National Holidays & Celebration

January 1 - Bagong Taon (New Year's Day)

January 9 - The Black Nazarene procession

March or April - Semana Santa (Holy Week)

November 1&2 - Undas (Day of the Dead)

December 24 - Noche Buena (Christmas)

December 25 - Araw ng Pasko (Christmas)

National Holiday
February 25 -E.D.S.A Revolution

April 9 - Araw ng Kagitingan

May 1 - Labor Day

June 12 - Independence Day

August 28 - National Heroes Day

November 30 - Bonifacio Day 

December 30 - Rizal Day



Painting is a mode of creative expression, and the forms are numerous. Drawing, composition or abstraction and other aesthetics may serve to manifest the expressive and conceptual intention of the practitioner. Paintings can be naturalistic and representational (as in a still life or landscape painting),photographic, abstract, be loaded with narrative content, symbolism, emotion or be political in nature.

A portion of the history of painting in both Eastern and Western art is dominated by spiritual motifs and ideas; examples of this kind of painting range from artwork depicting mythological figures on pottery to Biblical scenes rendered on the interior walls and ceiling of The Sistine Chapel, to scenes from the life of Buddha or other images of eastern religious origin.


Philippine Painting History

The Spanish friars introduced Western painting in the Philippines to artisans who learned to copy on two-dimensional form from the religious icons that the friars brought from Spain,. For the first centuries of Spanish colonization, painting was limited to religious icons. Portraits of saints and of the Holy Family became a familiar sight in churches. Other subject matters include the passion of Christ, the Via Crucis, the crucifixion, portrayal of heaven, purgatory and hell.


Painters from the Visayas island of Bohol were noted for their skillful manipulation of the technique. Their paintings of saints and religious scenes show figures in frontal and static positions. For the Boholano painters, the more important persons would be depicted bigger than the rest of the figures. Christ normally dwarfs the Roman soldiers in these paintings. Unfortunately, they did not sign their names on their works and no record of their names exists.


In the church in Paete, Laguna are two works by Josef Luciano Dans (1805- ca. 1870), probably one of the earliest recorded painters in Philippine art history. Langit, Lupa at Impierno ca. 1850 (Heaven, Earth and Hell), a three-level painting which shows the Holy Trinity, Mary the Mother of Christ, saints, the Seven Blessed Sacraments and a macabre depiction of Hell. The second painting is entitled Purgatorio (Purgatory) which shows the eight forms of punishment the soul passes through for cleansing before reaching Heaven.


During the early part of the Spanish occupation, painting was exclusively for the churches and for religious purposes. Occasionally, it was also used for propaganda. Esteban Villanueva of Vigan, Ilocos Sur depicted the Ilocos revolt against the basi monopoly in a 1821. The Spanish government commissioned the work. The fourteen panels show the series of events that led to the crushing of the Ilocano basi workers revolt by Spanish forces. It also showed the appearance of Halley’s comet in the Philippines during that time.


Tagalog painters JoseLoden, Tomas Nazario and Miguel de los Reyes, did the first still life paintings in the country. They were commissioned in 1786 by a Spanish botanist to paint the flora and fauna found in the country.

The earliest known historical paintings in the Philippines was a mural at the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) in Intramuros entitled The Conquest of the Batanes done in 1783. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during the 1863 earthquake.

Secular subject matter in painting only increased during the 19th century. With more tourists, ilustrados and foreigners demanding souvenirs and decorations from the country,
tipos del pais developed in painting. These watercolor paintings show the different types of inhabitants in the Philippines in their different native costumes that show their social status and occupation. It also became an album of different native costumes. Damian Domingo y Gabor (ca. 1790-1832) was the most popular artist who worked in this style.


