IN THE early part of my professional career back in the ‘80s, I have ventured into the area of mass communication as a news-magazine staff photographer, contributed to local papers as editorial cartoonist, became a television video editor after my trainings in filmmaking and later joined government service as information officer.
It has never occurred to me in my earlier years that I’ll be venturing into the so-called mass media as I really wanted to be a visual artist having finished a Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Painting at the University of Santo Tomas in 1982.
It just happened that when I was working on my thesis about the upland cultures of the mountain provinces in the Cordillera, I needed clippings and photo documentations of the various customary practices like rituals and dances so I told my parents that I needed to buy a camera. I even added a photography subject as part of my BFA, learned how to develop and print in the darkroom and that perhaps started my unforeseen career leading into the so-called fourth-estate.
After my four-year study at the country’s oldest university, I again attended special classes and workshops on cinema-as-art at the University of the Philippines Film Center and filmmaking as a scholar of MOWELFUND which led me to bag awards in Manila as independent filmmaker. While already in government as Information Officer of the Philippine Information Agency-Cordillera, I passed a NEDA exam for a JICA scholarship to study a video production in Japan and for six months, I have gained basic knowledge and technical skill in the field of television broadcasting.
From the mid-‘80s to the first decade of the new millennium, I worked with varied mediums that ranges from art materials, cameras, microphones and electronic devices like computers to design print publications, corporate presentations and produce TV shows. I joined the Cordillera News Agency and became active after my Japan training and we produced the longest running community cable television program called “This is Baguio TV Show” that began in 1993 and ceased when social media, blogging and Youtube became massively used and patronized by almost everyone.
Having also taught in two universities as part time college Instructor for Mass Communication students, I developed teaching modules in photography, photojournalism, electronic news room (ENR) and helped set-up a Mass Comm laboratories where students can simulate the production processes in big media outfits.
With my current work as media specialist of the Department of Trade and Industry Cordillera, my tasks necessitates me to do advocacy programs for consumer rights and trade promotion using the tri-media and I was able to access the airwaves as a regular co-host of a public affairs radio program dubbed “Kalakalan, Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran” over DZEQ Radyo ng Bayan now Radyo Pilipinas.
Having produced and packaged government advocacy materials from conception to delivery, I also do what netizens refer to as multi-tasking as bloggers, vloggers and journalists around the world can already feed news stories directly from where they are using mobile phones, portable computers and communication gadgets.
As I am now a grandad almost reaching my senior years with just over a year from my retirement in the service, I needed to once again listen to what my heart has been telling me whenever I attend art exhibits, creative events and chat with fellow artists... Art anya ngay. Kaano ka manen nga agpinta?
I was actually part of the founding members of the Baguio Arts Guild (BAG) that together with Benedicto “Bencab” Cabrera and Kidlat Tahimik, both National Artists and the likes of the late Roberto Villanueva and Santiago Bose, we have pulled successful international art festivals that truly made Baguio’s presence in the global art map. Yes, although many of the younger peers in media call me Kuya Art and Master by few amateur photographers, I look forward to be referred more often as “Manong Art” by the younger artists not as my shortened name Arthur implies but more of me as an artist.
As I pen my succession plans as government communicator, I also look forward to contributing more to the city of Baguio as a Creative City. I have been part of many Baguio activities like AIDS Watch Baguio, ALAY Lakad Baguio and shared time, talent and energy with the Alay sa Kalinisan Inc. (ASKI) and the Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM), I’ll definitely not hesitate to be involved with the cities creative activities.