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By Dexter R. Matilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:56:00 07/05/2009

Filed Under: Painting, Arts and Culture and Entertainment

MANILA, Philippines – As architect Reynaldo Francisco made his way to the podium to deliver his speech, he did so with deliberateness. He was the same way when he addressed the crowd, pausing every now and then between his sentences to look at the faces of those present as if to signify their importance.

These actions belie the youthful enthusiasm of a man who has had triple heart by-pass in 2001 and a sudden diabetic leg amputation in 2007. But Francisco has found renewal from sharing his artworks.

“Colors of Summer,” which recently opened at the GSIS Museum, is Francisco’s first one-man art exhibit.

The artworks include genre paintings of Filipino barrio scenes, as well as other more adventurous topics such as the origin of man and even how a man can transform into a woman with the help of makeup.

“I have to reinvent myself into a visual artist,” Francisco said. “For some time, I was a creative person who, in all his life, did so little to nourish it. It never occurred to me to show my works, but when I noticed I was running out of wall space to hang them, I changed my mind.”

Eldest son

Francisco, at 81, is the eldest son of a government construction foreman who died during the Japanese Occupation. He spent his boyhood in Sorsogon, where he made the sea, the mountains and the meadows his playground. It is no surprise, therefore, that most of his works invoke Sorsogon and Bicol, the land of whale sharks.


The childhood playground of the architect cum artist, the seas and mountains of his hometown, became the main subjects of his art. Not to mention, of course, the culture and tradition of Sorsogon and that of Filipinos in general, such as the “sabong” or cockfighting. This self-professed late bloomer hopes to inspire others to find greater fulfilment in life despite their late years or failures.

After graduating from a public high school, Francisco took up Architecture at University of Santo Tomas, then transferred to Manuel Luis Quezon University, where he became its first graduate in the course. A few years later, he finished his MBA at University of the Philippines.

In his speech, Francisco asked: “Why do flowers choose the summertime to bloom? Why do butterflies choose this time to fleet from flower to flower?”

Perhaps the questions have lingered on his mind his entire life. But whether he has the answers to these questions or still has to find them, it is quite obvious that at his age, Francisco’s colorful journey is just about to begin.

For inquiries on Francisco’s paintings,

e-mail the artist at rgfrancisco28@yahoo.com.

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