SINCE 2008, Pan de Manila has featured works of up-and-coming local artists in its paper bags during Christmastime.
The annual Christmas paper bag tradition lives on this Christmas season with the artworks of 38-year-old artist Eberle Catampongan, who hails from Antipolo and studied architecture at the Technological Institute of the Philippines. A member of the Art Circle Gallery, he is a proud apprentice of his father-in-law, highly respected artist Tony Mahilum. His background in architecture is reflected in the intricate details seen in structures that he uses as backdrop in the Filipino rustic villages that have become his signature.
Eberle is known for immortalizing heritage landmarks, landscapes and sceneries in the country, even as he focuses on the rich history of the Philippines. For his artwork for Pan de Manila’s 2018 Christmas paper bag, he has created Pasko sa Nayon, a 25″x60″ oil on canvas artwork that conjures up a captivating rustic rural scene that reflects that familiar comforts and sights seen in a barrio community as it eagerly dresses up the town for the holidays. Amid all merry-making preparations is the pure joy and infectious anticipation by both old and young come Christmastime.
In his sweeping visual masterpiece for Pan de Manila, Eberle features traditional elements, such as hanging parols and a church façade (to signify the observance of Simbang Gabi), as well as elements of nostalgia plucked from his own cherished childhood memories.
“One particular childhood recollection that I included in this artwork is the caroling scene, one that showed how I, as a child, enjoyed serenading homes with Pamasko jingles along with my neighbors. I also portrayed the bustling scene in the barrio during this much-celebrated time of the year when rural folks are busy and happily participate in the many festivities that include eating after Simbang Gabi and dressing up their homes. It shows how Filipinos love celebrating the occasion with all those dear to them,” says Eberle.
The artist also sees his work as a reflection of how Filipinos come together during this joyous season. Says he: “It reminds us of the togetherness and love shared among the family and the genuine camaraderie in the community as everyone excitedly looks forward to Christmas. I think it’s a message that remains relevant and is very timely to spread today.”
Grateful for being chosen as featured artist by Pan de Manila, Eberle considers it as one of his biggest achievements.
“The most appreciated underlying aspects of Pan de Manila’s project would be its way of giving artists the opportunity to express, through brushstrokes, the true spirit of Christmas. Through this initiative, artists are given the opportunity to showcase and immortalize timeless Filipino values and love for the family. I wish Pan de Manila more success as they passionately continue this project so that more artists will be given the opportunity to touch people through their talent,” he adds.
Pan de Manila’s Christmas paper bags, which come in different sizes, are used to package freshly baked breads, tarts, pastries, spreads and bottled items.