Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Year that Was, and The Years to Come

Where to begin?

How about with new beginnings? After over five years in Serendra, we relocated to and opened our new CANVAS Gallery and Garden in Diliman. It gives us a slightly bigger exhibition space, more flexibility for hosting events, and is a far cozier and much more fun place to think and imagine and dream.

Auspiciously, we opened with a sold-out show by Jim Orencio. We also had exhibitions by Ilustrador ng Kabataan, and Farley del Rosario.

The schedule for next year is much more tight, with more exhibitions and events in our calendar, including scheduled shows by Anton del Castillo, Dave Lock, Juanito Torres, Raymond Legaspi, Ugu Bigyan, Japs Antido, Ninel Constantino, Serj Bumatay, Rommel Joson, among others. We will also have two group exhibitions curated by J Pacena and Jim Orencio, respectively.

2012 also saw us hosting our second annual TEDxDiliman, this year around the theme of "The Future."

You can view all the great talks and special performances by clicking here.

In 2013, we'll no longer be constrained by the 100-guest limit, so TEDxDiliman will be bigger, and no less exciting. It's coming again in October 2013, so watch out for the details.

Then, too, we will start hosting TEDxDiliman Salons at CANVAS Gallery and Garden, which will be a series of smaller, more intimate gatherings of 30-40 people, sandwiched in between our larger annual TEDxDiliman. The Salons will feature only one speaker at a time complemented by a couple of carefully selected TED Talks around the event's theme, which will be followed by simple cocktails and, hopefully, great and meaningful conversations and interactions.

Attendance at the Salons will only be by invitation, but the talks will hopefully be livestreamed. Our invitees then will be very very carefully selected... we're looking particularly to invite young artists, bloggers and social entrepreneurs... in the hope that what results are creative sparks that lead to spectacular inspiration and innovation.

For a peek into what's in store for the first TEDxDiliman Salon, click here.

Of course, there's our annual Looking for Juan Outdoor Banner Exhibit at the University of the Philippines' tree-lined Academic Oval. This year, we settled on the theme of "Kalayaan", and for the first time, we were joined by a couple of artists from Cambodia. You can view all the artworks by clicking here.

And, for the third straight year, we had a satellite version at the BenCab Museum, and a few other high pedestrian traffic venues, like SM Megamall and SM Clark.

2013 will be the fifth year of our Outdoor Banner Project (how time flies!), and it's going to be BIG!

The theme is "Revolution" in tribute to the 150th birth year of Andres Bonifacio. Not without reason, the Katipunan's Supremo seems to be a favorite of many artists, and we expect to have a record number of participants this year.

We're also planning to come out with a catalog/book of selected artworks from the first five years of the Looking for Juan Outdoor Banner Project... in essence to highlight the empowering and educational potential of Philippine art.

Speaking of which, 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law, and this provided us with multiple opportunities --- from a landmark retrospective of martial law era protest art at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, to a mini Martial Law Museum at the University of the Philippines, to a set of small works by younger artists reflecting on the legacy of that infamous period --- to similarly highlight the enduring power of art to effect social change.

Speaking of books, 2012 was a banner year for CANVAS, not least because "Doll Eyes" won the ultimate - the National Children's Book Award! Just see the official citation, we couldn't have written it better ourselves. #SoProud.

In the crowded streets of Quiapo, things happen, like thievery, or strange magic. When a street child goes missing, hardly anyone notices. But Ella is lucky to have a loyal friend in Tin, who senses that something is amiss. Tin follows where her heart leads, with nothing but a stranger and a plastic gun to aid her. And then, when most in need, a miracle happens.

Doll Eyes is a thrilling read, a thrilling ride, through the labyrinth that is Quiapo. The illustrations capture the mystique as well as the mess of the place, join together the marvelous with the everyday, and paint eerie portraits of a terrible dollmaker, and her terrified and helpless dolls. This gripping horror story confirms our worst fears, withers our hopes, then restores us to the strength of friendship, reassuring us that help is just a prayer away.

(Written by Eline Santos. Artworks by Joy Mallari. Citation by Celeste Aida Abad-Jugo.)

And, in 2012, we released two new books that, as always, we'll be proud to submit for consideration, anytime, anywhere.

Our latest children's book, Nadia and the Blue Stars (written by Francesca Nicole Chan Torres, artworks by Liv Vinluan), was launched at a sold-out art show at the Podium.

