BONSAI artists from the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, and Lanao del Norte gathered at SM CDO Downtown Premier last November 30 as Bonsai de Oro hosted the fourth Grand Bonsai Exhibition and Competition.
The Grand Bonsai Exhibition and Competition is an annual joint show of Bonsai de Oro, a Cagayan de Oro-based bonsai club, and Iligan-Lanao Bonsai Society, showcasing their bonsais and have those judged by four notable bonsai artists from Davao City and Cotabato.
The event comprised of a three-day exhibition, from November 30 until December 2, and a competition during the first day.
According to Al Thristan Cañazares, the president of Bonsia de Oro, the competition will be judged based on the criteria, which include: the size of the branches, trunk and leaves; ramification and branch distribution; harmony of the branches and trunk of the tree, among others.
The bonsai should also have nebari (root-flare) or surface root and should be old-looking.
“Ang bonsai may guidelines. Ang tinitingnan ng judges is the overall look ng puno (The bonsai has guidelines. The judges will look into the overall look of the tree),” Cañazares said.
Among the awards given to the winners were gold, silver and bronze, with the Best in Show, the highest award, picked among the gold awardees.
Special awards were also given such as Best in Small, Best in Literati, Best in Group Planting, Best in Cascade, Best in Rock Clasping, Best in Penjing, Best in Windswept, Best in Flowering, Best in Weeping, Best in Fruiting, and Best in Rock Grown.
This year's Best in Show was given to the Bonsai de Oro president himself, Al Thristan Cañazares, who also won the gold and bronze awards.
Other gold awardees include: Geco Callao, who also won bronze, Best in Penjing and Best in Weeping; and Lemwel Kwong, who also received silver and bronze awards and Best in Rock Clasping.
Silver awardees were: the Affinity Bonsai Club, Catherine Kwong, August Saareñas, and Roy Lazo.
Bronze awardees were: Catherine Kwong, Myron Gonzaga, Affinity Bonsai Club, Olymar Escueta, Reynaldo Mikin, Patrick Gamboa, and August Saareñas.
Special awards were given to Catherine Kwong with Best in Small and Best in Literati; Joemer Lompoy, Best in Group Planting; August Saareñas, Best in Cascade; Affinity Bonsai Club, Best in Windswept; Israel Halasan, Best in Flowering; Jojo/Elvie Dulay, Best in Fruiting; and Ezer Hirocan, Best in Rock Grown.
This year's bonsai exhibition and competition is anchored on the theme: “Unfolding the Living Art of Bonsai.”
“Bonsai kasi, it’s not everyday nakikita ng common people, usually sa TV, magazine, internet. For most people na pumapasok sa exhibit area, 90 percent first time nila makakita [ng bonsai] (Common people seldom see bonsai, usually it is on TV, magazine, internet. For most people who enter the exhibit, 90 percent of them say it’s their first time to see [bonsai]),” Cañazares said.
“Unfolding the Living Art of Bonsai, para makita ng general public na (so the general public can see) 'Ah ito pala ang bonsai, pwede pala kahit sino pwede mag-bonsai (Ah so this is bonsai. So anybody can do bonsai) But may edge kung yung nagbo-bonsai, yung art inate sa kanya (But there’s an edge if the one who does bonsai has the art), meron syang artistic concept (he has artistic concept). Because bonsai is 90 percent art and 10 percent lang ang horticulture,” he added.
Bonsai is a Japanese art form where plants are grown in pots to create miniature trees. The art form began centuries ago and has since gained the interest of enthusiasts as a means of self-expression.
According to Cañazares, only the elite people in Japan are the ones that practice the art of bonsai as it has become a part or a way of their life.
“So, sa Japan mga elite lang and hindi tinuturo ang bonsai to anybody. Pinapasa lang nila from generation to generations. Yung mga nagbo-bonsai mga lolo, anak, apo na (So, in Japan, only the elite can do the bonsai and it isn’t taught to anybody. They transfer it from generation to generations. The ones who do bonsai are their grandfathers, children, and grandchildren),” he added.
However, in the Philippines, anyone can be taught how to start doing bonsai, not only the elites.
As such, Bonsai de Oro, apart from being a bonsai club in Cagayan de Oro City, also offers free workshops and seminars to those who are interested in bonsai and to the bonsai enthusiasts.