travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


Freeway Launches National Artist Collection Featuring F. Sionil Jose

June 5, 2011

Freeway is one of the local brands I love. I love that it doesn’t just follow the trends and styles available in the market; but rather, Freeway sets the trend. That’s why, I was ecstatic when I got an invite to the launching of Freeway’s National Artist Collection featuring F. Sionil Jose.

This is the fifth run of the National Artist Collection initiated by Freeway and it’s indeed not just a celebration of fashion but art. I think it is the best way to promote and introduce our National Artists to the youth and Freeway has been successful in that goal. Since 2009, Freeway had already paid tribute to National Artists Nick Joaquin (Literature), Ang Kiukok (Visual Arts), Jose Garcia Villa (Literature) and Ramon Valera (Fashion Design). This time around, Freeway would feature its first living National Artist in the Series.

F. Sionil Jose is one of the most widely-read Filipino writers whose work is now translated into 28 languages including his native Ilokano.  His works are mostly focused on the social underpinnings of class struggles and colonialism in Filipino society.

Freeway Team welcomes F. Sionil Jose

F. Sionil Jose is one of the most critically acclaimed artist internatiinally, although he is not very popular in our country because his works are mostly written in English. My love for vintage is once again alive, as I have already planned to visit the Solidaridad Bookstore in Ermita which is owned by F. Sionil Jose.

Freeway features some of F. Sionil Jose’s works through its pocket collection which consist of nice graphic tops (I looove graphics), prints of his works on trendy, well cut dresses and statement accessories.

The latest collection was launched not in a traditional way. There is no model clad in the newest collection, but the artist was honored through a Tertulia. Tertulia is a social gathering (especially in Latin America) when artists share their latest work. The readings for the night were chosen by the Philippine Inquirer Editor Lito Zulueta.

Excerpts from F. Sionil José’s works entitled The Pretenders and the popular Ermita were interpreted by dramatic actress Cherie Gil. While talented musician/poet, journalist and artist Lourd Ernest De Veyra, interpreted  the Tree and The God Stealer. The performances were accompanied by live classical guitar played by Mr. Ferdie Medina, a UP College of Music instructor. Both were beautifully delivered making us, audience feel the feelings and see through the scenes. My favorite part was when Ms. Cherie Gil stood up and shouted firm bad words in Filipino (as read from the excerpts); it was so intense that I felt that the audience was shocked and no one moved a muscle. I felt her anger and the feelings in F. Sionil Jose’s work. It was worthy of a standing ovation.

Ms. Cherie Gil in an intense reading of Ermita

Lourd Ernest De Veyra reads the Tree.

The event was hosted by Prima Ballerina and Ballet Manila’s Artistic Director, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde. It was nice to see her hosting an event, and not wearing her tutus. It is even nicer to know that she accepted the invitation to host the event, before she embarks her final career performance in the Swan Song Series starting this October.

The high light of the event is the No Holds Barred Question & Answer and Fast Response Words with funny and witty F. Sionil Jose, as hosted by Ms. Liza Macuja-Elizalde.

It is not just traditional media and social media practitioners (with those DSLRs and digicams, and video cameras) who covered the event. Lomography Embassy Manila collaborated with Freeway to cover the event using their analogue cameras. I wonder how the photos look like through those lomo lenses?! Lomomanila will hold a mini exhibit that will showcase the analog photographs taken during the event. 
It was such a fun night with fab fashion, good food and Pinoy pride. Freeway’s CEO, Sheree Roxas-Chua Gotuaco (who was wearing a really nice skirt from F. Sionil Jose collection – and I meant to buy one for myself!) thanked everyone who attended the event. I would say, thank you Freeway for setting the trend and celebrating Pinoy pride!

Thank you for the signed copy of To the Young Writer and Other Essays – 
a great inspiration!
To know more about the collection, like the Freeway Facebook Fan Page.

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