2012 also saw the release of our highly anticipated "Rizalpabeto", featuring hand-sketched iPad artworks by Elmer Borlongan, which accompanied Rizal-inspired poetry by Vim Nadera.

For 2013, expectations are already very high for Here be Dragons (written by Victor Ocampo with artworks by Jon Jaylo), our next book from the Romeo Forbes Children's Storywriting Competition.

We expect similar fever-pitch interest in a book of lesser known tales from Aesop's Fables, if only because of the artist involved. :-)

And after that, the process for selecting our next winning author is already underway after a record number of stories were submitted for Daniel de la Cruz's inspiration piece, seen below.

And there are more books to come - we actually have at least six in the pipeline through 2014!

Those of you who have been with or following us through the years know that CANVAS has always strived to make all our stories fully accessible and affordable, for which reason our books have always been downloadable for free on our website.

Still, we realize that nothing compares with the feel of an actual book, especially in the hands of young and beginning readers. So just as we did last year, we've sourced funds - from grants to corporate partnerships to individual donations, both direct or via Global Giving - to donate tens of thousands of books to children in public schools, hospitals and disadvantaged communities throughout the Philippines.

Let us end this rather lengthy review by saying that of all that we've done, this is the activity that we are most proud of. We truly believe that very few things are as life-changing as helping a child become a lifelong reader, not only by helping him or her to learn to read, but more importantly, by using great art and stories to teach him or her to love books.

All these successes are not only CANVAS'... they are yours as well, and we are sincerely grateful for all the support and encouragement you have given us in the past seven years. We look forward to continuing our journey with you in the years to come.

Thank you and Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Looking for some great unique ideas at affordable prices? Well, here you go!

Sale prices are valid for a very limited time only (up to Friday, December 21, 2012), and while supplies last! If interested, please email your orders to Purchases may be picked up at CANVAS Gallery and Garden, or at the UP Shopping Center in UP Diliman.

Proceeds will benefit CANVAS' various projects and continuing efforts to promote greater awareness and appreciation for Philippine art, culture and the environment, including:
  • Looking for Juan - Under this Program, CANVAS explores and encourages the use of art to promote debate and discussion on selected social development issues, particularly national identity, sustainable development and technology & culture. 


High quality, hardbound with spot-laminated full color jackets. 
Inside pages are also full color and printed on heavy paper. 
Normally priced at P900 each, but for a limited time, only P500 each!

A winner at the 2012 National Children's Book Awards, Doll Eyes is a thrilling read, a thrilling ride, through the labyrinth that is Quiapo. The illustrations capture the mystique as well as the mess of the place, join together the marvelous with the everyday, and paint eerie portraits of a terrible dollmaker and her terrified and helpless dolls. This gripping horror story confirms our worst fears, withers our hopes, then restores us to the strength of friendship, reassuring us that help is just a prayer away." 

(Written by Eline Santos. Artworks by Joy Mallari. Translation by Augie Rivera. Citation by Celeste Aida Abad-Jugo.)

Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas, written by Palanca winner Genaro R. Gojo Cruz, is a touching tribute of a son to his father. The story is inspired by authentically Pinoy icons, traditions and values - from jeepneys to family to Simbang Gabi - and will be enjoyed by children and parents alike. 

Originally penned in Filipino, an English translation by children's literature writer and U.P. Professor Heidi Eusebio Abad, also accompanies the text.

(Artworks by Anthony Palomo.)

Tahan Na, Tahanan is a poignant story about home, fittingly written by the first OFW to win our annual Romeo Forbes Children's Story Writing Competition.

(Written by Maria Isabel Alarilla-Arellano. Artworks by Don Salubayba.)

The latest winner of our annual Romeo Forbes Children's Story Writing Competition, Nadia and the Blue Stars is a hauntingly illustrated tale of hope in a time of war.

(Story by Francesca Nicole Chan Torres. Artworks by Liv Vinluan. Translation by Rhandee Garlitos.)

Earth Tales is a timely and timeless collection of three very short ecofables for children. Perfect for beginning readers!

"The Hummingbird" (author unknown, artworks by Plet Bolipata)
"The Star Thrower" (author unknown, artworks by Liza Flores)
"The King and the Royal Trees" (Story by Paul Aird, artworks by Ivee Mellor)


Upcycled from our outdoor banner project, these are one of a kind tarpaulin tote bags featuring artworks from some of the best young Filipino artists around.

