Portrait of JOVEN CUANANG. Courtesy Wigs Tysman / Philippine Tatler. 

A Second Life

Joven Cuanang

While surveying the Indigenous and contemporary Philippine art in the sunlit, al fresco galleries of Pinto Art Museum, I chanced upon a canvas by painter Winner Jumalon depicting a man with his shirt unbuttoned, exposing a scar across his chest. The stern-faced figure is Joven Cuanang, founder of the ten-year-old museum, located in a picturesque two-hectare botanical garden in the hillside city of Antipolo, an hour’s bus ride from Metro Manila. In 1997, Cuanang suffered a heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass surgery. The 2006 painting, Second Life Portrait, acknowledges Cuanang’s near-death experience, and the symbolic renewal of his life at the age of 57.

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