I had what you might call a simple, very Filipino childhood.

Growing up, the internet was non-existent so playing piko & patintero, and going on picnics at Parks & Wildlife was probably the equivalent of social media. Apples, grapes, and oranges were considered “special” treats because tropical fruits like lanzones, makopa (wax apple), and duhat (black palm) were the inexpensive accessible options – in fact, they grew in our backyard. Meals at home regularly consisted of  kare-kare, mechado, bringhe, and other Pinoy dishes lovingly prepared by my Kapampangan mom. She is a pediatrician so I was almost never absent in school – there was no excuse to skip classes because I couldn’t pretend to be sick. ;D Education is very important to my parents. My dad, a historian and archaeologist, would give my brother and me factual background lectures of just about any place (or anything) we encounter, and always emphasized the importance of preserving the Filipino heritage. 

These days, it seems that most of us are more familiar with what’s foreign rather than what’s ours – and I’m 100% guilty of this too. I listen to J-pop and watch K-dramas. I take selfies with cherry blossoms. Six years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to name native flowers like Salingbobog or Katmon, but I certainly would’ve recognized a rose or peony off the bat.

The internet made the world smaller. That’s a good thing, but somehow I feel that we are running the risk of losing our identity as Filipinos. If drawing from my memories of the old days can contribute even a small part in protecting and preserving our culture, then I’ve done my family proud and so my work is done. <3

Cynthia Bauzon Arre

Cynthia Bauzon Arre

Illustrator / Graphic Designer

Cynthia majored in Visual Communication at the UP College of Fine Arts and took up graphic design at Parsons School of Design in New York City. She worked in advertising and won international awards including a CLIO for her art direction work, later moving on to become the founding Design Director of Wedding Essentials magazine.

In the early freelancing days, she was best known for album designs for the Eraserheads, Itchyworms, & other rock bands.

In 2018, Cynthia started focusing on work that raises awareness for the importance of native trees in forest conservation. (Read more about #DrawNativeTreesPh and this shop’s advocacy).