Photos by Arnold Almacen

The year is coming to a close and no community was spared by coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but artists in Iloilo City have managed to transform collective experience with street art.

Across SM City Iloilo, artists collectively known as Baysulangpu (an anagram for the Hiligaynon word of pula nga subay or red ants) painted a 100-meter mural to look back at the year that was.

The creation of the mural with lead artist Edmar Colmo represents the weeklong challenges and new discoveries in daily life.

“It’s our life from Monday to Sunday as Covid-19 refuses to disappear,” says Arnold Almacen, one of the other artists and also a photojournalist.

The mural portrays the family, the frontline workers, the community, and government leadership with the backdrop of the city’s landmarks such as the Arroyo Fountain, Jaro Cathedral, and the city’s old business district known as Calle Real.

The mural also portrays newfound discoveries such as Ilonggos embracing bikes as an alternative transportation and the rise of urban gardening with the plantitos and plantitas.

There’s also a portrait of Rabiya Mateo, who has brought pride and joy to the people in the city and province of Iloilo after winning the crown as Miss Universe Philippines.

The 100-mural is not the first pandemic-related project of Ilonggo artists with the Iloilo City government under Mayor Jerry TreƱas and paint manufacturer Boysen. There’s also a mural along Jalandoni Street in the City Proper District.  Ronn Bulahan and his team painted portraits of 14 different frontline workers as a tribute.

There’s also a bas relief sculpture by Arel Zambarrano and Leoniel “Sabrec” Cerbas along the Iloilo Esplanade, the city’s linear river park.

Source: Manila Bulletin (