Located across Pakil’s Centuries-Old Church of San Pedro de Alcantara is the ancestral home of painter and illustrator Danny Dalena.
Every time we’re in Pakil, we end up admiring the artworks that can be seen from street through the huge windows of the reconstructed bahay-na-bato. In one of our visits to the town, we’ve been fortunate to have entered the Dalena House-Museum and met artist Danny Dalena.
Danilo Echavaria Dalena graduated with a fine arts degree from the University of Santo Tomas. He became known for raising the standards of editorial art in the Philippines during the early 1970s with his political cartoons and illustrations for the Free Press and Asia-Philippine Reader.
Some of his famous works are the powerful Jai-Alai series of paintings from 1974 to 1979 and Alibangbang series in the 1980s, which depicted sordid details of a once popular beer joint located in Cubao.
Dalena returned to his native Pakil where the artist found new artistic inspiration in folk customs and lifestyle of his hometown. The walls of the Dalena residence display a collection of the artist’s works.
Location inspires artistic creation. Art and design writer Alessandra Hermano had observed that an artist’s studio “offers a more intimate view of an artist. It is a mythical place where his or her imagination is transformed into material reality. In the studio, surrounded by objects, views, sound and smell that engender and foster the creative acts, artists have an environment that supports their life’s work.”
Viewing the artworks in the Dalena House tells about stories of Pakil and Dalena’s family history. Paintings that depict his views of modern life and the local customs are line the wall along the stairs.
Huge windows of the bahay-na-bato allow fresh mountain breeze to enter the ancestral home. A vintage barber’s chair below the staircase is a perfect spot for people watching.
Art and culture thrives at every corner in Pakil. However, the Pakileños artistic expressions are not just limited to colonial religious art and traditions and contemporary artworks. The town is also famous for the Delicate Art of Wood Shaving.