In the early 19th century, the rise of the ilustrados saw a rise in the art of portraiture. The need to adorn their newly constructed bahay-na-bato and the want to document their new found wealth and social status, the ilustrados commissioned painters to make portraits of themselves. The works of painters like Simon Flores,Antonio Malantic and Justiniano Ascunsion captured the intricately designed jewelry and fashion accessories, the minuet details of the embroidered clothes, and ornately designed domestic furniture of the patrons. The painstaking attention to minuet details characterized miniaturismo.


Governor General Narciso Claveria in 1849 issued a decree that all Philippine natives should assume Spanish names. Letras Y Figuras, (letters and figures), a style developed by Jose Honorato Lozano, combines both tipos del pais and genre paintings by forming the letters of the patron’s name from figures of people in local costumes doing everyday activities. It also utilized landscape scenes as background.


In 1821, Damian Domingo opened the first formal fine arts school in the country in his house, the Academia de Dibujo. Perhaps realizing his importance to Philippine art history, Damian Domingo is known for having made the first self-portrait in the country. In 1823, the Real Sociedad Economica Filipina de Amigos del Pais (Royal Economic Society of the Friends of the Colony) opened their own art school. In 1826, the society offered Domingo to be the professor in their school, in effect merging the two art schools. In 1828, Domingo was promoted to school director. Domingo must have taught miniaturismo to his students, but a publication by the academy entitled Elementos de Perspectiva (Elements of Perspective) suggests that he must have also taught the classical ideals of the European academies. Due to lack of funds and probably due to Domingo’s death in 1832, the school eventually closed in1834.


In 1850, under the Junta de Commercio, a new art school, the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura, was opened with 70 enrollees. Enrique Nieto y Zamora, a new employee at the Post Office and a graduate of the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, was appointed as acting director of the academy. Paintings by Spanish master were brought in to serve as models for the students, propagating the European academic style of painting - using grand subject matter from classical Greek and Roman mythologies, depicting historical scenes, and the use of chiaroscuro.


The academy was renamed Escuela de Dibujo, Pintura y Grabado in 1889. It was later incorporated with theEscuela de Artes y Oficios in 1891. In 1893, the school of arts and trades was separated from the academy. The academy was later elevated to the Escuela Superior de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado.


Other subject matter became increasingly popular such as genre, landscapes (paisajes), and bodegones (still life) with artists like Simon Flores, LorenzoGuerrero, FelixMartinez, Paz Paterno and her half sisterAdelaida Paterno. Flores’ two extant works, Primeras Letras and Feeding the Chicken show the close bond between mother and child.


The academic style was still favored by the church and government and was used for religious icons. The miniaturist style, though, was favored by ilustrado patrons and continued to prosper.


Several Filipino painters had the chance to study and work abroad. Among them were Juan Novicio Luna and Felix Resureccion Hidalgo who became the first international Filipino artists when they won the gold and silver medals in the 1884 Madrid Exposition.


Luna’s academic painting Spoliarium won gold medal. It showed the dead and dying Roman Gladiators being dragged into the basement of the Coliseum. It is often interpreted as an allusion to Imperial Spain’s oppression of the natives. Though winning the gold medal, Luna was not awarded the Medal of Excellence, the top award for the competition, because he was a Filipino. The King of Spain, to assuage Luna’s feelings, commissioned him to paint The Battle at Lepanto. Hidalgo won the silver medal for Virgenes christianas expuestas al populacho or Christian Virgins Exposed to the Public. The feat of Luna and Hidalgo caught the attention of Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippine’s National Hero, that in a gathering of Filipinos in Madrid, he gave a speech praising Luna and Hidalgo for their mastery and nationalism



In the 1892, Columbus Quadricentennial Art Contest competition sponsored by La Illustracion Filipina, a Filipino weekly publication, a 16-year-old girl named Carmen Zaragosa won first prize for her painting "Dos Intelligencias." In the 1895 Esposicion Regional de Filipinas in Manila, Zaragosa won a Cooper medal for her painting. Fourteen other women artists participated. Five of them won Cooper medals and four won honorable mentions.