Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beauty in Asymmetry: What’s in store for the Philippine flag?

What's new with this Philippine flag?


If you have a sharp eye particularly to the details of the Philippine flag, you would notice that in this version, the sun would have nine rays instead of the usual eight. This is more or less what the flag would look like as soon as the Senate and House of Representatives ratifies next week the reconciled version of Senate Bill 3307 and House Bill 6424 which provides for the inclusion of additional ray in the sun. Apparently, the ninth ray was proposed to be added to symbolize the "the courage, bravery and integrity of Muslim Filipinos who fought for the nation's independence" and hopes that this would "foster greater unity among Filipinos regardless of religion." The whole story can be read here: Yahoo! News Philippines: .

The ninth ray represents the importance to "recognize the efforts and contributions of the Muslim Filipinos in the country's history so that they would not feel marginalized and Filipinos would be united regardless of creed". The Muslim community has greeted this proposal with enthusiasm, signifying that they are gradually "being respected, understood, and accepted". Link:

From a design perspective, I personally think that our flag is one of the most beautifully designed flags in the world, and this news particularly worried me because any tampering with it would ruin this perfection. In the mock-up I created above, somehow, the changes are not that noticeable. In fact, the addition of the 9th ray causes a subtle asymmetry which somehow adds visual allure, mystery and dynamism to the sun. Of course, one has to consider the historical facts behind the development of our flag's design, and whether the rest of the Filipino community would be open to such changes (Nice read:

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chulliyaw: Book 20 of Ichananaw Children’s Storybooks already published!

Another book I was illustrating was finally published as well. The book, entitled "Chulliyaw" (originally titled "Chuliyao, but I guess was corrected to fit the Chinananaw dialect, is about a farmer, who was constantly wooed by a rat into marrying her. A sort of love story unfolds. This book is actually book 20 of a series of Ichananaw children's storybooks which are based on oral stories told by Ichananaw elders from Kalinga and illustrated by the Ang I.N.K. These were produced as teaching and learning materials under the Australian Government funded 'Indigenising Education in a Kalinga Public School' project initiated by Australian volunteers Maria Cameron and Edwin Wise.

Chulliyaw 01

The book looks attractive and was laid out in the style of the old storybooks (with patterned spine and spreads). The initial spread looks great as it features most of the wonderful characters and scenes in all the books in the series!

Chulliyaw 13

The pages feature the story told in 3 languages: Filipino, English and Chinananaw, and is accompanied by my illustrations.

Chulliyaw 07

The books are not available for commercial purposes, as these are intended for the use and enjoyment of the Chananaw community and the Dananao Elementary School in particular.

Ichananaw Storybooks 10

For more information about this project, click on the following:

  1. Inquirer: Kalinga tribe's stories, songs in 26 books:,
  2. Manila Bulletin: They left their heart in Kalinga:
  3. Preserving IP Culture in Kalinga:
  4. Australian Embassy of the Philippines:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

“Spinning” is finally out!

Finally, my very first picture book is finally out! "Spinning" is a heartwarming story about a boy with autism. Written by Palanca Award winning author Irene Sarmiento and illustrated by yours truly, the book has endured numerous trials before it has eventually reached publication. I cannot describe how excited I became when Irene texted me about its release. I was not at the best of my health, but this great news surely lifted me up from my depressed state!

Here's our masterpiece!

Spinning 1sm

I should say that the printing by Anvil Publishing, Inc. was superb. The pages were able to capture the vibrant colors and textures of my original art. Most importantly, the text of Irene's wonderful prose was integrated seamlessly with the art. One of the things most people will notice is that this edition features only the English version of the story. Anvil has decided to release a separate Filipino version later, as releasing it in bilingual would greatly affect the size of the text, making it uncomfortable to read.

Spinning 2sm

The Autism Society of the Philippines (ASP) will be promoting this book as it aims to improve the public's awareness of autism. Dang Koe, the president of ASP, mentions "Reading Irene Carolina A. Sarmiento's Spinning immediately brought back memories of our family's early years with autism. More than anything, Spinning reminded me that educating the siblings, especially in their early years, should be done with fun, and with so much love – not just for the child with autism, but also for the other children."

Spinning 3sm

"Spinning" is now available and can be purchased at the Anvil Publication Inc.'s booth at the Manila International Bookfair helf at the SMX Convention Center, Sept 16-20, 2009. Soon, it will be available at local and popular bookstores. The Filipino version "Paikot-ikot" will be released soon.