A World of Design

This month’s design features the various tools used in the practice of architecture and in the creative processes of industrial, fashion, and stage design. The elements encapsulate both traditional and digitized techniques. They rest in a paint bucket as we bring diverse disciplines together to celebrate the Negrense penchant for creativity.

The month of September is bountiful to Negros Occidental in more ways than one. In sugar farms, it heralds the start of harvest. To families who depend on this mono-crop industry, that means long awaited fresh resources to propel new and creative pursuits. Much later, September became known as the month of the Negros Trade Fair, the country’s longest running provincial design showcase. There has never been a void in Negrense creativity – from rolling bamboo mats into makeshift cannons to win our republic, to dazzling broadway designs on the Great White Way. Scenery and costume designer Toto Sicangco protests, “It’s not about the lack of talent – it’s not. The artist has always been here.”

Eduardo V. Sicangco sketches on the patio of his Bacolod City home.

Eduardo V. Sicangco works on a costume design sketch for a recent Pioneer Theatre Company revival of the popular musical Hello Dolly! in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Eduardo V. Sicangco poses backstage with Deborah Cox, star of the 2016 musical Josephine by the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida, USA.

This month the Negros Season of Culture honors Negrense design, both the artistry to create it, and the insatiable desire to obtain it. After spending half a century in New York City, creating costumes and stage sets on Broadway, Toto Sicangco, continues to come home regularly to Bacolod City for much needed recharge. NSC called on him during a recent visit and took away great learning, especially about the artist’s stunning professional journey that is second to none. If you’ve shimmied to high-stepping production numbers on Broadway, or swayed to starry-eyed ballet performances at the CCP in years gone by, chances are good, you’ve stepped into the creative sphere of a Toto Sicangco design.

In 2021, Style Cruze magazine featured the 2020 Fall collection of Bea Cruz. Despite the pandemic restrictions, her collection was able to reach the US with the help of Angel Tan, another Negrense who works as a creative and wardrobe coordinator.

Bea Cruz of Victorias City, Negros Occidental, updated traditional Filipiniana fashion in her Vivirá collection. The10-piece collection featured the baro’t saya, panuelo, and barong.

Bea Cruz of Victorias City, Negros Occidental, updated traditional Filipiniana fashion in her Vivirá collection. The10-piece collection featured the baro’t saya, panuelo, and barong.

It takes a heritage to raise a fashion designer. Growing up in a community where OOTD is breakfast meat, fashion design naturally thrills the young. Some pursue it with dedication and make it. Still others, make it despite global lockdowns. Negrense Fashion Designer Bea Cruz is one such. Barely in her mid-20s, this designer from Victorias City in Negros Occidental bagged two international fashion accolades in the middle of Covid-19 safety restrictions. The turmoil of the pandemic couldn’t shake Bea off her aesthetic core of fine sophistication. She saw her collection sent by air cargo to the U.S., and if that was not unnerving enough, she saw the pieces down the runway virtually. What a trouper!

The lobby facade of Bagasse Mountain Resort. The project is Maita’s winning piece for the Asia Young Designer Awards (AYDA). Acclaimed Best Sustainable Design, here Maita explored the use of bagasse, the pulp residue from sugarcane, in place of cement.

Coming from a family of designers, architects, and artists, Maita’s eye for design is embedded in her roots. Having both parents as architects, she eventually pursued Interior Design.
Standing are dad Arch. Felix and Maita. Seated are brother Gabriel, mom Arch. Cathy, and sister Bettina.

The Dancing Archive: A Performative Interior Design Approach to Anarchive Dance, August 2022 is Matia’s senior thesis where she used interactive installations that guests can enjoy. Coming from Negros Occidental, she opted to have the Capitol Lagoon as location for her project.

From another design calling, Negrense Interior Design maverick Maita Hagad redefines the way we regard our physical surroundings, from the structural to the sensory. What does that even mean? We begin to understand the concept when we see our homes at the time of the pandemic for what they truly are, spaces of learning that protect, to allow us to continue on our journey of discovery. At the height of lockdowns, Maita’s design concept was entered in an international competition where it bagged the Most Sustainable Design award. The designer strikes a balance between wellness and wilderness, as if at once melding the familiar with the unfamiliar, the friction of the two igniting growth.

The palatial residence built for Ricarido King is one of the houses Arch. Teng Jacinto co-designed with partner Arch. Toto Unson.
(Photo Credit : Jan Gonzales)

Arch. Teng Jacinto has been working for the past 70 years. Today at 94 years old, it seems that he has no plans of slowing down.

Alfredo Montelibano Sr.’s residence in Bacolod City, originally built in 1954, is one of the most well-preserved houses designed by Architects Teng Jacinto, Toto Unson, and Nene Garcia.

This edition, dedicated to Design, is made whole with the legacy story of Teng Jacinto who celebrates his Platinum Year as an architect, this year. One cannot separate Jacinto from the JUB name, which he started with fellow architects Toto Unson and Nonoy Benedicto. Now in his early 90s, Teng Jacinto indulges the team of NSC in a chat about his lifelong work that started in 1952 and continues to this day 70 years later. Along the way, Jacinto under the JUB brand built the Capitol Shopping Center, nicknamed the Bacolod Chinatown, as well as over 500 houses all over the country, many of which line the streets of posh Capitolville in Bacolod and Maria Luisa in Cebu. While these idyllic homes are easily marked by their gardens and trellises and ponds, it is Teng Jacinto’s calm and cool composure that often brought client and designer to accord. His humanity, above all, is his singular contribution.

Text By: Alan S. Gensoli
Logo By: Thea Torres
Photos By: John Kimwell Laluma
Photo Courtesy: Maita S. Hagad and Bea Cruz


Design and Architecture

Cultural Experience

Art and Craft