PASYALANG PASKO | Watch: ‘Tree of Life’ is Naga City’s newest modern attraction


Video courtesy of Robinsons Place Naga

Historic churches, natural springs, eco parks, and a lot of other natural attractions make Naga City in Camarines Sur a popular tourist destination. And now, to add to its variety of offerings is is the first permanent major digital art installation in the Philippines.

Hundreds of local residents as well as tourists have been flocking to Robinsons Place Naga to enjoy the premier mall’s unique digital art experience called “Tree of Life.”

Internationally recognized Fil-Am public artist and landscape architect Jefre Manuel created the 15-meter fiberglass sculpture designed with bright-colored gabi (taro) leaves as an homage to the popular root crop of the province. Manuel is also known for designing the Miss America beauty pageant crown.

The animation runs for only three minutes and features a play of lights, music, and animated images of nature elements and creatures.

Images of the ocean and its cratures are projected through video projection mapping at ‘The Tree of Life’ show at Robinsons Place in Naga City. Image courtesy of RLC.
Animated images are projected through video projection mapping at ‘The Tree of Life’ show at Robinsons Place in Naga City. Image courtesy of RLC.
Tourists and local residents view Robinsons Place Naga’s ‘Tree of Life’ digital art installation that was launched in time for the holiday season. Photo courtesy of RLC.

Manuel, whose other larger-than-life art pieces can be viewed in a corporate building and public park in Metro Manila, shared in his press statement, “Each animation tells a story about rebirth, “Rebirth is about evolving and improving oneself. It means adapting to accommodate today’s situation. [With this art installation,] I want to instill the feeling of hope for sustaining and enduring a better future.”

In a separate press statement, Manuel said he is happy to have brought a piece of modern art to Naga City: “I’m incredibly interested in the idea of having a public art project in the province because it represents the idea of where you’re being nurtured,” the artist shared. “During vacation, people return to their roots in the province because that’s where you learn your morals and your values.”

Manuel noted that his public art pieces have always been shaped by the culture and the environment he is working with.

Gabi or taro leaves, a popular ingredient in Bicolano cuisine is shown through video mapping projection at ‘The Tree of Life’ show at Robinsons Place Naga. Image courtesy of RLC.

“Naga is one of the oldest cities in the Philippines, with a rich history that dates back to the very beginning of Spanish occupancy in the country. It’s culture and traditions deserve celebration and recognition”, JEFRË adds. “Through this sculpture, we want to connect Naga’s regional identity with modern aesthetics to celebrate its past, present, and the very course of its future as one of the premier cities in the country.”

The unveiling of the show was held on November 28 through a program hosted by singer and TV personality Karylle. To let people know more about Manuel’s special creation for Naga, the singer and TV host interviewed Manuel. Later, she performed a heartwarming rendition of the classic Filipino Christmas song, “Kumukutikutitap.”

Seen gracing the launch were Mrs. Farah Bongat, wife of Naga City mayor John Bongat; Naga City Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion; Reuel Oliver, Head of the Naga City Investment Board; Allen Reondanga, Head of City Events and Protocol; Arlene Magtibay, SVP and GM of Robinsons Land Corporation; and Romar Vasquez, KBP Cam Sur President.

Daily shows start at 6 p.m. and are presented at 30-minute intervals. To learn more about The Tree of Life display, check Robinsons Place Naga on Facebook.