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IN AN ocular visit at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City yesterday with Airport Manager Efren N. Nagrama and City Tourism Office Lisette Marques, for the refurbishing of a space there to become the presidential and Cabinet secretaries lounges and conference room, we learned that the VIP Lounge, which a group of Davao artists spruced up just last March with Mindanao-inspired designs on its long table and paintings, is to become the conference venue of the airport managers soon.
The story goes that the officer in charge of checking out possible venues went through the different hotels but upon seeing the VIP Lounge was very impressed by the vinta-inspired design of the long table, he decided that the conference will be held there instead.
The same group of artists will be helping the airport management spruce up the presidential lounge.
The movement to fill the airport with art started in 2013 as a private initiative by APM Ad and Promo Management Inc headed by Alex P. Montano, who is the one leasing out the wall spaces for advertisements inside the Davao airport. Montano allowed one wall for a collage of 2 feet x 4 feet paintings of Davao artists as directed by Mindanao artist Kublai Millan along the corridor leading to pre-departure Gates 6-8.
It was in March this year when the VIP Lounge was taken over by the Mindanao artists along with a wall at the check-in counter of Cebu Pacific, the international arrival area and the space after the escalator on the second floor. Mindanao colors and figures are now becoming a familiar sight at the airport. The space just outside the arrival area is another area that will be filled with paintings by local artists. The vision is simply to show that the city is teeming with world-class visual artists to anyone who comes over to visit. And then, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte was elected President of the Philippines.
With Duterte becoming President, just about every Filipino wants to see what Davao has to offer. This is the time to popularize what is truly Mindanao and world-class. The Davao airport is becoming the showcase, other venues will soon follow if the hordes of Mindanao artists will take the challenge.