SCENE CITY| Isabel Santos turns 93

HER students at the Philippine Women’s  College of Davao in the early 60′s might have faint memories of her teaching stint in the Humanities and Arts subjects. But Isabel Santos, one of the daughters of General Paulino Santos is  remembered by dancers of the Bayanihan,
The National Folk Dance Company of the Philippines as its Artistic Director who has a record of going on twelve international world tours of six months duration across six continents.

We fondly call her “Tita Bills”, as all our teachers are so addressed at the PWC and at PWU. Last year, She came home to Davao on October 01, 2013 to spend her retirement days with the Munda siblings, whose mother, Rosa Santos Munda, also fondly addressed as Tita Rosky was a resident of Davao City and was once president of the Philippine Women’s University.

In the book written by Tita Bills “Bayanihan – A Memory of Six Continents”, we find this item about her, contributed by some of the dancers and members of the Bayanihan International Dance Company: “  The colors of Bayanihan are more vibrant because of the costumes of Isabel Santos”.

“The daughter of the war hero General Paulino Santos was exposed to tribal lore and folkways in her father’s various duty stations. Her extensive traveling all over the Philippines enabled her to design costumes based on the original attire of various regions. Her costumes are truly exquisite treasures and she has not stopped creating to this day”.

“Her memories of costuming Bayanihan evoke images of hiking through the hinterlands to do costume research, combing textile markets for materials and holding heart in hand transporting the costumes across continents. But her memories aren’t just about costumes. As company and tour director, they are also about taking in some of the most beautiful sights of the world, be they splendid palaces in a famous city or a charming corner in a small town. She took in the role of Costume Director in the beginning and became Artistic Director. But it is no secret that she held a host of other roles in between. She was the recipient of the city of Manila’s Antonio Villegas award for culture and the arts in 2003”

Tira Bills organized the setting up of the Mindanao Folk Arts Center in the 60′s. Her love for Mindanao stems from her childhood when her father, General Paulino Santos, was once assigned in Lanao. Tita Bills was amazed by the breathtaking colors of the muslim tribes which remained in her memory.

Today, Tita Bills is still into designing art works mostly on textile. We greeted her a day after her  93rd birthday which was on November 13 and saw several beautiful artistic designs on pieces of textile materials.

Vicenta Rosita Badoy does the sewing of the cloth and the beadwork after Tita Bills has given her the instructions. We were impressed by the tablecloths, placemats and Christmas decors they have produced at the Munda Residence in Matina. We also met Marissa Munda-Tay, Tita Rosky’s daughter, whose ingenuity she must have inherited from Tita Bills, looking at the textile art she has done on “Marimeko” fabrics designed by Scandinavian painters.

1

Isabel Santos (center) in one of the US tours of Bayanihan National Folk Dance Company of the Philippines

 

 

Pic 2 –

Isabel Santos as Tour and Artistic Director of Bayanihan with the tour group posing with the Capitol as background at Washing D.C., USA

Isabel Santos as Tour and Artistic Director of Bayanihan with the tour group posing with the Capitol as background at Washing D.C., USA

Bayanihan in Hawaii

Bayanihan in Hawaii

 

 Birthday cake for Tita Bills ono her 93rd birthday

Birthday cake for Tita Bills ono her 93rd birthday

Beadwork on textile designed by Tita Bills

Beadwork on textile designed by Tita Bills

Exquisite designs on textile embellished with beads

Exquisite designs on textile embellished with beads

Pic 7 –

Christmas decors also turn up for the holidays, another product seen at the Munda residence

Christmas decors also turn up for the holidays, another product seen at the Munda residence

“Rosing” - Vicenta Rosita Badoy does finishing touches on one of Tita Bills' designs

“Rosing” – Vicenta Rosita Badoy does finishing touches on one of Tita Bills’ designs

One of Tita Bills' favorites is this wall hanger beadwork on textile

One of Tita Bills’ favorites is this wall hanger beadwork on textile

Tita Bills at 93

Tita Bills at 93

One of Marissa Munda-Tay's works on Marimeko fabric

One of Marissa Munda-Tay’s works on Marimeko fabric

Divina Grace Caluya contributes her skills at making fabric items for Christmas

Divina Grace Caluya contributes her skills at making fabric items for Christmas

Jun Mark Jocom doeas a Christmas star hanger

Jun Mark Jocom doeas a Christmas star hanger

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