It was been a while setting my feet again to National Museum.    It was an honor to be back again and what more to cover the book launch of Isabelo Tampinco.

To those of you who do not know him,  the famous facade of the Manila Cathedral, the high relief on Santo Domingo Church’s molave door, and the main altar at the Laoag Cathedral—these are just few of the masterpieces created by Isabelo Tampinco, one of the greatest Filipino sculptors.

Known for his woodcarvings in churches, Tampinco endeavored to create a distinct Filipino style by infusing his carvings and sculptures with native flora and fauna designs, a classic style that would come to be known by his name.

This month, Vibal Foundation celebrates the artistry of Tampinco as it publishes The Life and Art of Isabelo Tampinco by Dr. Santiago Albano Pilar, a book that explores his life and the influences that molded the style he created.

Tampinco presents a comprehensive gallery of his extant works as well as archival photographs of his lost masterpieces. While the ravages of war obliterated much of his work, what remains—showcased in the book—cements Tampinco’s status as one of the greatest Filipino masters.

For his exceptional talent and skill, Vibal Foundation and the National Museum gave tribute to the master sculptor during an event held last August 22 at the National Museum. Author Santiago Albano Pilar, who dedicated over ten years to his in-depth research on Tampinco’s life and works, graced the event and spoke to members of the press about how important it is to revisit the country’s past to further develop a national identity.

“Revisiting our past does not simply mean unlocking deep, dark secrets of how our country and our people used to be,” said Dr. Pilar. “It is a rediscovery of our rich cultural heritage and through hundreds of forgotten master artists, such as Isabelo Tampinco, an exquisite part of our heritage lives on which allows us to shape our society today.”

The event also allowed guests to tour the National Museum’s Fundacion Santiago Hall, which houses notable Tampinco sculptures dating back to the nineteenth century.

The launch of the book is another proud success for Vibal Foundation, Inc., the corporate philanthropy arm of Vibal Group. “The Vibal Group extends its commitment and responsibility by focusing on education in the broadest sense of the word and we believe that there is so much to be learned about our country and heritage,” said Gus A. Vibal, executive director of Vibal Foundation and president of the Vibal Group of Companies.

During the media launch, Vibal premiered a video documentary entitled Estilo Tampinco, which chronicles the rediscovery of the seemingly forgotten master. The video contains interviews with the author Santiago Albano Pilar; Jeremy Barns, director of the National Museum and editor of the book; and Tampinco aficionados and art collectors Ernie Salas and Don Conrado Escudero.

The Life and Art of Isabelo Tampinco is the latest art book under Vibal Foundation’s Arte Filipino series that includes The Life, Art, and Times of Damian Domingo; The Life and Art of Botong Francisco, The Life and Art of Lee Aguinaldo, The Life and Art of David Medalla, and The Life and Art of Francisco Coching.

The Life and Art of Isabelo Tampinco will be available at National Bookstore, Fully Booked, Powerbooks, and other major bookstores nationwide.

For inquiries and reservations, please call Vibal sales department at 712.9156 or email

For more information about Vibal Foundation, visit