A wonderful encounter with broadcast journalist, Mr. Howie Severino

I’ve known veteran and well-respected documentarist and journalist Mr. Howie Severino for a long time, but only in the way that most people know him — by name, and through his body of work. I’ve never met him in person. Therefore it took me by surprise a couple of weeks ago when I saw that he had followed me on Instagram. His IG was on private, but I requested to follow back anyway because… why not? πŸ˜€

At that time, it hadn’t been publicized that he unfortunately contracted Covid-19, and I only learned about it when he accepted my follow request and I got to see the photos on his feed. He also sent me this very touching direct message, and with his permission, I shared the gist of our encounter with my private list on IG Stories, and a few days later, on Twitter. Reposting the thread below for documentation.


While trying to deal with pandemic-related uncertainty, stress, and anxiety, I’ve been thinking on and off if art ~ the only thing I can do – had any use at all, but Sir Howie’s message (above) made me see its worth even at a time like this.

Sir Howie also showed me an awesome photo of him, his wife, and son, posing by the roots of a huge Dao tree and wondered if he could commission me to draw it. I don’t accept portrait commissions anymore, but this was different. Around that time, his essays, “Ako si Patient 2828” and “The Anti-virus Warriors in My Blood” had already been published on the GMA website, and I read both of them in one sitting.

While drawing, I kept thinking that there’s no way I can accept any payment after he had been through so much suffering. It was going to be my gift for all the good he has done, and is doing – undergoing even more tests in the name of medical research, and continuing to share what he knows in order to help others.

After I told him, he sent yet another touching message.


If there’s anything I will remember during these past 1.5 months of extreme-whatever lockdown, this experience would be it. In case you get to read this, thank you, Sir Howie. I’m actually the one who received a “gift” through our encounter because it has inspired me all the more to keep creating and helping in any way possible. πŸ™‚

Edit (April 24, 2020): I just learned that our exchange was also featured in an article on the GMA News website.

Forest Blooms, Forest Fruits, and a Flower Festival design for Uniqlo

So much alliteration on this post’s title. πŸ˜€ Anyway, finally an update! I was able to work on several projects last year/early this year pre-lockdown, and I’ve chosen to showcase these three. Please click on the titles to learn more about the projects.

Philippine Forest Blooms Calendar and Notepad

Philippine Forest Blooms 2020 Desk Calendar and Notepad Set,a follow-up to my collaborative project with Forest Foundation Philippines in 2018, the Philippine Forest Blooms Planner.

philippine forest fruits postcard set

Philippine Forest Fruits Set of 30 Postcards, another collaboration with Forest Foundation Philippines featuring native fruit-bearing trees (an their fruits) this time.

(Can’t say enough how grateful I am to be working with such a wonderful organization that does a fantastic job of empowering people and organizations to take care of the country’s forests.)

The third project is different, but in a way also the same:

Uniqlo Philippines Cynthia Bauzon Arre

UTMeArtPh x Fiesta T-shirt for Uniqlo Philippines, a shirt design inspired by the Baguio flower festival “Panagbenga,” but featuring Philippine native flowering tree species.

I was also interviewed by Hinhin.com


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This Dalagang Pilipina Rocks: “Maria Clara” artist Cynthia Bauzon-Arre opens up about building confidence, working with rock stars, and the healing power of art

I was roaming around the Sakuya Konohana-kan by myself in Osaka when I received the messages from Tricia and Pierra of Hinhin, saying that they wanted to feature me on the site. I love the clothes and the general mood and idea of Hinhin.com so, powered by my pocket wifi, I chatted with themΒ  in between attempts to take photos of papyrus leaves and desert candles. πŸ˜€Β  It was also my first time to be photographed modeling a dress (from Hinhin’s 2019 collection), and that was quite a treat. πŸ˜‰

Ending this update with some free downloads for you. Here are mobile and desktop wallpapers starring a few native flowering and fruit-bearing trees. I’ve uploaded the low-res verions here but you can go to Forest Foundation’s site to get the high-res. πŸ™‚