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Keeping the Filipino Heritage Alive

Trust the Pinoys to get creative when it comes to preserving the past! Here are three takes we love.

Of Brushstrokes and Antiques

(Photos by Vic Guerrero)

Painter Gregory Halili is famous for his miniature marvels—masterpieces created with a bit of paint and a whole lot of imagination. He tackles history and objects of faith with his Relicario series, a range of religious images painted on age-old containers of holy objects. “The relicario paintings are my time machines—images of past remembrances contained in authentic Filipiniana vessels,” he says, citing the Semana Santa (Holy Week) as a particular childhood memory that he returned to for inspiration. “All the relicarios are authentic and antique, which I personally sourced and bought at small antique shops around Manila. It was like a treasure hunt, and it took years to find the collection,” he explains, adding, “I loved going around the antique stores. Learning about objects in the stores developed my appreciation for our Philippine history.

For updates on Gregory Halili’s shows and portfolio, visit

The Mansion Modernized

The Mansion Cafe & Bar (Photo from The Mansion Facebook Page)

During its heyday, The Mansion in Silay City in Negros Occidental was the place to be, with all the glorious parties and extravagant events that happened there. Built by the Ledesma family in the 1900s, the opulent structure was designed by Italian architect Lucio Bernasconi. As the years marched by, The Mansion fell victim to the passage of time, falling apart as it passed hands. Fortunately, descendants came to a decision and took it upon themselves to refurbish their ancestral home. Family memorabilia were brought back to the house and now The Mansion stands proud again, a gleaming custodian of culture and history. It has become a popular events venue that also doubles as a café and bar, enveloping its patrons in the mystique of bygone years.

The Mansion is on Calle Ledesma, Silay City, Negros Occidental. For more details, check The Mansion on Facebook.

Back to Their Roots

Religious icons can be used for pretty pendants, too!

Kathy Gregorio-Anover and Kathy Sarabia-Babst of Kathy and Kathy Bespoke keep heritage alive in two important ways: their jewelry reflects the history of their hometown, Iloilo, and they nurture goldsmiths and silversmiths of today by holding smithing classes for them. For instance, there’s their Panublion (“legacy” in Ilonggo) collection, which the Candelaria Filigree Cross is part of. The intricate piece of jewelry is actually inspired by the Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Lady of the Candles) of the Jaro Cathedral. “Although we constantly get new ideas from traveling, our clients, landscapes, and art, we always end up incorporating them with our memory of growing up in Iloilo,” they say. Every design is personal and customized, and with each piece lovingly handmade by skilled craftsmen including Filipino goldsmiths, the legacy of the past is preserved in these shining, delicate keepsakes.

For more information, follow Kathy and Kathy Bespoke on Facebook and Instagram. Book an appointment for their showroom at G/F Metrostar Bldg., Metropolitan Ave., Makati City.


Quotes are from the “Small Wonders” and “Fashion Statements” sections of the October 2017 issue and May 2018 issue of My Pope Philippines magazine. Text by Stephanie L. Jesena.
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