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It's a small world for these miniaturists

By PAULO ALCAZAREN, The Philippine STAR Published Aug 29, 2020 8:47 am

Last week we featured two hobbyists, Albert Labrador and Edon Fabreo, who shrunk their worlds to fit their quarantined homes. I shared The Philippine STAR feature on my Facebook page and it garnered close to 2,000 likes and over 2,000 shares.

One image from the article — the miniature of a tandem Lhuillier and LBC shop — went viral and got 27,000 likes and 12,000 shares!

So this week we feature a sequel, and visit two more modelers, one based in Bohol and the other in Cebu.

Biyaya's ships sail on their tabletop.

Langit Biyaya Miguel: 12-year-old paper modeler

We start with a 12-year-old schoolboy who lives in Tagbilaran. His name is Langit Biyaya and he’s currently in grade six at Bohol Wisdom School in Tagbilaran.

I found him through his father, book designer and painter Felix Mago Miguel (whom I featured a few weeks ago in “Artists in Quarantine”).

Langit Biyaya (I love his name) makes scratch-built models of navy ships and planes. This means that it is not made from kits you buy from a store.

Biyaya's fleet is docked in Bohol.

Paulo Alcazaren: When did you start this hobby?

Langit Biyaya:  I started doing paper modeling only about a month ago. Before this, my hobby was using clay to make miniature dioramas. Like my father, I also spend a lot of time drawing.

What was your inspiration to take on this hobby?

I was inspired by the modelers I see on YouTube.

Langit’s dad, Felix, says, “He actually asked me to buy him a model of a particular ship, which he wanted to put together himself. But I said that it was not in our budget right now, and it was difficult to order, so he started making his own from scrap paper and white glue!”

Biyaya's material cost for each model is just one of those coins.

How did you start?

I began by researching on the net and making anti-aircraft guns then I moved to cockpits, airplanes, and lately, ships (air carriers and cruisers).

From his dad: “He was actually sad that we lost a cockpit that he spent three days working on. We had visitors one day (Bohol is only in GCQ) and it got lost when we did some cleaning.”

What do you want to study in college? Will this hobby help?

I want to be an architect, sculptor, and a marine biologist.

Felix and Langit Biyaya bike around the beautiful province of Bohol, where the coastal roads are well-built and allow access to wonderful beaches, mangroves and other natural blessings; hence, the interest in marine biology. Well, at least the model making will help in the architecture and sculpting part!

Physical therapist Lyka Aya-ay has been making miniatures since 2012. Photo from Facebook

Lyka Mae Aya-ay: Serving mini food and drinks

We visit another miniaturist across the straits in Cebu.

Lyka Mae Aya-ay makes miniature food. It was not because of a need to diet, I believe (as she looks svelte), but because of her fascination stemming from her childhood collectibles.

Lyka's mini version of Jollibee's Set A meal, with Chickenjoy, spaghetti, Jolly fries, a drink and even extra rice.

I found Lyka and her miniature masterpieces on the FB Group that Edon (from last week) is a member of.  She sent me these fantastic images (taken by herself and others by Jed Galang of Grid Concepts, a Cebuano food stylist/ photographer).

What do you do for a living, and when did you start this hobby?

I live in Cebu City, Cebu, and I am a physical therapist by profession. I have been making miniatures since 2012, back when I was still a college student.

What was your inspiration for this hobby?

I was always fascinated with miniatures even as a child, because I used to collect Polly Pockets (a Mattel product line of dolls and accessories). I've always been into art and experimenting with mixed media. When I got a little older, I figured I could make these trinkets myself with polymer clay.

Lyka's finger foods are exactly that size.

How has this hobby helped you in this quarantine?

I've always been an indoors-loving type of person. I keep myself busy with my hobbies. During this quarantine I had the chance to really sit down and not worry about how long I spend working on my craft, since it can be really time-consuming, depending on how intricate my project is. This quarantine I've had the chance to work on projects that I had put on hold.

How much time do you spend on this hobby?

Since I still have work as a therapist in the daytime, I devote around two to three hours a day. But on weekends I can work on my miniatures all day. Also, during this quarantine, I've had the chance to collaborate with other people (via our FB group page) and experiment more with the craft.

Low-calorie dessert.

What are your other hobbies?

They mostly involve arts and crafts. I paint and sketch. Currently, I am also learning the cello.

Lyka and Langit Biyaya prove that hobbies need not be expensive or require a lot of space to indulge in. This quarantine period provides the main ingredients: time and the opportunity to focus on your interests. These two miniaturists, however, balance their indulgences with other pursuits like graphic arts, music and nature trekking.

(Feedback is welcome. Please email the writer at [email protected].)