MADE 2023

Stronger Ties, Bolder Strides: Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE 2023) Announces 7 Winners

For MADE 2023, two grand awardees and three special citations were recognized for the Painting program, while the Sculpture program forges a grand awardee and a special citation

Words and images Janine Bernardo of Metrobank Foundation (MADE 2023)

Editor’s note: What follows is a supplied press release from the Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE 2023), which we have edited for brevity. is a proud media partner of the 2023 MADE competition

Seven visual artists have emerged victorious among the over 400 who participated in the 2023 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE 2023) competition organized by the Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI). The theme for this year’s competition was “Connect: Stronger Ties, Bolder Strides,” which encouraged young artists from all over the country to take risks and seize new opportunities to unlock their full potential. The theme highlights the transformative power of creative collaborations, showcasing how art can transcend boundaries and create linkages.

“In our 39 years of sustained service to the art community, it is our privilege to care for artworks that reflect the soul of our nation. As we approach our 40th year, we look back at tradition while braving the times. In the journey ahead, we will continue to champion not only excellence, but also the sustainable development of our artists and the nation’s artistic tapestry,” shared MBFI president Aniceto M. Sobrepeña.

Out of many, seven.

This year, 402 entries were received for the competition, and seven talented Filipino painters and sculptors were chosen by the esteemed Board of Judges to receive awards. Two of the awardees were named as Grand Awardees for the Painting Recognition Program and are set to receive a cash incentive of P350,000, as well as a scholarship worth P150,000 at the Linangan Art Residency, which is part of the Foundation’s commitment to support their artistic development. Additionally, three more artists received the Special Citation for the Painting Recognition Program, each winning a cash prize of P100,000.

In addition, one Grand Awardee for the Sculpture Recognition Program will receive a cash incentive of P500,000, while another artist will be awarded the Special Citation, receiving a cash incentive of P100,000.

All seven MADE 2023 awardees will receive the “More” Trophy, which was designed and created by 2007 Metrobank Foundation Prize for Achievement in Sculpture winner, Juan Sajid. The trophy, called “More,” signifies the growth of hundreds of homegrown talents that have been recognized and presented to the larger sphere of the art community.

The awardees will also become part of the MADE – Network of Winners, an alumni organization of past winners that implements pay-it-forward projects in aid of marginalized sectors.

This year’s Final Board of Judges was led by artist, educator, and consultant Sandra Palomar and co-chaired by Qube Gallery founder Maris Holopainen. Other members of the Board include visual artist and sculptor Kublai Millan, painter Golda King, visual artist Raffy Napay, sculptor Richard Buxani, and curator and educator Laya Boquiren-Gonzales.

“On behalf of my fellow panelists, I congratulate this year’s MADE 2023 awardees for their artistic rigor and ingenious allegories. Not only do their artworks reflect truthful conditions and enduring values of Filipinos—they urge careful consideration of the persistence of figuration in Philippine contemporary art,” said Palomar.

Celebration of creative excellence

The MADE 2023 awardees will be formally recognized during the Awarding Ceremony & Exhibit Opening on September 21 as part of Metrobank’s 61st anniversary celebration at The Metropolitan Museum of Manila in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig. Co-presented with Samsung Philippines, the exhibit will be open to the public from September 22 to October 6.

MADE 2023
“More” MADE 2023 trophy by 2007 Metrobank Foundation Prize for Achievement in Sculpture winner, Juan Sajid

MADE 2023

Painting Program

G R A N D   A W A R D E E                                   
Oil/Acrylic on Canvas Category

Jowee Anne M. Aguinaldo
Puro Kahig, Walang Matuka
(All Scratch, No Peck)

Jowee Anne Aguinaldo’s painting, “Puro Kahig, Walang Matuka,” won the Grand Award in the Oil/Acrylic on Canvas category. It portrays the plight of Filipino farmers whose livelihoods get little support. The farmers are working tirelessly on barren land, forming the image of a dinner table, which symbolizes togetherness. The painting highlights the irony of farmers working to put food on everyone’s table except their own. The colors of the farmers’ clothes allude to the Philippine flag, emphasizing the central message of the work. Aguinaldo’s painting raises awareness of the farmers’ situation and the need to support them.

MADE 2023

S P E C I A L   C I T A T I O N
Oil/Acrylic on Canvas Category

Dexter B. Cinco
Prima Custos (First Guardian)

Bagging the Special Citation in the Oil/Acrylic on Canvas category, Dexter Cinco’s “Prima Custos” serves as a heartfelt homage to elderly members of society, recognizing their wisdom and nurturing role in the lives of the youth, as reflected in the Latin title, “first guardian.” This artwork is divided into two distinct parts, each narrating a unique story. Cinco’s meticulous attention to detail in portraying her grandmother symbolizes her longing to comprehend the experiences of the older generation, infusing the piece with a profound sense of love and care, akin to the bond between parents and children. “Prima Custos” is deeply personal yet conveys a warmhearted message of loyalty and honor towards those who raised us.

