By Jewel Chuaunsu
Crimson Resort and Spa, Boracay presents the 50 Shades of Blue art exhibition.
Boracay is known for its world-class beaches and bustling nightlife scene. But a lot has changed in recent years—the island was closed for rehabilitation in 2018, and tourism was affected by the pandemic in 2020. Since then, Boracay has reopened and rebranded itself with a new identity, from party island to family destination.
Crimson Resort and Spa, Boracay believes that developing the local art and culture scene can play a part in showing a different side of Boracay. In line with this, the resort has initiated an extensive arts and culture program, led by General Manager Patrick Manthe.
Since he started working at Crimson one and a half years ago, Manthe has sought to establish the resort as a creative hub, “drawing inspiration from the beauty of its location, the secluded white beach and pristine waters, the contemporary architecture design of the resort, and not least, the uplifting energy of the people working here.” Aside from providing luxury accommodations, Manthe envisions giving their guests a deeper layer of experience by stimulating their imagination and creativity.
“We all grow up full of curiosity, creativity, and an urge to explore the unknown and new. However, most of us get caught up in the daily challenges of our life and forget to make time to let our imagination run free, and with that, rediscover the creative spirit within ourselves. I truly believe in the healing power of art in all its forms, be it through music, dance, painting, sculpting, fashion design, or any other activity that sparks creativity,” says Manthe, who is a painter himself.
As part of their mission to “encourage guests’ imagination, and to foster local talents and give them a platform to showcase their artistic work,” Crimson organized 50 Shades of Blue—an art exhibition featuring the biggest ever curation of artworks in Boracay.
The resort issued an open call, inviting professional and amateur artists to submit one original artwork under the theme, “Shades of Blue.” The participants were given free rein to interpret the theme in their own way and to choose their medium, be it painting, mixed media, photography, or sculpture. Almost 200 artists from all over the country submitted entries. This was narrowed down to 50 of the best artworks, shortlisted by a panel of judges, including renowned artists Nemesio “Nemi” Miranda, Juno Galang, August Santiago, and Crimson artist-in-residence Eric Egualada.
The selected artworks for 50 Shades of Blue were put on display and for sale at Crimson Resort and Spa, Boracay for the month of June. These were automatically entered into a competition for the best professional and best amateur artworks, with both winners receiving P30,000 cash prize and a two-night stay at Crimson.
The judges were unanimous in choosing the winners—Ruka Azuma (“Funfetti”) for the amateur category, and Ian Maigan (“ProsperiTree in Blue”) for the professional category. Ruka Azuma is a 22-year-old Filipino-Japanese multi-disciplinary artist and filmmaker currently residing in Parañaque City. Ian Maigan uses clusters of circles to create landscapes that evoke time, space, and emotions. Hailing from Baler, Aurora, Maigan currently lives in Silang, Cavite.
Even before 50 Shades of Blue, Crimson has been offering a full slate of art events and activities. A key collaborator in their program is their artist-in-residence Eric Egualada, who holds painting classes for kids and adults, and Sip and Paint sessions. He also has his own artist’s studio where guests can drop by to see him at work.
Crimson supports young local artists from Boracay and Aklan through their mentorship program called Arts in Youth. For its most recent batch, ten students were mentored by Egualada over several weeks. At the end of it, their artworks were displayed at the resort for the month of May.
With Art on a Plate, Crimson offers a feast for the senses. The multi-course dinner at Mosaic restaurant includes live painting by Egualada in tandem with a guest musician or performer -creating a memorable interaction between food, art, music, and performance.
Alongside these activities, Crimson organizes regular art exhibitions, fashion shows, dance performances, photography workshops, culinary events, and more.
Manthe wants to build on the successful launch of 50 Shades of Blue and make it even bigger next year. He also plans to initiate an art and music festival, and arts and crafts fair in the future.
A true creative hub, Crimson Resort and Spa, Boracay continues to nurture the nascent art scene in Boracay by giving local artists a platform.