to do with the sketching, and neither conversely. They were, in his words, what former classmates and forever friends do for each other.


Gina said...

Wow,wow at wow pa!

I wouldn't mind being friends with The Mananquil!

Also, I take great pride in knowing and 'rubbing elbows' in cyberspace with the illustrious Annamanila!

It's an honor being friends with you MC!

Annamanila said...


There are two geniuses (that I know of) in our high school batch. And one of them is Mananquil. The other one I have blogged about too. :)

Well, if their luster can rub off on their friends and classmates by some osmotic process, then I am illustrious too. hahaha! Ty, ty.

lady cess said...

And he has 2 Cos. writing is an art too, diba. ;)

the sketches of you are beautiful. have them framed!

Annamanila said...

Oo nga ano. But he won't blog about it. :) Ang baho naman ng 'he has 2 cos.' can we say he has 2 annamanilas? hehe

rowena said...

Wow, AM ang galing. Cess is right, have them framed na, that's priceless...

Princess said...

Those are pretty sketches, Anna. Lucky you.
My hubby used to meet together with two UPFA studes back in the sixties, too, one of which is named Tamondong and the other - Ric. Both migrated to Canada, too. Wonder if Mr. Mananquil met them over there.
Have a good week.

Annamanila said...


Of course I will have it framed. Actually my problem is where I will hang them. So shy to hang them in the living room. hahaha

Annamanila said...


Perhaps Tomandong and Ric are also members of the Philippine Artists Group of Canada, which Romi founded. Ty for liking the sketches. :)

Anonymous said...

Do hang it in your living room, Ms. Anna. Both the subject and the artist deserve no less.


Leah said...

Love it, love it! It is so you. What a great artist. You are lucky to have a portrait done. A great piece to have.

I was just at his website and he has prices for portraits and one of those is quite pricey. But I'm sure all worth it.

I would love to check out his gallery in person. I wonder if he has exhibits here?

Annamanila said...


Romi and his Philippine Artists Group in Canada regularly mounts art exhibits to promote Pinoy art in the US and Canada. Tell you what, I will send Romi your email and ask him to get in touch with you whenever they have an event. Pricey nga ang isang Mananquil portrait but as you say it's worth it. Maybe I can get you 5-10 per cent discount ... hehehe. Have one painted or sketched of Sam and you.

Annamanila said...


Uhmmm ... I think so. Bahala na. Thanks. Hey, did you get the reply of my colleague to your technical inquiry?

pining said...

wow I'm so impressed and I agree with Gina 100 percent!
lucky, lucky you, to have your portrait drawn, what an honor!

Anonymous said...

Very informative post :) I better check out Mananquil here in Ontario. If he still paints I may have to see his fine exhibits and hopefully buy one, that is if its not 5 figures in C$ :) Great to have your portrait drawn by a famous artist :)

Annamanila said...


Aaaah it was a dream come true, being sketched again by this gifted classmate. :)

Annamanila said...


You might wish to browse his wesbite. There are photos of his works there and prices too. No, four figures lang naman in $$$$. Romi was the one who organized Pinoy artists in Canada into what is known as the Philippine Artists Group or PAG. He was the group's founding president.

Toe said...

What a bright and amazing batch!

Hey Annamanila... they resumed our Inquirer subscriptions and I saw your Mananquil article there. Ang galing!

Annamanila said...

Hmmm kasama ako sa amazing batch na yan. hehehe Anyway, i really believed one of us would make it to President of the Philippines. serious.

Hey, that article got published with intervention from my friend Gibbs Cadiz, PDI Lifestyle desk editor, who happens to be a blogger too . :)

Rudy said...

On second thought, don't have them framed. Keep them in a bank vault for safety. Picasso's sketches fetched a cool million in an auction, and I'm pretty sure those too will be worth millions someday. . :-D

I hope you can bring bring those sketches when we meet up for dinner again.

Anonymous said...

ms Anna,

Yes, I received your friend's email. So sorry to have failed to inform you. Again, thanks a lot and thanks to your friend too.

My baby Zoe's yaya suddenly left us, so you can just imagine how little (if at all) time I have these days.


Annamanila said...


It will be mounted on a glass en-cased frame. Okay na ba yun? Insure ko ba? :)

Is that an invitation to an EB? hahaha joke.

Annamanila said...


Oooh caring for baby is almost 24/7 work. Such a helpless creature, no? So tough ha, especially if hubby is away on flying missions. You must have your mom or some support system nearby. Hope a new yaya comes up soon. You want me to babysit some of the time? :)

FruityOaty said...


My parents are friends with the Mananquils. My parents and the Mananquils belong to the same prayer group (called Divine Mercy). Families host Divine Mercy statue / prayer group/party once a year in their homes. I've only met Mr. M. a few times, but I did speak to him about his art during a Christmas party last year.

I know this teenager who has a drawing of her... done by Mr. M... but she doesn't see the value of the sketch. Sadly, tt's collecting dust somewhere in a closet.

Anyway, Mr. M. is quite a pleasure to talk with... humble and articulate.

Lazarus said...

Wow! Meeting this guy must be awesome. Much more if he drew a sketch of you! It will be worth millions someday Ms. Anna!

Belle said...

anna, love your your portraits! beautiful, just beautiful! ang galing! yes, a glass-encased frame is appropriate for these and probably a rustic looking frames.

chateau a.k.a. imom said...

Eh what birthday gift could anyone ever come up with to surpass that??

So here, take my warmest, tightest, softest cyber-birthday hug! :D

Thanks for the friendship. I never expected things so good could come out of blogging. :)

Happy birthday dearest AM.

paolomendoza said...

i loved the way you wrote this. someday maybe you can write about me! =P

..i dont know much about Mananquil but the painting did look awesome.

exskindiver said...

pa-xerox naman ng isa.
what a great story and memento.
how are you, M?

Heart of Rachel said...

Those are lovely sketches from a dear friend and someone you admire. I'm sure they are as precious as your other two Mananquils.

Anonymous said...

that is so sweet! beautiful sketches.

have you framed it already?

kathy said...

The truest of friendships will stand the test of time. Those sketches are priceless.

I would love to read about that article you wrote for Inquirer. I hope the link is still active!

mitsuru said...

That was a beautiful sketch.

I do have some paintings by Pinoy artists- H. R. Ocampo, Jose Joya, Cesar Amorsolo, Malang and Eddie Sarmiento that I lef5 in the Philippines.

My mom takes care of them and i always remind her to keep it in a safe place every time me bagyong parating sa bicol. lol :)

Romi M said...

Hi MC aka AM, I just read your blog today & the comments with it. Caused me goose pimples. Ang galing mo talagang sumulat. Thanks for the superb article & the nice comments from your friends & fans.

Annamanila said...

Romi Manang!

My blog friends have become your fans.

I still feel out of breath when I remember you have sketched me .. not once, not twice, but three times.

That "sitting session" was a dream come true.

Did Necie get to see this piece? My warmest regards to her.

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