Anakbanwa 2022 Invites You to Go Deeper With Over 50 Pangasinan Creatives

“I truly believe with all my heart that #TheFutureisCreative,” says Rep. Toff de Venecia of the 4th District of Pangasinan, who only once dreamt of holding a residency program in his hometown. “It’s time that we invest in creatives who harness and nurture the heart of the Philippines.”

Anakbanwa 2022 Exhibition Square

In July of 2022, the creative industries bill which de Venecia principally authored and championed in the Lower House finally lapsed into law. R.A. 11904 or the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act marks a very important step towards crafting a more sustainable creative future for the sector. Now with an institutionalized framework for development and support, programs such as Anakbanwa can continue to flourish and create myriad opportunities for people in the industry.


Originally called the Anakbanwa Arts Residency when it was launched in November 2021, the program aims to immerse select creatives from across the country with the communities, cultural heritage, diverse artistic processes, and ecological landscapes of the 4th District of Pangasinan (Dagupan City, San Fabian, Mangaldan, San Jacinto, and Manaoag). Participants were also encouraged to respond to current social and environmental issues through sustainable arts practices. With the direction of Program Designer Andrei Nikolai Pamintuan who also happens to be from Pangasinan, last year’s roster of talents included visual artists Razel Mari, Corinne de San Jose, and Marco Ortiga whose works were put on display at the General Douglas MacArthur House at the West Central Elementary School in Dagupan City along with other local artists.


For its second wave, Anakbanwa has evolved into a creative residency program as it now seeks to establish partnerships with qualified stakeholders from the creative industries as defined in R.A. 11904. These are creatives who hail from either Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Design, Traditional Cultural Expressions, Audiovisual Media, Cultural Sites, Digital Interactive Media, Publishing and Printed Media, and Creative Services. Rep. de Venecia shares that this year’s Anakbanwa is a movement towards a creative industry wherein one can live sustainably by pursuing their passions.



Headed by this year’s Program Director Jodinand Aguillon, three promising creatives from Luzon were chosen from among almost 100 entries from across the Philippines. This year’s batch includes voguing pioneer and movement artist Xyza Ragunjan of Rizal, architect and augmented reality artist Gabriel Brioso of Makati, and designer Nathan Artificio from Cavite.


This project fosters creative collisions through dynamic collaborations, while challenging participants to go beyond self development — within the residency and throughout their creative practices. Xyza welcomed us into the depths of her world of VOGUE. The intersectionality of ball culture, the strength required to embody softness, the foundation of chosen families — gathering and uplifting so many of those in the margins.  


Ragunjan who also heads the Philippine chapter of the international House of Mizrahi believes in creating safe spaces for the dance and LGBTQIA+ communities that would allow them to celebrate their authenticity and build confidence. Through a photo series of her Anakbanwa journey, she narrates how she was able to connect and navigate through the landscape, discovering more about herself in the process. She hosted a series of community workshops which culminated into the inaugural Aralem Kiki Ball, a first for Pangasinan. Aralem is a Pangasinanense word to describe the ocean — “Malalim” (Tagalog).


A crucial aspect of their immersion is being able to connect with the local creative communities through events, mixers, and workshops. Resident new media artist Gab taught senior high school students from Dagupan City National High School and local creatives the basics on Interaction Design and Augmented Reality. Brioso reminds us to look beyond what our eyes see and to understand the pluralisms of realities. For him, augmented reality goes beyond just making apps and filters, but is also a way to look into people’s unique perception of content in the digital space and their behavior in using digital products. With these impulses in mind, he plans to devise ‘phygital’ creations. In bridging the digital and physical realms, Gab’s work has developed a duality wherein a tangible object is balanced by a digital backend, intuitively prompting interactivity with his audiences.

Within their day-to-day exploration of the area, the creatives were able to form bonds and collaborations with locals. Despite being the freshest fish in the pond, Nathan is a testament to the power of potential standing alongside a proven track record, when given the opportunity. He shares that using design to create habitable spaces, purposeful objects, and connecting and immersing with the community has always been his ‘why.’ This is evident in his dedication to produce sustainable design to ensure that his work is created purposefully and consciously. In preparation for the exhibit, Nathan teamed up with local artisans to help fulfill his upcoming furniture design collection Aguakultura, which is inspired by a newcomer’s invitation to explore more of what Pangasinan’s  diverse creative landscapes have to offer.

Go deeper into the Anakbanwa Arts Exhibition as it opens to the public on October 9, 2022 at the General Douglas MacArthur House, West Central School, Dagupan City. The exhibit will run until November 6, 2022 and showcase outputs made by the creative residents, as well as work by local creatives from the 4th District of Pangasinan (@explorepd4). Part of the proceeds of the sales from the exhibit will go to the rehabilitation of the frontage of the MacArthur House and for Anakbanwa’s third cycle.

For more details and updates, you may follow Anakbanwa’s Facebook and Instagram page @anakbanwa.