MADE 2023

S P E C I A L   C I T A T I O N
Oil/Acrylic on Canvas Category

Jonas Miguel S. Arlegui
Pagitan (In-between)

In “Pagitan”, Jonas Miguel Arlegui highlights the contrast between earthly objects and beings. The landscape is characterized by monotony and incongruous shapes, with a landfill on one end and a large number of people on the other end. Despite their close proximity, the individuals seem alienated from each other. The painting is dominated by shades of grey with communication lines obstructing the view. Arlegui incorporates religious allegory in his work by including a telephone pole with an image of the cross. The lines meeting and intersecting on the pole symbolize the connections we make during our time on Earth. Through his artwork, Arlegui reminds us of the importance of these connections to prevent us from feeling isolated and despairing.

G R A N D   A W A R D E E
Water Media on Paper Category

Jerome G. Santos
Ha(PAG PAG)kaing pinagkainan (“Pagpag” recycled leftover food))

In Jerome Santos’ “ha(PAG PAG)kaing pinagkainan,” the Grand Awardee in the Watermedia on Paper category, he vividly explores the practice of “pagpag,” which involves scavenging for discarded food from restaurants and fast-food chains to be repurposed as a fresh meal. In this powerful artwork, a table set for three is adorned with refried bones and leftover scraps overflowing in buckets, while piles of rubbish form a backdrop, with small creatures eagerly seeking their share. The group of men dining appears unfazed, their attention turned beyond the frame. Santos’ use of watermedia intensifies the unique perspective presented in the piece, cleverly juxtaposing humor and wit with the gravity of the issue. This depiction of “pagpag” initiates a profound conversation, shedding light on interconnected issues and bringing awareness to the lived experiences of Filipinos in poverty-stricken communities.

S P E C I A L   C I T A T I O N
Water Media on Paper Category

Zarlien M. Delgado
Some threads are made of flesh and blood

“Threads Made of Flesh and Blood,” recipient of the Special Citation in the Watermedia on Paper category, intricately weaves a multi-generational family portrait that straddles the boundary between craftsmanship and fine art, chronicling a timeless tale of honor and love nurtured within the home. Zarlien Delgado immortalizes her family’s enduring legacy of dressmaking, passed down from her grandmother and lovingly inherited from her mother. Within this painting, the artist vividly materializes a profound passion that takes root in the heart and soul, manifesting as a tangible thread binding generations together. The deep red hue evokes passionate emotions of love and dedication, reminiscent of the unwavering toil and effort invested in reaching this point. Interwoven within the artwork are narratives of domesticity, femininity, and maternity, exuding an aura of warmth and embrace, while also prompting contemplation about the pivotal roles mothers play in shaping the lives and identities of their daughters.

Sculpture Program

G R A N D   A W A R D E E                                   

Abril Dominic A. Valdemoro
Last Trip

Abril Dominic Valdemoro, the Grand Awardee for the Sculpture Recognition Program, pays homage to the vital roles of jeepney drivers as both public workers and cultural icons in his marine epoxy resin sculpture, “Last Trip.” Valdemoro’s artistry shines through as he skillfully blends local materials with classical visual elements, crafting a relaxed and lifelike figure in the contrapposto style. Notably, he incorporates redesigned jeepney placards, which serve as both armor and a winged headpiece, reminiscent of Hermes, the Greek god of speed and travel. The inscriptions “God Bless Our Trip” and “In God We Trust” echo religious motifs commonly found on public transport vehicles, underscoring our vibrant culture and identity. This sculpture beautifully captures the enduring strength of the Filipino spirit in the face of adversity, symbolized by the jeepney drivers who represent countless Filipinos on their individual journeys, ultimately serving as a heartfelt tribute to their unwavering dedication and commitment on the road.

S P E C I A L   C I T A T I O N

Michael Art M. de Leon
Mundong Pinagisa Ng Tubig
(World United By Water)

Michael Art de Leon’s resin sculpture, “Mundong Pinagisa ng Tubig,” awarded with the Special Citation in the Sculpture Recognition Program, delves into the intricate relationship between water and humanity, symbolizing the fluid interplay that permeates our social and cultural systems, shaping our interactions and exchanges. Within this art piece, a partially submerged figure of a man emerges from a pool of crystal-clear blue liquid. De Leon’s masterful use of resin to materialize water infuses the sculpture with dimension and a sense of dynamic stillness, creating a serene, almost primordial scene that captures an intimate convergence of man and water. The ivory-like quality of the figure and the glass-like sheen of the water serve as a poignant portrayal of the delicate yet charged conditions surrounding these elemental forces. Through this work, we are encouraged to reevaluate our primal connection with water, offering a profound opportunity to shift our perception of the world and influence our actions toward our environment.

The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) was established on January 8, 1979 by Dr. George S. K. Ty, sixteen (16) years after he founded the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank). MBFI envisions to be the country’s premier corporate philanthropic foundation contributing a significant impact on social development.  Its flagship programs include the Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos; Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE); Metrobank Scholarship Program (MSP); Metrobank MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge (MMC); Grants and Social Development Partnerships, Disaster Response, National Teachers’ Month (NTM) celebration, and the Metrobank Foundation Professorial Chair Lectures. MBFI is also the principal owner of the Manila Doctors Hospital (MDH), one of the leading centers of wellness in the country.  

As a development organization, MBFI aims to uplift individuals and the sectors they represent and strategically link with institutions for a shared-purpose. By creating and propagating a culture of excellence and providing solutions to stakeholder’s needs, the Foundation continuously expands its scope of reach and is at the forefront in serving communities. As the heart of the Metrobank Group, “Excel. Engage. Empower” or the 3Es remains its roadmap. 

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