YOU know that the Christmas season is already here when Pan de Manila starts packing its freshly baked breads, pastries and other delicious bites and goodies in colorful Christmas-themed paper bags and gift boxes.
Every year, Pan de Manila gives the spotlight to a talented Filipino artist, whom it commissions to create a beautiful work of art that reflects a Christmas scene in the Philippines. This year, it is the turn of Antipolo-based artist Noel Mahilum’s colorful and attractive painting to grace the cover of Pan de Manila’s limited-edition paper bags and Christmas gift packs.
The son of renowned painter Tony Mahilum, who is a Contemporary master, Noel Mahilum followed in his father’s footsteps along with his other siblings. They all took up Painting at the University of the Philippines’ College of Fine Arts. From Manila, the family moved to Antipolo, which proved to be more beneficial for the young Mahilums’ creative pursuits, as the quiet provincial environment of Antipolo, in particular, and Rizal Province’s rich heritage, in general, fired up their creativity even more. Eventually, Noel Mahilum developed his own style and became famous for his Batu-Bato series.
“I remember when, during fiestas and Christmas, the higantes of Angono would parade right in front of our house. Antipolo is about the mix of traditional and modern during Christmas, and, because we are located on high ground, the cool, clean air adds to that holiday feel,” says Mahilum.
For his Christmas-themed painting for Pan de Manila’s limited-edition paper bags and gift boxes, Mahilum uses colorful circular strokes to reflect Paskong Pinoy scenes, including images of parols or lanterns, gifts and children.
“I drew my inspiration from the beaming smiles and excited faces of children during Christmas season, when they prepare by decorating their houses with Christmas trees and parols, wrapping and opening gifts and eating together as a family,” explains Mahilum.
He adds: “The colors in the painting showcase the tradition of gift-giving and dressing the house with ornaments. I remember when we were young, my father would give us aguinaldo money, and we would get to buy the toy we wanted. I ended up buying a set of color toy square blocks. Little did I know I was already preparing myself for an art career that early. I also remember that my siblings and I would visit our father in his studio as he finished his paintings, and we would imitate whatever he’s doing. He noticed that, and so when Christmas time came, we got our own sets of paints and easels as gifts.”
Mahilum is happy to be the featured artist in Pan de Manila’s Christmas bags and boxes for 2017. He also thinks that the bakery chain’s yearly tradition of incorporating Christmas Pinoy traditions is commendable, as it reminds us to go back to our roots.
“Wherever we go, we carry our tradition and culture. It’s nice to have piping hot pan de sal, especially after coming from Simbang Gabi at Antipolo Cathedral. May this artwork of mine remind us that despite the cool surroundings, we can surround ourselves with warmth, not only from Pan de Manila’s freshly baked breads but also with the love and unity of our own family, which is at the heart of Paskong Pinoy,” he ends.