Art lover Enrico Manlapaz left quietly in April this year, but left an enormous material and spiritual legacy that has kept his near and dear ones busy classifying, indexing, collating and re-arranging things in the late collector's Antipolo City house. They have designated his bedroom the Enrico JL Manlapaz gallery by appointment.
Joel Ajero, a sculptor-carpenter who works with old wood and wrought iron, described Manlapaz, who is also his brother-in-law, as "more of a loner but when in a group, he could be the life of a party. His intelligence found expression in his love for music and the arts. You won't see him dressed like me in sando or kamiseta and shorts, even in the house. He was always properly dressed and well-groomed."
It fell on the shoulders of the deceased's relatives like Ajero and children, Manlapaz's older brother Romeo and sister-in-law Edna, his loyal assistant Harpy Valerio, an art studies graduate of the University of the Philippines now taking her masters in archeology, to sift through the voluminous Filipiniana and Orientalia left behind.
Ajero said he was aware that his in-law was a collector, but when he was alive, he (Ajero) did not go beyond the receiving area. Not until he entered Manlapaz's private quarters after his demise from lymphoma that he realized the enormous scale of the collection.
|Biomorphic vase by Anne de Guzman|
|Flower vase by Ugu Bigyan|
|Heart vase by Nelfa Querubin|
|Manlapaz's stoneware collection|
She said Manlapaz "had a very hip attitude. Young artists could converse with him freely without losing their respect for him. He liked collaborating with them, conceptualizing works, including the images that should go into them, then having these concepts executed by painters."
As for the collecting bug that bit Manlapaz for the longest time, Valerio said he did not just one items one by one or in small amounts. "It was bulto-bulto (in big volumes), even the stalactites and crystals. And he couldn't be deceived by the sellers because he did extensive research on these things. He knew what he was buying."
He was also aware of artists' financial situation and lent them money or bought their works outright instead of asking them to consign these.
|"Passion," oil painting by Norman Dreo|
|Painting collection includes those by Norma Belleza and Mario Parial|
|Sculpture by Jun Vicaldo|
|"Distressed Flower," oil and powder on canvas by Ian Unsana|
|Buddhas displayed on terrace|
He liked to question popular beliefs on meditation, for example. He wrote, "Why meditate to practice the Presence? Everything that happens to you, everything that occurs within you and everything you think, say, or do, all emanate from the Divine in you."
|Writing table of the late Enrico Manlapaz|
To ask for an appointment for a private viewing of the Enrico JL Manlapaz Gallery, email email@example.com.--Text by Elizabeth Lolarga, first published by Vera Files / Yahoo Philippines, Nov. 9, 2012.
Photos by Mike Ajero