Retail price is normally P500.00, but for a limited time, they can be purchased for only P300 each!

These totes are highly sought after items, and those shown below may no longer be available. No reservations allowed at this point. Please pass by CANVAS Gallery and Garden to make your selection!


We're clearing out our inventory with a 50% sale on shirts! Now only P250.00 each! Offer good while supplies last!

Again, if interested, please email your orders to Purchases may be picked up at CANVAS Gallery and Garden, or at the UP Shopping Center in UP Diliman.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


We invite you to join a special edition of our Romeo Forbes Children’s Story Writing Competition, and, given the very special circumstances and challenges (especially for the artist), this one will come with slightly different rules, and a higher cash prize - P70,000.00!!!

For the first time, the competition piece is a sculpture (shown above), and artist Daniel de la Cruz will take on the challenge of rendering the scenes of the winning story, also as sculptures! This will be a very special and unique children’s book, even for CANVAS, and we are very excited to see what stories you all come up with!

Rules and Conditions:

1. The Romeo Forbes Children's Storywriting Competition is open to all Filipinos.

2. Entries must not have been previously published, and all entrants must warrant the originality of their submitted entries. 

3. Writers may submit only one entry, in English or Filipino, which shall be of 1,200 words or less. This is a very strict limit on the number of words. Entries that exceed this limit shall automatically be disqualified from the competition.

4. There is no particular theme, other than the use of this year's contest piece, a sculpture by artist Daniel de la Cruz, as the inspiration or basis for the entry. 

5. The main scene depicted in the contest piece – that of the small boy reaching out to the fish – must be part of your story. Note that there are two other smaller fish in the scene – you may or may not include them in your story.


A CANVAS review panel shall read and award points for all stories received based on the following criteria:

* Originality and Storyline (35%)
* Imagery (45%)
* Quality of Writing (20%)

Based on the points received, CANVAS shall forward a shortlist of at least five stories with the highest scores to the Artist.

The Artist shall select the winner from among the five finalists.

6. Entries must be submitted by email, as a Microsoft Word attachment, to with the subject heading SPECIAL ROMEO FORBES CHILDREN'S STORYWRITING COMPETITION.  Entrants must include a cover sheet with their name, mailing and email address, and telephone number.  Only the story title should appear on all pages of the entry.

7. The deadline for submission of entries is 5:00 p.m. (Manila time), Friday, 30 November 2012.  Entries received after the deadline, even if sent earlier, will no longer be considered for the competition.

Kindly note that CANVAS acknowledges each and every entry that we receive. If you submitted a story, and do not receive an acknowledgement from us within 24 hours, please assume that your story was not received and kindly resend it to us.

Nevertheless, entries received after the deadline, even if sent earlier, will no longer be considered for the competition. CANVAS shall not be responsible for entries which are not received, or which are received after the deadline, due to technical failure or for any other reason whatsoever.

8. All entrants hereby agree to authorize CANVAS to post such entries on its website, as CANVAS deems fit, and free from any payments, royalties or fees whatsoever. 

9. There shall be only one winner, who shall receive a cash prize of PhP 70,000.00 (less applicable withholding tax) for his/her entry.  The winner shall be responsible for all applicable taxes.

The winning writer shall also be entitled to five (5) free copies upon publication of the book. 

The winner shall grant and transfer to CANVAS all intellectual property and publication rights to the story, including any translations, adaptations or modifications thereto. 

It is hereby understood that the cash prize to be awarded to the winner shall include consideration of such intellectual property and publication rights to the story, and the writer shall not be entitled to any other royalties or fees from earnings, if any, that may result from future publication of, derivative works, licensing of, or other transactions on the same.  (Please see our note below on why we have this rule.)
10. Except for the right to publish any received entry on its website, CANVAS shall not retain any other rights to entries that are not selected as the winner, except where separate agreements are reached with the writers.

11. CANVAS shall exercise full and exclusive editorial and artistic control over the publication of the winning entry and resulting book. 

While, it is the full intention of CANVAS to publish the winning entry as a full-color children's book, CANVAS reserves the right not to publish the same for any reason whatsoever. 

