Saturday, July 18, 2020

Fostering Art in a Live-Work-Play Community Amid the Pandemic


It is believed that the environment plays a big role in combating many of life’s stressors and in maintaining people’s overall well-being—physical, emotional, and mental health most especially. Filinvest City, as a garden city in southern Metro Manila, has always been designed and built to be people-friendly. It is a modern metropolis laid out in a big garden—long before the need for safe and vibrant public spaces due to the ongoing pandemic. Roads are canopied with trees, public parks are present, and anywhere people look will have greens to lend respite. Bike and pedestrian lanes are also in place to encourage residents, employees, and transients of the city to live an active lifestyle. In addition to that, Filinvest City has commissioned artists to create public art as another way to soften the built environment and invigorate spaces.

Among the featured works is by visual artist and sculptor Jinggoy Buensuceso, whose commissioned work for Filinvest City, "Ikigai”, stands proudly at the prestigious corner of Corporate and Parkway Avenues. Buensuceso honed his craft through international exposure in Singapore and New York where he was based during the early days of his career. He has collaborated with top retail companies, developers, and hotels in and out of the Philippines. The acclaimed artist, a material expert, works primarily with wood, cement, and metal.

“Metal is my favorite (material). Not many artists use metal because it’s hard to manipulate but I love manipulating materials. I treat my materials like I have a relationship with them, parang may conversation,” he says.

The Ikigai, which means "a reason for being" in a Japanese concept, is mainly inspired by a crumpled paper. He explains, “Artists, architects, engineers, songwriters, poets, even lovers, use paper for writing plans or ideas. If they’re not happy with their idea, they crumple the paper and throw it away. That meaningful moment was what I wanted to capture because I consider that a journey to perfection.” The art piece is made of powder-coated aluminum to withstand outdoor elements and is painted in Buensuceso’s signature shade of red to depict a strong passion for life and emotion.

A project that Buensuceso worked on for more than five months, the Ikigai is meant to serve as “food for the soul” for the people of Filinvest City. “Art is important. If you see an art piece, it evokes different emotions, it helps you learn, and sometimes it even answers your questions. I’m happy that many companies are now investing in public art because it gives people easy access to works of art,” he says.

For its part, Filinvest City shares Buensuceso’s vision in using art as a form of expression and even entertainment. Don Ubaldo, vice president for townships, says, “Filinvest City’s masterplan is to be a central business district, but we also want to provide more than the essentials for conducting business. One of our first efforts in making Filinvest City a vibrant live-work-play community is the presence of public art.” He adds, “Having art that is freely accessible within the community not only triggers cultural consciousness but also promotes the community’s collective identity—one that instills a sense of pride, belonging and human connection even amidst a pandemic. Filinvest City is that place where people want to work, live and visit.”

Filinvest City acknowledges the value of public art in invigorating public space, especially during these trying times. Artists like Buensuceso are transforming the city into more than just a central business district, but also a vibrant and meaningful community through public art.

Buensuceso’s Ikigai installation can be found fronting Parkway Corporate Center Building at Corporate corner Parkway Avenues, Filinvest City, Alabang. To know more about Filinvest City, visit

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