Little-known fact: I used to draw a lot. 

I drew as much as I wrote on any available surface: my cabinet, the backs of receipts, my nursing notes. Nothing like structured art pieces, but doodles and cartoony, silly things. Lots of it, done in ink, poster paint or pencil eye liner.

  Back in college I used to draw caricatures of my classmates on sticker paper and sell them for 5php each (and they actually bought it!). I know I wasn’t very good at it, but it was something I really enjoyed.

Back then, I also wanted to be a USC CAFA (now SAFAD) girl, very very badly.

Me and my friends had these DeviantArt accounts, too. Mine was especially awful (and it’s better if we don’t get into it lol). But you get the picture. I love pretty, whimsical things. And even if I wasn’t talented enough to be a veritable art person, I still support the local art scene, in my own little way.

Look it's me making chika. LOL. Photo by Scott Pacaldo 

A few weeks ago, Scott invited me to tag along to the 2nd Cebu Zine Fest held at 856G Gallery. I missed the first one last year, so I was pretty stoked to go.

What is Cebu Zine Fest?

 According to the FB event page: Cebu Zine Fest is an annual festival that is dedicated to celebrating and promoting DIY publishing and alternative media. 

"When your local artists decide to take matters in their own hands and actually publish tangible stuff."

In my head, I was curious: nganong mu-bother man sila ug buhat ani? This kind of thing is never easy, especially in our little island of Cebu. The amount of sheer talent in the island is mind-blowing, the community is tight-knit but I think the support it gets is never quite enough. 

The art scene in the city, if you ask me, is more of a sub-culture; an undercurrent in a big sea of people who only want to make it through the next payday. I should know, I'm part of the zombie workforce, most days.

So why make an effort to go out on a limb and make art, let alone publish it?

Here's what I found out:

These people love what they are doing

Like me, they enjoy making beautiful, scary, crazy wonderful things. Unlike me, they're actually good and brave enough to publish their work. Some of them do it for a living, full time.

Cebu Zine Fest was basically an art gallery full of cool-ass people. Like what Scott mentioned in an article in zerothreetwo, it was pretty neat that they did the event at an art gallery instead of the mall. Profit-wise, the artists would've made more halin at a more public venue. Doing it in art gallery, however, meant that the ones who are really interested were there. So I guess it was a win-win. 

There were zines of every shape, size and color, hand-made stickers, postcards, posters and even books on poetry and short stories.

I was just pretty happy that this kind of community still thrives, against all odds.

Like I said earlier, it’s not easy to be an artist in a third-world island. Production costs are higher, the scene is smaller, the "mainstream" public will most likely prefer "known" and foreign artists, if they could be bothered at all. Some of the artists we met make their work by hand, or run to a Colon printer with very specific instructions on how to print the zine the way they want it to. 

However, despite this, our artists still make art and I think they deserve all the confetti in the world for that. *confetti!*

Seeing the amount of talent here at Cebu Zine Fest actually made me less of a cynic and more of an optimist. The works we saw were so, so good, you couldn't help but think that this community will only grow over time. I really hope they will. I want more people to support local artists. This is not just drawing-drawing ra. They're expressions of who are are as a city, as a culture. 

This here is ace homegrown talent, and we should support them.

In the age of the internet and social media, it’s pretty difficult to find hand-made creations or hardcopies of digital art. It’s even harder still to find them all in one place. That one place was Cebu Zine Fest and I was happy to be there. :)

PS, follow these local artists and more on IG and show some love!



K x

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