12. The winner of the CANVAS storywriting competition will be announced on or around the first week of February 2013.  The winner will also be notified via email on the same announcement date.

13. CANVAS reserves the right not to award the top competition prize in the unlikely event that no entry is selected for the top prize.  In such event, however, CANVAS shall have no right whatsoever over all entries that were received; and shall not publish any entry, in its website or in any other venue, without the prior written consent or agreement of the author.

14. The decision of CANVAS and Daniel de la Cruz shall be final, and no correspondence or inquiries into the same - including requests for comments/feedback on received entries - shall be entertained.

15. Employees of CANVAS, and members of their immediate family, as well as the Artist’s immediate family, are disqualified from participating in the competition.

Why We Ask for the Transfer of Rights

The competition rules (Rule 9) clearly state that the winning author should agree to transfer all rights to CANVAS and "...shall not be entitled to any other royalties or fees from earnings, if any, that may result from future publication of, derivative works, licensing of, or other transactions on the same."

In case you were wondering, there are a number of reasons for our imposing this rule:

First of all, having complete ownership of the story rights makes it easier and less complicated for us to quickly and liberally share and give our consent to anyone who may ask for permission to use the winning story (something that we have always granted in the past).

It is for this very reason that the stories and illustrations of books we publish are all available for public viewing and enjoyment, and for free downloading as e-books on our website (, despite the concern of some that the easy availability of the stories on the Internet could eat into the sales of our books (which, happily, has not proven to be the case).

We have now taken it one step further. CANVAS now donates thousands of our books to public schools, children’s hospitals and disadvantaged communities throughout the Philippines by raising funds either through grants or corporate sponsorships, and having complete ownership of the titles will make it easier for us to reach our dream of eventually handing out our millionth book. You can read more about this initiative here:

A second reason why we ask for the transfer of rights is that CANVAS is a small nonprofit, and is not equipped to document and track royalty shares that ideally should accrue to authors and artists. In fact, we only rely on and trust our partner publisher(s) to remit to us our own royalty shares. It is for this reason that our prizes (we think), are quite substantial and approximates (if not exceeds) what writers would normally expect to receive in royalties.

Third, we are also trying to get the stories published abroad. Should we get really lucky and end up on the NY Times Bestseller List, or somehow get endorsed by Oprah or Ellen, be assured that we will make things right with the winning writer (you'll just have to trust us on this).  But until then, having demonstrably complete ownership over the rights, again, makes it easier and less complicated for us to approach and negotiate with would-be publishers (who hopefully would not be spooked by our giving out downloadable e-books for free in the first place).

Finally, we are also trying to be financially sustainable. We rely on a small amount of grant funding to conduct our activities, including co-sharing the publication costs of the books. We can only hope to recoup the expenses so that we can do these activities on a continuing and recurring basis in the years to come.

Please be assured of our continuing effort to balance our desire to contribute to the public domain in a manner that is also fair to the writers and artists, on the one hand; and our need to also be fiscally responsible with the grants that have been entrusted to us, and to the publishers and corporations that we partner with, on the other.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

TEDxDiliman 2012 Speakers

Someone once wrote “The future is just wasted on some people.” 

Well, not here. Not at TEDxDiliman.

On September 15, 2012, our speakers will tell tales as they try to divine the future…

To paraphrase Erin Morgenstern in The Night Circus, from the mundane to the profound… they will share visions and hopes and dreams of the future… of law, peace, visual storytelling, communications, basketball, cities, filmmaking, comics, even the past, and more…

And it is for you - the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict - to shape it.

Come and join us then. 

Listen to the tales.

And help shape it... THE FUTURE.

Confirmed Speakers

* Leticia Shahani - Our Future as a Maritime Power
* Benjamin de la Peña - The Future of Metro Manila
* Jaemark Tordecilla - The Future of Philippine Sports
* Ted Te - The Future of Human Rights Law
* Jose Javier Reyes - The Future of Media
* Rick Rocamora - The Future of Visual Storytelling
* Carlos Celdran - The Future of the Past
* Tony Oposa - The Future of Floods
* with Surprise Performances representing The Future of Music

Note: TEDxDiliman 2012: THE FUTURE will be streamed live on September 15 by

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our Next Publication

Coming very soon!

By the way, you can still see all the works in person at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Gallery until the end of September.  

Friday, August 24, 2012