Freeway presents: Botong Francisco

22 October 2012

It's that time of the year again, when well-dressed ladies and gentlemen troop to SM Mall of Asia to be dazzled by the Spring/ Summer collections of designers and brands from local shores: Philippine Fashion Week! From what I've seen, what you'll wear to the shows are almost as important as what the models on the ramp wear themselves. If you're stumped when it comes to sartorial choices, why not inject a little color and nationalistic pride to your PFW wardrobe?

Freeway did it again, and this time the spotlight is on Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco, National Artist for Visual Arts. Indeed, it couldn't have come at a better time as we also celebrate his 100th anniversary this year. 
Carlos V. Francisco ((Nov. 4, 1912-March 31, 1969) was born and raised in Angono, Rizal. Botong spent his college years at the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts and  in 1959 became the recipient of the Most Outstanding Alumnus award. It might surprise you to learn that he did not finish his degree because he was forced to work. Before the war, he became a professor at the University Of Santo Tomas School Of Architecture and Fine Arts. 
Botong Francisco single-handedly revived the forgotten art of mural and remained its most distinguished practitioner for nearly three decades. He was best known for his works which evidently depicted some of the country’s impactful historical moments and his pieces evoke a feel of our culture and tradition with vibrant colors and hues that capture his audience. He was one of the first Filipino modernists who revolutionized art and deviated Fernado Amorsolo’s romanticism of Philippines scenes. His works certainly attest his flawless skill in painting; some of which are Blood Compact, First Mass at Limasawa, The Martyrdom of Rizal, Bayanihan, Magpupukot, Fiesta, Bayanihan sa Bukid, Sandugo, Portrait of Purita, The Invasion of Limahong, Serenade, and Muslim Betrothal. Botong also spearheaded the discovery of the popular Angono Petroglyphs in 1965 and also had a brief stint in designing costumes for Philippines cinema. He was rewarded as the National Artist for Painting, considered as the greatest muralist of the country, and was also the 1964 Republic of the Philippines Cultural Heritage awardee.
It's amazing how Freeway immortalized Botong Francisco’s paintings to wearable art: from canvass to fabric. Freeway’s Holiday Collection honoring Botong Francisco consists of beautiful tailored dresses in woven poplins and soft materials like chiffon, a range of silhouettes of casual and corporate tops, plus fave gift items like accessories, watches, tote bags and more. The 25 piece collection comes in vibrant holiday colors, befitting the color palette of Botong Francisco’s paintings. Here are some of them:

The Freeway X Botong Francisco collection was launched last October 18 at The Row, Glorietta 1. Attended by fashion and art enthusiasts, media friends and bloggers and the family and friends of Botong, it was a splendid night of art, fashion and a grand presentation of Filipino talent. An art exhibition by the young children of Michael Blanco's Academy of Artists was held before the program, and it felt so humbling to see all those kids with such raw talent and passion, showcasing what they do best. You see, drawing was the one thing I forgot to learn how to do so whenever I encounter someone with the knack for it I just stand there in awe, questioning why I am not as talented but at the same time not harboring any ill feelings heehee. This was followed by the event proper hosted by premier actress Cherie Gil.

So beautiful and so regal. She looked amazing.
A short video presentation about Botong Francisco's life and works was featured, after which a fashion show was held featuring the 25 piece collection. While watching the show I ooh-ed and aah-ed and whispered "I want that" to my seatmates quite a few times LOL.

To shed more light into the human side of our National Artist, host Cherie Gil interviewed special guests Ino Manalo (Executive Director of the National Archives) and Carlos “Totong” Francisco II (grandson of Botong Francisco) who both shared interesting stories and trivia about Botong Francisco and his big influence in Philippines Art and Culture. Another guest who joined the art experts during the interview is former Governor of Tarlac, Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco who’s a passionate lover of art and fashion. 

I attended the event with these beautiful people:

Ava and Nicole
Rovie, Jen and Keigh
Me looking silly, Arnie and Kelly
Ana looking pretty with her curls and me looking less silly than in the photo above haha
My outfit that night
Headband - DIY | Top - from Bloggers United | Pants - Penshoppe
Black lace gloves - SM Dept Store | Heels - So Fab!
Memorabilia from that night: a bag with one of Botong Francisco's paintings!
I am so honored. Thank you, Freeway!
This year being Botong's 100th anniversary, there will be a series of events and celebrations throughout the year. To learn more details about these events and know more about the collection, please visit Freeway's official website. You may also Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. For inquiries and program updates on the Centennial, you may also email 


  1. bet na bet ko ang gloves mo krissy! so nice to see you there <3

    Rovie The Bargain Doll :)

  2. I love Freeway for always giving importance to our National Artists!

  3. Girl, I forgot to say hello and tell you that I super looove the gloves! ;)

  4. Whuuut why didn't I see you? x__x

  5.  I left early.. :( Wasn't able to mingle much..

  6. Oh okay. Hope to see you again soon, then!


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