San Pablo in Laguna, the City of Seven Lakes, is known for its scenic beauty and timeless history. Nesting at the foothills of Mount Cristobal and Mount Banahaw, it is an urban agricultural community rich in coconut plantations and aqua culture. Fast becoming a hub for government and private enterprises, including an SM mall, it is emerging as a premier tourist destination.
With its breathtaking beauty and rich culture, San Pablo has been a source of inspiration of many artists.
It was during My City, My SM, My Art, which celebrated San Pablo and Laguna’s vibrant art scene that Patis Tesoro met Lito Ballaran, and was impressed with his work.
Patis, of course, is an artist and fashion designer, social activist and heritage conservationist, entrepreneur and lifestyle icon who has made San Pablo her home for the past few years. Bursting with creative energy, she is an advocate of bringing out the best in Filipino artistry – from her embroidery, fiber, woodworks, sketches and drawings – showcasing the artistic Filipino heritage that the rest of the world came to admire.
Lito, on the other hand, was born in beautiful San Pablo and seems to have been born to paint watercolors. His watercolor paintings are full of emotions and reveal a very sensitive nature. With his impressive body of work, Lito has been appointed official co-representative by the International Watercolor Society for their Philippine branch.
They got together for lunch during Don Ado’s advanced birthday celebration, and the group were all amazed by Lito’s style. Patis came up with the idea to have a weekly painting session.
Since all are passionate about food and art, they all agreed and volunteered to host and prepare food for the art session.
Since that time, the group meets and paints every Sunday, usually doing still life, landscapes and indoor sceneries while sharing an afternoon of laughter, stories and good food.
The group is composed of prominent personalities in San Pablo City and Laguna Province.
Don Ado Escudero comes from a prominent family from San Pablo. He is the President and General Manager of Villa Escudero Plantation Resort, which today has a worldwide reputation as a showcase of the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines, offering a beguiling glimpse of its history, cuisine, dress, customs, and natural beauty.
Chef Day Salonga and his sister Gel come from Santa Cruz, Laguna, which is considered the melting pot of Quezon and Laguna. It is here that they set up the ancestral house turned restaurant called Aurora Filipino Cuisine along with business partner, Mon Urbano.
Apart from art and food, the group enjoys shopping at SM, the place that had a big role in bringing them together.