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Reimagining Rizal (or how to depict Philippine history in fashion)

By Nice Rodriguez Published Nov 17, 2021 5:00 am

When artists Marcel Antonio, Dengcoy Miel, and Therese Cruz look back at the Revolution of 1896, the results are, what else, but revolutionary.

In an alternate universe, was Rizal a superhero with laser beams coming out of his eyes, ready to defy tyrants in his way? This was illustrated in Miel’s artwork, “Super Rizal.”

  Super Rizal

Or was he a man with a stern look, ever prepared for his destiny? That was the depiction of the national hero in Marcel’s artwork, “Laong Laan.”

Laong Laan

Or maybe Rizal was just a simple Filipino cat lover, without his overcoat. This was interpreted in Therese’s artwork, “Pusa at Pilibustero.”

Pusa at Pilibustero

These three artists went hysterical — rather, historical — when they created a clothing collection for the brand Pilibustero consisting of T-shirts, pullovers, button-down shirts, and satchel bags.

The fighting spirit is shown in the Laban artwork by Dengcoy; the psychedelic and mosaic Heneral Luna artworks by Marcel; and the Mabini and Bonifacio artworks by Therese.

Marcel Antonio: A prize among collectors

Marcel Antonio, in a digital self-portrait

A Filipino painter considered among the best in Philippine contemporary art, and a graduate of the University of the Philippines' College of Fine Arts, Antonio has produced a distinctive collection of narrative and pseudo-narrative figurative paintings influenced by modernism and 1980s postmodernism.

As one of our painters most proficient in the expressionist genre, Antonio’s work is currently prized among collectors in the Manila art market, his following granting the painter mainstream gallery success. The painter has had an unending series of sold-out exhibitions.

Marcel Antonio’s artwork depicts the ferocious Heneral Antonio Luna in a colorful, psychedelic finish.

In Manila, he has exhibited at major galleries like Galleria Duemila, The Drawing Room, Gallery BIG, Galleria Quattrocento and Glorietta Art Center, where his following includes both local and international buyers. He has also exhibited in Berlin, Australia and Singapore.

Dengcoy Miel: Our pride in Singapore, lah!

Dengcoy Miel is the genius who is the Philippines’ top art export to Singapore. His brilliant artworks have been used by international newspapers and books. 

Miel is the Philippines’ top export to Singapore where he is cartoonist, illustrator-designer, and senior executive artist at The Straits Times, Singapore’s top English-only daily newspaper. He received the National Cartoonists Society’s Newspaper Award for Illustration twice, in 2001 and 2014.

Dengcoy Miel’s Laban artwork, sums up the filibuster spirit of the revolution.

His work is published in newspapers such as Courrier International, The International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Newsweek.

His work has also been featured in international cartoon book compilations such as The Finest International Political Cartoons of Our Time, and in Daryl Cagle’s The Best Political Cartoons of the Year series. Two of his cartoons were recently included in Jean-Christophe Victor’s book, Un Oeil Sur Le Monde

Therese Cruz: Amazing journalist/artist

Therese Cruz amazes art lovers with her excellent, whimsical twists, making her debut as an artist at 57. While doing journalism, she was into cross-stitching and hand embroidery.

Nurtured with a love for Philippine art, culture, and history by her father E. Aguilar Cruz, Therese Cruz learned to draw at the ripe age of 57. She received her BA in journalism from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, proceeded to write stories for major newspapers and magazines, and survived newsroom life by doing cross-stitch and hand embroidery during editorial meetings.

She moved to Washington, DC to work at the LJC Restaurant Group’s “Manila in Georgetown” and later at the World Bank, where she knitted during lunch breaks and discovered her love for fiber art.

Therese Cruz's artwork depicts Mabini and Bonifacio, where one can almost hear them whispering to each other the tragedy of the Revolution.

She was soon designing her own patterns and spinning her own yarn. She went on early retirement to focus on art. She studied drawing and painting at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Washington, and pursued intensive classical training at Studio Escalier in France.

Therese paints at home, rendering master copies, transcriptions, and pastiches with whimsical twists. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her three “boyz,” Charley, Leroi, and Larry Brown.

* * *

The brand Pilibustero was created by enterprising siblings Jorrel Advincula and Joyce Advincula with the desire to save their parents’ sportswear business and continue giving employment to their workers during the pandemic. Both millennials from UP, Jorrel is now taking his master’s in history, while Joyce studied clothing technology. Their shirts are well-known in the academe and among history buffs.

The Pilibustero collection is available in limited quantity, each item gift-wrapped with a free limited-edition “Reimagined Rizal” postcard. The T-shirts come in Pilibustero’s color palette of brown, blue, and black.

For details, visit or call 0915-3218955.